Mitt Romney Says Govt Shouldn’t Have Stopped Terri Schiavo’s Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Says Govt Shouldn’t Have Stopped Terri Schiavo’s Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 12
, 2007

Tampa, FL ( — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been trying to connect with pro-life advocates after changing his position on abortion just a couple years ago. However, his comments on the battle over Terri Schiavo will complicate his efforts to get support from the pro-life community.

This month is the two year anniversary of Terri’s death.

It was the result of a long and drawn out legal battle between her parents and family and her former husband, Michael Schiavo. He eventually won permission from the courts to subject Terri to a painful 13-day starvation and dehydration euthanasia death.

During the battle, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the state legislature intervened on behalf of the Schindler family and passed a bill allowing Bush to prevent Michael from killing Terri.

In comments yesterday to the Bay News 9 television station in a taped interview, Romney said he disagreed with that action.

"I think it’s probably best to leave these kinds of matters in the hands of the courts," Romney said.

"I generally think that it’s not a good idea for courts to legislate. Nor is it great idea for legislatures to adjudicate in a specific circumstance," the former Massachusetts governor added.

The comments seem to contrast with Romney’s concern for the treatment of Haleigh Poutre, a Massachusetts girl who was the victim of severe child abuse that temporarily put her in an incapacitated state.

After doctors gave up on her, Massachusetts officials tried to win court permission to euthanize her, though now she is responding and eating food on her own.

Last April, the Schindler family wrote a letter to Romney to push for a revision in state law after authorities nearly euthanized Poutre.

”Haleigh’s shocking story demonstrates that much more needs to be done to protect the sick and disabled from harm, including harm imposed by courts," they said in the letter.

After the Poutre case received national attention and the young girl began to respond, Romney put together an independent panel to look into the matter. It suggested changes for how the state handles such cases including more closely investigating requests to remove life support.

Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler told the Globe that this is the first case the foundation has gotten involved with to this extent.

”Basically we saw how the case was being handled, and we’re very concerned with some of the things that were happening in her case," he said.

”This kind of goes at what we’ve been saying: Doctors are oftentimes wrong with these diagnoses that they are making, and it becomes a death sentence for these people," he added.

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation –