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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 March, 2005, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
Appeal court rejects Schiavo plea
Brother Bobby (left) and father Bob Schindler
Terri Schiavo's family appears to have few legal avenues left
The Florida Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from the parents of a brain-damaged woman to keep their daughter alive.

Terri Schiavo, 41, has been without food or water for a week, after courts agreed she should be allowed to die and her feeding tube was removed.

Her parents, who are not her legal guardians, have ended federal appeals.

Their lawyer said Mrs Schiavo would "most likely... pass the point where she will be able to recover".

"Time is moving quickly," said attorney David Gibbs.

Two more court appeals by the state of Florida and Governor Jeb Bush are still pending, but the Florida appeals court has already rejected earlier efforts by the governor to resume the feeding of Mrs Schiavo.

Mr Bush supports attempts by Mrs Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to keep her alive.

Supporters of Terri Schiavo's parents pray outside the Pinellas Park hospice
Supporters of Terri Schiavo's parents pray outside her hospice
Mrs Schiavo's husband, Michael, who is her legal guardian, says she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery, and that she would not want to be kept alive artificially.

"He knows in his heart he is doing the right thing, he is doing what Terri wanted," his brother, Scott Schiavo, said on Saturday.

Mrs Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped briefly because of a chemical imbalance.

No valid reason

The Schindlers told Florida Judge George Greer that she tried to say "I want to live" just before her feeding tube was removed.

Judge Greer, of Pinellas Circuit, ruled on Saturday that the Schindlers had failed to offer a valid reason to change his decision, the latest in a series of judgements against them.

Feb 1990: Mrs Schiavo collapses
May 1998: Mr Schiavo files petition to remove feeding tube, triggering legal battle
Feb 2000: Court rules to remove feeding tube
Oct 2003: Florida's lower house passes "Terri's Law", allowing governor to order doctors to feed Mrs Schiavo
Sept 2004: Florida Supreme Court strikes down law
18 Mar 2005: Florida court again allows removal of tube
22 Mar 2005: Federal judge turns down parents' appeal
23 Mar 2005: Appeals court backs federal ruling
24 Mar 2005: Supreme Court refuses appeal
25 Mar 2005: Federal judge rejects parents' second appeal
25 Mar 2005: Appeals court rejects bid to overturn federal judge ruling
26 Mar 2005: Florida state judge rejects parents' appeal; judgement upheld by Florida Supreme Court

The motion claimed Mrs Schiavo "managed to articulate the first two vowel sounds, first articulating 'ahhhhhhh' and then virtually screaming 'waaaaaaa'" when asked to repeat the phrase "I want to live".

Judge Greer, who had previously ruled against the couple, said their claim could not be believed in light of the medical evidence already considered.

Mr Schindler said on Saturday his daughter was "putting up a tremendous battle to live" after eight full days without food and water.

Without nourishment, she is expected to die within the next few days.

Supporters continue to pray outside the Pinellas Park hospice where she is being treated.

Police have arrested about two dozen people, among them children, for trying to bring her water.

Mrs Schiavo, who was brought up a Roman Catholic, was to receive the holy sacraments from a priest on the occasion of Easter.

Hear reaction from Terri Schiavo's father


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