Florida Senate Decides Not to Approve House-Passed Bill on Terri Schiavo
by Steven Ertelt
March 18, 2005
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida state Senate decided Friday against approving a bill backed by the state House that would protect Terri Schiavo from a painful 7 to 10 day starvation death. That leaves Congress and a federal judge as the last hope for Terri’s parents.
State Senator Daniel Webster, a pro-life Republican, said there were not enough votes in the state Senate to pass the House bill.
Senators who oppose passing the legislation to protect Terri said Friday they had been flooded with calls and emails. Senator Nancy Argenziano indicated some of the communications were "nasty" and called senators opposing the bill "murderers."
Webster, speaking in hushed tones during the Friday debate, pulled a $100 bill out of his pocket. He wadded it up and dropped it on the floor and told lawmakers the bill was still worth $100 despite what he did, according to an Associated Press report.
"Some of our lives are like crisp 100-dollar bills. Some lives are a little crumpled up. Some lives are soiled and it may not be the life that we’d like to have. But there’s still life," Webster explained.
The Florida state Senate on Thursday defeated a bill on a 21-16 vote after the House approved its version 78-37.
After the Senate vote, Governor Jeb Bush, who has said he would sign a measure, said, "I’m just disappointed, but that’s their decision."
The House legislation would prevent doctors or a legal guardian from allowing a person in a so-called persistent vegetative state to die by withholding food or water. That could only happen if the patient had not previously issued an advance directive authorizing it to be withheld.
The Senate voted on a more limited bill that would do the same thing, but only in cases where family members disagreed on whether to maintain the feeding tube.
The Florida legislature passed a previous bill in late 2003 days after Terri’s feeding tube was removed for a second time. That bill, aimed specifically at her and authorizing Governor Bush to ask doctors to reinsert the tube, was ultimately declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.