TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The husband of a brain-damaged woman accused Gov. Jeb Bush (search) and state legislators of pandering to voters by trying to pass legislation preventing the removal of her feeding tube.
Michael Schiavo (search) leveled the accusations Tuesday in an interview for ABC's "Nightline" after state House and Senate committees endorsed bills aimed at preventing removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. A judge has scheduled the removal for Friday.
Schiavo, who wants his wife's feeding tube removed, said Bush stepped into his personal life and used the case "to win votes, just like the legislators are doing right now. ... What kind of government is this?"
"It's really uncomprehensible ... for a governor to come into this without any education on the subject and push his personal views," he said during the interview, not far from the Tampa Bay-area hospice where his wife is cared for.
Bush's office did not return telephone calls seeking comment late Tuesday.
Terri Schiavo (search), 41, has been at the center of a long and bitter court battle between her husband and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler (search), who do not want their daughter's feeding tube removed.
Court-appointed doctors say Terry Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state. She did not leave any written instructions, but Michael Schiavo contends she told him that she would not want to be kept alive artificially.
The Schindlers dispute that, and deny their daughter is in a vegetative state.
The House bill would block doctors from denying food or water to someone in a persistent vegetative state, but would make exceptions for patients who left specific instructions.
The Senate version would block the denial of food and water only in cases where family members disagreed on whether to maintain feeding. Then the patient would be kept alive unless he or she had expressed different wishes in writing.
Both bills were expected to go before the full House and Senate on Thursday.
This is the second time the Legislature has tried to keep Terry Schiavo alive. In 2003, lawmakers passed a bill that allowed Bush to order doctors to restore Schiavo's feeding tube. That law was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court.