Court Rejects Request for New Schiavo Hearing

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined a request from Gov. Jeb Bush (search) to reconsider its decision striking down a state law designed to save the life of a severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a bitter right-to-die dispute.

The state's high court ruled 7-0 last month that Bush and state lawmakers overstepped their authority when they adopted the law ordering that Terri Schiavo's (search) feeding tube be reinserted six days after her husband had it removed so she could die.

Bush's attorney asked the court for a rehearing, which was rejected without comment in a one-page ruling issued Thursday in Tallahassee.

Courts have generally sided with Michael Schiavo (search), who says his wife never wanted to be kept alive artificially. He has had the tube removed twice — in 2001 for two days and last October.

But the Legislature quickly passed the law to overrule the courts, and Bush then used the law to order the tube reinserted Oct. 21. She had been off the tube for six days.

An attorney for Bush has said he is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could stop, at least temporarily, any attempt to remove the tube.

Terri Schiavo, 40, who lives in a Clearwater nursing home, suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped beating from a chemical imbalance that physicians said was brought on by an eating disorder.

She left no written directive. Her husband argued she would want the feeding tube removed; her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, dispute that.

Some doctors have testified Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery; her parents have countered with medical experts who believe she might have a chance at rehabilitation.