Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's News & Views
November 23, 2009

The Day After the Day After the Senate Health Care Restructuring Vote
Part One of Three

By Dave Andrusko

Part Two looks at a man who was misdiagnosed for 23 years as being in a PVS. Part Three walks you through another rationing and euthanasia threat in the proposed Senate health care restructuring bill. Please send your comments on any part to daveandrusko@gmail.com. If you'd like, follow me on http://twitter.com/daveha.

Let me begin Monday's TN&V with three illuminating quotes. The first two are from today's Rasmussen Reports.

"Just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That's the lowest level of support measured for the plan in nearly two dozen tracking polls conducted since June."

"The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 28% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13. For the first time in the Obama Administration, the Approval Index has been in negative double digits for nine straight days." [The Presidential Approval Index measures the difference between the percentage which strongly approve and those strongly disapprove of the President.]

"[President] Obama and [Senate Majority Leader] Reid wanted debate – so now they'll get debate, on their cloaked provisions that would cover abortion on demand in proposed new government-run and government-subsidized insurance plans."
-- From National Right to Life's Statement, following the Saturday vote. The statement is reproduced in its entirety at the end of this blog.

So, what do we know that we didn't know last Friday? Maybe I should phrase it differently, or at least begin by discussing what was confirmed when Harry Reid secured just enough votes to clear a procedural hurdle.

Pro-Abortion President Barack Obama

First, as the NRLC statement makes crystal clear, Obama and Reid and the rest of the pro-abortion Democratic leadership went to the mat to preserve what matters most to their pro-abortion allies: payment for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, the "public option," and also to subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand.

Second, as is par for the course for the entire 2,074-page bill, the public is supposed to willfully suspend disbelief and accept what is patently not true: that the bill is somehow "neutral" on abortion. The Stupak-Pitts language, adopted by the House, genuinely extends the principles of the Hyde Amendment that governs all of the current federal health programs. When Reid refused to include this language in his bill, it unmistakably signaling his real intent.

So why are all the smoke and mirrors necessary? Because Obama and Reid know (as the NRLC statement points out) that the "substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes."

So, what else do we know? We heard some Democrats say they merely voted to go ahead with a debate over the bill--that their affirmative vote doesn't necessarily mean they will go along with the final measure.

What we do know for sure that there is a band of pro-life Democrats in the House who have minced no words: if the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is gutted or removed, they will oppose final approval of health care legislation.

Please read NRLC' s statement below and make sure that you use your social networks to forward this edition of TN&V to all your pro-life friends.

We know that Reid has said the debate on the substance of his bill begins next week. To keep up to date on how you can help NRLC stop inclusion of the Reid pro-abortion language, please go to http://nrlactioncenter.com.

National Right to Life to Obama and Reid: You wanted debate? Now you'll get debate – on government-funded abortion.

As National Right to Life has previously noted, Senator Reid's bill [on page 118] would authorize the federal government to pay for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, the "public option," and also to subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand. President Obama and Reid know that the substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes.

Obama and Reid wanted debate – so now they'll get debate, on their cloaked provisions that would cover abortion on demand in proposed new government-run and government-subsidized insurance plans.

Obama and Reid are seeking to block enactment of the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts compromise, adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7 by a vote of 240-194. This amendment would prevent government funding of elective abortion through the proposed "public option," and would also prevent federal subsidies from paying for private insurance plans that cover elective abortion.

During the weeks ahead, National Right to Life will continue to fight the efforts of President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders to cover abortion on demand in two huge new federal health programs. The Senate bill faces additional 60-vote hurdles in the future. Moreover, a courageous group of pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives will oppose final approval of health care legislation if the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is gutted or removed.

http://www.nrlc.org/News_and_Views/Nov09/nv112309.html
Today's News & Views
November 23, 2009

Debate On Reid Senate Health Care Restructuring Bill to Begin After Thanksgiving
Part Three of Three

Editor’s note. Last week NRLC’s invaluable Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics blog began a series of posts to explain various concerns in the Reid Senate health care restructuring bill related to rationing and euthanasia. The measure cleared its first hurdle Saturday with a 60-39 cloture vote to begin debate. The party-line vote (Sen. Voinovich, R-Ohio, did not vote) allows the full Senate to begin debating the bill. The bill, with its numerous rationing concerns, will be debated after this week's Thanksgiving recess.

Price Controls (Medicare)

The Reid bill includes the House provision that would effectively allow the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to bar senior citizens from adding their own money, if they choose, to the government contribution in order to get private-fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plans that are less likely to ration life-saving treatment.

Medicare—the government program that provides health insurance to older people in the United States—faces grave fiscal problems as the baby boom generation ages. Medicare is financed by payroll taxes, which means that those now working are paying for the health care of those now retired. As the baby boom generation moves from middle into old age, the proportion of the retired population will increase, while the proportion of the working population will decrease. The consequence is that the amount of money available for each Medicare beneficiary, when adjusted for health care inflation, will shrink.

Three alternatives exist.

In theory, taxes could be increased dramatically to make up the shortfall – an unlikely and politically difficult proposition. The second alternative—to put it bluntly but accurately—is rationing. Less money available per senior citizen would mean less treatment, including less of the treatments necessary to prevent death. For want of treatment, many people whose lives could have been saved by medical treatment will perish against their will.

The third alternative is that, as the government contribution decreases, the shortfall could be made up by payments from older people themselves, so that their Medicare health insurance premium could voluntarily be financed partly by the government and partly from their own income and savings.

