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The Rule of Terri's Case Strikes Again

Wesley J. Smith

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The Weekly Standard
January 30, 2004

The "Rule oF Terri's Case" has struck again. The term was coined by Pat Anderson, attorney for Terri Schiavo's parents Bob and Mary Schindler, who complained: "If following a legal procedure will likely result in Terri dying, it will be adhered to. But if a procedure could make that outcome more difficult to attain, it will not be followed."

Anderson's complaint has ample evidentiary support. For example, under Florida law, Terri should have a court-appointed guardian ad litem to exclusively represent her interests. But, Judge George Greer, of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, refused to allow one for Terri in the guardianship case ever since her first ad litem was dismissed after recommending that she not be dehydrated to death.

Similarly, "Terri's Law," the new statute that permits Florida's governor to suspend the planned removal of a feeding tube in certain cases, also requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem. This was done. But after the ad litem Jay Wolfson urged that she be allowed a swallow test, David A. Demers, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, refused to renew his authority. This, despite Governor Jeb Bush specifically informing Demers that he needed further information from Wolfson to properly carry out the governor's responsibilities under Terri's Law. So, once again, Terri is without the protection of a guardian ad litem.

Wesley J. Smith is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. He is also a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Read the entire article on the Discovery.org website.

See also "The Martyrdom of Terri Schiavo: Resisting the Ministers of Death" by Fr. Johannes Jacobse.



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