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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 22:12 GMT
The two sides of the Schiavo case
The case of Terri Schiavo, a seriously brain-damaged American woman, has sparked a worldwide debate on whether she should be granted the right to live, in spite of her husband's decision to remove feeding tubes.

Her parents say she is still reacting to external stimulation, but her husband says she would never have wanted to be kept alive in a vegetative state.

MARY SCHINDLER, TERRI'S MOTHER

My daughter is in the building behind me starving to death. We laugh together, we cry together, we smile together, we talk together. She is my life.

Terri is not in the condition that they portray her... she's a happy, healthy - I mean, she's healthy. She's brain damaged, but she's healthy.

She tries very hard to talk to me. She tries. There's a therapist, a speech therapist in Chicago that said that Terri... is talking, but she just needs some help with her vocal chords to get them to form words.

(If someone let an animal starve to death) they'd go to prison. But yet Terri can be allowed to starve to death. You've never seen anything like it... in your life, as a mother watching your child starve to death.

SUZANNE VITADAMO, TERRI'S SISTER

Michael has his family now, he has a fiancée and children. We're asking him to take care of his family and let us take care of ours.

BOB SCHINDLER, TERRI'S FATHER

(After saying he had spoken to his daughter after the Congress vote) I got a big smile out of her face, so help me God. She seemed to be very pleased. And we're pleased.


MICHAEL SCHIAVO, TERRI'S HUSBAND

She doesn't feel pain. She doesn't feel hunger. (She) will drift off to a nice little sleep and eventually pass on to be with God.

This is what Terri wanted. This is her wish. I feel like the government has just trampled all over my personal life.

I'm outraged, and I think that every American in this country should also be outraged that this government is trampling all over a personal family matter that has been adjudicated in the courts for seven years.

BRIAN SCHIAVO, MICHAEL'S BROTHER

Anybody that thinks that she talks and responds, they need to have a mental health examination.

GEORGE FELOS, MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S LAWYER

The state does not own Mrs Schiavo's body, and Congress cannot simply order her to remain alive contrary to her medical treatment wishes and court order.

Each and every one of us in this country has a constitutional right to refuse medical treatment they don't want. Terri exercised that right.

It's scary to think that the government, just because they may be ideologically opposed to your medical treatment choice, has a right to overturn what you want.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Terri Schiavo's case has divided opinion in the US



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