Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Update 4:52 p.m.: The Florida Senate rejected a bill today to keep Terri Schiavo alive as the brain-damaged woman's parents were running out of options to have her feeding tube reinserted.

--Associated Press/Orlando Sentinel

But it's far from over. From another Orlando Sentinel story:

TALLAHASSEE -- Even as the state Senate debated a measure aimed at keeping Terri Schiavo alive, Gov. Jeb Bush said today his social services agency may step in to have her feeding tube reinstated.

In an extraordinary move, Bush said the Department of Children and Families has filed a legal motion alleging "30 detailed allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation" that have occurred during Schiavo's stay at a Pinellas Park hospice....

Along with the petition alleging abuse, the Bush administration has filed with the Pinellas Circuit Judge George W. Greer an affidavit from Jacksonville neurologist William Polk Cheshire, Jr., who concluded from examining videotape of Schiavo that the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman may not be in a persistent vegetative state.

Instead, "It is likely she is in a state of minimal consciousness," Bush said. "This new information raises serious concerns and warrants immediate action."

An affidavit based on the frigging videotape! Hasn't Judge Greer watched the whole videotape -- not just the few seconds cherry-picked by the family to show to fellow right-to-lifers?

DCF Secretary Lucy Hadi said that under state law the agency is authorized to intervene and have Schiavo's sustenance restored even without a court order. She said the agency would make that decision before the end of today.

And here's my favorite part -- Jeb actually had the unmitigated gall to say this:

"I'm doing everything within my power to make sure that Terri is afforded at least the same rights that criminals convicted of heinous crimes take for granted," Bush said.

"If a prisoner comes forward with new DNA evidence 20 years after his conviction that suggests his innocence, there is no doubt the courts in our state and all across the country, for that matter, will immediately review their case. We should do no less for Terri Schiavo," Bush said.

Here's the reality in Bush's own state:

Under the law, passed in 2001 and sponsored by Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, anyone convicted of a crime has two years after a sentence becomes final to ask a judge to review DNA testing of physical evidence.

And in 2003, when the first criminals faced a deadline under the law, this was the response:

Villalobos says he's open to weighing the request for a time extension, but Gov. Jeb Bush is not considering such a move, said Jill Bratina, a spokeswoman for the governor.

There isn't a circle of hell low enough for Jeb.

(UPDATE: Link fixed.)

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