In the interest of preserving a remarkable piece of history, this page remains the same as it did when originally published in 2005. This page should be used as a source/reference, but not as a contemporary guide.
On October 21, 2003, the Florida Legislature and House passed bill 35E – Terri’s Bill – into law.
This law allowed Florida’s Governor, Jeb Bush, to issue an Executive Order allowing nutrition and hydration to be returned to the disabled Florida woman. Terri had been without nutrition and hydration for more than 6 days.
Though Terri’s blood family were denied visitation at the time of her hospitalization, they are now able to see her at the Hospice facility where she is confined.
Terri’s parents have not been given any information about her current medical condition, but she appears to be doing well and is responding appropriately to the presence of her loved-ones.
Why this law is so important
According to the laws of the State of Florida, an advanced directive is required to remove life support from an individual. In 1999, the Florida Legislature expanded their definition of “life support” to include food and water that was delivered in an assisted fashion (feeding tubes and total parental nutrition).
The volunteers of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation find this to be a disturbing and unrealistic definition of life support. Certainly, there are people from all walks of life and those with varying degrees of medical ailments or disabilities who receive assisted nutrition. With the removal of hydration and nutrition for vulnerable persons comes a dangerous precedent that affects disabled, elderly, vulnerable and ailing persons throughout the country.
Because of the direct conflict of Florida Statutes in regards to the withholding of hydration and nutrition from vulnerable persons, it was an indispensable act of the Governor of Florida, the Speaker of the House of Florida, the House and the Senate to take immediate steps to halt an imminent and unnecessary death.
Terri’s Law was moved through the Florida House and Senate with the tireless assistance of Florida lawmakers and Florida’s Speaker of the House, Johnnie Byrd.
If you would like to join the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation in sending a personal note of thanks, please use the following mailing addresses:
The Honorable Jeb Bush
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Speaker Johnnie Byrd
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300
Governor Bush’s Statement
Proposed Senate Bill 692 would help protect vulnerable people. Not everyone in the Senate wants it to be heard. Read the details here and act today!
Presidential candidate, Joseph Lieberman has endorsed the actions of Governor Bush and Florida Lawmakers.
On Tuesday, October 28, 2003, President George W. Bush also stated his support for the actions of Governor Jeb Bush, saying “He did the right thing.”