U.S. Congress Passes Bill To Move Terri Schiavo's Case To Federal Court

Mar 21, 2005

The United States Congress passed a bill on Palm Sunday giving the federal courts the power to review Terri Schiavo's case to ensure the protection of her constitutional rights. The House of Representatives voted 203-58 in favor of the bill shortly after midnight. The Senate unanimously passed the bill earlier on Sunday afternoon. The President immediately signed the measure and released a statement where he said, “In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life.”

The legislation states that a federal court, “Shall issue such declaratory and injunctive relief as may be necessary to protect the rights of the woman.” Injunctive relief could be the reinsertion of Terri’s feeding tubes. Currently, Terri’s feeding tube remains disconnected and must be reinserted quickly to provide nutrition and prevent death by dehydration and starvation.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: "I hope the federal judge assigned to the case acts with deliberate speed to save Terri’s life. Terri should be afforded every protection the law can give. Death by dehydration and starvation is slow, painful, and inhumane. I am encouraged that the United States Congress has taken measures to protect Terri from suffering such an inhumane death. We should not starve Terri to death. When we devalue her life, all life is devalued."