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'MSNBC Reports': Battle for Terri Schiavo

Guest: Jim Moran, Julia Quinlan, Paul Malley, Molly Miron, Arthur Caplan, Randall Terry

ANNOUNCER:  MSNBC REPORTS, “The Battle for Terri Schiavo.”  It began as one family‘s private tragedy.






ANNOUNCER:  And turned into a national drama.


GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It is wise to always air on the side of life!


ANNOUNCER:  Tonight: from the family feud to the courts, the U.S.

Congress and the White House.


MICHAEL SCHIAVO, TERRI‘S HUSBAND:  This is about Terri, not about me, not about the Schindlers, not about congress.  This is Terri‘s wish.

MARY SCHINDLER, MOTHER:  Please, please, please save my little girl!


ANNOUNCER:  Will Terri Schiavo live or die?  Now, live from NBC world headquarters, Lisa Daniels.

LISA DANIELS, HOST:  And we‘ll have the latest on the Terri Schiavo case in just a moment.  But first, some breaking news out of Minnesota.  Eight people are dead in shootings earlier today in a remote part of the state, the FBI saying six people were killed at Red Lake High School, some 240 miles north of Minneapolis.  The dead include a teacher, a security guard and four students, one of them believed to be the shooter.  Fourteen to fifteen more students are believed to be injured.

We also learned that right before the high school shootings, a man and a woman were killed at a home nearby.  The AP is reporting that they were the shooter‘s grandparents, but the FBI hasn‘t confirmed that yet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s still an ongoing investigation.  We have a number of FBI agents up there and other law enforcement working on it.  It‘ll probably take us throughout the night to really put the whole picture together.


DANIELS:  And make sure you stay with MSNBC for the latest on this developing story.  We‘ll pass it along to you as soon as we hear anything.

But right now, we‘re going to be joined on the phone by Molly Miron, editor of the “Bemidji Pioneer” newspaper.  Molly, thanks for joining us today.


DANIELS:  I know you were at the scene earlier today.  What‘s the very latest that you can tell us?

MIRON:  Well, I really don‘t have anything new at this point.  I haven‘t talked to law enforcement yet.  They‘re all still scrambling around.  But people are just terribly traumatized.  They were—the students were evacuated from the school, many of them running out, running for their lives, and they were regrouped at a government building about a block away from this school and then taken by school bus.

DANIELS:  Any leads right now, Molly, as to a possible motive here?

MIRON:  No.  The boy must have been terribly disturbed to have done something like that.  Nobody has any idea.

DANIELS:  But in terms of evidence, there‘s nothing right now.  You were at school.  Was it utter chaos?  I can only imagine.

MIRON:  No, it was—it was—I was there about half—I got there about maybe 45 minutes after it happened, maybe an hour, and it‘s about a 45 minutes drive from here.  And things were really well organized.  There was Beltramy (ph) County police and there was—there was Red Lake law enforcement managing things, all the emergency vehicles and fire and Minnesota state highway patrol and the FBI, and everybody was working together.

DANIELS:  And Molly, the numbers keep on changing.  We‘re hearing that eight people were shot dead, fourteen to fifteen more students are injured.  Can you confirm that?

MIRON:  That is the latest.  That is the latest.  The two—the two that he shot, apparently, before he went to the school, who I understand are his grandparents—were his grandparents—did die.

DANIELS:  All right, Molly...

MIRON:  So that‘s eight, is what I‘ve got.

DANIELS:  All right, total count right now eight.  Molly Miron, thanks so much for joining us...


DANIELS:  ... telling us the very latest on that.

MIRON:  OK, thank you.

DANIELS:  Now to Terri Schiavo.  Her fate remains in the balance at this hour.  Right now, we‘re waiting for a decision from U.S. district judge James Whittemore on the request from Terri‘s parents to reinstate her feeding tube.  That decision can happen at any time now.  Of course, we‘ll bring it to you as soon as we hear anything.  But tonight, we‘re going to delve into every controversial angle of this extraordinary story.  And we‘re going to begin with the very latest from Pinellas Park, Florida.  NBC‘s Mark Potter is there.

Mark, any idea when the decision is going to come down?

MARK POTTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  No, we just don‘t know.  And everyone here at the hospice facility behind me is waiting for that.  I mean, that‘s why they‘re all here.  Most of them are also here to support Terri Schiavo‘s parents and to stand in support of keeping Terri Schiavo alive.  As you said, we don‘t know when it‘s going to be.  It will be posted on the court Web site.  It could come at any time.  But when he left the courtroom today after a two-hour hearing, the judge walked out and gave no indication at all of when he might rule.


(voice-over):  That delay is of particular concern to Terri Schiavo‘s parents and their lawyer, who want the tube reattached immediately.

DAVID GIBBS, PARENTS‘ ATTORNEY:  I‘m sure the court is well aware that Terri does not have many days without food or water before she will die.

