Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Judge Greer Ignores Gov. Bush Guardianship Request;
27,000 Messages From Advocates Convinced Bush To Act

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--A judge has ignored a request from Governor Jeb Bush to hold off scheduling the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube until a special guardian is appointed to look into her case and "provide the court with an unbiased view that considers" her best interests.

Bush wrote a letter to Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George W. Greer Monday afternoon, asking for the delay. The governor said that he would not normally write a judge about a current legal proceeding, but noted that his office received 27,000 e-mails "reflecting understandable concern for the well being" of Schiavo.

"This case represents the disturbing result of a severe family disagreement in extremely trying circumstances," Bush wrote. "Emotions are high, accusations abound, and at the heart of this public and private maelstrom is a young woman incapable of speaking for herself."

"To err on one side is to prolong her existence, perhaps against her wishes and to continue the debate. To err on the other is an irrevocable act that affords no remediation."

Judge Greer announced Wednesday that he will ignore the letter and the sentiments of those who wrote the governor.

"I read [Gov. Bush's letter] because it came from the governor and I respect his position," Greer told the Tampa Tribune. "Beyond that, it is going in the file."

Terri was 26 in 1990 when she collapsed and was without oxygen for several minutes. Since then, she has been breathing on her own, but is given food and water through the feeding tube installed in her stomach. Judge Greer has ruled that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" and that she cannot improve. Higher courts in the state have sided with Greer.

Her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, has convinced the courts that Terri would not have wanted to live in her current condition.

For five years Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have fought Michael over Terri's right to continue living. They say Terri is responsive and alert and may improve with therapies that could be purchased with what is left over of an insurance settlement -- money that would go to Michael if Terri dies.

Disability rights advocates are closely watching Terri's situation. Many say that Terri's death by starvation would send the message that people with significant disabilities are not worth keeping alive.

Michael Schiavo called Bush's attempt to intervene on his wife's behalf "crazy".

"Jeb Bush intervenes for Schindler-Schiavo" (World Net Daily)
"Florida Judge Rejects Governor's Bid to Help Terri Schiavo" (Crosswalk)
Terri's Fight (Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
"Terri Schiavo's Right to Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.