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)