Transcript: Michael Schiavo on 'Nightline'

And not only that, it's not just Floridians' rights that are at stake, but everyone in the country. There is a bill in the United States Congress, and this bill in the United States Congress would virtually let any family member bring a federal court habeas corpus proceeding, which would tie up a case like that for years in federal court, which would make it virtually impossible for anyone to remove artificial life support.

And I want to mention, too, for everyone listening out there, this bill, filed in federal court, does not pertain just to vegetative patients. It doesn't pertain just to removal of feeding tubes. It pertains to removal or refusal of any type of medical treatment.

BURY: Just for the sake of argument, if this Florida bill moves through the legislature and Governor Bush signs it as early as Friday, does that move the whole thing back into the courts?

SCHIAVO: Well, we'll have to see what, in fact, passes on Friday.

It may very well delay implementation of Terri's rights. We certainly hope that it will not. But it is beyond any doubt that the Florida Supreme Court will once again declare such a law unconstitutional.

BURY: Michael, did Terri, your wife, leave any kind of written instructions about her wishes?

SCHIAVO: She didn't leave any written instructions. She has verbally expressed her wishes to me and other people.

BURY: She had verbally expressed them in what context exactly?

SCHIAVO: Through watching some TV program, a conversation that happened regarding her uncle that was very ill.

BURY: And how long ago was that?

SCHIAVO: Oh, we're talking -- it's now been 15 years. We're talking a couple of year, three years before this happened to Terri.

BURY: So there's no kind of written record at all. It's basically your recollection and those of other family members.

SCHIAVO: Yes, it is.

FELOS: But, Chris …

BURY: Go ahead, George.

FELOS: You have to remember that statistics show that something around 20 [percent] to 30 percent of adult Americans have written living wills. And if you're going to try to restrict families and patients from making decisions to stop artificial life support because patient declarations were oral, then the vast majority of Americans are going to be prevented from making these types of decisions.

SCHIAVO: People make these comments all the time. They talk about this with their loved ones every day. People's feedings -- tube feedings -- are stopped across this country every day.

If my wife wasn't the celeb, as everybody is calling her now, there would be no discussion in the legislation right now.

My other -- are they going to start pushing legislation for removing ventilators? Are they going to start forcing people to take chemo against their wishes?

What they're doing is, they're making the decisions for us. That's what this country is coming down to. They're going to make the decisions for us.

BURY: In this …

SCHIAVO: Big Brother is going to do that.

BURY: Michael, in the heated rhetoric that's swirling around this case and has been for a number of years now -- all kinds of charges have been flying back and forth.

First of all, do you stand to benefit financially in any way from your wife's death?

SCHIAVO: There is no money. I will receive not a penny.

BURY: You did receive something of a malpractice settlement north of $1 million at one point, is that correct?

SCHIAVO: Yes.

FELOS: Well, no.

BURY: And what happened to that?

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