Governor Bush Makes Final Plea for Florida Law Saving Terri Schiavo

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Governor Bush Makes Final Plea for Florida Law Saving Terri Schiavo

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 23
, 2005

Tallahassee, FL ( — Florida Governor Jeb Bush is making a final plea to state lawmakers to pass legislation that would offer Terri legal protection. While Congress approved a bill to allow Terri’s parents to take their case to federal court, the Florida legislature stalled in its own efforts on a bill.

Governor Bush said that Florida legislators must approve a bill today or it would likely be too late to prevent Terri’s starvation death.

"[Wednesday’s] the day. If it doesn’t happen then, I don’t believe there’s any other legislative fix that is possible," Bush told reporters. The legislature adjourns after business today.

The Florida state House last week approved a measure by a wide bipartisan margin that would have required courts and doctors to presume that a patient would want food and water unless they had previously indicated otherwise in an advance directive.

When it voted, the Florida Senate opposed its more narrow version of bill on a 21-16 margin. However, a handful of senators may be changing their minds.

The Senate sponsor says he will bring up the bill for a vote even though he doesn’t believe the votes are there to pass it.

"Today is it," said Sen. Daniel Webster, a pro-life Republican. "But I’m going to try."

A spokesman for Speaker Allan Bense said the state House could quickly pass the bill if the Senate approves it.

The Rev. Pat Mahoney, speaking on behalf of Bob and Mary Schindler, acknowledged that the legal options have almost run out for Terri’s parents and urged the state legislature to intervene.

"Let it be known to every voter in Florida, the fate of Terri Schiavo is in the Florida Senate’s hands," he said.

Governor Bush decried the decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal against allowing Terri to have food and water.

"I could not be more disappointed in the decision," the governor said in a statement. "Terri has been without sustenance for almost five days now. Time is of the essence and I hope all who have the ability and duty to act in this case will do so with a sense of urgency."

As Terri completed the fifth day without food and water, her mother, Mary Schindler, begged lawmakers to reconsider.

"Please, senators, for the love of God, I’m begging you, don’t let my daughter die of thirst," Mary Schindler said from Woodside Hospice where Terri lives.

After her comments, Mary broke down in tears.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services filed a motion yesterday with a Florida court to open financial records connected to the case, according to an AP report.

Those records "would be relevant to the department’s statutory duty to investigate allegation of abuse, neglect and/or exploitation,” the motion said.

Related news stories:
Former Terri Schiavo Nurse: Terri Interacts, Michael Refused Care

ABC News Poll on Terri Schiavo Case Uses Inaccurate Question

Terri Schiavo Tried to Tell Parents’ Attorney She Wanted to Live

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –