Monday, February 28

Here's Another Way to Help Terri -- Let's Do It

Recently I had been told that the Florida Legislature could do nothing more for Terri Schiavo. Turns out that is not true at all. Turns out there's a lot we can do to help Terri by contacting Florida legislators before they re-convene on March 8.

Here's the situation and it's even worse than I had thought (which is worse than I had imagined but nevermind about that!)

Three times Judge Greer has ordered Terri's feeding tubes removed. In 2001 the execution was delayed by new evidence which Judge Greer subsequently refused to hear. In 2003, Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature enacted "Terri's Law," which acted as a stay of execution. That law, however, was pronounced unconstutional by the Florida Supreme Court because the court said it was a violation of the separation of powers doctrine since it addressed the needs of only one person rather than an entire class, and because it interfered with the court’s ruling in one specific case.

However, a more generalized bill that alters Florida law to create a general presumption for nutrition and hydration for those who cannot speak for themselves. This bill would not face the challenge of the separation of powers doctrine.

The Florida Legislature may be able to pass a new bill in time to stop Michael Schiavo from withdrawing Terri's feeding tube at Greer's new appointed time and execution date of March 18 at l p.m.

Rep. Dennis Baxley has introduced HB701: "Withholding or Withdrawal of Nutrition or Hydration from Incompetent Persons: Declares that an incompetent person is presumed to have directed health care providers to provide the necessary nutrition and hydration to sustain life; prohibits a court, proxy, or surrogate from withholding or withdrawing nutrition or hydration except under specified circumstances; provides that the presumption to provide nutrition and hydration is inapplicable under certain circumstances; conforms provisions to changes made by the act; declares that the act supersedes existing court orders otherwise applicable on or after the effective date of the act."

The bill has made its way through appropriate committees and is expected to be presented to the full house when it meets on March 8.

Email from Bobby Schindler:
We have very little time left. As you read through this bill, realize this will protect the incapacitated. Hearsay and casual conversation will not be enough to starve and dehydrate a person to death in this state if this passes. Protecting the vulnerable, the brain injured, the elderly, those with disabilities will benefit from this bill.


By the time you read this it will be almost March 1. We have one week to email each of the members of the Florida legislature and the governor in support of HB701. PLEASE, everyone contact as many of the Florida legislators as possible. You'll find the House members LISTED HERE. Members of the Florida Senate are here.

It doesn't matter if you're not a Florida resident -- contact them anyway. This is a national issue. This Florida judge must not be allowed to set such a terrible precedent in our courts.

1 comment:

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