In last night’s debate between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, MSNBC moderator Tim Russert asked both presidential candidates whether there was “any word or vote that you’d like to take back” in your “careers in public service.” Senator Obama cited his role in a unanimous decision by the U.S. Senate regarding the Terri Schiavo case. He said it was “a mistake” for the Congress “to interject itself into that decision-making process of the families” to settle her fate.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this issue today:
“So now we know that Obama thinks it was a mistake—the biggest mistake he’s ever made in public life—to allow Schiavo’s parents the right to petition a federal court over the withdrawal of food and medical services necessary to save her life. Never mind that the vote was merely procedural: it simply allowed the patient’s parents the right to ask for federal review, never guaranteeing a particular outcome. Moreover, the bill was case specific—it had no bearing on any case other than Schiavo’s, and it explicitly said that ‘nothing in this Act shall constitute a precedent with respect to future legislation.’ Yet Obama now says his vote ‘was not something I was comfortable with, but it was not something that I stood on the floor and stopped.’ How revealing.
“Just as important as what Obama said is what he didn’t say: He could have taken the opportunity to say that the biggest blunder of his career in public life was his vote to kill a bill in the Illinois legislature that would have provided medical care for infants who survive abortions. In 2003, while chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee of the Illinois Senate, he led the fight to oppose a bill that would have mandated health care for a baby who survived an abortion, and he did so even though the bill explicitly said it would not imperil Roe v. Wade.
“In conclusion, Senator Obama thinks it is none of the federal government’s business to allow doctors to intentionally starve a person to death, nor is it the law’s business to require doctors to attend to the health care of a fully born baby who has survived an abortion. All this from the Minister of Hope.”