Ben Carson may be a pro-life Republican presidential candidate when it comes to the issue of abortions, but new comments the doctor made over the weekend about the Terri Schiavo case are causing concerns for pro-life voters.
Carson thinks the federal and state governments overreached when they attempted to protect Terri Schiavo from a painful 14-day starvation and dehydration death. Despite the best efforts of pro-life lawmakers in Congress and the Florida state legislature, where lawmakers approved pro-life laws to allow Terri’s family to take their case to federal courts and to allow then-Governor Jeb Bush to try to protect her, Terri’s estranged husband won a court order to euthanize her against her will.
The Washington Post reports that a local reporter caught up with Carson about the infamous case when he was in town in Florida for a speaking engagement. From the report:
“We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out,” he said. “Your job [as a doctor] is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.”
When the reporter asked whether Carson thought it was necessary for Congress to intervene, he said: “I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing.”
Carson’s comments are very upsetting to TerrI Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, who is now a pro-life advocate working directly with disabled patients and their families to protect them from having their right to life revoked as happened to Terri.
Schindler told LifeNews.com that pro-life voters supporting Carson’s campaign ought to re-think their support in light of his weekend comments and he called on Carson to apologize for belittling Terri’s right to life and subsequent euthanasia death.
“Dr. Ben Carson owes pro-life and medically vulnerable Americans an apology. Similarly, any pro-lifer supporting his campaign should take another look at the candidate’s values,” he said, adding that “Carson marginalized Terri Schiavo and other struggling and medically vulnerable patients.
“Terri Schiavo, who died on March 31, 2005 from starvation and dehydration, was brain injured but otherwise healthy woman who was not reliant on life support. Michael Schiavo, her estranged husband and guardian, had led a national court case to remove her feeding tube—a means of nourishment which millions of patients rely on every day—in order to end her life almost a decade after warehousing her in a nursing home and suspending rehabilitative care,” Schindler added.
“The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network condemns Dr. Ben Carson for these callous remarks that serve to marginalize an already underserved community of patients. Whether Dr. Carson understands that Terri Schiavo was not a terminal patient is unclear, but it is certainly clear that Dr. Carson’s advice to doctors “not to treat” brain injured patients is precisely the form of euthanasia that led to the suspension of Schiavo’s rehabilitation and ultimately her court-ordered death,” he continued.
Schindler told LifeNews: “Every pro-life advocate knows how hard it is to argue for the Constitutional right-to-life from natural birth to natural death. Terri was denied a natural death from men who shared Dr. Carson’s hopeless views on the value of a life in need of love and extensive rehabilitation.”
He added: “As both a Christian and a world renowned neurological surgeon,” Schindler continued, “Dr. Carson owes every pro-life advocate an apology. At best, he spoke from a perspective of personal prejudice and ignorance. At worst, he truly shares the perspective of so many euthanasia activists. Terri was denied the protections Congress attempted to afford her, which were the same due process rights that every death row prisoner in this country possesses. But for the brain injured, which include everyone from professional athletes to everyday Americans, their cases are often hopeless because of the attitudes Dr. Carson professes.”
“If we get a President Carson, conservatives won’t need to fear Obamacare’s so-called death panels,” continued Schindler, “because Dr. Carson would himself represent a one-man death panel, content to ration care and decide who deserves a chance at life based on a warped sense of the ethics of medicine and humane law.”
Tom Shakely, executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network pressed Carson hard and said, “Dr. Carson’s remarks raise serious questions about the moral character of his allegedly pro-life candidacy. Pro-lifers can’t afford any more part time believers.”
An email sent to Carson’s campaign has not received a response.