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100 Percent of Senate Democrats Voted for Santorum Schiavo Bill

Original Article

I think Rick Santorum missed an opportunity in his answer about the bill he sponsored that sought to protect Terri Schiavo from being dehydrated to death. Yes, he was fine in defending his motives for pushing the law, which, as he said, sought an independent federal hearing into the case — which a federal judge later refused to hold. But he could have erased a lot of revisionist history by noting that the bill received unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate, meaning not one Democrat objected. Not then-senator Hillary Clinton. Not then-senator Barack Obama. Not Senator Harry Reid. Thus, to claim, as the question clearly implied, that the law was Republican or conservative is just false history. It was only after polls taken in the wake of her death showed that a majority of Americans opposed “Terri’s Law” that Terri Schiavo suddenly become the exclusive property of conservatives and the Republican party. As I wrote on my blog at the time:

I don’t recall Howard Dean opposing the bill at the time. But if Dean and Democrats try to revise history and claim that the law was exclusively a Republican venture, then they will be branding themselves cynics and demagogues, who, when the heat was on, meekly went along. But later, when some polls showed that the move was unpopular, they claim federal intervention was an attempt to impose theocracy. Talk about political cowardice and cynicism.

I also think Gingrich made an excellent point when he noted we offer federal safeguards for condemned murderers — why not a helpless woman whose parents just want to care for her for the rest of her life?

By the way, here’s an article Ron Paul wrote about the Schiavo law.

ADDENDUM: Not only did the bill receive unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate, but about 45 percent of the Democratic House caucus also voted for the law, which President Bush then signed. With the exception of post-9/11 measures, that makes the Schiavo law one of the most bipartisan passed during the entire Bush presidency.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.