Zogby Poll: Americans Not in Favor of Starving Terri Schiavo

Polls leading up to the death of Terri Schiavo made it appear Americans had formed a consensus in favor of ending her life. However, a new Zogby poll with fairer questions shows the nation clearly supporting Terri and her parents and wanting to protect the lives of other disabled patients.

The Zogby poll found that, if a person becomes incapacitated and has not expressed their preference for medical treatment, as in Terri's case, 43 percent say "the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube" while just 30 percent disagree.

Another Zogby question his directly on Terri's circumstances.

"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

"From the very start of this debate, Americans have sat on one of two sides," Concerned Women for America's Lanier Swann said in response to the poll. One side "believes Terri's life has worth and purpose, and the side who saw Michael Schiavo's actions as merciful, and appropriate."

More than three-fourths of Americans agreed, Swann said, "because a person is disabled, that patient should never be denied food and water."

The poll also lent support to members of Congress to who passed legislation seeking to prevent Terri's starvation death and help her parents take their lawsuit to federal courts.

"When there is conflicting evidence on whether or not a patient would want to be on a feeding tube, should elected officials order that a feeding tube be removed or should they order that it remain in place," respondents were asked.

Some 18 percent said the feeding tube should be removed and 42 percent said it should remain in place.

Swann said her group would encourage Congress to adopt legislation that would federal courts to review cases when the medical treatment desire of individuals is not known and the patient's family has a dispute over the care.

"According to these poll results, many Americans do in fact agree with what we're trying to accomplish," she said.

The poll found that 49 percent of Americans believe there should be exceptions to the right of a spouse to act as a guardian for an incapacitated spouse. Only 39 percent disagreed.

When asked directly about Terri's case and told the her estranged husband Michael "has had a girlfriend for 10 years and has two children with her" 56 percent of Americans believed guardianship should have been turned over to Terri's parents while 37 percent disagreed.

(4/1/2005)
     - By Steven Ertelt, Life News


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