Florida State House Committee Approves Bill Protecting Terri Schaivo
by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2005
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida state House committee has approved a bill that could possibly be used to prevent Terri Schiavo from being starved to death. The legislation prevents a legal guardian, such as Terri’s estranged husband Michael, from denying food and water to a person unable to make their own medical decisions.
It’s unclear whether the legislation could be applied to Terri, but Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican, said he hoped it would.
The bill has to move through two other state House committees before it can get a vote on the House floor. The Florida state Senate is considering a similar measure.
"If I have my way, we’ll get it passed by the 18th (of March)," he said. That’s the date on which Michael is allowed to remove Terri’s gastric tube and begin a painful week-long starvation process.
The measure received approval from the House Health Care Regulation Committee on a 7-4 party line vote with Republicans voting for the bill.
If the bill does not apply to Terri, Baxley said amendments could be placed on the bill to ensure that it does.
Governor Jeb Bush has planned to meet with Rep. Baxley on the legislation this week. He told reporters he supports the measure.
Some lawmakers are reticent to get involved again after Florida courts declared Terri’s Law unconstitutional last year. That measure allowed Governor Bush to ask doctors to halt a previous attempt to starve Terri.
Rep. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who is the floor leader in the state House for his party, told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper that the "Schiavo case is a personal matter; it’s a family matter."