Santorum's role in the Terri Schiavo case revisited

by Tom Gallagher

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Over at Congressional Quarterly Weekly, a magazine on government, commerce and politics, writer Alan K. Ota revisits GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 2005 impassioned involvement in the fate of Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old Florida woman who doctors said was in a permanently vegetative state because of a brain injury suffered in 1990. Schiavo's husband and her parents, who are Pennsylvania residents, were divided over whether to remove a feeding tube. Schiavo did not have a living will.

Ota describes how Santorum enthusiastically injected himself into the intimate medical decision-making of the Schiavo family and the doctors. Despite frantic, weeklong congressional machinations led by Santorum, a judge finally sided with Schiavo's husband, and her feeding tube was removed. She died a short time later.

According to G. Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, Santorum lost many independent voters in Pennsylvania during his 2006 re-election. Santorum got bounced from the U.S. Senate by getting handily beaten by Catholic Bob Casey.

Today on the campaign trail, Santorum is significantly downplaying his role in the Schiavo case.

One wonders how Santorum can possibly win the presidential election if he couldn't even win the important state of Pennsylvania as a U.S. senator.

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