The Republican-controlled Florida legislature failed to enact its own law that would have prevented the death-by-dehydration-and-starvation of any patient who had not left a written directive and where there was a dispute among family members. The bill died March 23 when the Florida Senate voted 21-18 against it.
The bill had passed the state house by a vote of 78-32. But nine Republican state senators worked together to defeat an amendment that would have allowed a narrower, perhaps passable, bill to come up in their chamber. Sen. Jim King of Jacksonville led these nine Republicans, who, according to the St. Petersburg Times “came together over fried chicken and salad” and decided to stick together and vote to effectively end Terri Schiavo’s life. “All I said is if any one of you is going to peel off, will you please let the rest of us know,” King told the Times. Sen. Mike Haridopolos, a Republican from Melbourne, Fla., who supported the bill, viewed it differently. “When we see the red lights on the [Senate voting score] board,” he told the Orlando Sentinel, “for the first time in my legislative life, we’ll know we voted to end a life.”