What most people do not realize is that, as a result of legislative changes in 1997 and 2003, supported by the National Right to Life Committee, this third alternative is now law. Under the title of “private fee-for-service plans,” there is an option in Medicare under which senior citizens can choose health insurance whose value is not limited by what the government may pay toward it. These plans can set premiums and reimbursement rates for providers without upward limits set by government regulation.

This means that such plans will not be forced to ration treatment, as long as senior citizens are allowed to choose to pay more for them. This option means that Medicare can operate in such a way that whatever the government provides will serve as the floor, not the ceiling, for what health care senior citizens can get. As government contributions sink, private fee-for-service plans can provide a way to escape rationing. (More on the background of this program can be found at www.nrlc.org/news/2007/NRL03/Rationing.html)

Medicare covers everyone of retirement age, regardless of income or assets. Yet, because of budget constraints, the Medicare reimbursement rates for health care providers tend to be below the cost of giving the care. This deficit that can only accelerate as cost pressures on Medicare increase with the retirement of the baby boomers.

This means that providers engage in “cost shifting” by using funds they receive in payment for treating insured working people to help make up for what the providers lose when treating retirees under Medicare. Thus, comparatively low-income workers often effectively subsidize higher-income retirees.

However, when middle-income retirees are free voluntarily to add their own money on top of the government contribution (through a private fee-for-service plan), they stop being the beneficiaries of cost-shifting and become contributors to it. However, this program faces elimination in the Reid bill.

Section 3209 indirectly amends the section in existing law that allows private fee-for-service plans to set their premiums without approval by Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services [CMS] by saying, “Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring the Secretary to accept any or every bid submitted by an MA [Medicare Advantage] organization under this subsection.” [1]

This allows CMS to refuse to allow private-fee-for-service plans that charge what CMS regards as premiums that are too high – or, literally, allows CMS to refuse to allow private-fee-for-service plans (or any other Medicare Advantage plans) altogether, for any reason or no reason.

This dangerous provision in the Reid bill will eliminate the only way that seniors have to escape rationing--by taking away their right to spend their own money to save their own lives.

http://www.nrlc.org/News_and_Views/Nov09/nv112309Part3.html
Today's News & Views
November 23, 2009

Man Misdiagnosed as Being in a "Persistent Vegetative State" for 23 Years
Part Two of Three

By Dave Andrusko

Earlier this morning I read about Rom Houben, misdiagnosed as being in a so-called "persistent vegetative state" for 23 years. Doctors discovered three years ago Houben, who was severely injured in a car crash in 1983, had been mentally alert all along, but unable to communicate. Only today did the news reach a wider audience.

But I was unable to post a TN&V until later because of a number of other things I had to get done. This is fortunate, because as the day progressed many very important details and clarifications came out.

Rom Houben

A lot of distinctions had been blurred in the accounts. For example, four very different conditions--coma, comatose, vegetative state, and persistent vegetative state--were used almost interchangeably. Even after reading a number of stories, it's difficult to know who thought what when. One of the later stories suggested doctors first thought Houben was in a coma and then lapsed into a "persistent vegetative state."

But whatever the diagnosis, it was wrong. Fortunately for Houben, a former martial arts enthusiast and engineering student, he was not starved to death.

"Mr Houben recalled the terrifying realisation after he came round from his accident when he knew that he had lost complete control of his body – but no one knew that he was fully conscious," The Times of London reported. Although he could hear every word his doctors were saying, Houben could not communicate with them. "I screamed, but there was nothing to hear," he told the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Initially, all the credit for the correct diagnosis seemed to belong to the medical team headed by Dr. Steven Laureys, a neurological researcher at the Liege University Hospital in Belgium, a man who clearly is on a mission. While they deserve plenty of kudos, there is a "rest of the story," as we shall see momentarily.

Dr. Steven Laureys

"Laureys, who is head of the coma science group and neurology department at Liège University hospital, concluded coma patients are diagnosed falsely 'on a disturbingly regular basis," The Guardian reported. "In around 40% of cases diagnosed as vegetative, more careful examination shows there is still some level of consciousness. He examined 44 patients believed to be in a vegetative state, and found that 18 of them responded to communication. 'Once someone is labelled as being without consciousness, it is very hard to get rid of that,' he told Spiegel magazine, calling for a systematic overhaul of the methods of diagnosis."

He told the Guardian that "patients who are not fully unconscious can often be treated and are capable of making considerable progress." Houben now communicates through a computer, and a special device above his bed makes it possible for him to read books

But how did Dr. Laurey even learn about Houben? His parents, who did not believe he was comatose or vegetative, according to the Associated Press. His mother, Fina Houben, talked with the AP by phone and said they had taken Rom to the United States five times for tests.

"More searching finally got her in touch with Laureys, who put Houben through a PET scan that indicated he was conscious," reports Raf Casert of the AP. "The family and doctors then began trying to establish communication. A breakthrough came when he was able to indicate yes or no by slightly moving his foot to push a computer device placed there by Laureys' team. Then came the spelling of words using his finger and a touch-screen attached to his wheelchair." It is not entirely clear why the case came to light at this particular moment; Laureys published his study in the journal BMC earlier this year, showing that some 40% of patients diagnosed as being in a vegetative state were not.

Be that as it may, Houben is a very happy man. "I'll never forget the day that they discovered me, it was my second birth," he said. Now he says, "'I want to read, talk with my friends via the computer and enjoy my life now that people know I am not dead," according to the Daily Mail.

http://www.nrlc.org/News_and_Views/Nov09/nv112309part2.html

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Join the Manhattan Declaration

http://manhattandeclaration.org/

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience
Nov 20, 2009
One hundred forty-eight Signatories

Preamble

Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.

