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What they're saying: Reaction to Terri Schiavo's death

President Bush

President Bush said today that he joins the millions of Americans saddened by the death of Terri Schiavo.

"The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak," Bush said. "In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life."

The Florida woman, who suffered severe brain damage after a heart attack 15 years ago, died today. The feeding tube that had been keeping her alive was removed with a judge's approval on March 18.

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Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

"After an extraordinarily difficult and tragic journey, Terri Schiavo is at rest,'' Gov. Jeb Bush said in a written statement. "Many across our state and around the world are deeply grieved by the way Terri died. I feel that grief very sharply as well. I remain convinced, however, that Terri's death is a window through which we can see the many issues left unresolved in our families and in our society. For that, we can be thankful for all that the life of Terri Schiavo has taught us.''

"I still firmly believe that human life is a gift and a mystery, and that its mystery is most evident at its beginning and ending. May all of us whose hearts were moved during the life of Terri Schiavo grow in wisdom at its ending."

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Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala

In Tallahassee, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, announced to the Florida House that Terri Schiavo died. Baxley was one of the lawmakers pushing for a law to intervene in the case, but the measure was defeated in the Senate.

"We've received word this morning that Terri Schiavo has departed this life and gone to her maker," Baxley said. "I know and I'm thankful that God has mercy on the souls of the innocent, and I pray that he'll forgive the rest of us. Our hearts are broken."

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Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins

A Vatican cardinal denounced the death, saying removing the feeding tube that was keeping her alive was "an attack against God.''

Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican's office for sainthood, told reporters that "an attack against life is an attack against God, who is the author of life.''

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The Rev. Jesse Jackson

"She was starved and dehydrated to death ... Her sickness has triggered a huge national health debate in our country.''

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Brother Paul O'Donnell

"It is with great sadness that it's been reported to us that Terri Schiavo has passed away,'' said Paul O'Donnell, a monk who acted as a spokesman for the woman's parents, who battled to have her feeding tube restored.

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Terri Schiavo's sister-in-law, Karen Schiavo

"She can finally be at peace after 15 years.''

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis.

"Congress in a bipartisan fashion took up Terri's cause and met in extraordinary session to provide Terri with an opportunity for a new, full, and fresh review in federal court of her right to receive life-sustaining treatment. Regrettably, this effort did not receive the court review the law requires.''

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U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Crystal River

'I have asked that my congressional offices make sample living wills available to anyone who requests a copy.'

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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson D-Fla.

'I'll always remember what was remarkable about her life -- this quiet, shy woman who shunned the spotlight educated everyone on the importance of filling out a living will.'

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U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, House Majority Leader

'This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.'

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J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice andPalliative Care Organization

'The end of a life is never easy. But Terri's memory might be best honored by conversations we have with each other about our end-of-life decisions -- what we want and what we do not want, the care we choose to receive and the caregivers who provide it. Talk now, before a crisis, to ensure that conflict about end-of-life treatment decisions doesn't happen toyour family.'

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Christian Coalition of America

''We urge Congress to address a judicial system which is no longer concerned for innocent life, so that another Terri Schiavo will not have to die.'

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George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo

'Mr. Schiavo's overriding concern here was to provide for Terri a peaceful death with dignity.'

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Brother Paul O'Donnella Franciscan monk who acted as a spokesman for Schiavo's parents,Bob and Mary Schindler

'It is with great sadness that it's been reported to us that Terri Schiavo has passed away.'

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Bishop Thomas Wenskihead of the Roman Catholic Dioceseof Orlando

'We pray for Terri's soul, but we also must pray for our own souls as we confront how we accept the mystery of death, our own and that of our loved ones.'

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Scott SchiavoTerri Schiavo's brother-in-law

'She's got all of her dignity back. She's now in heaven, she's now with God and she's walking with grace.'

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U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.co-sponsor of Senate's Schiavo bill

'My sincere hope is that Terri has finally found peace.'

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State Rep. Dennis Baxley,R-Ocala, announcing Schiavo's death to the Florida House

'We've received word this morning that Terri Schiavo has departed this life and gone to her maker. I know and I'm thankful that God has mercy on the souls of the innocent, and I pray that he'll forgive the rest of us. Our hearts are broken.'

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