ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 24, 2012/Christian Newswire -- It is not insignificant that a question about the state sanctioned, court ordered death of Terri Schiavo by dehydration made it into the top tier questions at the Republican debate last night.
Although Terri Schiavo's death occurred in 2005, what happened to her takes place every single day in health care facilities across our nation. Indeed, the courts and pro-euthanasia movement exploited her situation to introduce our country to "Obamacare." Every candidate missed the opportunity to make this connection last night.
We are grateful and recognize the two candidates who attempted to defend Terri's right to life, although clarification of her condition is warranted as this debate continues.
Terri Schiavo was not dying, not in a coma, and not brain dead. Terri was not on a respirator, and she was not in vegetative state. Terri was a woman with a brain injury and simply needed to be fed through a feeding tube.
The elderly, persons with cognitive disabilities, and the medically vulnerable are having their medical rights denied every day and dying at the hands of hospital 'death panels' that are making decisions to withhold their food and water.
"These lives need to be defended and protected, and we applaud former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for recognizing the obvious by saying last night, 'We offer federal safeguards for condemned murderers - why not a helpless woman whose parents just want to care for her for the rest of her life?'" said Bobby Schindler, Co-Executive Director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and Terri's brother.
"We also applaud Senator Rick Santorum for standing by Terri and our family in 2005, calling for a judicial review and stating during last night's debate he 'would do it again,'" added Schindler.
According to the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, 20 million Americans - seven percent of the U.S. population - are affected by some type of brain injury.
Among them are hundreds of thousands of people with conditions similar to Terri's, including members of our military returning home from battle.
Now more than ever this country needs a president who respects life at every stage and is willing to protect the weakest among us.