While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages, we claim the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire’s sanctioning of infanticide. We remember with reverence those believers who sacrificed their lives by remaining in Roman cities to tend the sick and dying during the plagues, and who died bravely in the coliseums rather than deny their Lord.

After the barbarian tribes overran Europe, Christian monasteries preserved not only the Bible but also the literature and art of Western culture. It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade; evangelical Christians in England, led by John Wesley and William Wilberforce, put an end to the slave trade in that country. Christians under Wilberforce’s leadership also formed hundreds of societies for helping the poor, the imprisoned, and child laborers chained to machines.

In Europe, Christians challenged the divine claims of kings and successfully fought to establish the rule of law and balance of governmental powers, which made modern democracy possible. And in America, Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement. The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians claiming the Scriptures and asserting the glory of the image of God in every human being regardless of race, religion, age or class.

This same devotion to human dignity has led Christians in the last decade to work to end the dehumanizing scourge of human trafficking and sexual slavery, bring compassionate care to AIDS sufferers in Africa, and assist in a myriad of other human rights causes—from providing clean water in developing nations to providing homes for tens of thousands of children orphaned by war, disease and gender discrimination.

Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good. In being true to its own calling, the call to discipleship, the church through service to others can make a profound contribution to the public good.

Declaration

We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities. We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image. We set forth this declaration in light of the truth that is grounded in Holy Scripture, in natural human reason (which is itself, in our view, the gift of a beneficent God), and in the very nature of the human person. We call upon all people of goodwill, believers and non-believers alike, to consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues we here address as we, with St. Paul, commend this appeal to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.

We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

Life

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Although public sentiment has moved in a pro-life direction, we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government. The present administration is led and staffed by those who want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and who want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense. Majorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views. The Supreme Court, whose infamous 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade stripped the unborn of legal protection, continues to treat elective abortion as a fundamental constitutional right, though it has upheld as constitutionally permissible some limited restrictions on abortion. The President says that he wants to reduce the “need” for abortion—a commendable goal. But he has also pledged to make abortion more easily and widely available by eliminating laws prohibiting government funding, requiring waiting periods for women seeking abortions, and parental notification for abortions performed on minors. The elimination of these important and effective pro-life laws cannot reasonably be expected to do other than significantly increase the number of elective abortions by which the lives of countless children are snuffed out prior to birth. Our commitment to the sanctity of life is not a matter of partisan loyalty, for we recognize that in the thirty-six years since Roe v. Wade, elected officials and appointees of both major political parties have been complicit in giving legal sanction to what Pope John Paul II described as “the culture of death.” We call on all officials in our country, elected and appointed, to protect and serve every member of our society, including the most marginalized, voiceless, and vulnerable among us.

A culture of death inevitably cheapens life in all its stages and conditions by promoting the belief that lives that are imperfect, immature or inconvenient are discardable. As predicted by many prescient persons, the cheapening of life that began with abortion has now metastasized. For example, human embryo-destructive research and its public funding are promoted in the name of science and in the cause of developing treatments and cures for diseases and injuries. The President and many in Congress favor the expansion of embryo- research to include the taxpayer funding of so-called “therapeutic cloning.” This would result in the industrial mass production of human embryos to be killed for the purpose of producing genetically customized stem cell lines and tissues. At the other end of life, an increasingly powerful movement to promote assisted suicide and “voluntary” euthanasia threatens the lives of vulnerable elderly and disabled persons. Eugenic notions such as the doctrine of lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”) were first advanced in the 1920s by intellectuals in the elite salons of America and Europe. Long buried in ignominy after the horrors of the mid-twentieth century, they have returned from the grave. The only difference is that now the doctrines of the eugenicists are dressed up in the language of “liberty,” “autonomy,” and “choice.”

We will be united and untiring in our efforts to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion. We will work, as we have always worked, to bring assistance, comfort, and care to pregnant women in need and to those who have been victimized by abortion, even as we stand resolutely against the corrupt and degrading notion that it can somehow be in the best interests of women to submit to the deliberate killing of their unborn children. Our message is, and ever shall be, that the just, humane, and truly Christian answer to problem pregnancies is for all of us to love and care for mother and child alike.

A truly prophetic Christian witness will insistently call on those who have been entrusted with temporal power to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to protect the weak and vulnerable against violent attack, and to do so with no favoritism, partiality, or discrimination. The Bible enjoins us to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to speak for those who cannot themselves speak. And so we defend and speak for the unborn, the disabled, and the dependent. What the Bible and the light of reason make clear, we must make clear. We must be willing to defend, even at risk and cost to ourselves and our institutions, the lives of our brothers and sisters at every stage of development and in every condition.

Our concern is not confined to our own nation. Around the globe, we are witnessing cases of genocide and “ethnic cleansing,” the failure to assist those who are suffering as innocent victims of war, the neglect and abuse of children, the exploitation of vulnerable laborers, the sexual trafficking of girls and young women, the abandonment of the aged, racial oppression and discrimination, the persecution of believers of all faiths, and the failure to take steps necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases like AIDS. We see these travesties as flowing from the same loss of the sense of the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life that drives the abortion industry and the movements for assisted suicide, euthanasia, and human cloning for biomedical research. And so ours is, as it must be, a truly consistent ethic of love and life for all humans in all circumstances.

