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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 04:28 GMT 05:28 UK
Top US court rejects Schiavo plea
Vigil outside Terri Schiavo's hospice
Supporters of Mrs Schiavo's parents have been maintaining a vigil
The US Supreme Court has once again refused to order doctors in Florida to resume the feeding of brain-damaged woman Terri Schiavo.

The 41-year-old's parents returned to the court as part of their long-running battle to keep their daughter alive.

Mrs Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected almost two weeks ago, at the wishes of her husband, Michael.

It was the sixth time since 2000 that the Supreme Court declined to intervene in a case that has divided Americans.

Hours earlier, a federal appeals court in Atlanta rejected a request for the parents' petition to be reheard.

Michael Schiavo says his wife should be allowed to die, arguing that she would not have wanted to live in her current condition.

File photo of Terri Schiavo
Feb 1990: Terri Schiavo collapses
May 1998: Mr Schiavo files petition to remove feeding tube
Oct 2003: Florida 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 allows removal of tube
22 Mar 2005: Federal judge rejects appeal
23 Mar 2005: Appeals court backs federal ruling
29 Mar 2005: Federal court grants parents leave to appeal
30 Mar 2005:Federal court and Supreme Court reject parents' appeal

The case has seen President George W Bush and Congress come out in support of the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.

Mrs Schiavo, who has been fed by artificial means since she suffered severe brain damage when her heart stopped briefly in 1990, had her feeding tube removed by court order on 18 March.

Courts at all levels have sided with Mrs Schiavo's husband - her legal guardian.

Mr Schindler said on Wednesday that his daughter was "still fighting".

"Terri is still with us," he said. "Under the circumstances she looks darned good, surprisingly good.

"She's still fighting and we're still going to fight for her. We'll do whatever we can to save her and it's not too late.

"I am asking that nobody throws in the towel while she still is with us."

The drawn out death is gripping America

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