updated 10/21/2004 2:58:11 PM ET 2004-10-21T18:58:11

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined a request from Gov. Jeb Bush 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 made no comment when issuing the one-page ruling in Tallahassee in the case of Terri Schiavo, 40, who left no written directive of her own.

Last month the court ruled unanimously that Bush and state lawmakers overstepped their authority a year ago when they quickly adopted the law ordering that Schiavo’s feeding tube be reinserted six days after her husband had it removed so she could die. Bush’s attorney had asked the court for a rehearing.

Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, said Thursday’s ruling legally clears the way for the feeding tube to be removed again, but said Schiavo would not take any action before a ruling due Friday on a request by his wife’s parents for a new trial to determine their daughter’s wishes.

Bush reviews legal options
Bob and Mary Schindler say their daughter was a practicing Roman Catholic who would not now choose to have her feeding tube removed, based on statements by Pope John Paul II in March that people in vegetative states still have the right to basic health care and nutrition.

Bush spokeswoman Jill Bratina said the governor’s office was reviewing its legal options. 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 feeding tube.

Terri Schiavo, 40, who is cared for 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.

Some doctors have testified Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery, and Michael Schiavo says she would never want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents have countered with medical experts who believe she might have a chance at rehabilitation.

Courts have generally sided with Michael Schiavo, and he has had the tube removed twice — last October, and also for two days in 2001.

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