CHICAGO - (March 22, 2005) - The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the RainbowPUSH Coalition, issued the following statement on the Terri Schiavo case:

This week, the U.S. Congress took the extraordinary step of intervening in the Terri Schiavo case, passing a bill that would enable the federal courts to hear the case.

I have serious misgivings about the appropriateness of Congress intervening with the legal court process on a specific, individual matter. It is not certain whether or not Congress' action itself is constitutional.

I am deeply sympathetic and respectful of the passion and legal rights of Mrs. Schiavo's husband, and appreciate the sincerity of his belief that he is acting in accordance with the wishes of his wife.

Yet, with life and death hanging in the balance, it is my belief that the feeding tube should be re-introduced as a lifeline for Terri Schiavo. Removing the feeding tube would essentially starve her to death.

I respect the views of those citizens and members of Congress who passionately cry out against her starvation and seek means to extend her life.

But in so doing, a consistent moral and ethical position would extend a feeding tube to ALL who are confronted with starvation - to demand public, government policy to feed the hungry. I implore them to apply this same passion for Terri Schiavo to the young infants and children dying of starvation and lack prenatal and post-natal care.

Those on food stamps need a feeding tube to fend off poverty and starvation. Our homeless population needs a feeding tube to extend their lives and survive.

This same passion to halt starvation should also extend to the millions in the Congo and Sudan. With the focus and attention on this one individual case, we must marshal this sentiment and extend a feeding tube to all those in the United States and around the world. Our moral, ethical and religious values require us to address poverty and starvation on a global, structural level, and Congress should appropriate the needed budget to stamp out poverty and starvation wherever it exists.

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