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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Anger growing over Schiavo death
A younger Terri Schiavo
Terri Schiavo collapsed in 1990
A political row has broken out in the US after the death of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman at the heart of a long-running legal dispute.

Senior Republican Tom DeLay, who leads Republicans in the House of Representatives, attacked the US courts for allowing Mrs Schiavo to die, calling them "out of control".

Mrs Schiavo, 41, died in Florida on Thursday, 13 days after a feeding tube keeping her alive was disconnected.

Her husband had fought for the tube's

removal, saying it was what she wanted.

Mr DeLay promised continued support for Mrs Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who led the campaign to keep their daughter alive.

They disagreed with the verdict of court-appointed doctors, who said she was in an irreversible persistent vegetative state.

Divided country

"We promised the Schindler family that we will not let Terri die in vain," Mr DeLay said.

"We will look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president."

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
31 Mar 2005: Terri Schiavo dies

During a seven-year legal battle, state and federal judges consistently ruled against the Schindler family's attempts to prolong Terri Schiavo's life.

The US Supreme Court refused to hear their petitions, despite Congress passing emergency legislation and the support of President George W Bush.

Opinion polls have consistently shown a majority of Americans believed it was right to allow Mrs Schiavo to die.

Speaking after her death, Mr Bush said the strong have a duty to protect the weak.

"In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favour of life," he said.

'For Terri'

Michael Schiavo's overriding concern was to give his wife "a peaceful death with dignity", his lawyer George Felos said on Thursday.

Mr Schiavo was by his wife's side when she died.

Her parents were not at the hospice, and her brother said he was barred from her room shortly before the end.

"This death was not for the siblings, and not for the spouse and not for the parents. This was for Terri," Mr Felos said.

An autopsy is planned and is expected to show the extent of brain injuries sustained when Mrs Schiavo collapsed after her heart stopped beating temporarily in 1990.

Terri Schiavo died with all of America watching

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