Saturday, March 19, 2005

Did Terry Speak? Will Congress Act? (YES to Both)

A number of developments in the Terry Schiavo situation (as I write, she's now been without food or water for over 24 hours).

Did Terry Speak? The Empire Journal today publishes an exclusive, first-hand account of Terry's last day of having a feeding tube (before the murder got underway). Barbara Weller, who represents Bob and Mary Schindler, leaned over to Terri and said, "Terri if you could only say 'I want to live' this whole thing could be over today." Ms. Weller begged her to say "I want to live." What happened next shocked Ms. Weller. Terri opened her eyes wide, looked her square in the face, and said, "Ahhhhhhh." After that, she seemed to summon all her strength, and in what Ms. Weller calls a "virtual scream," wailed "Waaaaaaaa!" The police officer, Terri's sister, and her brother-in-law--all standing outside Terri's door, heard her. Ms. Weller reports that Terri had a look of anguish and frustration on her face and began to cry. Ms. Weller apologized to Terri that she had made her so upset. Before she left the room, she commended Terri to Jesus. Upon hearing Jesus' name, Terri laughed. And then she began to cry again.

If this is true--and it's hard to imagine that it's not--then I find it significant, though surely not shocking. Even apart from hearing this, it seems fairly self-evident to me that someone in Terri's position would not choose a long, painful death by starvation.

Good news on the legislative front: The Senate is going back in session tonight (Saturday) at 5 pm. National Review's The Corner is reporting that Speaker Hastert is convinced that they can come to a unanimous consent on a two-party, two-chamber compromise. The House will go back in session either on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Until today I hadn't read Father Robert Johansen's article on Terri at It is truly a stunning article. Here is Hugh Hewitt's summary of it:

Over at, there is a stunning article by Father Robert Johansen

on the failure of Terri Schiavo's husband and medical team, as well as the presiding judge, to obtain the obvious tests necessary to truly understand her medical condition. Father Johansen has done real reporting among neurologists of undeniable stature and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that a rush to starve Terri Schiavo is underway.

If you haven't been following the case and are wondering what the fuss is about, this article is a good place to start.

Fr. Johansen has also posted onto his blog Terri's "Exit Strategy"--a chilling document prepared by the doctors and nurses at the hospice where Terry is being killed. "It is a regimen of medication intended to perpetrate an illusion: the illusion that someone is peacefully 'slipping away', when in fact they are dying in a painful and brutal way."

Finally, for those who believe Michael Schiavor that starvation and dehyrdation is a "painless," "probably the most natural," "very easy way to die" (as he told Larry King), Kate Adamson
begs to differ. Her feeding tube was removed for eight days, and she describes to World Magazine what it felt like to starve to death.

Update: Kathryn Jean-Lopez at the Corner has been doing a remarkable job of keeping everyone up to date. She just posted Tom Delay's remarks just moments ago:

I am here to announce that House and Senate negotiators have agreed to the outlines of a bi-partisan, bi-cameral compromise bill to save Terri Schiavo.

As you know, the Senate will come into extraordinary session around five o'clock this afternoon to pass an adjournment resolution.

Once that resolution is passed in the Senate, Speaker Hastert is empowered to call the House back into emergency session, which he will do tomorrow afternoon - Palm Sunday - at one o'clock.

This proposed compromise, as I said, is bi-partisan and bi-cameral.

Negotiations have never stopped, and we think we have found a solution.

It is very similar to the bill passed in the Senate Thursday, with some modest modifications.

We have been in frequent contact throughout the day with leaders in both houses and on both sides of the aisle to find a solution to this situation.

I have personally been in contact with several House Democrats who are now working their caucus to explain and build momentum for this compromise measure, and Senator Reid has been helpful doing the same in the Senate.

This is not over, but this compromise has cut across every division in Congress, and all sides agree it is the best way to proceed.

We are confident this compromise addresses everyone's concerns, we are confident it will provide Mrs. Schiavo a clear and appropriate avenue for appeal in federal court, and most importantly, we are confident this compromise will restore nutrition and hydration to Mrs. Schiavo as long as that appeal endures.