Monday, July 21, 2014

Abortion Story


I Used to Be Pro-Choice, Pro-Choice to the Core, Then I Had an Abortion

by Star Tucker  

Every morning, the faithfulness of the sun touches our eyelids. Unfortunately, the faithfulness of the alarm clock also reaches our ears. We slowly rise from the pillow, sneak out from under the sheets, and begin the tasks for that day. For most people, there is a passion that gives us the encouragement to live each day. It might be a job, a child, a spouse, a religion. 
My passion is being pro-life. It drives and it motivates me. I find joy in being the voice for the unborn every day, even if it’s just in the smallest ways. There was a time in my life when you couldn’t have paid me a million dollars to truthfully and passionately say the statement above. I used to be pro-choice. Pro-choice to my very core and then everything changed…

I had an abortion.

From that moment, my life has never been the same. I instantly realized that I lost something very special to me, my child. I instantly knew that I never wished this pain upon anyone.
startuckerI’ll never forget the moment that I realized I was pregnant. I had morning sickness and deep down I knew it wasn’t just a hangover. The positive pregnancy test was just confirmation of my terrifying reality. My college applications were submitted, and I was anxiously awaiting acceptance letters. I worked incredibly hard incommunity college to get into my dream school, and a positive pregnancy test seemed to rob me of my efforts. The youth director at my church recently gave birth to her first child. When she found out that she was pregnant, she said, “Being a mother is a dream come true. It was everything that I wanted in life, but when I found out that I was pregnant, I’ve never been more scared in my life.” I felt that same fear when I discovered that I was pregnant, but being a single mother wasn’t anything close to my dreams. My fear blinded me from considering other options, but I never knew that this option of getting an abortion would bring so much pain.  

The abortion procedure was mildly painful, but emotionally mortal. The voice of the abortionist telling me to relax, the touch of the assistant holding my hand, and the abortion counselor “guiding” me through the process. After the procedure, I went to lunch with the friend that accompanied me then, she took me home. I was lifeless. I remained in the comfort of my bed for the remainder of the day. In that moment, there was no reason to get out of bed. No desire. No motivation. Nothing. I used to get angry when thinking about that day, but, now it’s just a reminder as to why I’m pro-life. If the choice of abortion was truly the best choice for me, then why did everything feel so wrong?
My abortion became my deep dark secret. Carrying the burden certainly wasn’t easy. I felt as though I had a sickness and if I were to say, “I’m sick and I need to be healed,” then I’d quickly be reinforced that I made the right choice. My moral intuition and the emptiness in my heart told me that my decision was wrong.

I continued to suppress the hurt. Rather than seeking a “doctor,” I used vices of this world to sooth the great pain. At that time, I couldn’t label myself as pro-life even though I wanted to. Wouldn’t that just make me a hypocrite? After all, the difference between pro-life and prochoice was like butter and margarine. Was there really that big of a difference? The label didn’t necessarily matter to me, but I knew that I would never support a friend in getting an abortion. I can recall times when friends would joke about abortion. Saying if they ever found themselves pregnant they would have an abortion, and inside I’d say, “I’d never let you do that!” It wasn’t a joking matter for me. How could it be? It was the biggest mistake I have ever made. 

I struggled to make the connection from my head to my heart as to why my abortion was wrong. The turning point for me was seeing an ultrasound of my niece. The image was projected on the wall, and I watched her dance in the womb as soft music played. As the ultrasound focused on her heart, the music was replaced with the sound of her healthy heartbeat. My world stopped. The sound of her heartbeat was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. I cried in sorrow and regret. It was at that moment that I understood that life in the womb is, in fact, life!