Marriage

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:32-33 In Scripture, the creation of man and woman, and their one-flesh union as husband and wife, is the crowning achievement of God’s creation. In the transmission of life and the nurturing of children, men and women joined as spouses are given the great honor of being partners with God Himself. Marriage then, is the first institution of human society—indeed it is the institution on which all other human institutions have their foundation. In the Christian tradition we refer to marriage as “holy matrimony” to signal the fact that it is an institution ordained by God, and blessed by Christ in his participation at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In the Bible, God Himself blesses and holds marriage in the highest esteem.

Vast human experience confirms that marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all persons in a society. Where marriage is honored, and where there is a flourishing marriage culture, everyone benefits—the spouses themselves, their children, the communities and societies in which they live. Where the marriage culture begins to erode, social pathologies of every sort quickly manifest themselves. Unfortunately, we have witnessed over the course of the past several decades a serious erosion of the marriage culture in our own country. Perhaps the most telling—and alarming—indicator is the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Less than fifty years ago, it was under 5 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. Our society—and particularly its poorest and most vulnerable sectors, where the out-of-wedlock birth rate is much higher even than the national average—is paying a huge price in delinquency, drug abuse, crime, incarceration, hopelessness, and despair. Other indicators are widespread non-marital sexual cohabitation and a devastatingly high rate of divorce.

We confess with sadness that Christians and our institutions have too often scandalously failed to uphold the institution of marriage and to model for the world the true meaning of marriage. Insofar as we have too easily embraced the culture of divorce and remained silent about social practices that undermine the dignity of marriage we repent, and call upon all Christians to do the same.

To strengthen families, we must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love. We must reform ill-advised policies that contribute to the weakening of the institution of marriage, including the discredited idea of unilateral divorce. We must work in the legal, cultural, and religious domains to instill in young people a sound understanding of what marriage is, what it requires, and why it is worth the commitment and sacrifices that faithful spouses make.

The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil and religious law and in the philosophical tradition that contributed to shaping the law. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. In spousal communion and the rearing of children (who, as gifts of God, are the fruit of their parents’ marital love), we discover the profound reasons for and benefits of the marriage covenant.

We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct. We have compassion for those so disposed; we respect them as human beings possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity; and we pay tribute to the men and women who strive, often with little assistance, to resist the temptation to yield to desires that they, no less than we, regard as wayward. We stand with them, even when they falter. We, no less than they, are sinners who have fallen short of God’s intention for our lives. We, no less than they, are in constant need of God’s patience, love and forgiveness. We call on the entire Christian community to resist sexual immorality, and at the same time refrain from disdainful condemnation of those who yield to it. Our rejection of sin, though resolute, must never become the rejection of sinners. For every sinner, regardless of the sin, is loved by God, who seeks not our destruction but rather the conversion of our hearts. Jesus calls all who wander from the path of virtue to “a more excellent way.” As his disciples we will reach out in love to assist all who hear the call and wish to answer it.

We further acknowledge that there are sincere people who disagree with us, and with the teaching of the Bible and Christian tradition, on questions of sexual morality and the nature of marriage. Some who enter into same- sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital. They fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit. This is because the body is no mere extrinsic instrument of the human person, but truly part of the personal reality of the human being. Human beings are not merely centers of consciousness or emotion, or minds, or spirits, inhabiting non-personal bodies. The human person is a dynamic unity of body, mind, and spirit. Marriage is what one man and one woman establish when, forsaking all others and pledging lifelong commitment, they found a sharing of life at every level of being—the biological, the emotional, the dispositional, the rational, the spiritual—on a commitment that is sealed, completed and actualized by loving sexual intercourse in which the spouses become one flesh, not in some merely metaphorical sense, but by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. That is why in the Christian tradition, and historically in Western law, consummated marriages are not dissoluble or annullable on the ground of infertility, even though the nature of the marital relationship is shaped and structured by its intrinsic orientation to the great good of procreation.

We understand that many of our fellow citizens, including some Christians, believe that the historic definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a denial of equality or civil rights. They wonder what to say in reply to the argument that asserts that no harm would be done to them or to anyone if the law of the community were to confer upon two men or two women who are living together in a sexual partnership the status of being “married.” It would not, after all, affect their own marriages, would it? On inspection, however, the argument that laws governing one kind of marriage will not affect another cannot stand. Were it to prove anything, it would prove far too much: the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships. Should these, as a matter of equality or civil rights, be recognized as lawful marriages, and would they have no effects on other relationships? No. The truth is that marriage is not something abstract or neutral that the law may legitimately define and re-define to please those who are powerful and influential.

No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow. First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as “marriages” sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non- marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends. Sadly, we are today far from having a thriving marriage culture. But if we are to begin the critically important process of reforming our laws and mores to rebuild such a culture, the last thing we can afford to do is to re-define marriage in such a way as to embody in our laws a false proclamation about what marriage is.

And so it is out of love (not “animus”) and prudent concern for the common good (not “prejudice”), that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God’s creation covenant. Indeed, the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and his church. And so just as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.

Religious Liberty

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. Matthew 22:21

The struggle for religious liberty across the centuries has been long and arduous, but it is not a novel idea or recent development. The nature of religious liberty is grounded in the character of God Himself, the God who is most fully known in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Determined to follow Jesus faithfully in life and death, the early Christians appealed to the manner in which the Incarnation had taken place: “Did God send Christ, as some suppose, as a tyrant brandishing fear and terror? Not so, but in gentleness and meekness..., for compulsion is no attribute of God” (Epistle to Diognetus 7.3-4). Thus the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the example of Christ Himself and in the very dignity of the human person created in the image of God—a dignity, as our founders proclaimed, inherent in every human, and knowable by all in the exercise of right reason.