POTTER:  But the attorney for Schiavo‘s husband, Michael, who insists his wife would want to die, says restoring the tube would violate Schiavo‘s rights.

GEORGE FELOS, HUSBAND‘S ATTORNEY:  Each American under the United States conservative has a fundamental right to say, No, I don‘t want that medical treatment.

POTTER:  Schiavo‘s husband accuses Congress of playing politics and overstepping its boundaries.

MICHAEL SCHIAVO, HUSBAND:  Government is going to run your life.  They‘re going to come knocking on your door because they don‘t like what they hear.


POTTER:  Now, if—and it‘s a big if.  We don‘t know what he‘s going to do.  If the judge does order that feeding tube reattached, the local hospital is standing by to do that as quickly as possible.  An ambulance will come here to the hospice to take Ms. Schiavo to the hospital, and that procedure will begin.

At the hearing today, the judge asked a lot of questions about the procedure, about the timing involved, about Ms. Schindler—Ms. Schiavo‘s condition.  He also allowed the lawyers to make their basic constitutional arguments on whether or not she should be kept alive.  But in the end, he just gave no clue as to which way he—the federal judge—might be leaning.  Back to you.

DANIELS:  All right, we‘re going to have to wait and see.  NBC‘s Mark Potter.  Mark, thanks so much.

Well, Terri Schiavo‘s family has been split for years over what‘s best for her.  Terri‘s husband, Michael, says Terri would not have wanted to be kept alive by a feeding tube.


SCHIAVO:  This is Terri‘s wish.  This is what she wanted, and every American has that choice.  This is about Terri, not about me, not about the Schindlers, not about Congress.  It was adjudicated for seven years.  This is Terri‘s wish, just like it is a wish of everybody in this country.


DANIELS:  But her parents believe the feeding tube is their last chance to save their daughter‘s life.  Here‘s what Terri‘s father, Bob Schindler, said a little bit earlier today.


ROBERT SCHINDLER, FATHER:  Honest to God, I told her, I says, Guess what?  I says, You‘re...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no.  No, no.


ROBERT SCHINDLER:  ... you feel like going for a ride?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And she had a big smile.

ROBERT SCHINDLER:  And I said, You‘re going to go for a ride in a little while.  And she got a big smile on her face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And you told her the president...


ROBERT SCHINDLER:  And I said—yes, I said, We had to wake the president up to save your life.



DANIELS:  And the fight for Terri Schiavo extends well beyond her immediate family and the Florida court system.  Congress passed emergency legislation in her case in a very special weekend session, and the president then signed the bill into law in the early hours this morning, 1:11 AM.  But the question is, is it in the best interest of Terri Schiavo, or are both sides playing a little bit of politics?

NBC‘s David Gregory has that story.


DAVID GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  After signing the Schiavo bill into law overnight, the president traveled to Arizona, where he interrupted a speech on Social Security to defend the government‘s sudden involvement in the case.


GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  In extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to always err on the side of life.

DANIELS:  But Terri Schiavo‘s tragic story has stirred intense debate about whether Washington took a moral stand or a political one.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER:  To a great number of Americans, this appears to be a case of overreaching by the Congress, almost an abuse of power.

GREGORY:  A reaction to an extraordinary late-night debate on Capitol Hill.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA:  This is not about values!  This is not about religion!  It is pandering for political gain with the next election in mind!

REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER:  If we do not act, she will die of thirst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We cry out for mercy!

GREGORY:  The Schiavo case has galvanized social conservatives, who consider her the new symbol of the right to life movement.  And their clout is obvious in Congress and at the White House, where the president abruptly returned from his Texas ranch Sunday as the crisis unfolded.  His most ardent supporters give him high marks.

DAVID KEENE, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION:  They see it as a way in which the administration of the president and political people that they support can do more than just talk.

GREGORY:  It may be a sign of just how much political influence social conservatives have that even criticism from congressional Democrats was muted.  Some, however, accused Republicans of abandoning their claim as champions of limited government and states‘ rights.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Where personal behavior is concerned, they have become the most intrusive group in American politics.

GREGORY (on camera):  Some Democrats today also accused the president of hypocrisy.  As governor of Texas, he signed a law permitting hospitals to end care for terminal patients, even if families want more done.  The White House countered that law gave families the option of searching for another hospital, helping to prolong lives, not cut them short.

(voice-over):  Tonight, as Terri Schiavo‘s fate remains uncertain, Americans are in the midst of a new debate over what the government has done and why.  David Gregory, NBC News, Denver.


DANIELS:  So Terri Schiavo‘s family is split about her condition and the remote possibility of any kind of recovery.  What exactly do medical experts say about her prognosis?  NBC‘s Robert Bazell has that part of the story.


ROBERT BAZELL, NBC CHIEF SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Most medical experts agree Schiavo will never regain consciousness.  What is Terri Schiavo‘s condition?  She is not brain dead but is in what is called a persistent vegetative state brought on when her heart stopped beating for several minutes 15 years ago.

DR. H. BRANCH COSLETT, UNIV. PENNSYLVANIA HOSPITAL:  The condition entails people being able to open their eyes, occasionally make small movements and even glance around the room, but there‘s no evidence that the patient is aware of what‘s going on around them.

BAZELL:  Is she responsive?  Her parents say she responds to them and they offer this 4-year-old videotape as proof.  But Dr. Ronald Cranford, a neurologist who examined Schiavo, says the parents are understandably engaged in wishful thinking.

DR. RONALD CRANFORD, UNIV. OF MINNESOTA:  The videotapes are very short clips, and they‘re completely compatible with the vegetative state because if you look at her, she‘s not really smiling at her mother.  Her eyes are wandering.  She really doesn‘t make eye contact with her mother.

BAZELL:  Can Schiavo recover?  Her parents take heart on cases like Terry Wallace (ph).  He suddenly awoke two years ago, 19 years after an auto accident left him unable to communicate or move on his own.  Doctors say these cases are very rare, and Wallace, unlike Schiavo, was not in a vegetative state.  He had been able to speak and respond occasionally.

(on camera):  In addition, these recoveries occur in cases of traumatic injuries to the brain.  Experts say that because Schiavo suffered prolonged loss of oxygen, the damage to her brain is even more extensive and permanent.

(voice-over):  Will Schiavo suffer without nutrition?  Many are concerned about feelings of thirst or hunger, but Dr. Cranford says Schiavo feels nothing.

CRANFORD:  She‘s just as unconscious as someone who‘s in a coma. 

She‘s just as unconscious as someone who‘s dead.

BAZELL:  Still many people do not see withdrawing a feeding tube as the same as taking a terminally ill patient off a respirator.  But experts agree that, ultimately, the case rests on what Schiavo‘s wishes would be if she could express them.  Robert Bazell, NBC News, New York.


DANIELS:  And right now, we continue to follow breaking news of a school shooting in Minnesota.  The latest on that right after the break.  Also ahead, more on the Terri Schiavo case, the fight over the feeding tube that keeps her alive.  Plus, we‘ll find out in if a living will would have made any difference.

MSNBC REPORTS is coming right back.


SCHIAVO:  Right now, I‘m very outraged.  It‘s a sad day for Terri and it‘s a sad day for everybody in America because the government is going to trample all over your personal and private matters.  This is an outrage.  They have no business in this matter.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s obvious to anyone who knows the facts instead of the propaganda that due process was had here and all of Mrs. Schiavo‘s rights were protected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She is being murdered in a barbaric fashion.  She is being starved to death.


DANIELS:  And obviously, some harsh words from attorneys representing both sides in the battle over the life of Terri Schiavo.  A federal judge could issue a decision at any moment on whether to reinsert her feeding tube.  But this is just the latest step in a seven-year legal fight that‘s raised a lot of ethical questions.  And all day long here at MSNBC, we‘ve been asking you, Should Terri Schiavo be placed back on a feeding tube?  Here‘s a look at the latest results: 37 percent of you said, yes, Terri should be placed on a feeding tube, 63 percent said no.

Joining me now are Randall Terry, who is the spokesperson for Terri Schiavo‘s parents and siblings.  Also Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania for Bioethics.  Thanks so much for joining me today.

ARTHUR CAPLAN, BIOETHICIST:  Thanks for having me.

DANIELS:  So Arthur, let‘s begin with you.  Does any part of you have some doubt, just a little, that maybe this woman is responsive, as her parents claim, maybe we do have an ethical obligation to give this woman a chance to live?

CAPLAN:  None whatsoever.


CAPLAN:  I think from a medical...

DANIELS:  Why do you say that?

CAPLAN:  Well, if you looked at the CAT scans that were done on her in 2002 by the independent physicians brought in, the experts, they basically said she is in a permanent vegetative state.  They took a picture that showed her cerebral cortex or outer brain was gone.  No chance of recovery there.  And people who‘ve acted as a guardian for her over time, spent time with her, have said they don‘t see much responsiveness.

So yes, I think people hope that they see things there and they want to interpret these reflexive actions, but no, I don‘t have any doubt, having read the medical reports, that she‘s in a permanent vegetative state...

DANIELS:  All right...

CAPLAN:  ... and cannot recover.

DANIELS:  Let‘s ask Randy.  Randy, you‘re very close to the family.  Terri‘s parents maintain, Yes, our daughter does respond to our voice.  We see her respond.  Is it wishful thinking, as Art alleges?

RANDALL TERRY, SCHINDLER FAMILY SPOKESMAN:  No.  Absolutely not.  And this gentleman should be ashamed of himself for pretending to play God.  He has no doubt that she should be starved to death!  This woman does respond to her parents.  And the truth is that 30 doctors -- 30 -- have filed affidavits.  Dr. Hammesfahr is a neurologist who has studied her for 10 hours in person three separate occasions, and he is saying she absolutely is responsive and that she is better than over 30 percent of his patients.

DANIELS:  All right, but be fair...

TERRY:  And he treats these patients...

DANIELS:  ... about it, Randall...

TERRY:  When these patients are treated...

DANIELS:  Randall...

TERRY:  ... they get better.

DANIELS:  Randall, let‘s be fair about it.  A court-appointed doctor did say she is in a, quote, “persistent vegetative state.”

TERRY:  And you know what?  There are 30 doctors that say she isn‘t.

DANIELS:  But those are...

TERRY:  That was one doctor!  He was wrong!

DANIELS:  All right...

TERRY:  And as President Bush said, we should err on the side of life, which would be, by the way, good advice for Governor Bush because Governor Bush should just take custody of her.  And if he‘s erring, at least he‘s erring on the side of life.

DANIELS:  All right, let‘s move on to Arthur for a moment.  I want to show you an article that you recently put on the MSNBC Web site.  Here‘s a quote from it.  In the article, you said, “It has been crystal clear in U.S. law and medical ethics that those who cannot speak can have their feeding tubes stopped.  The authority to make that decision has fallen to those closest to the person who cannot make their own views known.  First comes husbands or wives, then adult children, then parents and other relatives.”

That is the law, but I think if you ask the Schindler family, they would say the husband in this case has his own motives.  It‘s not clear why he wants his wife off this tube.  So clearly...

TERRY:  That‘s right!  He‘s—the man has moved on...


TERRY:  Oh, I‘m sorry.  I apologize.  Go ahead.  You first.

CAPLAN:  That‘s why, in fact, I think that is a tragedy here.  We‘ve got all kinds of allegations being made against Michael Schiavo.  The courts have looked at this up and down and back and forth.  And what the real tragedy here isn‘t that someone‘s going to try and murder her or starve her.  The real tragedy here is that they‘re not going to honor what she says she wanted.

TERRY:  She didn‘t...

DANIELS:  But why...


DANIELS:  Let me cut you both off.

TERRY:  No, let—let...


DANIELS:  No, I want to follow up with Art.  Why not then have a court-appointed doctor?

CAPLAN:  There have been court-appointed doctors.  There‘ve been three reports already filed in 2002.

DANIELS:  How about a guardian?  How about a guardian?

TERRY:  Yes.

CAPLAN:  If you looked—if you looked at the case again and again and again, she‘s had guardians step in.  They‘ve reported to Governor Bush of Florida, said, We don‘t see anything here.  We‘re not seeing what you‘ve got.  And you don‘t push aside the husband in a situation like this.

TERRY:  Wait, wait, wait!  Please let me respond!

CAPLAN:  They‘re overreaching, and Randall knows it.  Randall knows what the tragedy is here.

TERRY:  No, the—yes, the tragedy...

CAPLAN:  And in fact, he knows, too, that this is...

DANIELS:  All right...


DANIELS:  Randall, go ahead.

TERRY:  First of all, this man has moved on with his life!  He has been living with another woman for nearly 10 years.  He has children by her.  He has a house with her.  Anyone pretending that he is a noble man with Terri‘s interest in mind is on drugs, all right?  This man is not a good man!  And he...

DANIELS:  Why?  just because he moved on with his life, he has children?

TERRY:  Listen, he can get—divorce Terri.  Let her go home to Mom and Dad, right?  Because at first, when she went into this, he said, No, we‘ve got to sue the doctors.  Got to get this money so we can care for her.  And then seven years later, he has this memory, Oh, my goodness, I forgot.  She said she didn‘t want to live like this.

DANIELS:  Well, it sounds like you‘re putting a little bit of a narrative in that.

TERRY:  Listen...

DANIELS:  There seems to be nothing wrong with moving on.

TERRY:  Michael Schiavo is a wolf in wolf‘s clothing.  What is he hiding?  What is going on here that won‘t just walk away and say let her go home to mom and dad and let Dr. Hammesfahr have her for three months?


TERRY:  Why not let Dr. Hammesfahr try and treat her for three months? 

What‘s the problem with that?

TERRY:  All right, Randall...

TERRY:  Why has she not had all this treatment for five years?  Why is she locked in a room?

DANIELS:  Randall...

TERRY:  Something stinks here!

DANIELS:  ... This case has gone through so many different courts.

TERRY:  No, it hasn‘t.  No, it hasn‘t.

DANIELS:  We‘ve had...

TERRY:  It was tried...

DANIELS:  How many hearings...

TERRY:  ... in one court!

DANIELS:  ... have there been, 17, 19?

TERRY:  It has been...

CAPLAN:  Nineteen.  Nineteen trials.

TERRY:  ... tried in one court.  Let me answer the question!

CAPLAN:  I am.  And you know...

TERRY:  It has been tried in one court!

CAPLAN:  ... the answer is, too, Randall.  It‘s 19 trials.

