The text of Gov. Jeb Bush's statement on Terri Schiavo

By Times Staff Writer
Published March 24, 2005

"This afternoon, the Department of Children and Families has filed a renewed motion to intervene in Terry Schiavo's guardianship case. As you know, about three weeks ago, there was a call to the hotline and an investigation began at that time, and new information has come to light after a review of Terri Schiavo's medical records by members of the Adult Protective Services Team, which includes a very renowned neurologist by the name of Dr. William Cheshire, who is a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

"The neurologist's review indicates that Terri may have been misdiagnosed, and it is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness rather than in a persistent vegetative state. This new information raises serious concerns and warrants immediate action. Terri is now going on her sixth day without food or water. It is imperative that she be stabilized, so that the Adult Protective Services Team can fulfill their statutory duty and thoroughly review all the facts surrounding her case.

"If there's any uncertainty, we should err on the side of protecting her. We're exhausting all executive options and continue to work with the Florida Legislature to save Terri's life. I'm doing everything within my power to make sure that Terri's afforded at least the same right that criminals, convicted of the most heinous crimes, take for granted.

"If a prisoner comes forward with new DNA evidence 20 years after his conviction suggesting his innocence, there's no doubt that the courts in our state, or all across the country for that matter, would immediately review his case. We should do no less for Terri Schiavo. I'm urging the Florida Senate to take up the bills and they are in debate right now as we speak, on their bills that will be part of the process, we believe, that will provide protection for Terri Schiavo and other vulnerable profoundly disabled Floridians.

"To all those who have expressed their support for Terri Schiavo, I have a message and that is that your prayers and your petitions are working. Those who value life need to act accordingly.

"Even though we may disagree with the courts, there is no justification for violent acts. There have been some reports that people are making threatening declarations, if this process doesn't go their way. I urge all who want to help Terri Schiavo to honor her by remaining calm and acting peacefully, even though we are all very distressed by what's happening."