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Barbara Lyons

Scottish “Children’s Advocates” Want Assisted Suicide for Children

This article is hard to write as it is so predictable — and completely frightening.   The history of assisted suicide/euthanasia in European countries has proven that there are no “safeguards,” and that additional populations are continually added to those included in these heinous acts.

You might think this would at least exclude children, but think again.  Belgium legalized euthanasia for children earlier this year, and now proponents in Scotland want to mirror the Belgians.

Assisted suicide is currently not legal in Scotland, but there is agitation for the law to be changed.  A group called “Together,” which represents a number of children’s charities in Scotland, has recommended that the age of consent to ask for assisted suicide — currently set at age 16 — is too high.   Too high!  These groups asked the health and sport committee, which is dealing with assisted suicide proposals, to look at other European countries for guidance.   

Consider what Paul Russell wrote recently about Belgium:  The Belgium Parliament, he wrote, “fell for the ‘stringent safeguard’ sleight of hand that has patently failed the Belgian people over the last 11 years.  In a country where nearly a third of reported euthanasia cases show no record of request or consent and where only a little over half of all euthanasia acts are reported to the government Euthanasia Evaluation Committee (both required by law) and, where this committee has not referred one case for consideration by the authorities, even the semblance of safety and due regard for process is little more than a macabre joke on the Belgian people.”

“Together” told the health and sports committee that “terminal illnesses do not discriminate based on the age of a person and, accordingly, neither should health care.”

The anti-euthanasia group “Care Not Killing” described the proposal as “monstrous” and “unthinkable.”  The views of proponents have become so extreme that putting someone to death by euthanasia is viewed as “health care.”   Who will protect the children if those who pretend to advocate for them won’t?   It is a piercing question.

Barbara Lyons

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Lithuania Health Minister Suggests Euthanasia for Poor People

Euthanasia might be needed for poor people who cannot access palliative care, the new Lithuanian Health Minister has suggested. Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė was sworn earlier this month, but already she has made waves by backing an open discussion of the legalisation of euthanasia.

Without making any specific proposals, she told local media that Lithuania was not a welfare state with palliative care available for all and that euthanasia might be an option for people who did not want to torment relatives with the ‘spectacle’ of their suffering.

The minister has also raised the idea of euthanasia for children. She noted that this option had been approved for Belgian children after a long public debate. It was an option which might be appropriate in Lithuania as well after public debate.

Ms Šalaševičiūtė will face an uphill battle in her campaign to introduce Lithuanians to euthanasia. Many doctors and the Catholic Church oppose it. Dr Andrius Narbekovas, who is both a priest and a doctor, and a member of the Health Ministry’s bioethics commission, told the media:

“The Ministry of Health should protect health and life, instead of looking for ways to take life away. It goes without saying that it is … profitable and cost effective … But a democratic society should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them.”

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Radical Pro-Abortion Bill Would Eliminate State and Federal Abortion Restrictions

On July 15, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on S. 1696, the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act.”  “This bill is really about just one thing:  it seeks to strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protections for unborn children, at any stage of their pre-natal development,” National Right to Life President Carol Tobias told the committee.  “Calling the bill the ‘Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act’ would be more in line with truth-in-advertising standards.” 

The bill, which is being heavily promoted by all pro-abortion groups, is clearly the most radical proposal ever considered by the Congress.  It would invalidate nearly all existing limitations on abortion, even those upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and heavily favored by the American public, including most women.  In Wisconsin, the law would nullify our requirements providing women with full information prior to the performance of an abortion, giving women information on alternatives, providing a reflection or waiting period, recognizing conscience rights for medical professionals who do not want to participate in abortion, and limiting the performance of abortions to licensed physicians. 

It would also prohibit the Wisconsin and other state legislatures from enacting future limitations such as prohibiting sex selection abortions and prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks when the unborn child experiences excruciating pain from the abortion.  Almost all previously enacted federal limits on abortion would be invalidated including limits on government funding of abortion. 

“We believe that many voters will be appalled to learn that nearly two-thirds of Senate Democrats have cosponsored a bill to impose nationwide the extreme ideological doctrine that elective abortion must not be limited in any meaningful way, at any stage of pregnancy,” Tobias said. 

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Conscience Rights Under Fierce Attack

The U.S. Congress enacted the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993, an act intended to protect people of conscience from being forced into participating in abortions.   In 2004, the Congress enacted the Hyde-Weldon Amendment which does not allow the federal government to discriminate against a health care provider for refusing to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Both of these laws and any other provision of federal law that protects the rights of conscience under health coverage mandates would be stripped away under legislation promoted by U.S. Senate Democrats.   The “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act” (S. 2578) failed to move forward yesterday when it did not receive the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and allow the full 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,” commented Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life regarding S. 2578.  “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.” 

Obamacare contains a provision which allows the Department of Health and Human Services to add RU 486 and elective abortions, even including late abortions, to the list of mandated “preventive services” even if providers object to providing them under freedom of conscience.  Providers would have no recourse under RFRA or other provisions of federal law if S. 2578 had become law.