Christians confess that God alone is Lord of the conscience. Immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience. No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions. What is true for individuals applies to religious communities as well.

It is ironic that those who today assert a right to kill the unborn, aged and disabled and also a right to engage in immoral sexual practices, and even a right to have relationships integrated around these practices be recognized and blessed by law—such persons claiming these “rights” are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.

We see this, for example, in the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses, and therefore to compel pro- life institutions (including religiously affiliated hospitals and clinics), and pro-life physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals, to refer for abortions and, in certain cases, even to perform or participate in abortions. We see it in the use of anti-discrimination statutes to force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral or go out of business. After the judicial imposition of “same-sex marriage” in Massachusetts, for example, Catholic Charities chose with great reluctance to end its century-long work of helping to place orphaned children in good homes rather than comply with a legal mandate that it place children in same-sex households in violation of Catholic moral teaching. In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions. In Canada and some European nations, Christian clergy have been prosecuted for preaching Biblical norms against the practice of homosexuality. New hate-crime laws in America raise the specter of the same practice here.

In recent decades a growing body of case law has paralleled the decline in respect for religious values in the media, the academy and political leadership, resulting in restrictions on the free exercise of religion. We view this as an ominous development, not only because of its threat to the individual liberty guaranteed to every person, regardless of his or her faith, but because the trend also threatens the common welfare and the culture of freedom on which our system of republican government is founded. Restrictions on the freedom of conscience or the ability to hire people of one’s own faith or conscientious moral convictions for religious institutions, for example, undermines the viability of the intermediate structures of society, the essential buffer against the overweening authority of the state, resulting in the soft despotism Tocqueville so prophetically warned of.1 Disintegration of civil society is a prelude to tyranny.

As Christians, we take seriously the Biblical admonition to respect and obey those in authority. We believe in law and in the rule of law. We recognize the duty to comply with laws whether we happen to like them or not, unless the laws are gravely unjust or require those subject to them to do something unjust or otherwise immoral. The biblical purpose of law is to preserve order and serve justice and the common good; yet laws that are unjust—and especially laws that purport to compel citizens to do what is unjust—undermine the common good, rather than serve it.

Going back to the earliest days of the church, Christians have refused to compromise their proclamation of the gospel. In Acts 4, Peter and John were ordered to stop preaching. Their answer was, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required. There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King’s willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring.

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

Dr. Daniel Akin President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC)

Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Abika, Nigeria)

Randy Alcorn Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) (Sandy, OR)

Rt. Rev. David Anderson President and CEO, American Anglican Council (Atlanta, GA)

Leith Anderson President of National Association of Evangelicals (Washington, DC)

Charlotte K. Ardizzone TV Show Host and Speaker, INSP Television (Charlotte, NC)

Kay Arthur CEO and Co-founder, Precept Ministries International (Chattanooga, TN)

Dr. Mark L. Bailey President, Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas, TX)

His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop Basil Essey The Right Reverend Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (Wichita, KS)

Joel Belz Founder, World Magazine (Asheville, NC)

Rev. Michael L. Beresford Managing Director of Church Relations, Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn. (Charlotte, NC)

Ken Boa President, Reflections Ministries (Atlanta, GA)

Joseph Bottum Editor of First Things (New York, NY)

Pastor Randy & Sarah Brannon Senior Pastor, Grace Community Church (Madera, CA)

Steve Brown National radio broadcaster, Key Life (Maitland, FL)

Dr. Robert C. Cannada, Jr. Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando, FL)

Galen Carey Director of Government Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals (Washington, DC)

Dr. Bryan Chapell President, Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO)

Scott Chapman Senior Pastor, The Chapel (Libertyville, IL)

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, CO

Timothy Clinton President, American Association of Christian Counselors (Forest, VA)

Chuck Colson Founder, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview (Lansdowne, VA)

Most Rev. Salvatore Joseph Cordileone Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, CA

Dr. Gary Culpepper Associate Professor, Providence College (Providence, RI)

Jim Daly President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Marjorie Dannenfelser President, Susan B. Anthony List (Arlington, VA)

Rev. Daniel Delgado Board of Directors, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference & Pastor, Third Day Missions Church (Staten Island, NY)

Dr. James Dobson Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. David Dockery President, Union University (Jackson, TN)

Most Rev. Timothy Dolan Archbishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of New York, NY

Dr. William Donohue President, Catholic League (New York, NY)

Dr. James T. Draper, Jr. President Emeritus, LifeWay (Nashville, TN)

Dinesh D’Souza Writer & Speaker (Rancho Santa Fe, CA)

Most Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America (Ambridge, PA )

Joni Eareckson Tada Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center (Agoura Hills, CA)

Dr. Michael Easley President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL)

Dr. William Edgar Professor, Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, PA)

Brett Elder Executive Director, Stewardship Council (Grand Rapids, MI)

Rev. Joel Elowsky Drew University ( Madison, NJ)

Stuart Epperson Co-Founder and Chariman of the Board, Salem Communications Corporation ( Camarillo, CA)

Rev. Jonathan Falwell Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA)

William J. Federer President, Amerisearch, Inc. (St. Louis, MO)

Fr. Joseph D. Fessio Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press (Ft. Collins, CO)

Carmen Fowler President & Executive Editor, Presbyterian Lay Committee (Lenoir, NC)

Maggie Gallagher President, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and a co-author of The Case for Marriage (Manassas, VA)

Dr. Jim Garlow Senior Pastor, Skyline Church (La Mesa, CA)

Steven Garofalo Senior Consultant, Search and Assessment Services (Charlotte, NC)

