Fred Thompson: Backs Terri Schiavo’s Parents, Court Should Favor Life

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 18, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fred Thompson: Backs Terri Schiavo’s Parents, Courts Should Favor Life Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 18,

Washington, DC ( — Fred Thompson set forth a more clear picture of his views on assisted suicide and euthanasia in a Sunday interview on ABC News. He said he would have supported Terri Schiavo’s parents in their efforts to prevent their daughter’s euthanasia death and he said courts should err on the side of life.

Thompson said the motives behind the actions Terri’s former husband took to subject her to a 13-day starvation and dehydration death were "suspect" and he said he would have backed the Schindlers’ efforts to save her life.

"From what I know about the facts, or recall about it, I would side with the parents in, you know, keeping that child alive," Thompson said.

"Based on the notion that I can’t imagine a parent or a spouse or a doctor deciding anything — if there’s any question that this person might live," he added.

His comments are a more pro-life presentation of his end-of-life views and could help him regain his footing with pro-life voters upset by earlier statements.

In an interview with "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the former Tennessee senator said that both courts and families should seek the protection of human life if there is any chance a patient might live.

Thompson said courts should only come into play if families can’t come to an agreement about the care of a patient who can’t make their own medical decisions.

"People have a right to make the laws in their own state to resolve these issues if families can’t get together," he said. "If doctors and families can’t stand at that bedside and make a decision, which, as I say, I hope would be always in favor of life if there is a chance for life — if there is a chance for life. And if that can’t be resolved, then it should go to the state court mechanism."

Thompson, an attorney and well-known actor, restated his opposition to a bill in Congress to allow the Schindler family to take their case to federal courts.

But, he said he supported actions in the state legislature to make sure that patients like Terri receive food and water as well as appropriate medical care.

"If the families can’t get together, the first recourse needs to be the state government," he said.

"Congress took an extra step, said, ‘We want you to have a federal hearing also.’ The federal court, as I recall, came to the same conclusion the state court did. The point is, it is a family matter — ought to be a family matter," he added.