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 Schiavo: Republicans' true concern

The NewsE-mail submission:

On Sunday, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, the Republian congressional leaders, convened an emergency meeting of Congress to pass a bill that that interferes with the Terri Schiavo tragedy. And although in five years no other issue has prompted President Bush to return to Washington during a vacation—including the tsunami—Bush flew back from his ranch in Texas to sign it.[1]

Bush, Frist, and DeLay claim that they're acting out of concern for Ms. Schiavo. But a memo intended only for Republican Senators—uncovered by ABC News—reveals Republicans' true concern: "The pro-life base will be excited...this is a great political issue...this is a tough issue for Democrats."[2] This story also takes the heat off Tom DeLay, who is facing a number of serious ethics charges and legal scandals[3]...

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Americans can have different personal opinions about what should happen to Terri Schiavo—life is precious, and this case raises some important ethical questions. But we can all agree that that's what the courts are for: to make the call in difficult circumstances. That's why Congress' interference is such an ugly and shameful incident of political grandstanding. There's no legislative purpose here, just a blatant attempt to play politics with someone's life.

We need to tell the Republican leaders in Congress that this kind of pandering and demagoguery will not stand. Will you sign our urgent petition to Congress to tell them they must stop using one person's tragedy for their own political gain, and move on to the important business facing our country?

Sign now at:


Even many right-wing activists are concerned about Congress's interference in this case. GOP pollster Tony Fabrizi told the L.A. Times, "It becomes a more crystallized proof point that we are no longer the party of smaller government. We have become a party of 'It doesn't matter what size the government is as long as it is imposing our set of values.'"[4]

The New York Times talked to David Davenport of the Hoover Institute, a conservative research organization, who said, "When a case like this has been heard by 19 judges in six courts and it's been appealed to the Supreme Court three times, the process has worked even if it hasn't given the result that the social conservatives want. For Congress to step in really is a violation of federalism."[5]

Medical ethicists are also outraged at the armchair diagnoses of Republican doctors in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. As the Associated Press reported:
"It's disturbing that doctors who would never venture a comment about the health of anybody from a homemade video are sitting on the floor of Congress making declarations," said Art Caplan, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine. "My own impression, from a distance, is that they've subverted what they know to be good medicine for the aim of achieving a political goal."[6]

And reporters are now raising questions about a right-to-die law Bush signed as Texas governor, contradicting his position in the Schiavo case. Just last week, the law was applied for the first time, allowing doctors to remove a critically ill infant from life support against his mother's wishes. According to the Houston Chronicle, this marks the first time in American history that courts allowed a pediatric patient to die against the wishes of their parent.[7] As the Knight Ridder News service reports:
"The mother down in Texas must be reading the Schiavo case and scratching her head," said Dr. Howard Brody, the director of Michigan State University's Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences. "This does appear to be a contradiction." Brody said that, in taking up the Schiavo case, Bush and Congress had shattered a body of bioethics law and practice."[8]

It's time to speak up about this kind of political posturing, and ask Congress to get back to work. Can you sign our petition to Republican leaders in Congress to stop grandstanding on the Schiavo tragedy?

A large majority of the American public agree that Congress was wrong to interfere in the Schiavo case, and less than a quarter believe Congress acted out of real concern about Schiavo's life, according to an ABC poll.[9]

Let's tell Tom DeLay and Bill Frist to get back to business.

Together, we can restore some common sense to a Congress that's out of control.


--Eli Pariser and the whole MoveOn PAC Team
March 23rd, 2005


1. Schiavo case exposes political divide in U.S., Reuters AlertNet http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N21351168.htm
2. GOP Talking Points on Terri Schiavo, ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Schiavo/story?id=600937
3. DeLay Under Fire Over Ethics, Associated Press http://www.moveon.org/r?r=667&id=5254-5393190-16wY6vM6bJ3jBChjoZDarw
4. Some in GOP Fear Effort May Alienate Voters, L.A. Times http://www.moveon.org/r?r=668&id=5254-5393190-16wY6vM6bJ3jBChjoZDarw
5. G.O.P. Right Is Splintered on Schiavo Intervention, New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/23/politics/23repubs.html
6. Physicians in Congress criticized, Associated Press http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7263055/
7. Baby dies after hospital removes breathing tube, Houston Chronicle http://www.moveon.org/r?r=669&id=5254-5393190-16wY6vM6bJ3jBChjoZDarw
8. Law Bush signed prompts cries of hypocrisy, Knight Ridder Newspapers http://www.moveon.org/r?r=670&id=5254-5393190-16wY6vM6bJ3jBChjoZDarw
9. ABC News poll http://www.pollingreport.com/news.htm

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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"Schiavo: Republicans' true concern" | Login/Create an Account | 3 comments | Search Discussion
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Re: Schiavo: Republicans' true concern (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Friday, March 25 @ 04:46:09 EST
Can anyone be surprised? Just more spin and diversion from dealing with any real issue (like the peace marches last weekend).

Diagnose Me, Dr. Frist! (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Sunday, March 27 @ 05:59:02 EST
Take a digital picture or video of your medical problem – tennis elbow, acne, runny nose, hemorrhoids, or whatever ails you - and send it to the doctor in charge of the US Senate and your health care.

Everyone, take two minutes and upload your photos to Flickr.com. "Tag" the photo "Frist." If we get critical mass, we'll send everyone's photos to Dean Rosen, the good doctor's Health Care policy director!


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