I eventually met “a doctor” to heal my pain. I had no desire to meet him. It happened more by accident. I casually heard his name a few times, and quite frankly, I didn’t like him. He seemed bossy, but he does have great birthday celebrations! His name, Jesus Christ. I unexpectedly fell in love with Him at the altar. My abortion made me pro-life, and the love of Christ has healed me. 
For so many years, I shamed myself for the mistakes. I viewed myself as unworthy and undeserving, and everything in my life showed that I was constantly settling for less. Although my sin was large, Jesus was still longing for me. He desired me and patiently waited for me so that He could comfort me. He has poured tremendous amounts of grace and mercy into my life. Although the journey has been difficult, I have opened myself up to Him and allowed Him to work within my life, and make me the woman that He has created me to be. A woman made in His image and likeness. 
God has been so faithful in this healing process. An underserved gift is the community of women I have met that are also healing from their abortions. I often reflect on the fact that I’ve never heard a mother say, “I wish I had an abortion.” Nut I know countless women that have said, “I regret my abortion.” Unfortunately, I’m not the only woman that has been hurt by abortion. 

Throughout this journey, I have heard every justification for my abortion and it’s insulting. “It’s your body, your choice.” No, it was the body of my child. “I would’ve done the same thing if I were in your shoes.” Thanks, you just took the knife and twisted it. “You weren’t ready to be a mother.” Who are you to determine if I’m capable of handling motherhood? “You have reproductive rights.” So did my child. “It’s not a life.” Yes, it is. What I’m getting at is that there is not a justification for abortion. Tim Scheidler, a great friend said, “It’s not the little babies that we need to worry about. They are happy in heaven. It’s the mommas’ that we need to worry about.” When you meet a woman who is hurting from her abortion, do not feed her an ignorant justification. Comfort her, and love her. She is mourning the loss of her child. 

Abby Johnson, pro-life advocate and former Planned Parenthood director, said, “Telling a woman that abortion is the “empowering” response to a crisis pregnancy is really telling her that she is not strong enough to handle motherhood. What a terrible and unrealistic way to view women.” I might have been strong enough to handle motherhood. I certainly wasn’t strong enough to handle the abortion. 
In January, I attended March for Life in Washington, D.C. It was a blessing to take part of this courageous, chilling, and powerful event. Considering my past, I never imagined that I’d be in a crowd of 10,000 people praying for an end to abortion. March for Life is more than an annual event in Washington, D.C. It is my life. It’s the reason why I wake up every morning. All for God’s glory, I will continue to march every day of my life to bring truth to the harms of abortion and prevent women from repeating my biggest mistake. I want to be the voice that I didn’t hear, the voice that says, “I know that you’re scared, and I promise that there is a better option.” I will continue to share the truth of life in the womb. By God’s grace, I will be an example to all women and men (yes, men too) who are suffering an abortion that healing is part of God’s plan. 
Photo: The woman in the picture is my best friend, my little sister. She found herself in an unplanned pregnancy while completing her junior year of college. Although the timing was not ideal for her, she carried out her pregnancy while earning a 4.0 GPA. She gave birth two weeks ago to a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  

P.S. You are enough.
LifeNews Note: Star Tucker writes for Made in His Image, a group “to foster hope and healing for women suffering from eating disorders and or abuse and to empower them to turn from victim to survivor. “

Source: LifeSite News

Legislation


 

Debunking the myth that “Women’s Health Protection Act” would merely “codify” Roe v. Wade



By Dave Andrusko
"3801 LANCASTER: America Tragedy,” a 45-minute-long documentary sequel to “3801 Lancaster," which pulled back the curtain on Kermit Gosnell's "House of Horrors."
“3801 LANCASTER: America Tragedy,” a 45-minute-long documentary sequel to “3801 Lancaster,” which pulled back the curtain on Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” 

On Tuesday NRL News Today posted “Five Takeaways from NRLC President Carol Tobias’ Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.” We offered it to complement Mrs. Tobias full testimony and a shortened version of her very fine remarks.
As we noted at the end, the five takeaways could have been 10 or 15. Why? Because Mrs. Tobias succinctly addressed a whole litany of illusory and outright phony assurances from the sponsors of the “Women’s Health Protection Act” [S.1696], which Tobias observed would be more accurately described as the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.”
A pro-abortion post that ran yesterday but which I first saw today gives us the opportunity to talk about another insight that Mrs. Tobias offered into the disingenuous tactics of the sponsors of S. 1696. The writer asserts that Tobias “mischaracterize[ed] both the bill’s intent and its contents.”
How so? “Certain restrictions could remain in place, and states would still be able to restrict abortion after fetal viability, as long as there are exceptions for rape, incest, and the life or health of the pregnant woman.”

