The Terri Schiavo case is heading to Congress. U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican, introduced a bill Wednesday that would give the severely brain-damaged woman access to a special federal court hearing. A state court recently ruled Schiavo’s husband could remove her feeding tube March 18th. But, that would change if the “Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act of 2005” were passed before then. The Act would ensure Schiavo – and others in similar situations – were given a final federal hearing. Martinez says the bill would provide legal rights for disabled people… and federal review of state court decisions.
“This is not about Terry Schiavo’s right to die, or right to be kept alive. It’s about ensuring that her legal rights have been protected at all stages of the proceedings. That she has had the proper right to counsel and all of the other opportunities by a review of the federal courts.”
Congressman Dave Weldon – a Florida Republican – is sponsoring identical legislation in the U-S House. Both Representative Weldon – and Senator Martinez – say they hope to rush the bill through both chambers… then get it signed by President Bush before the March 18th deadline.
George Felos – attorney for Schiavo’s husband – told the South Florida Sun Sentinel "the bill would create a never-ending federal review of state court decisions.” And that it “would make it virtually impossible to carry out patients’ wishes if anyone in their family disagreed.”
Thursday, 10 March 2005 00:00