Ragged Edge 





Dec., '04
Nov., '04
Oct., '04
Sept., '04
August, '04
July, '04
June, '04
May, '04
Apr., '04
Mar., '04
Feb., '04
Jan., '04
Dec., '03
Nov., '03
Oct., '03
Sept., '03
August, '03
July, '03
June, '03
May, '03
April, '03
March, '03
Feb., '03
Jan., '03
Dec., '02
Nov., '02
Oct., '02
Sept., '02
August, '02
July, '02
June, '02
May, '02
April, '02
Mar., '02
Feb., '02
Jan., '02
Dec., '01
Nov., '01
Oct., '01
Sept., '01

Breaking News Ticker  |  Yahoo Full Coverage on disabilities

'Tired Of Life' Reason Enough For Doctors' Help In Dutch Suicides?
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

AMSTERDAM, Jan. 27, 2005--Last month, the Dutch doctors' organization KNMG ruled that being "tired of life" is a good enough reason for physicians to help patients to kill themselves under the country's euthanasia law.

The association published a report entitled "Suffering from Life", which, according to chairman Jos Dijkhuis, determined that a person who is "not able to bear living" could be said to be suffering from life itself and therefore should be a candidate for physician-assisted suicide.

The report followed the prosecution of Dr. Phlip Sutorius, who helped former Dutch senator Edward Brongersma to die in 1998. Brongersma, 86, did not have a terminal illness, as is required under the law, but was "tired of life".

Sutorius was originally acquitted of the crime, but a higher court overturned the verdict and convicted him. While an appeals court later called his punishment "inappropriate", the Supreme Court finally upheld the conviction.

The Dutch government, which first legalized euthanasia in 2002, has indicated that it does not want suffering from life to become a reason for mercy killings.

Two experts on both sides of the issue discussed the KNMG report Friday on Radio Netherlands.

"It is very difficult but any doctor who gets a patient who is really suffering because of their life they will be able to tell that immediately," said Rob Jonquiere, director of Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Society, which is pushing for the law to be expanded.

"The law recognises at this moment that the real reason for euthanasia is not that you have cancer, or a serious disease, but that you have to be unbearably suffering."

Dr. Henk Jochemsen, director of the Lindeboom Institute, a pro-life Christian center for medical ethics, said: "I think it is a sign that as a society we think those people are correct in wishing to be dead. Whereas I think this is not the sign we as a society should give to people who are in a very vulnerable and difficult situation."

"The very fact that a regulation would exist that would allow this is a wrong sign, even if it would only happen a few times a year," Jochemsen explained.

"Acceptance of euthanasia for people who are tired of life will further social pressure, to those who feel themselves to be a burden to others, to ask for euthanasia."

Disability rights groups have opposed legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide, noting that the lives of people with disabilities are still considered by society to be "not worth living" and that they "suffer" from simply having a disability. In areas where the law allows people to help others commit suicide, many who have died were not in the terminal stages of an illness. Rather, many cited the fear of acquiring a disability or becoming dependent on others as their primary reason for dying.

"Boundaries of euthanasia" (Radio Netherlands) Program on RealAudio -- 30 minutes

Hitler Regime Gassed Cousin As Part Of Euthanasia Campaign
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA, Jan. 26, 2005--Adolf Hitler's campaign to rid Europe of people with disabilities resulted in the death of one of his second-cousins, two researchers have concluded.

Historian Timothy Ryback announced that he and fellow researcher Florian Beierl found records proving that the woman, identified only as Aloisia V., was gassed to death on December 6, 1940 at Hartheim Castle near Linz, Austria.

Aloisia's grandmother was sister to Hitler's grandmother on his father's side of the family. Medical records discovered last week showed that Aloisia had schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illnesses. She was confined for a time in a caged bed before she was killed.

"It's painful to see what this woman went through," Ryback told Focus magazine. "It highlights the cruelty and brutality of that system to an excruciating degree."