“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.” 

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Planned Parenthood’s Frivolous Lawsuit

In 2012, the Wisconsin legislature enacted a law to protect women from coerced abortions and to prohibit web cam abortions.  The purpose of the law was to protect women from individuals in their lives who exert undue pressure, including coercion, causing women to “choose” abortion even though they may not want to abort.   The second provision protects women from RU 486 abortion drugs prescribed over a web cam where the woman is not physically examined or seen in person by the abortionist.

The web cam prohibition in the law reads as follows:

“No person may give an abortion-inducing drug to a woman unless the physician who prescribed, or otherwise provided, the abortion-inducing drug for the woman:
(a) performs a physical exam of the woman before the information is provided, and (b) is physically present in the room when the drug is given to the woman. “

 

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) challenged the law in federal court.  An agreement was reached by PPWI and the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office that the law could not be interpreted to mean that the abortionist must be present when the woman actually takes the RU 486 abortion drugs.  The federal judge refused to approve the agreement, correctly stating that a federal judge cannot interpret state laws.

So, PPWI took their challenge into Dane County Court.  Yesterday, Judge Richard Niess ruled that the abortionist is required to be present when the abortion drugs are given to the woman but did not have to be present when the woman ingested the drugs.  This is exactly what the law says. 

AG J.B. Van Hollen issued the following statement: “The decision is in accord with what the law is and what this office has always said the law is.  No one ever tried to enforce the law differently.   Planned Parenthood’s case was a frivolous action from the beginning…Courts of law shouldn’t be stages for political theater funded by taxpayer dollars.” 

We couldn’t agree more. The most important aspects of the law are preserved.  Women are protected from coercive individuals and from prescription of dangerous drugs without adequate physical examination. 

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Hobby Lobby Decision Not Enough to Keep Abortion Out of Obamacare

The following analysis of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby U.S. Supreme Court decision was written by the National Right to Life Committee:

The ruling provides a modest victory for religious conscience rights. However, as explained further below, the ruling does not truly correct any of the major abortion-expanding problems created by Obamacare.

The five-justice majority rejected the Obama Administration’s attempt to force family-owned for-profit corporations to directly purchase health insurance covering certain drugs and devices that violate the employer’s religious and moral beliefs. The Court held that this application of a provision of Obamacare violates a federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Court’s majority recognized the gravity of the moral and religious objections raised by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties in this case.

However, the Court left open the possibility that those objections might be satisfactorily resolved by a government mandate (“accommodation”) that these employers’ insurance carriers pay directly for the same drugs and devices. This leaves unresolved the status of many entities (including religiously affiliated schools, charities, and hospitals) with sincere religiously based objections to providing specific drugs and devices, who regard a federal mandate that requires them to take action to require their insurance carrier to carry out the same ends as differing only in form and not in substance from the original mandate.

Moreover, regardless of how the scope of the “accommodation” is defined by future rulemaking and litigation, it is difficult to discern what would prevent HHS from issuing a further expansion of its “preventive services” mandate to require that most employers also provide coverage for surgical abortions, or for doctor-prescribed suicide, that would be just as expansive as the contraceptive mandate.

In short, even with respect only to the “preventive services” component of Obamacare, the Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby 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.

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Planned Parenthood to Close Fond du Lac Clinic

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) announced today that it will close its “family planning health center in Fond du Lac on September 25.”  In its news release, PPWI cited budget cuts by the state legislature and Governor Walker as the reason for the closing.

This is a common ploy by PPWI — blame those who oppose its activity as the nation’s abortion giant.  The 2012 annual report of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which includes activities of PPWI, indicates that 95.8% of pregnant women seen by Planned Parenthood have abortions.   For pregnant women who visit the Fond du Lac clinic, the most likely outcome is referral for an abortion.  This is a huge conflict of interest, as the referral will most likely be to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic where PPWI receives payment for the abortion from the woman.

PPWI also claims that the women in Fond du Lac who use its “services” will now lose them altogether.  As has occurred in other communities, when PPWI closes its doors, those women can receive life-affirming health care services at other agencies.   PPWI is NOT the only game in town.

On behalf of women who will be better-served elsewhere, we applaud the closing of another PPWI center. 

 

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The Quebec National Assembly Passes Bill to Legalize Euthanasia

Canada is one of the countries in the world where fierce battles are taking place over the legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia.  Within Canada, the strongest push to legalize has come from Quebec.  After many attempts, the Quebec National Assembly recently passed Bill 52 which legalizes euthanasia.

The bill accomplished legalization by defining euthanasia as “end of life care.”   “Let’s be clear, Bill 52 gives Quebec physicians the right to intentionally and directly cause the death of persons by lethal injection.  This represents an act of homicide and not an act of ‘end of life care,’” stated Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC).  According to Schadenberg, there are provisions in Bill 52 which are vague and open to abuse of patients.  People with disabilities and palliative care leaders opposed Bill 52.

EPC and other organizations are now turning to the courts with a plan to challenge the law and ask that it be declared unconstitutional.

 

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Wisconsin Admitting Privileges Trial in Federal Court

From May 27 through May 30, 2014, Judge William Conley heard testimony in his federal court room on Wisconsin Act 37, a law which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.  Act 37 was signed into law in July of 2013 by Governor Scott Walker and was immediately challenged by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI), Affiliated Medical Services (AMS), and various other parties. Judge Conley enjoined the law and called for a trial to determine its constitutionality.

Plaintiffs called many witnesses including three abortionists, several physicians, an abortion clinic manager and sociologists.  The main themes of the testimony were the following:

  • While PPWI has obtained admitting privileges for all of its abortionists, AMS has tried for months and been unable to obtain them.
  • If AMS is forced to close, PPWI will not be able to absorb the AMS patients nor have the infrastructure to take over AMS.
  • Women will have to travel to Chicago for the late-term abortions performed only by AMS.   Finding and affording transportation will be hardest on low income women.
  • Complications are very uncommon and PPWI and AMS already have procedures for transporting a woman to a hospital if necessary.  Admitting privileges will not improve care for women.
  • It is more and more difficult to find abortionists and requiring admitting privileges makes it even harder.   One of the reasons is the harassment endured by abortionists from protesters who come to their homes and neighborhoods.
  • PPWI performed 3,300 abortions in 2013 at its three abortion clinics.  AMS performed 2,500 that same year.  PPWI requires ultrasound prior to abortion.

Witnesses for the defendants included physicians and a woman who suffered abortion complications.  Some of their testimony included the following:

  • Abortion complications are under-reported because the reporting system is basically voluntary.  Maternal deaths from abortion may be under-reported by 50%. 
  • Admitting privileges ensure continuity of care for women which can be critical in terms of time and lead to better patient outcomes and safety.
  • Hospital credentialing is protective of patients, not providers.
  • Physician to physician communication improves outcomes.
  • Admitting privileges allow a hospital to discipline a physician who did not provide adequate care for a transported patient.
  • National Abortion Federation Guidelines exhibited on its website a few years ago stated that doctors should be able to admit patients to a hospital no more than 20 minutes away from the abortion clinic.

Judge Conley listened intently to all testimony and asked numerous questions.  At one point, he told the CEO of PPWI that her staffing concerns exist right now and it is part of a CEO’s job to address concerns.  He admonished AMS and its attorneys for what he perceived as lack of effort in acquiring admitting privileges.  Conley stated that if they languished to embellish their challenge, it was a very bad decision.   Federal law allows a court to impose requirements for information on hospitals and he was not asked.   

After testimony was completed, Judge Conley stated “this is what I see the arguments to be.”

There are legal theories and factual disputes from the Plaintiff which rely on case law. Protecting the right to abortion and the burden of restrictions present constitutional concerns.  Plaintiffs focus that the reasons for passage of the law were to make obtaining abortions more difficult.  It was brought up that other outpatient clinics do not require admitting privileges.

The State relied on a rational basis.  The law is for protecting the woman and ensuring that physicians have admitting privileges in the rare case of an event.

Assuming the rational argument was articulated and demonstrated, what are the burdens on the woman?  The Plaintiff argues there are undue burdens and this is sufficient to apply what the marginal benefits are of having admitting privileges vs. the burdens.

The State argued that you don’t need to weigh the benefits vs. burdens, but instead consider whether the law will reduce or significantly reduce the ability for women to obtain an abortion.

The Court remains troubled with the inflexibility of the law.  There is no grace period, no appeal right, no mechanism to bring a new physician on board unless they have admitting privileges, all of which make it difficult to recruit doctors which adds another burden.

A decision is expected sometime this summer.   Regardless of the outcome, both sides are expected to appeal if they lose. 

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RNC adopts resolution supporting Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection legislation

May 13 was the anniversary of the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell on three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of babies that were aborted alive and whose spinal cords were slit.  Although sparsely covered by the media, the news leading up to Gosnell’s trial and the trial itself helped provide impetus for state legislation regulating abortion clinics and for passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the top legislative priority of our parent organization, the National Right to Life Committee.

On May 9, in a show of solidarity, the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution which stated that “the Republican National Committee strongly supports federal, state, and local pain-capable unborn child legislation that bans abortions at 20 weeks of gestation and beyond.”  Currently the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is law in ten states. Furthermore, last June it passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a vote of 228-196.

In a statement, resolution sponsor RNC Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Committeewoman Ellen Barrosse of Delaware said, “The Republican Party is proudly pro-life and this resolution shows our support for this straightforward, simple pro-life initiative.” She added, “Children capable of feeling intense pain, as well as their mothers, should be protected from abortion at such a very late stage of gestation.”

Thirty-three Senators have signed a letter urging Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) to bring up legislation sponsored by South Carolina Senator Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“It is time that Congress acts to bring the United States out of the fringe when it comes
to late term abortions,” New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who circulated
the Dear Colleague letter, said in a statement at the time. “I urge Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would bring us closer to international norms and the views of the American people.”

 

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