Rudy Giuliani Appears to Flip-Flop on Supporting Terri Schiavo’s Family

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Rudy Giuliani Appears to Flip-Flop on Supporting Terri Schiavo’s Family Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 7
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — Last month, leading Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani appeared to support the efforts members of Congress made two years ago to help Terri Schiavo’s parents fight for their daughter’s right to live. But, during last week’s presidential debate, it seems as if he changed his position.

During the April campaign stop, Giuliani told people in Florida that he supported the state government’s efforts to save Terri Schiavo’s life.

"I thought it was appropriate to make every effort to give her a chance to stay alive," he said.

Yet, in Thursday’s debate, Giuliani appeared to suggest that the controversy surrounding Terri’s right to life should have stayed in the courts.

"The family was in dispute. That’s what we have courts for. And the better place to decide that in a much more, I think in a much fairer and even in a deeper way, is in front of a court, " he said during the first Republican debate.

The courts ultimately allowed her former husband Michael to subject her to a painful 13-day starvation and dehydration death.

Giuliani campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy spoke with the Springfield Times newspaper on Friday, following the debate, and tried to clarify the ex-mayor’s views.

"Last night Mayor Giuliani said that ideally these types of difficult issues are best left up to families and when there are disputes, it is a matter for the courts to decide," he said.

"As he said in Florida in April, there are sometimes extraordinary circumstances where the intentions of the person in question are not clear," Bundy added. "The Schiavo case was one of those very special circumstances."

Also during the debate, Mitt Romney, who came under fire from Terri’s family for opposing Congressional efforts to protect her, said the state legislature was right to intervene but Congress should not have done so.

"In the case here, the courts decided what they thought was the right thing to do," he explained.

"And then I think Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature did the right thing by saying, ‘We’ve got a concern.’ They looked over the shoulder of the court. But I think the decision of Congress to get involved was a mistake," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Meanwhile, Arizona Sen, John McCain appeared to have changed his mind in some respects about Congress’ vote to allow Terri’s parents to take their case to federal courts.

He said lawmakers were moved by the pictures of Schiavo, but "in retrospect, we should have taken some more time, looked at it more carefully, and probably we acted too hastily."

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a leading pro-life advocate in Congress who worked closely with Terri’s family, said the federal government was right to help the Schindlers.