Jackson, a longtime civil rights activist, briefly joined the almost 200 right-to-life activists who maintained a vigil outside the hospice where Schiavo has gone without food or water for 11 days.
Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have been at bitter odds with her husband, Michael Schiavo, over whether the severely brain-damaged woman should be removed from life support.
Court-appointed doctors say that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, and her husband said she did not want to live that way.
The Schindlers and Terri Schiavo, 41, are originally from Huntingdon Valley in Montgomery County. Michael Schiavo is a Levittown native.
That bitterness flared again yesterday with an apparent dispute over whether Terri Schiavo should receive the Roman Catholic rite of viaticum again before she dies.
Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, said that Michael Schiavo had denied the family's request to permit the rite, which he said was performed twice previously - on Easter and on March 17, the day before the feeding tube was removed.
Bobby Schindler said he and a priest went to her room anyway, hoping to administer the rite - but were turned away by three police officers under threat of arrest.
"As a Catholic, Terri is afforded the right to have communion every single day," Bobby Schindler said.
The Rev. Joseph Pracy, secretary of human services for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said that viaticum "is the last sacramental act you can do for a person before death." He said it involves both the sacrament of communion and the sacrament of anointing the sick.
Neither Michael Schiavo nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
Michael Schiavo's opinion on a related matter was heard in a court document filed on his behalf yesterday opposing the effort by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to have the state Department of Children and Family Services take custody of his wife.
Bush, a Republican and brother of President Bush's, wants to reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, but his efforts have been rebuffed repeatedly by courts. He has filed one last, long-shot appeal.
"The actions of the department not only show a complete disregard for Mrs. Schiavo and the courts of this state, they unfortunately show how this agency . . . has become corrupted through political influence," Michael Schiavo said, answering the governor's appeal.
The appeals court has not said when it would decide the case. It has not been friendly to state efforts to override a Pinellas County court order allowing Terri Schiavo to die.
The issue could be moot, anyway. Doctors gave Schiavo 12 to 14 days to live after her tube was removed. Medical observers have said she could now be beyond the ability to return to her former condition.
Shortly after 9 p.m., Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) arrived and told Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri Schiavo's sister, that "it's not right what's happening here." Santorum told reporters he had come to Florida for a conference on Social Security. Asked whether he was still trying to intervene in the case, he said: "I've been making a lot of calls," but added, "I'm not particularly hopeful."
The scene outside the hospice earlier yesterday took on the familiar pattern of recent days.
Bob and Mary Schindler, along with Bobby Schindler and Vitadamo, milled around or were holed up in a gift shop donated for their use as a hideaway.
Police had blocked the road to vehicles and were on guard at the driveway entrances and front door of the hospice.
Demonstrators kneeled and prayed in a circle on the grass. Others read the Bible aloud. A boy imitated a beating heart by rapping on a plastic bottle.
Eight demonstrators were arrested for trying to run with water into the hospice to give to Terri Schiavo. Over 10 days, 47 people have been arrested.
Dow Pursley, 56, of Scranton, charged across the parking lot but was stopped by officers from the Pinellas Park Police Department, a police official said. When he refused to put his hands behind his back, the official said, Pursley was zapped with an electrical charge from a stun gun. He was then put into a police van.
Police said that Pursley, who is clinical director of counseling programs for Baptist Bible Graduate School in Clarks Summit, Pa., was to be charged with resisting arrest and attempted burglary.
In Philadelphia, about 15 people, including a dozen in wheelchairs, held a candlelight vigil yesterday in front of City Hall to protest Schiavo's starvation. The group, organized by local members of ADAPT, a disability-rights group, carried signs that read "We're Next" and "Terri's Murder the Slippery Slope."
The Schiavo case has prompted right-to-life activists from around the country to join protesters in Florida. But it was mostly quiet yesterday until Jackson appeared, drawing reporters from their pitched tents.
"I wanted the Rev. Jackson here for moral support," Mary Schindler said. "I feel good with him here. Very strong. He gives me strength."
Contact staff writer Oliver Prichard at 610-313-8219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquirer staff writer Frederick Cusick contributed to this article, which also contains information from the Associated Press and the New York Times News Service.