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Judge rules Terri Schiavo's parents can't defend law

A judge Tuesday refused to grant permission for Terri Schiavo's parents to join in the legal defense of "Terri's Law."

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Douglas Baird ruled that attorneys for Bob and Mary Schindler can file a friend of the court brief by Thursday but could not intervene in the state's defense of the constitutionality of the law.

The measure, passed by state lawmakers on Oct. 21, allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to order doctors to reinsert Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube after she went six days without food and water.

The brain-damaged woman has been kept alive by a feeding tube for more than 13 years. Many doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state and cannot recover. Her parents disagree with that diagnosis.

A brief by the state in support of the law is due to Baird by Thursday. Any ruling the judge makes is expected to be quickly appealed.

_ Staff reports