When Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed at 1:45 p.m. EST on March 18, I was one of the most surprised people on the planet.
I had been visiting Terri throughout the morning with her family and her priest. As part of the legal team working throughout the previous days and nights to save Terri from a horrific fate, I was very hopeful. Although the state judicial system had obviously failed Terri by not protecting her life, I knew other forces were still at work.
I fully expected the federal courts would step in to reverse this injustice, just as they might for a prisoner unjustly set for executionalthough by much more humane means than Terri would be executed. Barring that, I was certain that sometime around noon, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services would come to the Woodside Hospice facility in Pinellas Park, Fla., and take Terri into protective custody. Or that federal marshals would arrive from Washington D.C, where the Congress was working furiously to try to save Terri, and would stand guard at her door to prevent any medical personnel from entering her room to remove the tube that was providing her nutrition and hydration.
Finally, I was sure if nothing else was working, that at 12:59, just before the hour scheduled for Terri's gruesome execution to begin, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would at least issue a 60-day reprieve for the legislative bodies to complete the work they were attempting to do to save Terri's life and to make sure that no other vulnerable adults could be sentenced to starve to death. I had done the legal research weeks before and was fully convinced that Gov. Bush had the power, under our co-equal branches of government, to issue a reprieve in the face of a judicial death sentence ...1
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