Congress Makes Last-Minute Try to Save Schiavo; 'Fighting a Clock' to Prevent Removal of Her Feeding Tube
Byline: Amy Fagan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A group of House and Senate Republicans are working hard to approve a new law as soon as possible that would provide one last shot at federal court review for Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman whose food and water will be stopped Friday by state court order.
"We're fighting a clock," said Sen. Mel Martinez, who introduced the legislation last week, along with fellow Florida Republican Rep. Dave Weldon.
Under the bill, Mrs. Schiavo - who is incapacitated and has been the center of a bitter legal battle for years between her husband and her parents - would be granted a chance at federal habeas corpus review, typically only used to review death-row cases before an execution.
The bill would allow federal courts - in limited cases such as Mrs. Schiavo's - to expand habeas corpus review to incapacitated people who are the subject of a family dispute, have no previous written directive and are the subject of a lower court order to stop their food and water.
Mrs. Schiavo suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage in 1990, rendering her incapacitated. Since then, her husband, Michael, has been trying to have her feeding tube removed, arguing that his wife would not want to live in a vegetative state. A state court ruled late last month that he can do so on Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, wants to move the bill "as quickly as we can." He plans to try to bring it up for consideration on the Senate floor this week, skipping the committee process.
In the House, supporters are pushing for quick action as well.
But, House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. …