(Ever since Day One, we’ve been assured that whatever pro-abortion initiative is coming down the pike it’s modest, at most merely “codifying Roe v. Wade.” This is dishonesty on a massive scale, but when you are attempting to mask how breathtakingly radical is your agenda, I suppose what choice do you have?)

Had the author of that post read Mrs. Tobias’ entire testimony, she obviously would still not have conceded that S. 1696 will (and is intended) to level virtually every protective law. But, perhaps, in her heart of hearts she would’ve had to admit that the explanation why this is so is airtight.
What about the assertion that certain “restrictions [on abortion] could remain in place”? As Tobias told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The bill would subject any law or government policy that affects the practice of abortion, even indirectly, to an array of sweeping legal tests, designed to guarantee that almost none will survive. The general rule would be that any law that specifically regulates abortion would be presumptively invalid. The same would be true of any law that is not abortion-specific but has the effect or claimed effect of reducing access to abortion.”

What are the odds any “restriction” could successfully run that gauntlet? Slim and none.
What about restricting abortions after viability? Again to quote Mrs. Tobias
“The bill contains a cosmetic provision that is intended to fool the uninitiated or inattentive into believing that it allows substantial limitations after ‘viability,’ but this is entirely illusory. Even after ‘viability,’ which would be defined and determined solely by the abortion

practitioner
, the bill prohibits any limitation on abortion that the abortionist believes is required to enhance ‘health,’ a term that the bill leaves entirely unconstrained, and that the states would therefore be powerless to narrow. We note that when a reporter pressed you, Mr. Chairman [Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct.], to say whether the bill is in fact intended to allow abortions after viability based on ‘psychological’ as well as physical health factors, your response was, ‘It doesn’t distinguish.’”
 
You’d expect pro-abortionists to pretend that a bill that would wipe out virtually any and all protections for the unborn and for those who refuse to participate in their extermination is modest, modest, modest.

But pro-abortionists are no less keenly sensitive to their connection to abortionist Kermit Gosnell. As NRL News Today readers know, Gosnell is in prison, having been convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
His West Philadelphia “House of Horrors” abortion clinic is a particular sore point to an industry that likes to pretend he is a “rogue” and an “outlier.”
Thus, the author of that same post complains that “NRLC President Carol Tobias invoked the horrific case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell to suggest that abortion needs to be more strictly regulated.”
Well….yes! That’s exactly what Gosnell’s reign of terror suggests—and more. There were modest (there’s that word again) regulatory requirements on the books in Pennsylvania. But health authorities from the city of Philadelphia all the way up the Pennsylvania State Board of Health took a pass for 16 years. Why? Many reasons, but three in particular
  • Because the women Gosnell aborted were almost all poor women of color, desperate women many of whom (one employee guessed as many as 40%) were at least 24 weeks along.
  • Because the Abortion Establishment simply averted its gaze. The National Abortion Federation came in for an inspection when Gosnell asked to join NAF. Its investigator found his Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic “beyond redemption.” NAF turned down his membership request but told no one in authority. And
  • Because pro-abortionists were in charge of state government for much of the time and they had a different agenda than protecting women. As the Grand Jury explained
[T]he Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety. Without regular inspections, providers like Gosnell continue to operate; unlawful and dangerous third-trimester abortions go undetected; and many women, especially poor women, suffer.”
The bedtime story that pro-abortionists tell themselves is that Gosnell is practically unique and therefore inspections are a waste of time. In truth, he is not one-of-a-kind, as we (and many other pro-lifers) have pointed out in many, many stories.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joseph A. Slobodzian did the best reporting I read on the Gosnell murder trial. Here is what he said in a forthcoming 45-minute-long documentary sequel to “3801 Lancaster.”
“I have no doubt that there are people out there doing late term abortions and probably doing what he [Kermit Gosnell] was doing. The issue is whether someone will say something and they’ll be caught at some point.”

