The husband of Terri Schiavo says a television ad by the super PAC backing Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush that features an image of his deceased wife is "disgusting" and exploitive.
The ad from Right to Rise, which is running on TV stations in South Carolina, shows a brief image of Schiavo — the severely brain-damaged Florida woman who was at the center of a decades-long legal and political battle to remove her life support in the '90s and '00s — while a narrator describes Bush as "a man of deep faith, who fought time and again for the right to life."
"It is simply disgusting that Jeb Bush and his super PAC would exploit my wife's tragedy for his crude political gain," Michael Schiavo told BuzzFeed News. "Shame on Jeb Bush."
Michael Schiavo for years battled his wife's parents in court, arguing over their objections that Terri Schiavo would not want to be kept alive in her vegetative state. Bush, then governor of Florida, got involved in the case in the early 2000s to try to keep Terri Schiavo alive. The Florida legislature in 2003 passed "Terri's Law," which allowed him to order that Terri Schiavo continue to receive life support. After an extended legal battle, the law was later ruled unconstitutional, and in March 2005, Terri Schiavo was removed from life support.
Michael Schiavo said the case showed how Bush would govern if elected.
"Using his disgraceful intervention in our family's private trauma to advance his political career shows that he has learned nothing," Schiavo said. "He's proud of the fact that he used the machinery of government to keep a person alive through extraordinary artificial means — contrary to the orders of the court that were based on the courts determination, made over six years of litigation, that doing so would be against her wishes. What the campaign video shows is that if he ever got his hands on the power of government again, he would do the same thing again, maybe next time to your family."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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