Lessons of the Schiavo Battle

What the bitter fight over a woman's right to live or die tells us about politics, religion, the courts and life itself

CHRISTOPHER MORRIS / VII FOR TIME

LIFE OR DEATH : Mary and Robert Schindler, the parents of Terri, speak to the media

Pat Robertson called the removal of her feeding tube "judicial murder," and House majority leader Tom DeLay described it as an "act of medical terrorism." Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, one of only five House Republicans to vote against Congress's emergency legislation throwing the Terri Schiavo case into the federal courts, declared that "this Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy." Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, acting as spokesman for the parents of the severely brain damaged woman and making even his counterparts on the conservative right wince in embarrassment, inveighed in a mass e-mailing that Florida State...

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