Dr. Robert P. George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

Dr. Timothy George Dean and Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University (Birmingham, AL)

Thomas Gilson Director of Strategic Processes, Campus Crusade for Christ International (Norfolk, VA)

Dr. Jack Graham Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church (Plano, TX)

Dr. Wayne Grudem Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary (Phoenix, AZ)

Dr. Cornell “Corkie” Haan National Facilitator of Spiritual Unity, The Mission America Coalition (Palm Desert, CA)

Fr. Chad Hatfield Chancellor, CEO. And Archpriest, St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Yonkers, NY)

Dr. Dennis Hollinger President and Professor of Christian Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA)

Dr. Jeanette Hsieh Executive VP and Provost, Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL)

Dr. John A. Huffman, Jr. Senior Pastor, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (Newport Beach, CA) and Chairman of the Board, Christianity Today International (Carol Stream, IL)

Rev. Ken Hutcherson Pastor, Antioch Bible Church (Kirkland, WA)

Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church (Beltsville, MD)

Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse President, American Orthodox Institute and Editor, OrthodoxyToday.org (Naples, FL)

Jerry Jenkins Chairman of the board of trustees for Moody Bible Institute (Black Forest, CO)

Camille Kampouris Publisher, Kairos Journal

Emmanuel A. Kampouris Editorial Board, Kairos Journal

Rev. Tim Keller Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York, NY)

Dr. Peter Kreeft Professor of Philosophy, Boston College (MA) and at the Kings College (NY)

Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, KY

Jim Kushiner Editor, Touchstone (Chicago, IL)

Dr. Richard Land President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (Washington, DC)

Jim Law Senior Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church (Woodstock, GA)

Dr. Matthew Levering Associate Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University (Naples, FL)

Dr. Peter Lillback President, The Providence Forum (West Conshohocken, PA)

Dr. Duane Litfin President, Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)

Rev. Herb Lusk Pastor, Greater Exodus Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida Archbishop Emeritus, Roman Catholic Diocese of Detroit, MI

Most Rev. Richard J. Malone Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, ME

Rev. Francis Martin Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary (Detroit, MI)

Dr. Joseph Mattera Bishop & Senior Pastor, Resurrection Church (Brooklyn, NY)

Phil Maxwell Pastor, Gateway Church (Bridgewater, NJ)

Josh McDowell Founder, Josh McDowell Ministries (Plano, TX)

Alex McFarland President, Southern Evangelical Seminary (Charlotte, NC)

Most Rev. George Dallas McKinney Bishop, & Founder and Pastor, St. Stephen’s Church of God in Christ (San Diego, CA)

Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns Missionary Bishop, Convocation of Anglicans of North America (Herndon, VA)

Dr. C. Ben Mitchell Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, Union University (Jackson, TN)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)

Dr. Russell D. Moore Senior VP for Academic Administration & Dean of the School of Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)

Most Rev. John J. Myers Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, NJ

Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann Archbishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, KS

David Neff Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today (Carol Stream, IL)

Tom Nelson Senior Pastor, Christ Community Evangelical Free Church (Leawood, KS)

Niel Nielson President, Covenant College (Lookout Mt., GA)

Most Rev. John Nienstedt Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Tom Oden Theologian, United Methodist Minister and Professor, Drew University (Madison, NJ)

Marvin Olasky Editor-in-Chief, World Magazine and provost, The Kings College (New York City, NY)

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

Rev. William Owens Chairman, Coalition of African-American Pastors (Memphis, TN)

Dr. J.I. Packer Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College (Canada)

Metr. Jonah Paffhausen Primate, Orthodox Church in America (Syosset, NY)

Tony Perkins President, Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.)

Eric M. Pillmore CEO, Pillmore Consulting LLC (Doylestown, PA)

Dr. Everett Piper President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University (Bartlesville, OK)

Todd Pitner President, Rev Increase

Dr. Cornelius Plantinga President, Calvin Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, MI)

Dr. David Platt Pastor, Church at Brook Hills (Birmingham AL)

Rev. Jim Pocock Pastor, Trinitarian Congregational Church (Wayland, MA)

Fred Potter Executive Director & CEO, Christian Legal Society (Springfield, VA)

Dennis Rainey President, CEO, & Co-Founder, FamilyLife (Little Rock, AR)

Fr. Patrick Reardon Pastor, All Saints’ Antiochian Orthodox Church (Chicago, IL)

Bob Reccord Founder, Total Life Impact, Inc. (Suwanee, GA)

His Eminence Justin Cardinal Rigali Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, PA

Frank Schubert President, Schubert Flint Public Affairs (Sacramento, CA)

David Schuringa President, Crossroads Bible Institute (Grand Rapids, MI)

Tricia Scribner Author (Harrisburg, NC)

Dr. Dave Seaford Senior Pastor, Community Fellowship Church (Matthews, NC)

Alan Sears President, CEO, & General Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund (Scottsdale, AZ)

Randy Setzer Senior Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church (Lincolnton, NC)

Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, CO

Dr. Ron Sider Director, Evangelicals for Social Action (Wynnewood, PA)

Fr. Robert Sirico Founder, Acton Institute (Grand Rapids, MI)

Dr. Robert Sloan President, Houston Baptist University (Houston, TX)

Charles Stetson Chairman of the Board, Bible Literacy Project (New York, NY)

Dr. David Stevens CEO, Christian Medical & Dental Association (Bristol, TN)

John Stonestreet Executive Director, Summit Ministries (Manitou Springs, CO)

Dr. Joseph Stowell President, Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids, MI)

Dr. Sarah Sumner Professor of Theology and Ministry, Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA)

Dr. Glenn Sunshine Chairman of the history department of Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, CT)

Luiz Tellez President, The Witherspoon Institute (Princeton, NJ)

Dr. Timothy C. Tennent Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA)

Michael Timmis Chairman, Prison Fellowship and Prison Fellowship International (Naples, FL)

Mark Tooley President, Institute for Religion and Democracy (Washington, D.C.)

H. James Towey President, St. Vincent College (Latrobe, PA)

Juan Valdes Middle and High School Chaplain, Flordia Christian School (Miami, FL)

Todd Wagner Pastor, WaterMark Community Church (Dallas, TX)

Dr. Graham Walker President, Patrick Henry Univ. (Purcellville, VA)

Alexander F. C. Webster Archpriest, Orthodox Church in America and Associate Professorial Lecturer, The George Washington University (Ft. Belvoir, VA)

George Weigel Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center (Washington, D.C.)

David Welch Houston Area Pastor Council Executive Director, US Pastors Council (Houston, TX)

Dr. James White Founding and Senior Pastor, Mecklenberg Community Church (Charlotte, NC)

Dr. Hayes Wicker Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church (Naples, FL)

Mark Williamson Founder and President, Foundation Restoration Ministries/Federal Intercessors (Katy, TX)

Dr. Craig Williford President, Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL)

Dr. John Woodbridge Research professor of Church History & the History of Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL)

Don M. Woodside Performance Matters Associates (Matthews, NC)

Dr. Frank Wright President, National Religious Broadcasters (Manassas, VA)

Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

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Dr. Michael Youssef President, Leading the Way (Atlanta, GA)

Ravi Zacharias Founder and Chairman of the board, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Norcross, GA)

Most Rev. David A. Zubik Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chastity Ed Works and This One The Best!

This is the best of the best and is changing lives.

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-13503-St-Louis-Catholic-Living-Examiner~y2009m9d6-Theology-of-The-Body-For-Teens--A-must

Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't We Have The Right to Die?

What About the Right to Die?

Here's how to answer the common arguments of the culture of death.

By Fr. Frank Pavone



This Rock
Volume 16, Number 8
October 2005
Frontispiece
By Karl Keating
Letters
What About the Right to Die?
By Fr. Frank Pavone
Common Myths
By Fr. Frank Pavone
The Role of Deacons: Then and Now
By Tim Drake
What Can and Can't Deacons Do?
By Tim Drake
The Restoration of the Permanent Diaconate at the Second Vatican Council
By Tim Drake
Who Were the "Great" Popes – and Why?
By Fr. William Saunders
What's in a Name?
By Carl E. Olson
Soteriology: Catholic v. Protestant
By Carl E. Olson
Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant
By Steve Ray
Mary the Ark As Revealed in Mary's Visit to Elizabeth
By Steve Ray
Inside the Ark
By Steve Ray
Step by Step
Google versus the Pope
By Kenneth J. Howell
Fathers Know Best
The Real Presence
Brass Tacks
The Complex Relationship between Scripture and Tradition
By Jimmy Akin
Damascus Road
Reincarnation Meant My Loved Ones Would Cease to Exist
By Joanna Bogle
Classic Apologetics
The Authenticity of the Gospels
By Walter Devivier, S. J.
Quick Questions
Subscribe
Permissions

When people ask me about the "right to die," I say: "Don’t worry: You won’t miss out on it."

The truth is that there is no such thing as a "right to die." A right is a moral claim, and we have no claim on death—death has a claim on us. Some people see the "right to die" as a parallel to the right to life, but this is based on faulty reasoning. The right to life is based on life being a gift we can neither destroy nor discard, whereas the "right to die" is based on the idea that life is a thing we possess and may discard when it no longer meets our satisfaction.

The culture of death, which chants, "My body, my life, my choice" also chants—by the same logic—"My body, my death, my choice." Just as pro-abortion groups use the word choice in their names, pro-euthanasia groups call themselves by names such as "Choice in Dying." In both cases, death is being sold as a product, and its salespersons have to make it look better than the alternative. Pro-abortion groups make childbearing seem more dangerous and burdensome than abortion. And recently, in the case of the murder of Terri Schiavo, her estranged husband’s attorney painted her death as peaceful, dignified, and beautiful. I was there for hours in her room, and her death was as far from beautiful as I have ever seen.

The task of the culture of life, then, is to rip the veil off of these acts of violence. To change the way our society treats the vulnerable, we must begin by changing the way we speak about them. Below are some tools to do precisely that. We will start by explaining a few key terms and then answer some common arguments.


What is euthanasia?

Euthanasia, from the Greek words meaning "good death," is something we do or fail to do that causes, or is intended to cause, death, in order to remove a person from suffering. This is sometimes called "mercy killing" (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 2277).


What is assisted suicide?

This refers to an act by which one person assists another in taking his own life. For example, a physician who engages in "assisted suicide" would, upon the patient’s request, provide the deadly drugs for the person to use.


What is the difference between "active" and "passive" euthanasia?

Active euthanasia refers to an action one takes to end a life, such as a lethal injection. Passive euthanasia refers to an omission, such as failing to intervene at a life-threatening crisis or failing to provide nourishment.

It is important not to confuse passive euthanasia with the morally legitimate decision to withhold medical treatment that is not morally necessary. Foregoing a treatment that we are not required to use is not euthanasia in any form and should not be called by that name, even if death is hastened as a result.


Does a person have the right to refuse treatments, or do we have to use every possible medicine and machine to keep him alive?

