The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a plea from the parents of a severely brain-damaged woman in Florida to re-attach the feeding tube that had been keeping her alive.
The Supreme Court's rejection of the plea to reattach Terri Schiavo's feeding tube came in a brief one-page order.
The justices did not explain their decision, which ends the bid by Terri Schiavo's parents to use the federal court system to try to save her life.
Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who believe their daughter might still recover, filed the emergency appeal with the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in Atlanta rejected their request to reattach the feeding tube on Wednesday.
Terri Schiavo has been in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state since suffering brain damage during a heart attack in 1990.
Her husband, Michael Schiavo, maintains Terri would not have wanted to be kept alive through the use of a feeding tube. That view has been upheld by state courts in Florida and by federal courts.
Michael Schiavo's brother Scott defended the removal of Terri's feeding tube on NBC's Today program.
"This is not about anyone else but Terri," he said. "This is about a promise that Terri and Mike both made to each other that they would not allow each other to be kept on a machine [connected to a feeding tube] like this, kept alive artificially."
With no further recourse in the federal court system, Terri Schiavo's parents and their supporters are now turning their attention to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, President Bush's brother.
Pro-life groups are urging Governor Bush to take custody of Terri Schiavo and reattach her feeding tube.
"We say to Governor Bush, a citizen of your state is being brutally murdered. You need to intervene on her behalf," said Reverend Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition.
Governor Bush urged calm at a Wednesday news conference after several protesters were arrested trying to bring water to Terri Schiavo.
"I urge all who want to help Terri Schiavo to honor her by remaining calm and reacting peacefully, even though we are all very distressed by what is happening," he said.
The emergency filing before the Supreme Court by Terri Schiavo's parents urged the high court to follow the direction set by the Republican-led Congress earlier in the week when it demanded that the feeding tube be reattached while the case was considered by federal courts.
Congress took the unusual step of passing a law on short notice, which was signed by President Bush.
The Supreme Court had rejected previous opportunities to get involved in the Schiavo case. The federal courts have consistently upheld Florida state courts in siding with Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael.