by Steven Ertelt
February 26, 2008
Cleveland, OH (LifeNews.com) -- Senator Barack Obama debated his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night and said his biggest mistake was voting with a unanimous Senate to help save Terri Schiavo. Terri is the disabled Florida woman whose husband won the legal right to starve her to death.
In March 2005, just weeks before Terri died from a painful 14-day starvation and dehydration death, Congress approved legislation allowing her family to take its case from state courts to federal courts in an effort to stop the euthanasia from proceeding.
Terri was not on any artificial breathing apparatus and only required a feeding tube to eat and drink. Her family had filed a lawsuit against her former husband to allow them to care for her and give her proper medical and rehabilitative care.
The Senate unanimously approved a compromise bill, which the House eventually supported on a lopsided bipartisan vote and President Bush signed, to help the disabled woman.
During the Tuesday debate, Obama said he should have stood up against the life-saving legislation.
"It wasn't something I was comfortable with, but it was not something that I stood on the floor and stopped," Obama said.
"And I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better," he added.
This isn't the first time Obama has said the biggest mistake he made as senator was voting to help try to stop Terri from being euthanized.
During an April 2007 debate, Obama said, "I think professionally the biggest mistake that I made was when I first arrived in the Senate. There was a debate about Terri Schiavo, and a lot of us, including me, left the Senate with a bill that allowed Congress to intrude where it shouldn't have."
"And I think I should have stayed in the Senate and fought more for making sure [Terri's parents couldn't take their case to federal court to save her life]," he explained.
Since Terri's death, the Schindler family has established a foundation to help disabled and elderly patients obtain proper medical care and legal and other assistance when they are denied it.Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation - http://www.terrisfight.org