A federal judge Friday refused to intervene in a court order that allowed Nancy Cruzan's parents to remove a feeding tube that has kept her alive in a vegetative state for nearly eight years.

U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple in Kansas City rejected a suit filed Thursday by the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Center for Christian Activism in Boca Raton, Fla.Mahoney asked Whipple for an immediate injunction against last Friday's order by Jasper County Probate Judge Charles Teel Jr. that allowed Joyce and Lester "Joe" Cruzan to remove the feeding tube that has kept her alive since a 1983 car accident.

Doctors said Nancy Cruzan, 33, would die within two weeks without the tube, which was removed last Saturday. Her condition was listed Friday as "deteriorating."

Whipple said Mahoney failed to establish standing in the case and dismissed his petition.

He also noted that opponents of Teel's decision filed four other petitions this week in various courts - all of them denied - and said furthers appeals would be considered frivolous and abuses of the judicial system.

Mahoney argued that Cruzan's constitutional rights were denied because food and water were being withheld. The suit also charged Cruzan was not represented properly before Teel because no attorney argued in her defense or cross-examined the witnesses whose testimony persuaded Teel to order the tube disconnected.

Earlier Friday, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously rejected a petition filed by Gary Tebbets and Gary Rickman of Kansas City, Kan., who had asked the court to restore food and water to Cruzan.

About 20 protesters remained Friday outside the doors of the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mount Vernon, where Cruzan is a patient, hospital officials said.

The doors to the hospital have been locked since Wednesday because some protesters entered the facility, blocked hallways and had to be carried out by police.

About a dozen opponents of Teel's decision conducted a sit-in in the office of state Attorney General William Webster, who in June successfully argued the state's side of the Cruzan case before the U.S. Supreme Court.