Jeb Bush Orders Feed Tubes Reinserted for Terri Schiavo

Governor Jeb Bush has signed an order directing feeding tubes to be reinserted into brain-damaged Terri Schiavo.

Invoking a law rushed through the Legislature earlier in the day, Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday ordered a feeding tube reinserted into a brain-damaged woman at the center of one of the nation's longest and most bitter right-to-die battles. The Senate voted 23-15 for the legislation, and the House passed the final version 73-24 only minutes later. Bush signed it into law and issued the order just more than an hour later.

....The bill sent to Bush was designed to be as narrow as possible. It is limited to cases in which the patient left no living will, is in a persistent vegetative state, has had nutrition and hydration tubes removed and where a family member has challenged the removal.

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....Schiavo's feeding tube was removed last Wednesday. Doctors have said the 39-year-old woman will die within a week to 10 days without food and water.

We've seen some tv coverage of the case, including interviews with Terri's brother and sister. They were very persuasive. We saw videos of Terri's mother feeding her in the hospital. Terri seemed quite alert to us--even eager to eat. She's been in this state for 12 years...she was smiling at her mother in in the video. It's her husband who says she wants to be dead. But it's been reported that he has a financial interest in whether she lives or dies.

We are probably bucking the party line on this one, but we're glad the bill passed and Jeb Bush acted to save Terri. The bill is limited to cases in which there is no living will, so it's easy to avoid having the law apply to you. Moral: If you don't want to be kept alive, get a living will tomorrow. Here's a site we just came across with forms for living wills from all states.

Update: Arthur at Light of Reason disagrees with us. We didn't pick up on a political/religious angle--we were relying upon Terri's parents and siblings' comments that they believe that Terri does respond to them and could benefit from rehabilitation. We thought their thanking G-d was simply a personal belief.

Update: Legal scholars almost uniformly attack the law as unconstitional--both as drafted and in prinicple. The New York Times excoriates the Florida legislature here--and says the bill was prodded by the religious right.

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