The Nazi regime sterilized, tortured or killed hundreds of thousands of Europeans with mental and physical disabilities over a decade-long campaign to "cleanse" the Aryan race of what Hitler called "useless eaters".

Hitler's 49-year-old cousin was one of thousands of people with mental disabilities the Nazis killed at Hartheim Castle through lethal injections and gassing. Nazi SS officers used the castle to perfect the killing methods they would later use to murder millions of European Jews, Gypsies, Russians and others in the extermination camps at Treblinka and Auschwitz.

It is not known whether Hitler knew of his cousin's euthanasia. A secret 1944 Gestapo document, however, reportedly called Aloisia's side of the family "idiotic progeny". Mr. Beierl said that members of the family "crashed into suicide and mental illness" and eventually the family line "died out".

"Hitler's secrecy about his family was legendary," Ryback said. "After 60 years we know why he really had something to hide".

The researchers said they plan to further investigate mental illness within Hitler's family. They also plan to turn their findings over to other experts to determine if Hitler himself might have been affected by mental illness.

Related: "Hitler's mentally ill relative was sent to gas chamber" (The Independent)

Court-Appointed Advocate Calls For Exam Of Terri Schiavo's Brain Damage
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

TAMPA Jan. 25, 2005--The University of South Florida professor who had been appointed as Terri Schiavo's independent advocate under "Terri's Law" said Tuesday that tests should be done to determine once and for all whether she is in a "persistent vegetative state", as her husband claims, or alert and awake, as her parents argue.

Both sides would first need to drop any court action and accept a final decision by a review panel, said Jay Wolfson, who acted as Terri's guardian ad litem for two months after Governor Jeb Bush passed the law which had her feeding tube replaced six days after it had been removed.

"There is so much at stake here, not just for Terri, but for the issue," Wolfson told the Associated Press.

"If we were serious about addressing this, we would say, 'What are the interests of the parties and how can we use science, medicine and good law to take away from the clouding factors in this case?'"

Terri's parents and her husband have both suggested and refused reviews by experts during the decade-long battle over whether Terri should live or die.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to intervene in the Florida Supreme Court's decision to reject the law that kept Terri alive after October 21, 2003. That decision held that the governor overstepped his authority under the state's Constitution when he championed the law.

Later on Monday, an attorney for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, asked Michael Schiavo to divorce Terri and let them become her guardians.

"If there is any way for Michael to walk away . . . just please, please, please let them keep their daughter and just walk away," said attorney David Gibbs.

Mr. Schiavo has indicated that he plans to have Terri's feeding tube removed as soon as it is legally possible.

Terri is currently being kept alive under a stay granted by Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who said he would not allow Mr. Schiavo to remove the tube until after the Schindlers' appeals to the appellate court are exhausted.

The Schindlers currently have an appeal before the 2nd District Court of Appeal over its refusal to hold a new trial based on comments made last March by Pope John Paul II. The pontiff proclaimed that allowing people with disabilities to starve to death is unethical and immoral "euthanasia by omission". Her parents believe that, as a Roman Catholic, Terri would not have wanted to go against the pope.

The Schindlers also have a request that Michael be removed as their daughter's guardian, and another case claiming that Terri's constitutional due process rights have been violated.

Greer could lift the stay as early as next month if the appellate court does not rule in the family's favor. However, the Schindlers could ask for him to keep the stay in place while they appeal any of the other court actions, which could take months.

Terri collapsed from a heart attack on February 26, 1990 and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes. She breathes on her own, but because she cannot swallow, she receives food and water through the tube installed through the wall of her stomach. Her husband and several doctors have said that she is in a "persistent vegetative state" from which she cannot recover. Even though she left no will or advanced directive, courts have accepted Mr. Schiavo's claims that she told him she would not want to live "by artificial means".

Terri's parents have battled with her husband over what they assert is her right to live. They claim she is awake, alert, and could benefit from therapies -- including swallowing therapies -- which Mr. Schiavo has refused to allow. They argue that he should be removed as guardian, in part because he is engaged to a woman with whom he has fathered two children.

Disability rights groups have been closely following Terri's situation and have supported her parents and Governor Bush in their efforts to keep her alive. The advocates claim that Terri represents tens of thousands of people with severe disabilities who are forced to rely on others to decide whether they will live or die.

"Who put the ethics in Bioethics?" by Pamela F. Hennessy (Opinion Editorials)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

NSCIA Blasts Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby
BETHESDA, MD, Jan. 19, 2005 -- The National Spinal Cord Injury Association calls Clint Eastwood's latest Oscar contender, Million Dollar Baby, "a brilliantly executed attack on life after spinal cord injury." In the film, "Frankie (Eastwood), an aging manager, agrees to train Maggie (Swank), a talented boxer. Maggie takes a fall and sustains SCI. Frankie then kills Maggie in a nursing home at her request."

"Eastwood's message that life ...with a disability is not worth living is a prejudice shared by many," says the group.

"Eastwood is remembered by many for his attack on the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2000," says NSCIA CEO Marcie Roth. "I'm saddened but not surprised that he uses the power of fame and film to perpetuate his view that the lives of people with disabilities are not worth living."

Read NSCIA news release.

Marshalls Stores Settle, Will Have Crip Evac Policies
WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 15, 2005 -- What happpened was a wake-up call," Katie Savage told The Washington Post. Savage, who sued Marshalls Department Stores two years ago when she was trapped in the basement during a fire alarm, has won a partial settlement from the store, but will continue her suit, she says, until all Marshalls stores nationwide have an evacuation policy.

In December, Montgomery Circuit Court Judge John W. Debelius III ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires places of public accommodation to consider the needs of people with disabilities in developing emergency evacuation plans, and means that shopping malls, stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and other private entities subject to the ADA throughout the country, whether landlords or tenants, must now seek to accommodate people with disabilities in the development and modification of emergency evacuation procedures," says a release from the All Hands Community.

"This is a significant decision that should greatly enhance the safety of persons with disabilities in the post-September 11th world," said Elaine Gardner, Director of the Disability Rights Project at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

On Sept. 3, 2002, Savage was shopping in Marshalls at City Place Mall in Montgomery County when an alarm sounded and shoppers were told over the store's intercom to evacuate immediately. Savage says she "scooted out as fast as her chair would take her" but the alarm had turned off the escalator and elevator. She tried to reenter Marshalls, but an employee pulled down the gate and ran off, she said.

"I don't think people even saw me there," she told reporters. "They were running and screaming."

About seven other people who were elderly or physically limited were there with her, say news reports.

More from the All Hands Community.

ADAPT Calls On Governors To Remove Institutional Bias
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 14, 2005--The national disability rights organization ADAPT is challenging members of the National Governors Association to support a resolution designed to remove the institutional bias currently within the country's long term care system.

In a press statement released Friday, ADAPT leaders called on governors to vote for a resolution that Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has submitted to the NGA's Health and Human Services Committee. That resolution would ask Congress to pass legislation to eliminate the bias toward nursing homes and other institutional services funded through Medicaid.

About 70 percent of all long-term care dollars are spent on such institutions, in spite of the fact that an overwhelming majority of people have said they prefer to stay in their own homes in their communities.

The measure could be particularly important to states right now as many are declaring crises in their Medicaid systems, and the costs of institutional services continue to climb.

Rendell's resolution would call on the states to be more aggressive in implementing the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision which ruled that keeping people in institutions unnecessarily violates their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to services in the "most integrated setting".

It would also oppose any block grant or cap on funding of Medicaid.

"The system is broken and needs reform" said Bob Kafka, ADAPT National Organizer in the statement. "The NGA should send a message by passing this resolution that people with disabilities and older Americans should be served with dignity and respect in their own homes and communities and not be forced to live in a nursing home or other institution."

