Will Michael Schiavo Use the 'Mark McGwire Defense'?

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

Will Michael Schiavo Use the 'Mark McGwire Defense'?


Byline: Chuck Goudie

"I'm not here to talk about the past."

That was the answer regurgitated over and over by scaled-down former baseball slugger Mark McGwire when members of a congressional committee tried to get him to talk about steroid use.

McGwire, who looks like a partially deflated balloon compared to his record-setting home run years, got away with that clever tactic last week. Although he appeared to be stifling some tears, he may actually have been choking on his own hard-to-swallow words.

But some members of the committee propped him up, allowing him to repeat the "I'm not here to talk about the past" mumbo without actually pleading the Fifth.

You may hear that line -"I'm not here to talk about the past" - invoked again on Capitol Hill if a Senate committee succeeds in demanding testimony from Michael Schiavo in a different case.

Schiavo is the husband of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman kept alive for more than 15 years by a feeding tube after she survived a heart attack and fell into a coma.

Though she is now conscious, and has been for some time, Michael Schiavo wants his wife to die by removing the tube that is used to provide her food and water. He claims that is what his wife, 41, would want.

As her legal guardian, Michael Schiavo is battling Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who want the tube kept in place and insist she could improve with rehab.

Over the years, as the Schindlers have tried to prevent their daughter's death, supporters have made comparisons to Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved countless Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

The Schindlers lost in court, and Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed Friday. It was the third time a judge has had it pulled out. After previous court orders, there was legal action resulting in the tube being reinserted.

Over the weekend it was Congress, not the courts, that intervened on Schiavo's behalf. President Bush was poised to sign legislation that could result in her feeding tube being replaced again. If the legislation gets through the House and to Bush, the next battleground would be federal court.

Regardless of whether it be in court or in Congress, before Terri Schiavo is killed by starvation, somebody ought to make husband Michael raise his right hand and swear to truthfully answer these questions:

- Did Terri say she never wanted to be on a respirator or that she never wanted to be fed through a tube? …

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