Legalized murder hangs on Florida court decision

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 25, 2005

Unless Florida courts or the U.S. Supreme Court reverse themselves, Michael Schiavo will be allowed to kill his wife, Terri, and do it in the most horrific way.

A judge in Pinellas County Fla. has extended what amounts to a stay of execution until today.

If that stay is not extended further Michael Schiavo’s attorney says his client will immediately have the feeding tube now keeping Terri alive removed, allowing her to be starved to death.

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Although badly brain damaged, Terri is conscious (not comatose), shows many signs of being aware of her surroundings, and is not on any life support systems. Like all of us, however, she is dependent on nourishment. If her husband succeeds in removing her feeding tube, she will die an incredibly painful death by starvation and dehydration.

How painful? According to, Dr. William Burke, a neurologist in St. Louis, was quoted by medical ethicist Wesley Smith as describing the agonizing process:

&uot;A conscious person would feel it (dehydration) just as you and I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucous membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water. Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death.&uot;

Not long ago, I had the unpleasant task of putting my dog to sleep. I used a hypodermic needle and he simply went to sleep and died. Had I done to him what Michael Schiavo wants to do to his wife - starve the animal to death - I would have been arrested. And in Florida which prohibits the inhumane treatment of animals, where the starvation of one’s pet is a criminal act, the courts have ruled that it legal to kill Terri by starving her to death.

Thanks to the secularist mainstream media the general public is under the mistaken impression that Terri is on life support, which is true only if being fed and given liquids is considered life support. If that is true, all the rest of us are on life support too.

Terri suffered a serious brain injury in 1990 and there is evidence that suggests she suffered physical abuse that led to her condition. In a trial in 2000, Terri’s husband asked for permission to have the feeding tube removed.

Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge George Greer has continued to allow the husband to act as Terri’s guardian without, as Florida law requires, a guardianship plan.

In a new development, Florida’s Department of Children and Families has intervened in the case and is asking for a delay to investigate abuse allegations. And on Wednesday Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters that &uot;I can assure you I will do whatever I can within the means, within the laws, of our state to protect this woman’s life.&uot;

If all of these moves fail, however, the courts of state of Florida will order Terri Schiavo to be starved to death – a case of judicially sanctioned murder.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is a syndicated columnist and radio host. He can be reached by e-mail to