Terri's Death Greeted With 'Deep Sadness'
(1st Add: Includes comments from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and House Speaker Dennis Hastert.)
(CNSNews.com) - Statements of sympathy and condolence came from Washington, Florida and all across the country on Thursday, with one Republican lawmaker calling Terri Schiavo's death a "terrible injustice," and one religious leader saying he fears for the future of the country.
Gov. Jeb Bush, both praised and criticized for his various attempts to save Terri's life, called Terri's Schiavo's death a "window through which we can see the many issues left unresolved in our families and in our society."
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) was among the first lawmakers offering their condolences to the Schindler family after Terri died on Thursday.
"It is my deepest hope that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler and Terri's brother and sister will be allowed to grieve in the way they best see fit. And that our nation will learn from the terrible injustice that has been inflicted upon Terri Schiavo so that we might avoid it in the future," Pitts said in a statement.
"Mrs. Schiavo's death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in a statement.
"Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo's friends in this time of deep sorrow," added DeLay.
"We should take solace in knowing that Terri's suffering is finally over and she is now in a better place," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) in a statement.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he was "saddened and pained" by Terri's death. It was induced unnecessarily, he told Fox News in a telephone interview.
Jackson has spent the past few days in Florida, praying with the Schindler family and lobbying Florida lawmakers on legislation intended to save Terri's life. Jackson said Terri's case highlights the need to "reconcile families" and for people to draw up living wills.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which took part in the legal and legislative battle to keep Terri alive, also announced that it was "deeply saddened" by Terri's death.
"It was clear from all who were involved in her case that Terri wanted to live, and it is extremely disappointing that the legal and legislative efforts made in the past two weeks did not succeed," said Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ's chief counsel.
The ACLJ has been involved in the Schiavo case for years, providing legal assistance in the final weeks in an effort to get the federal judiciary to reinsert her feeding tube and take another look at her case.
Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James Dobson said he not only grieves for the Schindler family, he also fears for the future of the nation.
"Every Florida and federal judge who failed to act to spare this precious woman from the torment she was forced to endure is guilty not only of judicial malfeasance -- but of the cold-blooded, cold-hearted extermination of an innocent human life.
"Terri Schiavo has been executed, under the guise of law and "mercy,' for being guilty of nothing more than the inability to speak for herself."
'Not a vegetable'
"Words cannot express the inhumanity of the actions taken against Terri," the American Life League said in a statement.
"Despite what was played out in the news media, Terri Schiavo was not a 'vegetable,' nor was she 'terminally ill,'" said ALL President Judie Brown.
"Before her feeding tube was so callously removed, Terri functioned as a living, breathing, human person who simply received her nutrition and hydration by different means than most people. These differences did not warrant the violence imposed upon Terri through the cruel and misguided desires of persons who wished to expedite her death."
Brown said American citizens should be "outraged" at the process that led to Terri's painful death - "deemed inhumane for even an animal."
The American Life League expressed the hope that Terri's death will serve as an impetus for awakening the nation.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called it regrettable that Congress's bipartisan effort to provide Terri with a "new, full, and fresh review in federal court" did not receive the court review the law required.
"Terri's will to live should serve as an inspiration and impetus for action," he said.
"I am hopeful the Senate will join the House in passing the Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act to assist those whose circumstances mirror Terri Schiavo's and ensure others with disabilities do not receive the same treatment by our legal system."
The National Right to Life Committee said the Schiavo case should prompt Americans to redouble their efforts to protect people with disabilities.
"We will continue working to ensure that they are not dismissed by some 'quality of life' standard which dictates that some lives are less worthy than others."
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