Disability rights activists from across the country plan to be in Washington, D.C. on March 1 when the full NGA meets to vote on the resolution.

Read Zen Garcia's The Long Road Home
Read the ADAPT Action Report about facing the nation's governors in Seattle

The Free Our People website

Straight-Jacketed Valentine Gift "Unbearable" To Vermont Advocates
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

MONTPELIER, VT, Jan. 13, 2005--It might have been meant to be sweet and cute, and to let your Valentine know how loveable he or she is.

But the "Crazy for You Bear", sold this season by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, is anything but loveable, say local mental health advocates.

The 15-inch, honey-colored bear is wrapped in a straight-jacket and comes complete with a commitment report declaring "Can't Eat, Can't Sleep, My Heart's Racing. Diagnosis -- Crazy for You!"

The bear had been on sale for a few days before it caught the attention of Jerry Goessel, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill's Vermont chapter.

"A strait jacket is not a symbol that we want to associate with sales of a teddy bear for loved ones over Valentine's Day," wrote Goessel in a letter to the company. "And the use of commitment papers, legal documents committing an individual to involuntary treatment, is not something to be taken casually."

Goessel asked the company to remove the bear as it offends many of the estimated 12,000 people with severe mental illness in Vermont and others affected by mental illness.

Vermont Teddy Bear spokesperson Nicole L'Huillierin replied in a statement that the bear was not designed to insult people with disabilities.

"We mean no disrespect to those with mental illnesses," she said.

L'Huillierin added that the company will stop selling the bear -- sometime after February 14.

That is not good enough for Goessel and others, including Vermont lawmakers.

Governor Jim Douglas on Thursday called marketing of the bear "very insensitive", but stopped short of telling the company what to do. According to the Burlington Free Press, a legislative panel committee is drafting a letter of complaint about the bear.

Advocates said they want to meet with officials at the company over the issue.

"The marketing use of a straight jacket . . . sends a message to the general public that is contradictory to treating persons with illness as persons first," Goessel told the Rutland Herald.

"Fortunately, there are fewer and fewer items of this type that discriminate against persons with mental illness," he said. "It is so striking when we do come across it."

"Sweet or tasteless?" (Rutland Herald)
Crazy for You Bear (Vermont Teddy Bear Company)

Deaf patients sue hospital over lack of communication
LAUREL, MD., Jan. 13, 2005 -- Seven deaf people who sought treatment at Laurel Regional Hospital in Maryland and were repeatedly denied communications accommodation have sued the hospital, in what attorney Elaine Gardner of the Washington Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs said was a "first of its kind" lawsuit. The suit claims violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.

"Despite specific and repeated requests for an in-person qualified sign language interpreter, they were provided with inadequate video interpreting, cryptic notes or no communication at all.," reports the Montgomery County Sentinel. "...They were unable to provide informed consent to treatment, were denied the opportunity to participate in their treatment, and were denied the full benefit of the health care services. "

Read press release from Washington Lawyers Committee
Read story from the Montgomery County Sentinel.

State Education Officials To Fix Test Blunders
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

FREDERICK, MD, Jan. 11, 2005--Here's one for the "What on Earth were they thinking?" file.

The Maryland School Assessment, which is required for all public schools in the state, includes a math and a reading test for students in grades 3 through 8.

According to the Frederick News-Post, the reading section for grade 3 and 4 students requires them to match up pairs of words with similar sounds, such as the vowel sound for the "a" in the words "castle" and "manner". The idea, one education official said, was to determine whether a student can sound out portions of a word.

That didn't mean much to students at the Maryland School for the Deaf.

"As a deaf person, I'm not familiar with sounds," explained James E. Tucker, the school's superintendent who complained to state education officials. "I have a problem answering these questions myself, and I'm an education man."

A spokesman for Maryland's Department of Education said that the test will be changed so that the questions will be more appropriate for all students before it is given again in March.

The department will also adjust the test scores for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the school.

"We just want the tests to be fair," said Tucker.

Feds seek comments on 'in home' wheelchair policy
WASHINGTON, DC, JAN. 10, 2005 --The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- CMS -- is seeking comments about its current policy to pay for wheelchairs only for "in home" use. Comments can be submitted on its website. The comment period will end Jan. 14. Use this link to submit your comment or go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/mcd/public_comment.asp and select "mobility assistive devices" from the pull-down menu as your comment topic.

"The 'in the home' restriction severely impedes the health and independence of people with disabilities as it essentially confines people to the four walls of their homes," says Justice for All. The effort to get CMS to change its policy has been the focus of the ITEM coalition. Visit its website for more information.

Read more from Justice for All.

Schindlers File New Challenge Against Florida Court Order; New Attorney Surprised By Terri Schiavo's Responsiveness
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

TAMPA, JAN. 7, 2005 --Attorneys for Robert and Mary Schindler asked a Florida court Thursday to withdraw its February 2000 court order which gave Michael Schiavo permission to remove their daughter's feeding tube so she would starve to death. The court order is invalid for at least three reasons, the attorneys claim.

In that 2000 order, Pinellas County Court Judge George Greer agreed with Mr. Schiavo and several doctors that Terri Schiavo has been in a "persistent vegetative state" from which she will not recover since she collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990. Greer based his decision in part on claims by Mr. Schiavo that Terri told him before her brain injury that she would not want to be kept alive on life support.

The order led eventually to Terri's feeding tube being removed in October 2003. The tube was reinstalled six days later after Florida Governor Jeb Bush was given permission by the Legislature under "Terri's Law" to have it reinserted.

Terri's parents have been battling Mr. Schiavo in court to keep Terri alive. They claim that she smiles, laughs, responds to her environment and even tries to talk. They also argue that she is not in a terminal state and that she deserves rehabilitative therapies that might allow her to swallow again. They allege Mr. Schiavo of having a number of conflicts of interest, including the fact that he has been engaged several years to a woman with whom he has fathered two children.

In a motion filed at Pinellas County Court Thursday, the Schindlers' attorney David Gibbs III argued that Greer's February 2000 court order should be considered void because it is not valid for at least three reasons.

First, Gibbs claimed, the court denied Terri her constitutional right to due process ". . . including but not limited to her nondelegable rights to be given notice of the petition for authority to discontinue her assisted feeding, to be represented by independent counsel, to conduct discovery, to appear in court, to present evidence in her own behalf, and to cross-examine adverse witnesses."

Gibbs explained in a press release that, in reviewing many boxes of court papers in the case, "we cannot find a single instance where Terri was afforded the right of every American to have a lawyer who would represent her own interests."

Second, the motion alleged, the court based its decision on the wrong law from the wrong time. If, as Mr. Schiavo insists, Terri told him before her February 1990 brain injury that she would not want to be kept on life support, the judge should not have used a version of the state's Life-Prolonging Procedures Act which was written after 1990.

Prior to Terri's injury, Florida law did not consider assisted feeding to be a form of life support. Therefore, the motion argued, regardless of what Terri may or may not have said about life support, it would have had nothing to do with having her feeding tube removed.

Finally, Gibbs argued that the court violated the separation of powers provisions in the Florida Constitution.

"The Court acted beyond its judicial powers when it encroached upon the Executive Branch by assuming the role of the State Attorney and the role of the Department of Children and Families to ensure the safety and well-being of the disabled, including that of Mrs. Schiavo."

"The Court's attempt to carry out the functions of judge, legislator, and law enforcer violated the constitutional separation of powers and denied Mrs. Schiavo a fair and impartial judicial hearing," Gibbs wrote.

Terri's case has been watched closely by "death with dignity" advocates on one side, and disability rights and "right to life" advocates on the other.

Mr. Schiavo's supporters include attorney George Felos, who has a history of representing "right to die" causes. Felos and the American Civil Liberties Union took Governor Bush to court last year claiming "Terri's Law" violated Terri's privacy rights and the state constitution's separation of powers. Bush lost the case at the local and state Supreme Court levels. The case now awaits review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Disability rights groups support the Schindlers' efforts to keep Terri alive. Terri's situation is similar to that of thousands of people with significant disabilities across the country who are represented by a guardian. Allowing her to starve to death would further diminish the value society places on people with disabilities considered "not worth living".

In a related story, the Schindlers' new attorney Barbara Weller visited Terri for the first time the day after Christmas. Terri has been in a hospice since April 2000, even though hospices generally only serve those expected to live less than six months.

"I was prepared for the possibility that the Schindlers love their daughter and sister so much that they might imagine behaviors by Terri that aren't actually evident to others," Weller wrote about the visit. "The media and Mr. Schiavo clearly give the impression that Terri is in a coma or comatose state and engages only in non-purposeful and reflexive movements and responses."

"From the moment we entered the room, my impression was that Terri was very purposeful and interactive and she seemed very curious about the presence of obvious strangers in her room."

"I never imagined Terri would be so active, curious, and purposeful. She watched people intently, obviously was attempting to communicate with each one in various ways and with various facial expressions and sounds."

"She was definitely not in a coma, not even close," Weller concluded.

"A Visit With Terri Schiavo" by Attorney Barbara Weller (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Northwest Airlines To Pay $500,000 To Settle Discrimination Suit
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

MINNEAPOLIS, JAN. 4, 2005 --Northwest Airlines Corporation has agreed to pay a total of $510,000 to 28 people to settle allegations that it discriminated against people with seizure disorders and insulin-dependant diabetes.

According to a joint statement from the airline and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the suit, Northwest also agreed to evaluate the ability of individual applicants to safely perform key functions of cleaning and equipment jobs at airport ramps.

The EEOC suit was filed in April 2001, alleging that Northwest had a "blanket exclusionary policy" under which the company withdrew job offers it had made to applicants based entirely on their medical conditions.

"When someone came to them with diabetes or epilepsy, they were spotted as a potential risk, even if their condition was very well controlled," Laurie Vasichek, the EEOC's lead attorney on the case, told the Pioneer Press.

Northwest, the nation's fourth-largest air carrier, has consistently denied the allegations. The company said in the statement that it decided to settle the suit to avoid further legal action.

"This lawsuit was an important reminder to employers that the ADA requires that they give individualized assessments to their employees with disabilities to determine whether they could perform their jobs with or without reasonable accommodation," said Chester Bailey, District Director of the EEOC's Milwaukee District Office.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing elements of Title I of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act -- which covers discrimination in the workplace -- along with other federal laws.

Related: Disability Discrimination (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

Judge Who Freed Disabled From ND Institutions Now Locked In One; Son Battles For His Freedom
BISMARCK ND JAN. 4, 2005 --In 1982, U.S. Judge Bruce M. Van Sickle ruled that North Dakota was violating the constitutional rights of people kept in institutions because of mental retardation or other disabilties. It was a pivotal ruling in the 1980s move toward de-institutionalization.

"To me, the greatest impact of this lawsuit was that it made the clients into people," Van Sickle said in 1998. "Before, they were almost objects. The feeling was there is nothing that can be done for them except keep them warm until they die."

Today, Van Sickle, who is 87, has succumed to the fate of those whose case came before him more than 20 years ago. Van Sickle now has Alzheimer's, and is being kept in an institution against his will, the result of an apparent family dispute between siblings who think he is "better off" in a nursing home and one who is fighting a court battle to let him live in the community. The case, and its irony, have caught the attention of the media.

Van Sickle is in a Bismarck nursing home and wants to leave, having gone so far as to have pulled a fire alarm in the locked ward in an attempt to get out, court documents say. Son David, who is himself an attorney, has petitioned the North Dakota Supreme Court to be appointed his father's guardian so he can move him into his home. The court should issue its ruling soon.

More from the Grand Forks (ND) Herald.

Florida Appeals Court Rejects Schindlers' Appeal Over Terri Schiavo's Right
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

TAMPA, JAN. 3, 2005 --Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal has refused to consider arguments from Terri Schiavo's parents over their belief that allowing her to starve to death would violate her religious convictions.

The appellate court did not offer a written opinion to explain the refusal.

George Felos, the attorney representing Terri's husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, told reporters that once the court issues its formal decision within 15 days, Mr. Schiavo could order his wife's feeding tube removed.

An attorney for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, told LifeNews they will ask the appeals court to rehear the case. David Gibbs III said the court's decision not to hold hearings was disappointing. Because the appeals court did not issue a written opinion, the decision cannot be appealed to the state Supreme Court, LifeNews explained.

The Schindlers asked for the new trial to argue that, even if Terri had said she did not want to be kept alive "by artificial means" as her husband suggests, as a devout Catholic she would have changed her mind last year in response to a pronouncement by Pope John Paul II. The pope said in March that removing food and hydration from people with disabilities similar to Terri's amounts to a form of "euthanasia by omission" and is immoral and unethical.

Terri collapsed from a heart attack in February 1990 and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes. She breathes on her own and regulates her own blood pressure. But because she does not swallow, she receives food and water through a tube installed through the wall of her stomach.

Terri, who was 26 at the time of her injury left no written directives. Her husband has insisted for several years that his wife told him before her collapse that she would not want to be on life support. In February 2000, Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge Greer ruled that Mr. Schiavo could have his wife's feeding tube removed. Greer agreed with Schiavo and several doctors that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" -- that her brain is damaged the point where she cannot interact with her environment, does not feel pain, and will not recover.

Terri's parents have fought Mr. Schiavo through the courts for the past 11 years for their daughter to receive rehabilitative therapies, including speech and swallowing therapies, and to keep her alive. They argue that Terri responds to them, smiles, and has even tried to stand up.

In late October 2004, Judge Greer said that nothing had changed since his 2000 decision. He noted that, Terri had not been a consistent observer of Catholic Mass and did not have a regular religious advisor. Greer did issue a stay, however, allowing Terri to continue receiving food and water through the tube until her parents' appeals have been exhausted.

The Schindlers have tried to get Mr. Schiavo removed as Terri's legal guardian, pointing to the fact that he spent much of a fund intended for her care and rehabilitation on his fight to have her die, and that for the last eight years he has been engaged to another woman with whom he has fathered two children.

In October of 2003, when Terri's feeding tube was removed under Greer's court order, disability rights advocates and right-to-die groups flooded the offices of Governor Jeb Bush and state lawmakers with messages asking for them to intervene and save Terri's life. Bush's office quickly wrote "Terri's Law" and pushed it through the Legislature in near-record time, leading to the reinsertion of Terri's feeding tube just six days after it had been removed.

The Florida Supreme Court later threw out the law, ruling that the governor and the Legislature overstepped their constitutional bounds in passing and implementing it.

Attorneys for Gov. Bush asked the U.S. Supreme Court on December 1 to decide whether the Florida Supreme Court violated Terri Schiavo's federal rights when it overturned the law that had kept her alive for over a year.

Related: "Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Last month's news


More news can be found at these sites:

The "Disabilities and the disabled" news from Yahoo Full Coverage provides news stories from mainstream media

A running "News Ticker" of stories is online at http://www.acdd.org/news.htm#search

For disability movement news, visit the JFA Newsgroup


© Copyright 2004 The Ragged Edge

This Website produced by Cliffwood Organic Works