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Catholic beliefs cited in Florida right-to-die case

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Attorneys for the parents of a woman at the center of a right-to-die case argued Thursday she would have been profoundly affected by new Catholic teachings on end-of-life issues.

"Our case is pretty simple: I say the pope would have changed her mind," said David Gibbs, the new lead attorney for the parents of severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo.

In March, Pope John Paul II said a person in a persistent vegetative state still has the right to basic health care — including nutrition and hydration — and to withhold it would be a sin.

George Felos, the attorney for Schiavo's husband, Michael, countered that the pope's statements are not reason enough to throw the contentious and long-running case back to court.