Ben Carson's Terri Schiavo Comments Troubling, Pro-Lifers Say

Dr. Ben Carson
U.S. Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, October 9, 2015. |

Pro-lifers criticized Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's comment that the Congressional intervention during the Terri Schiavo case was "much ado about nothing."

The Washington Post reported Friday that a reporter asked the retired neuro-surgeon his thoughts about the infamous legal dispute between Schiavo's husband and her family over whether to continue her feeding tube.

"We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don't believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out," declared Carson.

"Your job [as a doctor] is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up."

Carson, who was speaking to the Republican Party Conference Friday in Orlando, Florida, offered his thoughts on the U.S. Congressional intervention, sounding more like a physician than politician:

"I don't think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing," said Carson.

In a Tuesday interview with the Christian Post, Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, said "Perhaps there is a disconnect when it comes to pro-life issues for Dr. Carson."

Schindler said Carson's remarks "were surprising and insensitive to our family's fight to keep Terry from being dehydrated and starved to death."

Schindler said the comments "play into the hands of the death culture mentality.

"His comments are troubling because he is a world renowned neuro-surgeon. What better person to have out there defending Terri than a man of Carson's stature."

Schindler extended an invitation to sit down with his family so they could "explain to him her case."

In 2005, after Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer ordered Schiavo's feeding tube removed, almost immediately the U.S. Congress passed the "Palm Sunday Compromise" effectively transferring Schiavo's case to the Federal Courts, where appeals from her parents and siblings to extend life were denied.

Terri's husband Michael Schiavo claims that he was following his wife's wishes by ending her life, although Schiavo had no will.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the D.C. based Christian Defense Coalition, called Carson's comments "insensitive" and "uncaring."

Rev. Mahoney who helped organize protests for Schiavo and went on a two week hunger strike over the case, slammed Carson:

"It is hard to imagine any more insensitive and uncaring language describing the tragic circumstances of Terri Schiavo's death than calling it 'much ado about nothing,'" said Rev. Mahoney.

"Dr. Carson, starving and dehydrating a young women to death before the eyes of her loving family and a watching world is not 'much ado about nothing.'

"President [George W.] Bush and [Florida] Governor [Jeb] Bush do not think it was 'much ado about nothing' and neither did the members of Congress who voted to have Terri's case reconsidered in federal court."

He added that he felt it is "deeply troubling" to "reconcile" Carson's support for right to life issues with his recent comments.

An autopsy report released in 2005 of Schiavo confirmed permanent brain damage consistent with her medical diagnosis but could not definitively confirm her mental state.

Former Republican Senator and current Presidential contender Rick Santorum, who played an instrumental role at the federal level to save Schiavo, took to Twitter Tuesday to respond to Carson.

"As the co-author of the law that required a fed court review, it was not 'much ado about nothing,'" wrote Santorum.

The former Pennsylvania senator has said in the past that if there is a dispute about ending life at the state level the federal government should intervene with a "review process."

It is unclear whether Carson's comments will have a negative impact among pro-life voters. Carson has been a popular speaker at Right to Life events for years and has compared the practice of abortion to slavery.

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