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    Brain Damaged Woman's Parents Appeal to US Supreme Court

    The fate of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain damaged woman in Florida, now rests with the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Terri Schiavo's parents filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court, asking that her feeding tube be reattached.

    Terri Schiavo has been in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state since suffering brain damage after suffering 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."

    The move to put the Schiavo case before the U.S. Supreme Court came after a day of setbacks for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who are desperate to reattach a feeding tube that was removed last Friday.

    A federal appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia, denied their request on Wednesday even as Terri's mother, Mary Schindler, pleaded for intervention outside the Florida hospice where her daughter resides.

    Mary Schindler, Terri Schiavo's mother, cry as she pleads for Terri's life
    "Please, someone out there, stop this cruelty. Stop the insanity," she pleaded. "Please, let my daughter live."

    In another setback for the parents, a state court in Florida rebuffed Governor Jeb Bush's request to allow the state to take Terri into protective custody and reattach the feeding tube.

    Governor Bush, who is the brother of President Bush, urged calm at a 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 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 urges 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.

    But the president told reporters in Texas Wednesday that the courts will have the final word in the Terri Schiavo case.

    "The legislative branch, the executive branch ought to err on the side of life, which we have. And now we will watch the courts make its decisions," he said.

    Supporters of Terri Schiavo are not optimistic about their chances before the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court has declined previous opportunities to get involved in the case.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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