A Zogby Poll just released indicates that Americans oppose the forced starvation of people in Terri Schiavo’s condition prior to the removal of her feeding tube. These results, taken by one of the nation’s most respected pollsters, show opposite results to opinion polls taken by many television networks while Terri Schiavo lay dying from forced dehydration in a Florida hospice last month.
When asked, “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?” only 7% responded that they should while a whopping 80.3% said they should not.
Americans responded with an overwhelming 73.5% that it is proper for the federal government to intervene when basic civil rights are being denied, while only 18.7% felt such intervention was improper.
Americans also disagreed by a 57.1% majority that that hearsay should be allowed as evidence in the case of determining if a feeding tube should be removed, while 31% agreed hearsay should be allowed. In the case of Terri Schiavo, there was no written directive, and the evidence of her wishes not to be kept alive by tubes was based on hearsay and was hotly disputed by the family.
Much controversy in the Schiavo case swirled around the role of the husband in making life and death decisions for his wife. Zogby asked the following question of over 1,000 Americans in a scientific poll: “Michael Schiavo has had a girlfriend for 10 years and has two children with her. Considering this, do you agree or disagree that Michael Schiavo should turn guardianship of Terri over to her parents?”
Given this information, 56.2% agreed that guardianship should have passed to Terri?s parents, while only 35.1% believed that Michael should have retained guardianship.
“These poll results show that previous polls were skewered in the way that questions were asked in order to produce a desired response. But when Americans have the full story, they overwhelmingly disagree with forced dehydration and starvation,” said Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, who helped commission the poll. “The pro-euthanasia crowd wants us to believe Americans support this kind of brutal killing of innocent people, but this poll proves that is just not true. Americans support a Culture of Life, not a Culture of Death.”