Source: NRLC News

Crime


 

Kansas man charged with 1st degree murder for causing the abortion of girlfriend’s baby



By Dave Andrusko
Scott Bollig
Scott Bollig
Last Friday, following a two-day preliminary hearing at Trego County District Court, District Judge Glen Braun determined there was enough evidence to go ahead with the case against Scott Bollig. He will be tried on one count of first degree murder and one count of aggravated battery in the death of Naomi Abbott’s unborn baby last January.
According to Kari Blurton of the Hays Post, the Kansas man “is accused of crushing and sprinkling an abortion-inducing drug, mifepristone, on pancakes Abbott ingested.”
The baby died January 31. Bollig, 30, was charged February 20. His arraignment is scheduled for September.
Bollig told police that he gave Abbott the drugs hoping she would have an abortion. However Bollig’s
defense attorney
challenged the admissibility of the confession. Judge Braun ruled that the prosecution would be allowed to use the confession as evidence. Hays pathologist Dr. Lyle Noordhoek performed the autopsy on the baby and was Friday’s only witness. He testified that the gestational age to be 8-10 weeks and that the baby was developing normally, “which led me to believe some sort of process was interfering with the loss of oxygenation” to the placenta leading to the placenta to begin detaching from the uterine wall.
Noordhoek “said he determined the cause of death was consistent with what would happen if a pregnant women was given mifepristone,” Blurton reported.

Defense attorney Dan Walter tried to offer an alternative explanation for the baby’s death, Blurton noted. “Upon questioning from defense attorney Dan Walter, Noordhoek said the symptoms could have also been caused by a woman who is overweight, taking antidepressants or birth control pills at time of pregnancy, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or has suffered a blunt force trauma.”

Source: NRLC News

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dads


 

First-time dad learns “Technology can never replace love”



By Dave Andrusko
TechnologylovereIt’s been a long, looong time since I was a first-time dad trying frantically to figure out what to do (in the absence of my wife) when our newborn daughter would cry, seemingly inconsolable.
This afternoon, thanks to pro-life blogger Chelsea Zimmerman, I was vividly reminded of the rush of emotions lo those many years ago. She linked to a video whose closing line for the two-minute long video is “Technology can never replace love.”

Some of our NRL News Today readers may recall the unlikely source of some remarkably pro-life/life affirming videos. It is the Thai branch of the Japanese lingerie company, Wacoal, not necessarily the first place you’d think of as a source of such incredibly powerful stories.
We’ve previously written about two of their “Beautiful Woman” series at nrlc.cc/1njHj8c; and nrlc.cc/1njHwbF. [1] The video I watched today could be described as “In the midst of panic, a Beautiful Discovery.”
First shot: a little baby is crying her lungs out and a young dad leaps from his chair (where he was probably sleeping) and races to the crib. What to do? What else? Uses his smart phone to call mom, who is shopping.

What should I do, he asks, she won’t stop crying? Maybe she’s hungry. In a hilarious moment, he takes a quick look down, realizes he isn’t carrying the necessary equipment (so to speak). What else? Well, use the phone to show her the dancing penguins. Nope, no dice, she cries louder.

Okay, put the phone in front of her face and she can look at mom. Mom talks to her, makes funny faces, plays peek-a-boo, but the little one isn’t fooled.
He is big trouble. What to do?

A slight pause and you can almost visualize the light bulb going on. Maybe….I….could…actually….hold…her…myself.
He puts the phone down, screws up his courage (“Man, I hope I don’t drop her”), and ever so gently begins to lift his daughter from her crib. The crying subsides.
He looks closely into her face. She is looking into his (“Hey, dad, we’ve never been this close before”).

The mom watches this tender moment on her phone. She looks around discretely and wipes away a tear.
Ever so gradually he brings his daughter closer and closer to his chest, and, just perhaps, his heart.
The final shot? Her little left hand touches the right side of her dad’s face. He (like the rest of us) is close to tears.

Indeed, Technology can never replace love.
[1] Allie Healy, writing at Bustle.com, explained the “Beautiful women” series this way. “The three videos, each about seven minutes in length, tell the story of three different women and the secret sacrifices they made throughout her lives. They are powerful stories, based on actual events, of women taking unlikely paths to overcome obstacles and defy society’s standards. In Thai with English subtitles, each is narrated by a man who tells the story of a woman who affected his life and made him find beauty in surprising

Source: NRLC News

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rationing


 

Obamacare Opens Door to Death Panel App


By Wesley J. Smith
DeathPanelAppObamacare’s emphasis on cost-benefit has apparently granted permission for the medical technocrats to conjure all kinds of
healthcare
rationing schemes. And the Medical Establishment is apparently playing along. From, “The Cancer Death-Panel App,” by Robert Goldberg in the NY Post:
“The latest innovation in cancer care isn’t a medical breakthrough but an app to ration new drugs. It’ll measure care in terms of what it costs health plans, instead of what it means for patients’ lives. That it’s being developed under the auspices of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, the world’s leading oncology association, is a grim warning about the state of organized medicine.
“The app will use an algorithm like those many health plans apply to limit access to innovative treatments. Wellpoint Inc., for one, measures cost-effectiveness by comparing the benefits, side effects and costs of various treatments for specific types of cancer. The ASCO app uses the same benchmarks.”
So, it is the end of treating patients as individuals, as we expand healthcare into areas that don’t treat illness but expensively enable desired lifestyles.
We are all just cattle now. Mooo.
Read the entire column. It is very sobering.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s blog.

Source: NRLC News

Legislation


 

Why defeating S.2578 is vitally important to pro-lifers



By Dave Andrusko
US Supreme CourtIt took less than a nanosecond for pro-abortion Senate Democrats and their legion of media allies to thoroughly distort what took place yesterday on what sponsors euphemistically labeled the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act” (S. 2578).
National Right to Life cut through the fog this morning with a post that explained the significance of what happened when S. 2578 failed to receive the 60 votes needed to “invoke cloture” for the Senate to take up the bill–and why that was so important for single-issue pro-lifers.

It wasn’t at all surprising that proponents took square aim at religious freedom and conscience rights. As NRLC President Carol Tobias explained in testimony on another bill on Tuesday, what is properly called “conscience protection” is to pro-abortion advocacy groups nothing more than “refusal clauses.” Their contempt for the right of conscience is broad and deep, and they are angry that by allowing medical providers to refuse to collaborate in the killing of innocent members of the human family, it might reduce access to abortion.


Beyond respect for conscience rights, why is S. 2578 so important to National Right to Life? It involves something that NRLC warned about from the very beginning debates over the potential reach of ObamaCare.

At issue in last month’s Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was that HHS mandated coverage of contraceptives as a “preventative service.”
What if in the future, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) chooses to add the abortion pill RU-486, or even elective abortion, including late abortions, to the list of mandated “preventive services”? One possible bulwark would be what the Supreme Court discussed extensively in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act” (RFRA) enacted by Congress in 1993.

S. 2578 not only singles out RFRA, it would also override “any other provision of Federal law” that protects rights of conscience regarding health coverage mandates. Among the federal provisions that could be superseded by S. 2578 is the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004 which protects health care providers who refuse to provide, pay for, provide coverage or, or refer for abortion.

(And, note, there would be nothing to prevent HHS from requiring coverage for, say, doctor-prescribed suicide, or anything else it chooses to classify as “preventive services.”)
Supporters argue S. 2578 was/is a necessary response to last month’s Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. At the time National Right to Life explained that while the 5-4 decision provided a modest victory for religious conscience rights, the ruling did not truly correct any of the major abortion-expanding problems created by Obamacare. (See “Narrow Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby underscores deeper abortion-expanding aspects of Obamacare”)

That includes not only the aforementioned overly expansive authority that the Obamacare law itself provides to HHS to define “preventive services,” but also the major abortion-expanding provisions of Obamacare, including the massive tax subsidies that will assist millions of Americans to purchase health plans that cover elective abortion. Those were not even issues in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
Let me end with a necessary reform, as explained by NRLC this morning:

“Only comprehensive legislative reform can cure the multiple abortion-expanding components of Obamacare – and such reform can only be accomplished with new leadership in the U.S. Senate and in the White House.
“There is currently legislation in the Congress – the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (S. 1204 and H.R. 940) – that provides badly needed conscience protections for Americans who face an increasingly frequent use of coercive means – governmental and other – to compel participation in providing abortion and other procedures regardless of religious and moral objections. The bill would amend Obamacare to prevent the imposition of regulatory mandates that violate the religious or moral convictions of those who purchase or provide health insurance. The bill would also prevent any level of government from discriminating against health care providers, including doctors,
nurses
, hospitals, and insurers, who decline to participate in abortions. In addition, it would empower victims to seek relief in court for violations of the federal conscience laws.”Source: NRLC News

