Santorum On Schiavo

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, supports saving the life of Terri Schiavo.

On Friday, Terri’s feeding tube will be removed if legislation does not pass in the U.S. Congress or the Florida legislature to prevent removal of the tube.

“We need to do something to stop this unconscionable act on the part of the Florida Court,” Santorum said. “Terri Schiavo is a daughter, a sister, and most importantly – a person. We cannot allow an innocent person to be put to death.”

Santorum is a cosponsor of legislation that guarantees legal protections for incapacitated persons, like Terri Schiavo. The Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act of 2005, authored by Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), balances the acknowledged right of a person to refuse consent to medical treatment with the right to consent to treatment to preserve life.

This bill would expand habeas corpus protections, under very limited circumstances to protect an incapacitated person’s right to a hearing before being removed from life saving equipment.

A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody.

Terri Schiavo is considered an incapacitated person and does not have the ability to offer consent or refusal of treatment to preserve her life. Therefore Terri’s parents are making the efforts on her behalf to prevent the removal of the feeding tube. This legislation would directly impact Terri’s case and prevent the tube from being removed.

“I thank my colleague Mel Martinez for introducing this legislation, and I am proud to join his effort to preserve the life of Terri Schiavo,” said Santorum. “We offer legal protections to convicted murderers. There should be no question about providing this same equal protection to someone with a disability, charged with no crime, who is at risk of dying a slow death due to starvation and dehydration.”

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