Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed

Bishops’ Aide Praises Congressional Bid to Save Woman

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PINELLAS PARK, Florida, MARCH 18, 2005 ( Doctors removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube despite a last-minute push to save the severely brain-damaged woman.

Schiavo’s parents confirmed that the tube had been disconnected today. It could take two weeks for Schiavo to die, provided no one intercedes and gets the tube reinserted.

In an attempt to save Schiavo, 41, Florida lawmakers scrambled to pass laws that would block the withholding of food and water from patients in a «persistent vegetative state» who didn’t leave specific instructions refusing the artificial measure.

The Florida House passed a measure, but a similar measure failed in the Senate hours later.

The U.S. House and Senate passed competing bills to allow the case to be transferred to federal court, but agreement between the two houses is yet to be made.

The judge presiding over the case refused a request from U.S. House attorneys to delay the removal, which he had previously ordered to take place at 1 p.m. local time.

A U.S. bishops’ conference aide praised congressional efforts to spare the life of woman, who has been at the heart of a controversy over withholding nutrition and hydration from people with cognitive disabilities.

«We commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 1332 on March 16, 2005, and the U.S. Senate for passing S. 653 the following day,» said Gail Quinn, executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

«We strongly support legislation to provide Terri Schiavo access to the federal court so she can present her case in federal court,» Quinn added.

Terri Schiavo has been at the center of a long court battle between her parents and her husband, who wants to remove her feeding tube so that she will die. Michael Schiavo says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially — a claim her parents fiercely dispute.

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