Terri Schiavo Dies

  Terri Schiavo, the American woman who acquired disability and was caught in a bitter debate on euthanasia, died this morning at the age of 41. Her death comes 13 days after her feeding tube was removed.   Schiavo, from Florida, sparked a major legal battle that reached all the way to the White House. Her feeding tube was removed at the request of Michael Schiavo, her husband and legal guardian. Her parents, disability advocates and a number of political and religious conservatives protested this decision, creating a continental debate on right-to-die issues.   Terri Schiavo acquired brain damage in 1990 when she temporarily lost consciousness brought on by an undiagnosed eating disorder. The legal battles began a decade later when Michael filed a petition to have his wife taken off life support. He claimed he was trying to exercise his wife’s wish to not be kept alive artificially, contrary to the beliefs of her Roman Catholic parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.   The news of her death came one day after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest in a string of appeals by Schiavo’s parents to have her tube reinserted.   “Schiavo has become a tragic figure… that in itself is a tragedy,” says William G. Strothers, deputy director of The Center for an Accessible Society in San Diego and a former Toronto Star reporter.   An autopsy is planned, with both sides hoping it will shed more light on the extent of Terri’s brain injuries. She will then be cremated as requested by Michael Schiavo.