TERRY:  It was tried in one court, and it was appealed on that record!  That record is what they‘ve looked at.  The record stunk because Judge Greer is a tyrant!


TERRY:  They‘ve been in court 40 times...

CAPLAN:  And what is the dog that he has in this fight, Randall?


TERRY:  There are such a thing as bad judges!

DANIELS:  Let me just take back the show...

TERRY:  Judge Greer is a bad judge!

DANIELS:  ... for a second.  Arthur, what‘s your response to that?

CAPLAN:  I don‘t know why—the judge isn‘t right.  Michael Schiavo‘s a fiend.  I mean...

TERRY:  Come, on now!

CAPLAN:  Let‘s get serious about this.

TERRY:  I am very serious!

CAPLAN:  What they‘re doing is basically overreaching.


CAPLAN:  The American people know it.  The American people have sensed it.

TERRY:  You are starving a woman to death!

CAPLAN:  You can tell—you can tell that the American people...

TERRY:  Her skin is starting to flake...

CAPLAN:  ... do not want Tom DeLay...

TERRY:  ... and to crack!

CAPLAN:  ... Bill Frist...

TERRY:  Her lips are starting to crack!

DANIELS:  All right...

CAPLAN:  ... making decisions for the husband.

DANIELS:  Let‘s leave it...

TERRY:  She‘s starving to death!  This is barbaric!  You wouldn‘t even starve a dog to death!

DANIELS:  All right, we‘re...

CAPLAN:  And she will get pain control.  She will not suffer.  And she can‘t feel.


DANIELS:  Gentlemen, I thank you both...

TERRY:  Why don‘t you give her an injection and put her to sleep?

DANIELS:  All right...

TERRY:  Why not just give her an injection and put her to sleep?  Why put us all through this!

DANIELS:  It‘s over...

TERRY:  Let‘s be like the Nazis...

DANIELS:  Randall, we‘re going to have to...

TERRY:  ... and kill off (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

DANIELS:  ... move on.  Randall Terry, Art Caplan.  Obviously, you‘ve proved anybody‘s point that this really does evoke a lot of emotions.  But I do thank you both for being on the show.

TERRY:  Thank you.

DANIELS:  And if you‘d like to read Art Caplan‘s article—without any noise—go to our Web site,

Coming up: Should congress be involved in deciding whether or not Terri Schiavo should be kept alive by a feeding tube?  Next, we‘re going to hear from two lawmakers.  And a little bit later, a mother who had a very similar decision to make about her daughter explains the difficult decision.  That‘s coming up.




BUSH:  Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together last night to give Terri Schiavo‘s parents another opportunity to save their daughter‘s life.


DANIELS:  And that was President Bush in Tucson earlier today, interrupting his speech and talking about Terri Schiavo.  The president was awakened this morning just after 1:00 AM, 1:11 AM to be precise, to sign emergency legislation sending the Schiavo case to federal court.  The House passed the law in the early hours by a vote of 203 to 58.  The Senate passed it by a voice vote on Sunday.  But critics of the decision say Congress has turned a private family matter into a big political one.  So was Congress right to intervene?

To answer that, I‘m joined by Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia.  Also Representative Don Manzullo, a Republican from Illinois.  Representatives, thanks for joining me tonight.

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  It‘s good to be here.

DANIELS:  Let‘s start with you, Representative Moran.  Courts—they‘ve been wrong in cases before.  It has happened.  WHat if the courts got this wrong?  What if Terri is much more responsive than the courts are acknowledging?  Isn‘t it your obligation to step in here?

MORAN:  There have been 10 court reviews, 19 judges, many of them conservative Republicans. 

There have been several doctors that have examined Terri that were authorized and qualified to do so.  Their conclusions have all been consistent, that Terri‘s wishes are consistent with her husband‘s wishes that the feeding tube should be removed.  I don‘t know that they are right.  I know that individuals are imperfect and organizations, even courts, can be imperfect.  But I don‘t see where we have any right to second-guess all of those court decisions.  It seems to me that there‘s a separation of powers issue here. 

DANIELS:  All right, on that note, Representative Manzullo, simple question.  Are you abusing your power‘s representative? 


The Congress has traditionally gotten involved in personal matters on two fronts.  One is, for example, on Amber‘s law and Megan‘s Law, where an individual is harmed.  Then a law of general application is passed. 

DANIELS:  But, come on.  With all due respect, this is very, very different.  I‘ve heard lawmakers in the past complain about activist judges.  Well, now it seems to be the flip situation.  I‘m just playing devil‘s advocate. 


MANZULLO:  OK, if I can finish the other point, Congress will pass a law of general application based upon the harm to an individual. 

And then there are special laws that provide for personal laws.  Examples of those relieved from judgments, in fact, I‘ve got here where private laws are passed for personal or private application.  The rules of the Judiciary Committee state that, not withstanding court and federal decisions to the contrary, that Congress still retains jurisdiction to get into those cases, get involved in those cases where severe—where equity has to be done. 

