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National Right to Life (NRLC) Responds to Florida Supreme Court Ruling on “Terri’s Law”

Sep 23, 2004 | 2004 Press Releases

In a unanimous decision issued today, the Florida Supreme Court struck down “Terri’s Law”, ruling it unconstitutional.  According to the opinion, “Terri’s Law,” which was passed in an emergency session of the Florida Legislature in October 2003 and signed into law by Governor Bush, is said to violate the separation of powers. 

“Today’s ruling on ‘Terri’s Law’ is a stark reminder that the lives of many disabled Americans, including the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, are in danger and it is imperative that we do not set a precedent which would allow the court system to arbitrarily induce the death of disabled persons who do not have advanced health care directives,” said Burke Balch, J.D., director of the NRLC Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics.  “National Right to Life is urging all citizens to contact the Florida Legislature to request that they take up S.B. 692, the Florida Starvation and Dehydration of Persons with Disabilities Prevention Act.”

Although the court struck down the protective law because it overruled the judiciary in one particular case, the way is still open to pass a law that would be generally applicable to people with disabilities, including Terri Schindler-Schiavo. 

The Florida Starvation and Dehydration of Persons with Disabilities Prevent Act would require that the starvation and dehydration of a person occur only if the patient had made the statement to do so under express and informed consent. 

“We can not sit idly and allow the pro-euthanasia forces in our country to dictate who is worthy of living and who deserves to be sentenced to a death of starvation and dehydration, against their will,”stated Balch. 

Concerned citizens are urged to click on http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/officials/state/?state=FL&lvl=L to contact Florida representatives and senators to urge them to commit support. 

Florida Supreme Court opinion striking down “Terri’s Law”


The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those lives threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.