Nov 3, 2003
Surely, one of a family's worst nightmares is to have a relative on life support for years, and to have to face the awful decision about ending life support.
No sensitive human being would dare to assume they could tell a family in that situation what to do. But in a monstrous and ghoulish act, the Florida legislature butted in and passed a bill – and Governor Jeb Bush rushed to sign it – that took the decision away from Terri Sciavo's family. It ordered her reconnected to a feeding tube.
Terri Sciavo was 29 years old when, in l990, her heart stopped. By the time doctors re-started her heart, she had gone into a coma from severe brain damage. She never woke up.
Through all these years, her husband and her parents clung to hope, and tried different therapies to revive her. A crisis came when her husband was convinced that nothing more could be done – but her parents disagreed.
Such tragedies visit many families. They are thrust into unbearable situations where there can be no good outcome, regardless what decisions are made. It's impossible to think that families in this situation won't disagree at times.
But nothing seems to be too impossible or too monstrous for Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature, when there are votes involved. It was for no other reason than a chase for votes – for himself and for his brother George – that Jeb Bush signed the Sciavo feeding bill.
He didn't need the bill to clarify the law, because the laws are quite clear and had already been followed to the letter. He didn't need the bill to apply new medical advances, because the most highly regarded doctors all agreed that Terri's case was hopeless.
Bush signed the bill because religious fanatics had adopted the Sciavo parents' case as a cause – and Bush can use these fanatics to turn out a lot of votes.
Bush's action belongs in a horror movie, not in a so-called civilized society. By day, hiding behind a mask of concern for life – by night, governor of the state that has executed more prisoners than any other except Texas. Pusher of laws against abortion that would merely guarantee the suffering and death of women not rich enough to avoid the butchery of underground abortion mills.
Jeb Bush is using Terri Sciavo's body to harness fanaticism's energy to deliver votes for his brother in 2004.
"Right-to-life"? No – call it for what it is – Bush is playing with life for despicable ends!