And we have cases, for example, where courts have been closed to men and women who‘ve suffered from drugs.  Statute of limitations have passed.  And the courts will actually—the Congress will actually create jurisdiction so as to allow these things to be heard. 


DANIELS:  I think you would agree with me that it is unusual. 

MANZULLO:  It‘s very unusual. 

DANIELS:  So are you in the right frame of mind to do this?  Do you think you should be interfering? 

MANZULLO:  I don‘t think it is interfering, because, you know, the life of an individual is at stake.  And, as Congressman Moran said—and I agree with him—you don‘t know what to do in this case.  You don‘t know who is right.  You don‘t know who is wrong. 

So, give her one more opportunity for a federal judge to review all the evidence just to see whether or not some mistakes have been made or there‘s new evidence.  That‘s all that this law does.  It doesn‘t mandate the feeding tube be reinserted. 

It doesn‘t mandate that the lower courts be reversed.  It just says, because life is so precious, because these circumstances are so unusual, just give her another opportunity to have her case heard by another judge. 

DANIELS:  Representative Moran, I have to ask you, is this the right place to do this? 

MORAN:  It‘s the wrong place to do it. 

We are interfering within a family tragedy.  We‘re choosing sides.  Our laws say that, when a person marries another, then they leave their parents‘ jurisdiction and the spouses are responsible for issues just like this.  So, we not only are violating that legal—we‘re setting a legal precedent that‘s contrary to 200 years of jurisprudence.  We‘re also raising a serious issue with regard to states‘ rights. 

There‘s no reason why this should be brought up to the federal government. 


MORAN:  And I think we‘re overruling another branch of government that‘s appropriately making this decision.  And so, but even beyond that, answering your first question, is the most important one.  Why would we involve ourselves in a personal family matter to choose sides when clearly we don‘t know who is right and who is wrong?  But the courts looked at all the evidence and shows the husband and we are not willing to accept that?


DANIELS:  Representative Moran.

MORAN:  Yes. 

DANIELS:  We‘re running out of time, but I do want to ask you, what‘s the difference between this case and cases where there‘s an inmate on death row where the state court often gets appealed to the federal court?  Do you see a difference? 

MORAN:  Yes.  That‘s an established practice.  There‘s no established practice here.  I‘m afraid...


DANIELS:  Perhaps this is it, though.  Advocates and critics would say, here we go. 


MORAN:  So, is this what we want, when families can‘t agree on whether and when somebody should be taken off life supports, that they can appeal to the United States Congress to decide who is right and who is wrong?  I think this is entirely wrong for us to get involved.

And you know, I know that Don‘s decision is made from a genuine motivation.  I know and I like Don.  But I do think a lot of people that were driving this are driving it out of religion and politics, which, when it gets so deeply embedded in the legislative process, I think it produces a result that‘s contrary to good public policy.  This troubles me very much.  And people like Mr. Terri (ph) are never going to accept one federal court decision, Don.  They‘re going to keep, continue to push this.


DANIELS:  OK, well, with that, we are going to have to leave it there. 


DANIELS:  Representative Jim Moran and Representative Don Manzullo, thanks much for your time. 

MANZULLO:  Thanks, Lisa.

DANIELS:  All right.   

Up next, how would a living will have changed the entire Terri Schiavo case?  Plus, mother who made a very similar and very tough decision explains how she did it.  That‘s coming up next.


DANIELS:  While two families, countless courts and Congress battle over Terri Schiavo‘s fate, when we come back, the mother of Karen Ann Quinlan and the painful decision she faced. 


DANIELS:  Terri Schiavo‘s case is a tragic story, but not a new one. 

Almost 30 years ago, a 21-year-old named Karen Ann Quinlan lapsed into a persistent vegetative state after drinking too much alcohol and taking Valium at a party.  Karen‘s parents waged a legal battle for the right to remove their daughter‘s life support.  And they eventually succeeded. 

But Karen continued to breath after the respirator was unplugged and remained in a coma for almost 10 years until her death in 1985.  Karen would have been 51 years old next week. 

Joining me today is Karen‘s mother, Julia Quinlan.  Julia founded the Karen Ann Quinlan hospice in 1980. 

And I‘m sure today was a very emotional day for you, Julia.  But tell us about Karen‘s story and the choice that you had to make.


Well, it‘s—in some ways, it‘s very similar to Terri Schiavo‘s case.  In some ways, it isn‘t.  We had to make the decision to have what we considered all extraordinary means removed from Karen.  And that was the respirator.  And we had to go court to fight for what we believed in. 

We were refused by the Superior Court in New Jersey.  And we had to appeal to the New Jersey state Supreme Court, which granted Joe permission to become her guardian and to have all extraordinary—all extraordinary means removed from her. 

