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Schiavo's Feeding Tube Is Removed

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, offered a counterpoint, issuing a statement saying the subpoenas are a "flagrant abuse of power."

In Dunedin, Fla., lawyer George Felos -- who represents Michael Schiavo in an eight-year effort to respect what he says would have been his wife's wishes to have the feeding tube removed -- told reporters that the subpoenas are "nothing short of thuggery."

Protesters pray outside Michael Schiavo's house in Clearwater, Fla. Many demonstrators are familiar faces from other Christian-right battles. (Paul Kizzle -- AP)

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Miles to the south, demonstrators outside the hospice in Pinellas Park were accusing Greer of "judicial murder." A woman paced in front of the cameras carrying a sign that said "Stop feeding Michael."

The demonstrators are well seasoned in this arena. Many are familiar faces from recent battles over the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama's Supreme Court, attempts to remove references to God from the Pledge of Allegiance and abortion litmus tests for judicial appointments. Protest leaders have often suggested that the Schiavo case is part of a national trend.

"There's a cultural war going on," said the Rev. William J. Witt, founder of an antiabortion "pro-family prayer fellowship" in Ohio.

As Witt spoke, the same red pickup truck that had repeatedly circled Alabama's Supreme Court two years ago -- with gigantic cutouts of the Ten Commandments attached to the back -- eased past the Woodside Hospice, as it had throughout the day. The owner had slapped a sign lambasting Greer on top of the Ten Commandments plaques.

On the side of the road, Tom Fayette, a lanky preacher from Oldtown, Fla., leaned against a six-foot fiberglass crucifix. "There's a gap between man's law and God's law," he said. "And right now, the gap is hell."

Next to Fayette, workers loudly pounded a metal post into the ground to brace more fencing to keep demonstrators off the streets. "That's what I'd like to do to Judge Greer," Helen Gentry, 62, said as metal clanged against metal.

Yet, the most striking protesters were the quietest. All along the street, young people -- many of them appearing to be no more than teenagers -- kneeled silently, their mouths covered with red tape with the word "Life" written on it. Most would not return the smiles of passersby, instead gazing somberly at the hospice where Schiavo is staying.

All around the silent youths, the older demonstrators gathered here have been turning Schiavo's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler -- who have fought to save their daughter's life -- into almost iconic figures. When the couple passed the demonstration this morning, some protesters cheered. Others wept.

Staff writer Charles Babington in Washington contributed to this report.

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