Florida Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Involvement in Terri Schiavo Battle

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Involvement in Terri Schiavo Battle Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 21, 2006

West Palm Beach, FL (LifeNews.com) — During a primary debate between the Republican candidates for governor in Florida, General Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher debated the merits of intervening in the legal battle over Terri Schiavo. Crist said he would not have taken part in it.

While Terri’s parents fought her former husband Michael over his efforts to euthanize her, state lawmakers approved Terri’s law, a legislative measure that enabled Gov. Jeb Bush to ask doctors not to remove her feeding tube and kill her.

Crist said Thursday that he wouldn’t have intervened, according to an AP report.

"There are some decisions that ought to be left to God and family," Crist said. "Had I been governor, I would have not done the same thing."

Gallagher did not comment as directly but pointed out the importance of having a living will to express medical treatment wishes beforehand, AP reported.

"These kinds of end-of-life matters do not belong in government," Gallagher said. "But when these kinds of situations come in front of me, I would always err on the side of life. I think that’s what you must do when you don’t know anything else."

In March 2005, Gallagher addressed a pro-life rally for Terri — just two weeks before her death.

"Our creator has given us life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and only he has the power to take it away," Gallagher said.

Meanwhile, in October 2003, Crist refused to intervene in the legal battle after Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, filed a lawsuit saying Florida’s Health Care Advance Directives law was unconstitutional.

"We do believe the statute is in fact constitutional without giving commentary as to the merit to the Schiavo case itself," Crist said of the law allowing patients to refuse lifesaving medical treatment.

A judge had wanted Crist to testify at a hearing and represent the state’s interests.

Crist wrote a 19-page memo saying he was not siding with Michael Schiavo in the lawsuit. "The attorney general takes no position on the merits of the action or on what should be done in this tragic case," he said.

"I kind of expected he would walk the fence,” Bob Schindler told a Tampa newspaper of Crist’s assertion that he is not taking sides.

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation – https://www.terrisfight.org