DANIELS:  And that‘s basically what the Schiavo and the Schindler family is doing.  They‘re going through all the court systems.  But it‘s an interesting choice that you made.  You disconnected the respirator, but you left the feeding tube in.  Why did do you that? 

QUINLAN:  Karen was never on a feeding tube.  She never had a feeding tube placed in her.  She was fed through the nasogastric feeding. 

And after she was removed from the respirator, she seemed to be as comfortable as she possibly could be.  And so there was no reason for us to remove the nasogastric feeding, because she was resting as comfortably as possible. 

DANIELS:  So here you are.  You‘re watching the Schiavo case play out in the media.  What part of her story really hits home for you?  Because it‘s very different.  Your family remained intact throughout it.  But there must be part of this story that really hits home. 

QUINLAN:  Well, it was very difficult. 

I can empathize with the husband.  And I can empathize with the parents.  I think one of the most difficult things life is to accept that your daughter is going to die.  And I watched Karen die slowly for 10 years.  And it was very, very stressful.  But, as I said, we were very fortunate, because we‘ve always had close family relations, and so we were all agreeable. 

And we never ever made any decision by ourselves.  We always included our other two children, Mary Ellen and John, in our decision-making.  Although Karen was the center of it, Mary Ellen and John would have to live with whatever decisions we made for the rest of their lives.  And so it was very important that they be included in the decision-making. 

DANIELS:  But, as a mother, the love for a child is very different.  I‘m not saying it‘s more or less, but it‘s very different than that of a husband.  Tell us, as a mother, watching your daughter go through it, first in the vegetative state and then reliving it when she died, it must have been very hard. 

QUINLAN:  Well, it is.  I would say I grieved for the 10 years that Karen was dying.  And then, after she died, I had to grieve all over again, because death is final. 

And there were no more visitations at the nursing home.  There were no more combing her hair and holding her in my arms.  So, it was another difficult adjustment that I had to make in my life. 

DANIELS:  Were you surprised that the Terri Schiavo case got so much attention, going to the White House, having Congress do this almost unprecedented move?  Were you surprised? 

QUINLAN:  I don‘t know if I was surprised, whether or not I was surprised.  I just think it‘s very unfortunate that a personal, private decision had to be made public. 

DANIELS:  Anything that you would...


QUINLAN:  And my heart...

DANIELS:  Go ahead. 

QUINLAN:  My heart—well, my heart and my prayers go out to all involved, because I‘m sure that they—none of the participants made a quick decision.  It‘s a decision that you live over and over again.  And you pray about it.  And you talk about it before you do come to a final conclusion.  And I‘m sure that they all did this. 

DANIELS:  For you, it‘s been 25 years since Karen died.  Do you look back on that decision and say, we should have done that differently?  Maybe we should have done this? 

QUINLAN:  No.  We would do the same thing all over again.  As I said, we all agreed that Karen would not want to live this way.  And it was a family decision.  And we would make the same decision over again. 

DANIELS:  Anything that you would want to tell Terri Schiavo‘s parents, the Schindlers, if they were watching this? 

QUINLAN:  I would just tell them to pray a lot.  Pray for guidance that they make the right decision. 

DANIELS:  Anything would you tell Michael? 

QUINLAN:  I would tell him the same, to pray a lot and pray that they make the right decision, the right decision for Terri.  And that‘s how we felt, that we made the right decision for Karen. 

DANIELS:  Julia Quinlan...

QUINLAN:  And that‘s why it‘s...

DANIELS:  Go ahead, finish your thought. 

QUINLAN:  No, I said that‘s—I always say that‘s why it‘s so important to have a living will, so that you can express yourself.  In case anything should happen and you become incompetent, at least your loved ones know exactly what kind of treatment you would want. 

DANIELS:  Well, we appreciate your coming on the show so much.  Julia Quinlan, thank you. 

QUINLAN:  Oh, thank you. 

DANIELS:  And, on that note, still ahead, if Terri Schiavo had a living will, would this case have gotten this far?  And should you have a living will? 

MSNBC REPORTS: “The Battle For Terri Schiavo.”  We‘ll be right back.  




MICHAEL SCHIAVO, HUSBAND OF Terri Schiavo:  Let me just clear something up, too.  You keep saying Terri‘s family.  I am Terri‘s family. 


DANIELS:  The Schiavo case comes down to what Terri would have wanted. 

The question is very difficult to answer and has torn her family apart. 

But if she had put her wishes in writing, it might not have to be this way. 

Here is NBC News‘s Kerry Sanders with more. 


KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Behind the media frenzy, behind the legal battle lies one compelling question:  Would Terri Schiavo have wanted to be kept alive on a feeding tube?  Like 85 percent of Americans, she never put it down paper.  She never had what‘s called a living will. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How many of have you a living will? 

SANDERS:  Nationwide, an increasing number of people are putting in writing what they would want if it happened to them. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I thoughts will were for older people. 

