WASHINGTON – Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback is embarking on a campaign trip with the brother of the late Terri Schiavo, whose fate touched off a political firestorm over government intervention and end-of-life issues.
The Kansas senator is less well-known than leading GOP candidates for president, but he is a favorite of anti-abortion conservatives who influence Iowa's nominating caucuses. Brownback is calling the tour "Pro-Life, Whole-Life."
Schiavo, who was in a permanent vegetative state since 1990, died in 2005 after her feeding tube was removed by court order.
Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, fought her husband, Michael Schiavo, to keep him from cutting off artificial feeding so she could die, in a battle that reached beyond the courts to Congress and the White House. Many conservatives, including several lawmakers, backed the Schindlers.
Recently, Brownback has criticized rivals Mitt Romney and Tom Tancredo over abortion, assailing Romney for switching from pro-abortion rights to anti-abortion rights and targeting Tancredo for taking money from donors who also support Planned Parenthood.
"I have been pro-life my whole life," Brownback said. "Those have been consistent messages for me. I think elections are about ideas and choices, and we're laying those out for people."