Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the man said to be the last hope for Terri Schiavo, says he’s powerless to help the brain-injured woman who has been without nourishment for more than nine full days.
“I cannot violate a court order,” Bush told CNN following Easter church services. “I don’t have powers from the United States Constitution or – for that matter from the Florida Constitution – that would allow me to intervene after a decision has been made.”
To Terri’s parents, Bush said, “I can’t. I’d love to, but I can’t.”
Speaking to the media for the first time in three days, the governor added, “I’m sad that she’s in the situation that she’s in. I feel bad for her family. My heart goes out to the Schindlers and, for that matter, to [her husband] Michael,” Bush said. “This has not been an easy thing for any, any member of the family. But most particularly for Terri Schiavo.”
Meanwhile, protests have continued outside the hospice where Terri is being cared for. With security having been doubled, five people were taken into custody as pastors tried to bring Schiavo Easter communion.
A handful of people in wheelchairs got out of them and shouted, “We’re not dead yet!” as they lay in the driveway.
Larry Klayman, founder of the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, said Bush has the power to grant her clemency, just as he would in a death-row case.
“We’re asking the governor for a stay of execution on Easter Sunday, a day of mercy,” Klayman said. “For Jeb Bush not to act would be a dereliction of his duty to the people of the state of Florida.”
Terri has been the subject of worldwide attention since Florida Judge George Greer ordered her feeding tube removed March 18, and courts have upheld his decision not to have the tube reinserted.
An attorney for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, painted a grim picture of the situation on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“Terri is declining rapidly,” Schindler attorney David Gibbs said. “We believe at this point she has passed where physically she would be able to recover.”
But Randall Terry, a pro-life activist speaking for Terri’s parents, called Gibbs’ description “absolutely untrue.”
George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo says Terri’s breathing has been regular, and her death does not appear imminent. He told reporters her remains would be cremated and buried in a family plot in Pennsylvania.
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Court documents and other information are posted on the Schindler family website.
Links to all “Terri briefs” regarding the governor’s defense of Terri’s Law are on the Florida Supreme Court website, public information.