Thursday, June 16, 2005

Political Post Mortem

Release of Terri Schiavo's autopsy results Wednesday -- confirming she was beyond any hope of recovery and portions of her brain were effectively dead -- has done little to change minds on Capitol Hill.

Congress jumped into the issue ordering a federal court review of state court decisions to remove Ms Schiavo's feeding tube.

One exception to the rule was Sen Mel Martinez (R-FL), quoted in USA Today as saying he no longer believes the federal government should have been involved in the case.

USA Today has an interesting graphic showing what politicians said during the heat of the political battle over Ms Schiavo's fate, and what they said after the autopsy results were released:

Sen Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN):

THEN: "That footage, to me, depicted something very different than persistent vegetative state." - on March 23, after reviewing a videotape of Schiavo

NOW: "He never made a diagnosis." - Amy Call, Frist's spokeswoman. The Senator said he looked forward to reading the autopsy report.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)

THEN: "She is as alive as you or I, and as such we have a moral obligation to protect and defend her." - in a March 18 statement to the news media

NOW: "Congressman DeLay's thoughts and prayers remain with the friends and family of Terri Schiavo." - Dan Allen, DeLay spokesman

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.

THEN: "Several of Terri's caregivers ... feel that, with proper therapy, she may even be able to learn to eat without a feeding tube." - in a March 16 column for National Review

NOW: "I've had second thoughts as to whether a federal review was the right way to go or not."

Rep DeLay also said in that March 18 statement:

“This act of barbarism [removing the feeding tube] can be, and must be, prevented.... Terri Schiavo is alive. She is not ‘barely alive.’ She is not ‘being kept alive.’"

The autopsy results pretty much refuted that claim, showing that she was in fact "being kept alive." Rep DeLay's only response to the autopsy results was his written statement. He refused to take or answer questions from the media. (USAToday)

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