Pro-Lifers to Challenge Obama’s Calling Saving Terri Schiavo a "Mistake"

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 30, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Lifers to Challenge Obama’s Calling Saving Terri Schiavo a "Mistake"

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 30
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Representatives of three Christian groups plan to take the message of the life and death of Terri Schiavo to the White House. They are hoping their stance at the gates will challenge President Barack Obama, who once said his biggest political "mistake" was voting to help save the disabled woman’s life.

The Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action and Generation Life will pray and leave a single rose on the public sidewalk in front of the White House tomorrow.

They’re doing so because it is the fifth anniversary of the euthanasia death of Terri Schiavo, where her husband won a court order to deprive her of food and water, the taking her life following a painful 13-day starvation and dehydration process.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the leaders who worked to save Terri’s life in Florida, talked about tomorrow’s event.

The participants will hold a news conference to discuss the legacy of Terri’s life and death and the impact it has on the current health care debate concerning end of life issues and the controversy over "death panels."

"Terri’s life had purpose, meaning and great value. It was tragic that she was brutally starved and dehydrated to death in full view of the America public. We are coming to the White House to honor her life and loudly say never again and pray this Administration embraces compassion for the disabled community," he told

"We also want to be a prophetic witness for justice and human rights to President Obama who considered it a ‘mistake’ to attempt and keep a young woman from being starved to death," Mahoney said.

During a February 2008 debate, Obama said his biggest mistake was voting with a unanimous Senate to help save Terri Schiavo.

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.

“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 that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better."

That wasn’t the first time Obama said the biggest mistake he made as senator was voting to help try to stop Terri from being euthanized.

During an April 2007 debate, Obama said, "I think professionally the biggest mistake that I made was when I first arrived in the Senate. There was a debate about Terri Schiavo, and a lot of us, including me, left the Senate with a bill that allowed Congress to intrude where it shouldn’t have.”

"And I think I should have stayed in the Senate and fought more for making sure [Terri’s parents couldn’t take their case to federal court to save her life]," he explained.

Brandi Swindell, the director of Generation Life, also commented on Wednesday’s event.

"As a nation, we must offer the most needy of our society compassion, dignity and justice. Regrettably, we forced Terri to die the most painful and barbaric of deaths," she said. "My hope is that we have learned valuable lessons from Terri’s death and how we treat the disabled. Those lessons must be founded on equality and human rights for all."

"I pray that President Obama reconsiders his unconscionable statement that helping Terri was a ‘mistake’ and works toward building a nation that values all human life," she continued.

Since Terri’s death, the Schindler family has established a foundation to help disabled and elderly patients obtain proper medical care and legal and other assistance when they are denied it.

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation –

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