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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

House, Senate Reach Agreement on Schiavo Bill

Reuters reports this afternoon that House and Senate members have agreed on a legislative strategy that will produce a bill that will either (pick your version) "restore nutrition and hydration to Miss [sic] Schiavo" (per Tom DeLay) or "put Schiavo's case into federal court") (per "a Democratic aide" - probably Sen. Harry Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley).  A vote in the House -- apparently to approve S. 653 (GPO's PDF version), the bill previously passed in the Senate -- could occur later today.  You can track the action on S. 653 here

Here's the text:

109th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 653

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AN ACT
For the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. RELIEF OF THE PARENTS OF THERESA MARIE SCHIAVO.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida shall have jurisdiction to hear, determine, and render judgment on a suit or claim by or on behalf of Theresa Marie Schiavo for the alleged violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the United States relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life.

SEC. 2. PROCEDURE.

Any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo shall have standing to bring a suit under this Act. The suit may be brought against any other person who was a party to State court proceedings relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo, or who may act pursuant to a State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In such a suit, the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted.

SEC. 3. RELIEF.

After a determination of the merits of a suit brought under this Act, the District Court shall issue such declaratory and injunctive relief as may be necessary to protect the rights of Theresa Marie Schiavo under the Constitution and laws of the United States relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life.

SEC. 4. TIME FOR FILING.

Notwithstanding any other time limitation, any suit or claim under this Act shall be timely if filed within 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 5. STAY.

Upon the filing of a suit or claim under this Act, the District Court may issue a stay of any State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo pending the determination of the suit.

SEC. 6. NO CHANGE OF SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to create substantive rights not otherwise secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States or of the several States.

SEC. 7. NO EFFECT ON ASSISTING SUICIDE.

Nothing is this Act shall be construed to confer additional jurisdiction on any court to consider any claim related--

(1) to assisting suicide, or

(2) a State law regarding assisting suicide.

SEC. 8. NO PRECEDENT FOR FUTURE LEGISLATION.

Nothing is this Act shall constitute a precedent with respect to future legislation.

SEC. 9. NO AFFECT ON THE PATIENT SELF-DETERMINATION ACT OF 1990.

Nothing in this Act shall affect the rights of any person under the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990.
Passed the Senate March 17, 2005.

Attest:

Secretary.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2005/03/house_senate_re.html

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