PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) — With their hopes of a miracle fading and other options exhausted, Terri Schiavo’s parents and siblings appeared quietly resigned yesterday and asked protesters to spend Easter with their families as the severely brain-damaged woman spent a ninth day without food and water.

Beth Dykstra
Pastor Rick Barnard of Morris, Ill., was arrested yesterday outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo resides. (AP PHOTO)

Those outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is being cared for were not as calm, with the first of what would be four morning arrests coming as ministers attempted to bring Schiavo Easter communion. About a half-dozen people in wheelchairs later got out of them and lay in the driveway, shouting “We’re not dead yet!”

Police protecting the hospice were loudly heckled, prompting Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, to come out and ask the protesters to tone down their behavior.

“We are not going to solve the problem today by getting arrested,” he told the restless crowd of about three dozen people. “We can change laws, but we are not going to change them today. … You are not speaking for our family.”

A spokesman for the Schindlers denied a report from David Gibbs III, their lead lawyer, who told CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday that Schiavo has “passed where physically she would be able to recover.”

That statement “was not made with the family’s knowledge. In the family’s opinion, that is absolutely not true,” family spokesman Randall Terry told reporters.

George Felos, an attorney for her husband Michael, did not return a call for comment.

The two sides, who have battled for years over whether the 41-year-old wanted to live or die, have given differing opinions of her status. Her parents have said she is declining rapidly and in her last hours; Felos argued Saturday that her condition is not yet that grave.

Doctors have said Terri Schiavo would probably die within a week or two of the tube being removed March 18. She relied on the tube for 15 years after suffering catastrophic brain damage when her heart stopped beating and oxygen was cut off to her brain.

Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have maintained their daughter is not in a persistent vegetative state as court-ordered doctors have determined. Michael Schiavo has said his wife told him that she would not want to be kept alive artificially.

The Schindlers said they would stop asking courts to intervene after the Florida Supreme Court rejected their most recent appeal Saturday. The parents were rebuffed repeatedly by federal courts after Congress passed an extraordinary law last weekend allowing the case to be heard by federal judges.

About three dozen protesters stayed at the hospice yesterday after the Schindlers asked them to spend Easter Sunday with their families. Bob Schindler told reporters the protesters were welcome back today.

 

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