John McCain Addresses Terri Schiavo Debate After Barack Obama’s Flip-Flop

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain Addresses Terri Schiavo Debate After Barack Obama’s Flip-Flop Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 12
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Presidential candidate John McCain addressed the debate over Terri Schiavo’s euthanasia death but added little to his position other than to call the ordeal "very sad." His comments are the first since Barack Obama came under intense criticism saying he regretted supporting a bill to help her family prevent her ex-husband from killing her.

McCain addressed the debate over the disabled woman during a campaign stop last week the corporate headquarters of Chick-fil-A restaurant.

In a brief news conference following the event, Baptist Press reports that McCain called the entire situation relating to Terri "very sad" and a "great American tragedy."

"It’s very sad when you see a situation such as this, it’s very sad," McCain explained.

"I think just by looking at the situation it was a terrible situation and one that probably the state should have handled in retrospect," he added, according to Baptist Press. "[I]t was a very sad, sad situation and moved all of us who are — and the plight of this situation moved every American."

Last month, Barack Obama said during a Democratic presidential debate that his biggest mistake was siding with a unanimous Senate to help save Terri Schiavo.

“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 was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better,” he added.

It was the second time Obama said he regretted supporting the bill to help the Schindler family top the painful starvation and dehydration death.

Terri Schiavo’s family and pro-life groups soundly condemned the statement.

"Everyone with a disability, or who knows someone with a disability, should be outraged that a potential US president would so callously reject his own action taken in favor of life over death," Terri’s father Robert Schindler told

"As a country, we should all be distressed that doing the right thing suddenly becomes a ‘mistake’ when one poll later showed it to be unpopular," Schindler said. "That isn’t leadership; it’s pandering to popular prejudices."

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.

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation –