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Barbara Lyons

Chicago Tribune Blasts the President on ObamaCare

It’s Veterans Day, so there is an ever-so-slight lull in the barrage of criticism aimed at the botched rollout of ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges. But there have been developments that warrant out attention.

The most interesting (because it comes from President Obama’s hometown newspaper) and most succinct was an editorial in The Chicago Tribune. Here’s the 73-word, power-packed lead:

“President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment is teetering. The Obamacare website is a national punch line. Millions of Americans, repeatedly reassured by Obama that they could keep their doctors and health plans, are discovering that they can’t. Their insurance policies are being canceled. The price of new coverage is substantially higher. The new coverage may force them to choose new doctors. And the law says they have to buy insurance or pay a fine.”

The only rebuttal Obama and his supporters have is to try to lay the blame elsewere (the “evil” insurance industry is always a first response). That includes Republicans who have opposed ObamaCare from the get-go. The implication is if they hadn’t, while things wouldn’t necessarily be perfect, the roll-out of ObamaCare would have been infinitely better.

This, of course, is to get the cart before the horse. Republicans opposed ObamaCare because they believed it was wrong in principal for the government to assume control over 1/6th of the economy, a foolish attempt that could not possibly work.

The only Obama response is the tiresome mantra that he tried like mad to work with Republicans, the biggest whopper in an administration that treats the truth as if it was radioactive.

Here’s what the Tribune said in its editorial:

“Democratic leaders forced the law through Congress without a single Republican vote.”

In a word, yes.

But it is the Obama Administration’s lethal combination of arrogance and incompetence that has stirred a boiling pot of resentment.

“The architects of Obamacare brushed aside sharp warnings from tech wizards that the computer system wasn’t tested and ready. They piled hundreds of pages of last-minute regulations on insurers. They forced insurers to cancel policies by the thousands because those policies fell short of the soup-to-nuts coverage required by the law.”
However, from the President’s perspective, the most dangerous issue going forward is what did he know and when did he know it? Or, to be slightly more charitable, what did he not know because he couldn’t be bothered? The Tribune editorial ominously suggests it was the former:

“The American public is having a credibility-shattering debate about the president: Did he not bother to learn the details of the law before he told us we could keep our doctors and our insurance, or did he know the truth and flat-out lie?”

Dave Andrusko, National Right to Life

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New NYC Mayor Pledges to Build More Abortion Clinics Funded by Tax Dollars

Recently, I wrote about the horrific abortion numbers in New York City. They bear repeating. According to the Chiaroscuro Foundation, 41% of NYC pregnancies end in abortion. The 41% compares to 10% in Wisconsin and 24% nationwide. In 2009, 56% of NYC abortions were repeat abortions and 38% were paid for by Medicaid.

Enter the recently elected new mayor, Bill de Blasio. Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council writes that de Blasio, “has promised to partner with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to help them expand their business in the city. He says he plans to help abortionists find neighborhoods that lack convenient clinic access and provide them with ‘city sponsored’ space to set up shop.” He also wants to require doctors to be trained to do abortions. de Blasio believes that pro-life Pregnancy Help Centers are “sham” clinics and wants them shut down.

Just when you think the proponents of abortion could not be more extreme, they step up their ruthless campaign against women and helpless unborn babies. What a sad commentary on American society, and New Yorkers, that a man with such extreme views can be elected.

Barbara Lyons

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Oregon Rations Cancer Treatments for Medicaid Patients

As I have discussed here previously, the first state to explicitly ration Medicaid-an integral feature of all single payer systems-the screws against terminal cancer patients. Now, the issue is gaining wider discussion in Oregon.

From an opinion column published in the Statesman Journal by Peter J. Pitts:
In August, Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission issued an update to its guidelines for providing cancer treatment to low-income individuals covered by the state Medicaid program. These new guidelines require that Medicaid deny coverage for certain cancer treatments for patients that have been deemed “too” sick, haven’t responded well to previous treatments, or can’t care for themselves.

Through these new rules, Oregon state bureaucrats are severely restricting access to care and dooming potentially thousands of local patients to a premature death…It’s true that for some late-stage cancer patients, the odds are long than any additional treatment can help. But without access to the latest that medical science has to offer, a patient’s survival rate simply drops to zero.

These guidelines dictate that Medicaid only provide “palliative” care – painkillers, acupuncture treatments, wheelchairs, drugs for nausea, and the like.
It’s death panel time!

Oregon’s new Medicaid guidelines take treatment decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and put them in the hands of distance state bureaucrat willing to cut costs no matter the human toll. It’s the practice of cost-centric controls over patient-centric care.

In the new USA, these kind of death maneuvers will always be done in the bowels of the deep bureaucracy without direct representational democratic involvement.
Whose life is it, anyway, we are often asked? In government-supplied healthcare, the answer is: The State’s!

Oh well-as a Medicaid administrator callously told two rationed-out cancer patients in 2008-you always have assisted suicide! Indeed, I believe the two are intended to work hand in glove with each other.

Wesley J. Smith

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Senator Lindsey Graham to Introduce Nationwide Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will introduce landmark legislation to provide nationwide protection for unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (equivalent to “22 weeks of pregnancy,” the beginning of the sixth month).

“Ten states have already enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and it is National Right to Life’s top congressional priority,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, the federation of state right-to-life organizations. “We commend Sen. Lindsey Graham for his leadership in bringing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act before the Senate.”

“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is perhaps the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the U.S. Congress since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007,” added Susan T. Muskett, J.D., National Right to Life senior legislative counsel.

The legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is based on a National Right to Life model bill that has already been enacted in ten states, most recently in Texas where the law took effect on October 30. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the federal bill June 18, 2013, by a 228-196 vote.

In a letter issued late yesterday, leaders of National Right to Life encouraged pro-life members of the U.S. Senate to sign on as co-sponsors of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Writing to senators, National Right to Life leaders observed:

Because of coverage surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy, on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed.

In a nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters in March, The Polling Company found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — when an unborn baby can feel pain — unless the life of the mother is in danger. Only 30% opposed such legislation. Women voters split 63%-31% in support of such a law, and 63% of independent voters supported it.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would allow abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization if the mother’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape and incest reported prior to the abortion to appropriate authorities.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act contains congressional findings of fact regarding the medical evidence that unborn children experience pain at least by 20 weeks “post-fertilization age,” or the start of the sixth month of pregnancy. Note: 20 weeks post-fertilization age (“fetal age”) is equivalent to “22 weeks of pregnancy” in the widely employed “LMP” dating system.

Some of the extensive evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks fetal age, is available on the NRLC website.

Late abortions are not “rare.” NRLC estimates that at least 140 abortion providers offer abortions past the point that this legislation would permit. These late abortions are performed using a variety of techniques, including a method in which the unborn child’s arms and legs are twisted off by brute manual force, using a long stainless steel clamping tool.

“The American public understands the vital importance of protecting pain-capable unborn children from the violent act of a dismemberment abortion,” Tobias observed.

National Right to Life Committee

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New York City’s Staggering Abortion Numbers

New York City is famous for doing things in a big way, and it appears that abortion is no exception. The Chiaroscuro Foundation recently released devastating information on abortions there:

  • New York City has a staggering 41% abortion ratio. This means there are 41 abortions for every 100 births. By comparison, the Wisconsin abortion ratio is 10 abortions for every 100 births.
  • The abortion ratio in the Chelsea-Clinton neighborhood was 67% or 67 abortions per 100 live births!
  • In 2009, 56% of New York City abortions were repeat abortions and 38% were paid for by tax dollars.

These alarming numbers are the back-drop for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push for a bill in the state legislature that would radically expand abortion beyond these horrendous numbers. Sometimes, the push to be at the top comes with a very heavy price tag, in this case measured in human lives destroyed and women harmed.

Barbara Lyons

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Phony Disability Rights Groups Set Up to Promote Doctor-Prescribed Suicide

Disability rights activists are among the most implacable and effective opponents of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. In the USA, Not Dead Yet’s entry into the fray after the passage of Measure 16 in Oregon (1994) helped slow the advance of the killing agenda to a crawl.

Alarmed by the advocacy successes of these advocates, pro assisted suicide bankrollers funded Astroturf (as distinguished from “grass roots”) “disability rights” groups to support the killing agenda. Now the tactic is being tried in the UK as that country is dragged into yet another attempt to legalize physician-induced death.

Not Dead Yet UK is exposing the sham of an Astroturf group called Disability Activists for Dignity in Dying (DiD). From, “False Claims,” by Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick:

“It is true they are all disabled people. However they are individuals with a point of view, not representatives of any Disabled People’s Organisation. For example, this new arm of the DiD campaign, is led by wheelchair user Greg Judge. He is listed as a member of staff and is therefore paid by DiD to represent the organisation’s core mission and values. Hardly representative!

“NDY [Not Dead Yet] UK, on the other hand, is a network of disabled people working largely pro bono and who have been mandated to represent the views of many disabled people. There is a real difference.”

He’s right. For nearly 20 years, I have seen people with disabilities sacrifice their own money and suffer serious discomfort to protest and lobby against assisted suicide! They did so because they know disabled people are in the cross hairs-not because they were paid lobbyists who happen to be disabled. Huge difference.

Fitzpatrick highlights the danger to people with disabilities:

“DiD know what the evidence shows – from Holland, where children over the age of 12 are entitled, and disabled babies are euthanized because of their disability, or because of their parents’ suffering, when the law was first introduced for exactly the kind of ‘desperate, hard case’ DiD keep promoting to gain public sympathy – from Belgium where people who are in need of support and care are euthanized – and where the current discussion to extend euthanasia to children is proceeding but where ‘We all know that euthanasia is already practiced on children. Yes, active euthanasia’ according to the head of the intensive care unit of Fabiola Hospital in Brussels. He made his comments to the Senate’s Judicial and Social Affairs Committee at a February 21 hearing 2013. Belgium, where if you are becoming blind you can opt for euthanasia, or if the healthcare system botches your sex-change operations your care options can include death by lethal injection, and where ‘studies…demonstrate that 32% of people killed under the Belgian law were killed without consent and without their own request, in breach of a fundamental condition of that law’ (as pointed out by Alex Schadenberg of EPC).”

These statements are not “slippery slope” alarmist projections. They are facts on the ground!

He concludes:

“DiD are promoting themselves as a caring organisation who offer the ‘voice of reason’. They are using a handful of non-representative disabled people to promote the idea that disabled people agree with them. The facts do not support this assertion, real disabled activists are opposed to the law being changed and nothing I have read, seen or heard makes me think otherwise.”

So again, I find myself asking: what is their real purpose?

Answer: To sow confusion among disability-friendly people toward the end that a law be passed that will result in the euthanasia/assisted suicide abandonment deaths of people with disabilities.

Wesley J. Smith

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Federal Judge Strikes Texas Admitting Privileges Provision

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel overturned that portion of a Texas law which requires the abortionist to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The Texas provision is virtually identical to one in Wisconsin’s Sonya’s Law which requires admitting privileges. The Wisconsin provision has been temporarily restrained and a trial will take place on November 25 and 26 before U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison. The provision in Sonya’s Law requiring ultrasound prior to abortion was not challenged and is in effect.

Judge Yeakel stated in his decision that “the act’s admitting-privileges provision is without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” Planned Parenthood and its allies claimed, in challenging this provision, that it would close one-third of Texas abortion clinics because abortionists cannot obtain admitting privileges. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin claims that the Wisconsin admitting privileges provision, if upheld, will force two Wisconsin abortion clinics to close and force a third to operate at 50% capacity.

Admitting privileges are important to address the critical health needs of women who suffer complications from abortion and need admission to a hospital. The woman deserves to have a medical professional available who has knowledge of the procedure which caused her complications in order to protect her health and life.

Judge Yeakel allowed the provision in the Texas law which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks based on the pain the child experiences from the abortion to go into effect today.

The fight over admitting privileges reveals the callousness and greed of the abortion clinics. Having to close their doors trumps the protection of women — and that says a lot.

Barbara Lyons

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Euthanasia for Children and Those With Dementia – Belgium Style

In the ever-expanding criteria to legalize death for the most vulnerable, the Belgium Parliament is debating whether euthanasia should be extended to children with disabilities and those with dementia. Belgium already has very relaxed laws allowing assisted suicide for adults over 18. An article published in The Independent newspaper earlier this month states:

“Belgium is set to debate….whether or not it will extend its laws allowing euthanasia to include children and those suffering from long-term ‘diseases of the brain’ like Alzheimer’s… Under the bill being considered, this could be extended to those under 18 if they requested it, their parents gave their consent, and where an expert psychologist deemed the child to fully understand the implications of their decision. Under the proposals, medically-assisted euthanasia would also be offered as an option to those suffering from Alzheimer’ disease. Once diagnosed and while still lucid, they would be able to consent to being killed when their illness progressed to the point where doctors decided they were no longer interacting with society — even if on the surface they appeared to be happy and well.”

The article continues: “Supporters of the euthanasia bill say it would simply be bringing under legal control something which already happens anyway. Studies have shown that, with terminally ill children whose parents are begging for their suffering to be brought to an end, doctors have been steadily increasing doses of painkillers until they reach lethal amounts.”

The debate in Belgium is further proof that once you allow doctor-prescribed suicide or euthanasia under the narrowest of circumstances, the clamor begins to expand the number of populations for which this “benefit” would be appropriate. A culture of death, for sure.

Barbara Lyons

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Emotional Celebration of Sonya’s Law

Sonya's Law Celebration Breakfast 10-11-13

Sonya’s Law went into effect in July of this year. This morning, the team responsible for enactment of Sonya’s Law got together to relive, remember, and celebrate this tremendous gain for Wisconsin mothers and babies. Sonya’s Law requires that a woman view an ultrasound of her baby 24 hours before her abortion can take place.

The star of the celebration event was Sonya herself, beaming with pride for the role she played. Sonya’s son, Sam, whom she viewed on ultrasound at six weeks and decided to give birth, is now three months old. The Wisconsin Right to Life team of Barbara Lyons, Sue Armacost and Heather Weininger were joined by Senator Mary Lazich and Rep. Pat Strachota who authored the law; Dottie Enters and Gwen Shilling of Eyewitness for Life; Sharon Hudy and Krys Crawley of Women’s Care Center; and Dr. David Merrill. All of these individuals worked tirelessly and brilliantly to ensure that Sonya’s Law became a reality. We salute these fantastic individuals whose care and concern for mothers and babies is unparalleled.

It was an incredible event for an incredible law!

Barbara Lyons

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Another Giant Step Forward for Ethical Stem Cell Research

Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) is a Wisconsin company at the epicenter of stem cell research. CDI’s founder and chief scientific officer, James Thomson, is well-known internationally for isolating the first embryonic stem cell and for co-discovering ethical iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells). CDI was recently awarded a patent for its new method of creating ethical iPS cells.

Embryonic stem cells can only be procured by destroying a living human embryo, a method which has received strong objection because of its dependence on the destruction of human life. iPS cells are derived from adult tissue cells such as skin cells which are reprogrammed to mimic the desired attributes of embryonic stem cells but do not involve the destruction of human life. Currently, iPS cells represent the future of stem cell research.

The patent received by CDI is based on the method by which iPS cells are created. The original method involved using a virus to insert genes into the adult skin cells. The new method uses “episomal vectors” in the reprogramming process, thus minimizing the potential detrimental impact of using a virus. “What is particularly noteworthy with the episomal method is that foreign DNA is not integrated into the genome of the cell during the reprogramming process,” according to Thomson as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. CDI makes its stem cells technologies available to scientists worldwide.

This is indeed another giant step forward for ethical stem cell research!

Barbara Lyons

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