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Judge gives Schiavo attorneys 3 weeks to appeal

Parents of brain-damaged woman want more medical tests

Read the documents in the case  (FindLaw)
• Fla. Supreme Court opinion:  Bush v. Schiavo (PDF)external link
Order  Schiavo v. Bush (PDF)external link
Terri Schiavo

(CNN) -- The father of a brain-damaged Florida woman said a judge's ruling Friday ordering his daughter's feeding tube to be removed March 18 is "a temporary relief."

"We're happy that we have at least three weeks until they kill Terri [Schiavo]. We're unhappy that we don't have much time" for more legal maneuvers, said her father, Bob Schindler.

A 48-hour court-ordered stay preventing the tube's removal was to end at 5 p.m. Friday.

Pinellas County Circuit Judge George Greer said in his ruling that he was denying a request for another stay but he wanted to give the "respondents ample time to appeal."

The parents' attorney, David Gibbs, said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court contending that Schiavo, who has been severely brain-damaged since she suffered heart failure in 1990, is being denied her religious liberty rights.

Gibbs said he and his legal team will work to prevent the feeding tube from being removed on March 18.

"There will be a number of filings on Monday," he said. "... We are 110 percent committed ... to saving the life of Terry."

Surrounded by supporters in a steady rain, Schindler added, "We're off the griddle for now, and that's a horrible feeling that my wife and family are going though."

Schiavo, 41, is being cared for at a hospice in Florida.

She breathes on her own but needs a feeding tube for nutrition and hydration to stay alive. She isn't terminally ill or comatose.

Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, argues that she has been ruled to be in a persistent vegetative state and that she previously expressed a wish not to be kept alive artificially.

Schindler and his wife, Mary, say she could be in a minimally aware state and that her husband, who is living with another woman, may not have their daughter's best interests at heart.

Gibbs has filed a motion seeking to have Michael Schiavo removed as Terri Schiavo's guardian.

In October 2003, six days after her feeding tube was removed and her condition began to deteriorate, the Florida Legislature, at Gov. Jeb Bush's behest, passed a law giving the governor the power to restore the feeding tube while an independent guardian considered the case.

However, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the law, saying it was an unconstitutional intrusion by the executive branch into the powers of the judiciary. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the Florida high court's decision. (Full story)

A top Vatican official, Cardinal Renato Martino, on Friday called for Schiavo to be kept on life support.

Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican Radio that allowing Schiavo to be removed from life support "not only would be tragic in itself, but would be a grave step toward legally approving euthanasia in the United States."

The Schindlers have disputed their daughter would want to forgo treatment. They also have said that as a Roman Catholic, she would oppose euthanasia, which is against church teachings.

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