This comes after the US Congress approved it, voting 203-58 after a three-hour debate.

The law means Mrs Schiavo’s feeding tube could be reattached following a hearing by a federal district judge.

Terri Schiavo, 41, has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, after her heart stopped beating temporarily in 1990.

The Senate unanimously passed the same measure late on Sunday.

“Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life,” said Mr Bush in a statement.

“In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favour of life,” he said.

Mrs Schiavo’s husband Michael, who is her legal guardian, has been petitioning to let her die by removing her feeding tube, saying she had in the past indicated that to be her wish.

The tube was removed on Friday after a long-running legal battle.

However her parents and siblings have campaigned strongly for seven years for her right to live, saying she is still able to live a fulfilling life.

“We are hopeful that the federal courts will follow the will of Congress and save my sister’s life,” said Mrs Schiavo’s sister Suzanne Vitadamo immediately after the vote, according to CNN.

Mr Bush had returned early to Washington DC from his Texas ranch to deal with the matter.

While it was accepted that the legislation would be approved, the case reignited debate over issues including the sanctity of life, states rights and the delineation of constitutional powers.

“The legal issues, I grant everyone, are complicated, but the moral ones are not,” said House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

“Terri Schiavo is not brain-dead, she talks and she laughs and she expresses happiness and discomfort.”

The feeding tube has been removed twice in the past, but both times campaigners successfully launched moves to have it replaced.

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