Conscience Laws/Rights


U.S. Senate Democrats Take Aim at Conscience Protections



Bill would override longstanding conscience rights provisions on abortion

2013-nrlc-logoWASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democrats yesterday sought to advance the so-called “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act” (S. 2578), a sweeping bill that, if enacted, would further empower the Obama Administration to mandate coverage of the abortion pill RU-486, surgical abortion (including late abortions), or anything else it chooses to classify as “preventive services,” overriding all existing federal laws that protect religious freedom and conscience rights. The bill, sponsored Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), failed to receive the 60 votes needed to “invoke cloture” for the Senate to take up the bill.

“All Americans should rightly be concerned that every Senate Democrat supported a bill to trample on our rights of conscience,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “This bill would roll back federal conscience protections and further empower the Obama Administration to mandate coverage of the abortion pill RU-486, elective abortion, and even late abortions.”
While the bill singles out the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act” (RFRA) enacted by Congress in 1993, it would also override “any other provision of Federal law” that protects rights of conscience regarding health coverage mandates. This means that if, in the future, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) chose to add the abortion pill RU-486, or even elective abortion, including late abortions, to the list of mandated “preventive services,” those who object to providing or purchasing such coverage would have no recourse under the RFRA or “any other provision of Federal law.”

Among the federal provisions that could be superseded by S. 2578 is the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2004. The Hyde-Weldon Amendment provides that no federal, state, or local government agency or
program
that receives federal health and human services funds may discriminate against a health care provider because the provider refuses to provide, pay for, provide coverage or, or refer for abortion. “Never has there been such a blatant and willful attack on rights of conscience,” Tobias said. “That Senate Democrats would seek to restrict our rights of conscience and roll back existing protections is outrageous.”

The bill is cast as a response to last month’s narrow Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. However, the Court’s decision, with respect only to the “preventive services” component of Obamacare, comes nowhere near to correcting the heart of the problem, which is the overly expansive authority that the Obamacare law itself provides to HHS to define “preventive services.” The other major abortion-expanding provisions of Obamacare, including the massive tax subsidies that will assist millions of Americans to purchase health plans that cover elective abortion, were not even issues in the cases just decided.

Only comprehensive legislative reform can cure the multiple abortion-expanding components of Obamacare – and such reform can only be accomplished with new leadership in the U.S. Senate and in the White House.

There is currently legislation in the Congress – the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (S. 1204 and H.R. 940) – that provides badly needed conscience protections for Americans who face an increasingly frequent use of coercive means – governmental and other – to compel participation in providing abortion and other procedures regardless of religious and moral objections. The bill would amend Obamacare to prevent the imposition of regulatory mandates that violate the religious or moral convictions of those who purchase or provide health insurance. The bill would also prevent any level of government from discriminating against health care providers, including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and insurers, who decline to participate in abortions. In addition, it would empower victims to seek relief in court for violations of the federal conscience laws.
For further information on the Health Care Conscience Rights Act and Hyde-Weldon Amendment, see here.

During the congressional debate over Obamacare, National Right to Life continuously warned against the abortion-expanding provisions of the bill. An archive of documents related to the abortion-expanding provisions of Obamacare, is available here.

Source: NRLC News

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Euthanasia


 

Belgium’s “Dr. Death” offers tour of Auschwitz



By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Wim Distelmans
Wim Distelmans
An article in the July 12 Daily Mail (UK) reported on a disturbing decision by euthanasia activist, Dr. Wim Distelmans, to offer a tour of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, a tour that he calls “inspiring.” Distelmans is charging around 600 euro for a tour of the gas chambers and a seminar on the issues surrounding euthanasia.
Distelmans, who operates a euthanasia clinic in Belgium, is known for his involvement in controversial euthanasia deaths including: depressed women, twins who feared becoming blind, a woman with Anorexia Nervosa who was psychologically suffering after being sexually exploited, and Nathan Verhelst who died by euthanasia after a botched sex-change operation. Distelmans is also the President of the Belgium Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission.
The Daily Mail article refers to the tour of Auschwitz as outrageous noted that Jewish leaders and anti-euthanasia leaders are shocked.
Sir Gerald Kaufman
Sir Gerald Kaufman
Sir Gerald Kaufman a Labour MP in the UK said:
‘To make the notorious Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz the centre for a congenial study-trip is preposterous, if not obscene.
‘Whatever one’s views on euthanasia – and I am against – it is abominable to describe Auschwitz as an “inspiring venue.” What went on at Auschwitz and the other death-camps was mass murder of innocents – children, women and men.’
Lord Alex Carlile, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, said:
‘This is shocking. It will cause offence to a lot of people throughout Europe, whichever side of the argument they are on. I am all in favour of people going to Auschwitz to find out the oppression that happened there, but to describe it as an inspiring setting suggests he is either mad, stupid or incompetent.’
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the British Paralympian, said:
‘To describe Auschwitz as “inspiring” is very upsetting and very disturbing. It is appalling.’
Distelmans responded to the Daily Mail reporter by stating:
‘Firstly, this is not a symposium about euthanasia. It’s a study trip focusing on human rights, suffering and palliative care. We will mention euthanasia, but that is not the main goal of the trip.


‘The participants are all professionals working in palliative care. They work every day with patients who suffer pain and death.
‘Our main goal is to visit the death camp where all these atrocities took place.
‘Secondly, many of the participants were not in favour of a law on euthanasia, but changed their mind after the law came into action.
‘There is obviously no link between euthanasia in Belgium and what happened in Auschwitz.
‘The Nazis used the term “euthanasia” wrongly.’
According to a leaflet
advertising
the Auschwitz tour, it will take place on October 9 and includes a ‘scientific programme.’ The group will also visit Birkenau to see where Jews were herded off the transportation trains and selected to go straight to the gas chamber or to become prisoners.

Editor’s note. This appeared at alexschadenberg.blogspot.com

Source: NRLC News

Assisted Suicide


 

Dutch Ethicist: “Assisted Suicide: Don’t Go There”



By Professor Theo Boer
Authorized version, July 16
Editor’s note. The following was sent by Prof. Boer to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. The Daily Mail newspaper had published an article based on quotes from this essay, which the EPC published in full today, hence the “authorized version” designation.
Prof. Theo Boer
Prof. Theo Boer
In 2001 The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia and, along with it, assisted suicide. Various safeguards were put in place to show who should qualify and doctors acting in accordance with these safeguards would not be prosecuted. Because each case is unique, five regional review committees were installed to assess every case and to decide whether it complied with the law.
For five years after the law became effective, such physician-induced deaths remained level–and even fell in some years. In 2007 I wrote that ‘there doesn’t need to be a slippery slope when it comes to euthanasia. A good euthanasia law, in combination with the euthanasia review procedure, provides the warrants for a stable and relatively low number of euthanasia.’ Most of my colleagues drew the same conclusion.
But we were wrong – terribly wrong, in fact. In hindsight, the stabilization in the numbers was just a temporary pause. Beginning in 2008, the numbers of these deaths showed an increase of 15% annually, year after year. The annual report of the committees for 2012 recorded 4,188 cases in 2012 (compared with 1,882 in 2002). 2013 saw a continuation of this trend and I expect the 6,000 line to be crossed this year or the next. Euthanasia is on the way to become a ‘default’ mode of dying for cancer patients.
euthanasiadeathnetherlandsAlongside this escalation other developments have taken place. Under the name ‘End of Life Clinic,’ the Dutch Right to Die Society NVVE founded a network of travelling euthanizing doctors. Whereas the law presupposes (but does not require) an established doctor-patient relationship, in which death might be the end of a period of treatment and interaction, doctors of the End of Life Clinic have only two options: administer life-ending drugs or sending the patient away. On average, these physicians see a patient three times before administering drugs to end their life. Hundreds of cases were conducted by the End of Life Clinic. The NVVE shows no signs of being satisfied even with these developments. They will not rest until a lethal pill is made available to anyone over 70 years who wishes to die. Some slopes truly are slippery.

Other developments include a shift in the type of patients who receive these treatments. Whereas in the first years after 2002 hardly any patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia appear in reports, these numbers are now sharply on the rise. Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved. Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades.

Whereas the law sees assisted suicide and euthanasia as an exception, public opinion is shifting towards considering them rights, with corresponding duties on doctors to act. A law that is now in the making obliges doctors who refuse to administer euthanasia to refer their patients to a ‘willing’ colleague. Pressure on doctors to conform to patients’ (or in some cases relatives’) wishes can be intense. Pressure from relatives, in combination with a patient’s concern for the wellbeing of his beloved, is in some cases an important factor behind a euthanasia request. Not even the Review Committees, despite hard and conscientious work, have been able to halt these developments.

I used to be a supporter of legislation. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a different view. At the very least, wait for an honest and intellectually satisfying analysis of the reasons behind the explosive increase in the numbers. Is it because the law should have had better safeguards? Or is it because the mere existence of such a law is an invitation to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as a normality instead of a last resort? Before those questions are answered, don’t go there. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.
Theo Boer is professor of ethics at the Protestant Theological University at Groningen. For nine years, he was a Member of a Regional Review Committee. For the Dutch Government, five such committees assess whether a euthanasia case was conducted in accordance with the Law. The views expressed here represent his views as a professional ethicist, not of any nstitution

Source: NRLC News
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Human Life


 

Just a Clump of Cells?



By Ben Williamson
ClumpofcellsIt’s well-established, as a scientific matter, that preborn embryos and fetuses are living human organisms. Nevertheless, many abortion advocates claim that the human embryo is not really a human being, but is merely a clump of cells, no more valuable than any somatic (body) cell in a human’s body.

For instance, in the July 11, 2001 edition of Reason magazine, author Ronald Bailey claimed: “Sure human embryos carry the full genetic code, but so do ordinary somatic cells. Using cloning technology, we can generate an entire human embryo from one of these cells, thus demonstrating that early embryos are no different in kind from any other bodily cell that’s routinely discarded.” There are two fundamental problems with Bailey’s claim.

First, Bailey makes the elementary mistake of conflating parts of a whole with the whole itself. Somatic cells are not an organism, but are merely part of a larger organism. A somatic cell, like a lone egg or sperm cell, will not turn into anything without outside intervention and will not produce anything if left to its own devices. Human embryos, by contrast, are already whole and distinct from their human parents. Moreover, their development is self-guided, as long as they have adequate nutrients.

Second, the idea that human embryos are merely collections of cells is not only scientifically inaccurate but is rhetorically charged. The difference between a mere clump of cells and the human embryo is that clumps of cells alone don’t constitute a living organism. If a human embryo is to be a living human embryo, its body parts (cells and organs) have to be working together in a coordinated manner to guide its function and maturity.

The reason why a person is deemed to be clinically dead, even if some individual cells in his or her body are still alive, is that all of his or her bodily functions have ceased to operate due to the failure for the cells to work together in an integrated whole. The human embryo is a living organism because, in a healthy, stable environment, it is able to receive nutrition, and its cells are working together in a coordinated whole. If its cells fail to do that, then the human embryo will die, even though some of those cells will still be alive some time after the human being has died.

This concept was expressed well by Maureen Condic in Life: Defining the Beginning by the End:
What has been lost at death is not merely the activity of the brain or the heart, but more importantly the ability of the body’s parts (organs and cells) to function together as an integrated whole. Although cells of the brain are still alive following brain death, they cease to work together in a coordinated manner to function as a brain should.
Of course human embryos are made of living cells, but it does not follow that the mere presence of living cells is the equivalent of a human embryo. Condic concludes:

The critical difference between a collection of cells and a living organism is the ability of an organism to act in a coordinated manner for the continued health and maintenance of the body as a whole. Dead bodies may have plenty of live cells, but their cells no longer function together in a coordinated manner… Human life is defined by the ability to function as an integrated whole not by the mere presence of living human cells.
Editor’s note. This appeared at blog.secularprolife.org.



Source: NRLC News