Around 1:45pm EST on Friday, the family of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo announced that the 41-year old woman’s feeding tube was removed.
Schiavo has been at the center of a nearly decade-long battle between her family and husband Michael Schiavo, who has been trying to have the feeding tube, which has provided his wife with food and hydration for 15 years, removed.
In February, Florida Judge George Greer ruled in favor of Michael and ordered the tube removed today at 1:00pm EST.
Since Wednesday night, a legal roller coaster ride has ensued, involving congressional subpoenas issued to Terri, her husband and medical personnel at the hospice where Terri currently resides. Despite this, and the ruling of another Florida judge earlier Friday, Judge Greer demanded that the tube be removed as scheduled.
Lori Kehoe, congressional liaison for the National Right to Life told CNA Friday afternoon that the group is imploring people to “drop everything and call their senators and representatives and ask them to pass one bill.”
Late Wednesday, the House of Representatives managed to pass a bill, which may have blocked the removal of the feeding tube, but Thursday, the Senate passed a narrower bill, which many doubt would make it to law on time.
An impassioned George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo, speaking to reporters Friday, called the efforts of the U.S. Congress, acts of, “thuggery,” and “political strongarming.”
He added that he doesn’t know if today marks the end of the Schiavo battle, citing two new federal lawsuits, which have been filed since the tube was removed.
In response to Felos’ comments, Kehoe told CNA that, far from political strongarming, she thinks Americans will be delighted and encouraged “that members of congress, both on the right and left have come together to rescue a helpless woman.”
She is still hopeful for Terri, noting that “so many people are working from so many different angles, maybe God will use one of these to save her life.”
Friday afternoon marks the third time that Terri’s feeding tube has been removed along with acts in 2001 and 2003.
Pro-life groups say they are undeterred by today’s news and will continue to fight until the final hour. Sources say that once the feeding tube is removed, it could take between 7 and 10 days to end Terri’s life.