Florida House approves bill to stop Schiavo tube removal

Florida House approves bill to stop Schiavo tube removal

[JURIST] The Florida House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill [bill summary] Thursday that would block the withholding of food and water from patients in a persistent vegetative state when the patient did not leave specific instructions refusing artificial feeding. The bill is designed to prevent the removal of Terri Schiavo's [JURIST Newsmaker archive] feeding tube, which is scheduled to take place Friday afternoon. The Florida Senate is debating a more limited version of the bill that would only apply to cases where families disagreed on the patient's wishes. Late Wednesday, the US House passed legislation allowing the Schiavo case to shift to federal court [JURIST report] and delaying the tube removal. A similar bill was expected to be introduced by Senate Republicans Thursday. In the courts, a hearing was scheduled Thursday by Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer to consider a request by Florida's Department of Children & Families [JURIST background report] to remove Schiavo's feeding tube. Meanwhile, Schiavo's parents have filed an emergency motion at the US Supreme Court to delay the tube removal while lower courts consider whether Terri's religious freedom and due process rights have been violated. AP has more.