SANDERS:  Before 25-year-old George Harden (ph) got a kidney transplant from his aunt Millie (ph), both said, if things took a bad turn, they did not want to be kept alive on machines. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think, because we‘re both going to be undergoing major surgery, it‘s become more pertinent to me to get it legal. 

SANDERS (on camera):  The living will is written in nonlegal terms.  And this simple paperwork can be filled out in a matter of minutes.  After it‘s completed, experts suggest putting it in an easy-to-find spot in the house.  Tell your loved ones where it is.  And give a copy to your doctor. 

(voice-over):  The nonprofit organization Aging With Dignity says it‘s overwhelmed with requests for its living will, called Five Wishes, which is legal in 36 states, no lawyer required. 

PAUL MALLEY, PRESIDENT, AGING WITH DIGNITY:  Details are important here.  It‘s not just enough to say I do or I don‘t want life support treatment.  And Five Wishes allows to you get specific. 

SANDERS:  Vicky O‘Neal (ph) wishes that her mother had done that. 

Battling cancer, the 71-year-old suddenly slipped into unconsciousness. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If she had had a living will and I knew exactly what she wanted, I would have had a lot of peace of mind that I did not have at the end. 

SANDERS:  Finding peace of mind in moments of crisis, something both sides in this fight over Terri Schiavo‘s life say they wish they had. 

Kerry Sanders, NBC News, Miami. 


DANIELS:  OK, so the question is, would a living will have made a difference for Terri Schiavo?  And should everybody have one?  I‘m joined now by Paul Malley, president of Aging With Dignity, who we just saw in that report. 

Thanks for joining me today, Paul. 

MALLEY:  Thank you.  It‘s good to be with you. 

DANIELS:  So, do you think that we would have ever heard of the name Terri Schiavo if she had had a living will? 

MALLEY:  Possibly not. 

We know that most disagreements that surround end of life issues usually surround uncertainty, uncertainty about who a person would want to make decisions for them and what exactly they would want regarding life support treatment.  And, unfortunately, I think that this case strikes a chord with thousands of American families that have had to make some difficult decisions without any kind of guidance from someone that they love. 

DANIELS:  Well, that‘s for sure, but what language would have to be in there for there absolutely not to be a question? 

MALLEY:  Well, I don‘t know any language exists for there not to be any question at all, but what you can do is make sure that in your living will you‘ve named someone to be your health care agent, because that person is going to be the one who is making decisions for you. 


MALLEY:  Based your wishes. 

DANIELS:  So, let me ask you.  If Terri had chosen Michael, her husband, which is probably what she would have done, since she was married to him, would he have had ultimate authority over her—over what she wanted? 

MALLEY:  Well, I think it‘s a stronger statement when a person names someone specifically to be their health care agent.  Sometimes, we know that people name their spouse.  Other times, they name another close relative, adult children or even friends. 

You really want to give some thought to who is named as your health care agent, because you want them to understand your wishes and most of all be willing to follow your wishes. 

DANIELS:  I guess what I‘m asking you, though, is it even possible to avoid a confrontation like this if Michael had been her medical proxy? 

MALLEY:  Well, I think that that might have been a stronger statement, if we knew that she had thought about it and really made a decision that, yes, she wanted her husband or maybe she would have picked someone else to make decisions for her.  But in Florida and similar to most states, there‘s what you might call a pecking order. 

So, if you don‘t make a decision, that pecking order will determine who is—ultimately has authority and in Florida that falls No. 1 to the spouse. 

DANIELS:  I‘m not giving you a hard time.  I‘m just asking you, in wish No. 3, what you have printed here.  It says: “I wish to have a cool, moist cloth put on my head if I have a fever.”  How does that help?  How does a statement like that help? 

MALLEY:  That‘s a good question. 

A lot of people look at that and they think, wow, why do you have to think about those issues?  That‘s so important, because all of us at one name our lives will be caregivers of someone who is very sick.  I was by the bedside of my grandparents when they were sick and dying.  And those are the things that really make a difference. 

DANIELS:  But isn‘t that what the hospital should do?  Like this one, I wish to have warm baths often. 

MALLEY:  Well, as a matter of fact, I have talked to patients and families that had their Five Wishes document right on the bed stand in the hospitals, so that their family and their doctors knew that they wanted that.  Some people say no.  Others say they want particular music played, that they want to have family members there. 

These are the things that, when people look at Five Wishes and they go through it, they say, this is what matters most to me. 

DANIELS:  All right. 

MALLEY:  And this is what means dignified care to me. 

DANIELS:  Well, no doubt about it.  It‘s a good idea.  Paul Malley, thanks so much. 

MALLEY:  Thank you. 

DANIELS:  We‘ll be right back. 


DANIELS:  And we, of course, will keep you updated on the Minnesota school shooting and any new developments in the Terri Schiavo story throughout the evening, so keep it right here on MSNBC. 

Coming up next, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” and Joe Scarborough.  Have a great evening. 


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