No matter how ill a patient is, we never have a right to put him to death. We have a duty to care for and preserve life. But to what length are we required to go to preserve life? No religion or government requires us to use every possible means to prolong life. The means have traditionally been classified as either ordinary or extraordinary.

Ordinary means include any treatment or procedure that provides some benefit to the patient without excessive burden or hardship. Ordinary means must always be used.

Extraordinary means are those that present an excessive burden. Extraordinary means are optional. "Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of ‘over-zealous’ treatment" (CCC 2278).

The distinction here is not between "artificial" and "natural." Many artificial treatments are ordinary means in the moral sense, so long as they provide some benefit without excessive burden. Of course, whether a particular treatment is ordinary or extraordinary depends on the specific case, with all its medical details.


I can think of many people with terrible suffering or in conditions where they cannot talk. I would never want to live that way!

I can think of the poor living in slums: I wouldn’t want to live like that! I can think of the homeless: I wouldn’t want to live like that! I can think of those with terrible emotional or financial burdens: I wouldn’t want to live like that!

But what does that mean? Does it mean that we should kill them or treat them like garbage? When people are suffering, that’s a reason to help them, not kill them.

In other words, who is to say that the suffering of a teenager who has just flunked his most important class in school, lost his girlfriend, and been kicked off the football team isn’t too great for him to bear? What if he thinks it is? Do we allow him to commit suicide because he has the right to determine the end of his life, or do we call a crisis hotline?


What about people who are unable to communicate?

What about them? That, indeed, is the question for the pro-euthanasia forces. People who cannot communicate are people. This gets to the heart of the problem. A person’s inability to function does not make his life less valuable. People do not become "vegetables." Children of God never lose the divine image in which they were made.

A key distinction that needs to be made here is between a patient who is dying and one who is not. If the patient is dying, we try with all reasonable means to sustain life. As we have noted, some interventions are necessary and some are not. But if the patient is not dying, there is no question about whether to provide treatment. There is such a thing as a useless treatment, but there is no such thing as a useless life.


Must we always provide food and fluids to a patient?

When we come back from lunch, we do not say that we just had our latest medical treatment. Food and drink are a normal part of taking care of life and health, not an extraordinary intervention. As part of normal care, therefore, they are morally obligatory.

Food and water keeps us alive. Failing to feed someone introduces a new cause of death, namely, starvation.

Pope John Paul II addressed this question in the following words:

I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering (Address to the International Congress on Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemmas, March 20, 2004).


Shouldn’t politicians stay out of these personal decisions?

The first purpose of government is to defend and protect the lives of its citizens. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide contradict that fundamental purpose.

Pope John Paul II wrote that when the right to life is denied by a state, the state itself disintegrates:

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom (Evangelium Vitae 20).


Didn’t Mother Teresa assist people to die?

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta assisted many people in dying and helped many people to die: She was present to them, assuring them that they would not die alone; she helped them find the courage to face death, gave them the conviction that their dignity had not been lost, and offered them the serenity borne of receiving love from people and God. This is the legitimate meaning of "death with dignity" and "helping people to die." This is the gospel response to the dying members of the human family. It is very different from killing them.


Should I sign a living will?

Living wills are both unnecessary and dangerous.

They are unnecessary because they propose to give rights that patients and doctors already possess. People already have the right to make informed-consent decisions telling their family and physicians how they want to be treated if and when they no longer can make decisions for themselves. Doctors are already free to withhold or withdraw useless procedures that provide no benefit to the patient. Some people fear that medical technology will be used to torture them in their final days, but it is more likely that the "medical heroics" people fear are the very treatments that will make possible a more comfortable, less painful death.

Living wills are also dangerous because they try to predict the future. We do not know in advance what form of sickness or disease we may be afflicted with in the years ahead. We do not know what treatments we will need or what will be available. We do not know if we will need a respirator indefinitely or perhaps for just a few hours to get back to normal health.

Moreover, if the living will indicates that one does not want "to be kept alive by medications" or "artificial means," what does that mean? An.aspirin is medication, is it not? Drinking through a straw is artificial. People can construe meanings for these words that the signer of the document never intended.


What are the alternatives to a living will?

A safer route is to appoint a health care proxy who can speak for you in those cases when you are not able to speak for yourself. The proxy should be a person who shares your moral convictions and will be able to apply them to specific medical situations that may arise for you in the future. The "Will to Live" is a document whereby you can appoint a proxy and expressly indicate your desire for life-sustaining treatment if the need arises. Contact Priests for Life for a "Will to Live" consistent with the laws of your state.

Fr. Frank Pavone is founder of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, a new society of apostolic life dedicated to the formation and training of priests, deacons, brothers, and seminarians who will devote themselves fully to the proclamation of the gospel of life. He is also the national director of Priests for Life, an officially approved association of Catholic clergy who give special emphasis to the pro-life teachings of the Church.

Contact Priests for Life at P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; e-mail: mail@priestsforlife.org; web: www.priestsforlife.org

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let’s Get our Facts Straight about Tiller and Anti-Abortion Violence

Wednesday June 3, 2009

Commentary: Let’s Get our Facts Straight about Tiller and Anti-Abortion Violence


Commentary by Brian Clowes, PhD - Human Life International, Research Manager

June 3, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Along with everyone else at Human Life International and throughout the legitimate pro-life movement, I strongly condemn the murder of abortionist George Tiller in Kansas. The Fifth Commandment does not read "Thou shalt not kill, except for abortionists."

Not only is it wrong to respond to people like Tiller with the ultimate anti-life act of murder, it also sets the entire pro-life movement back as good, committed leaders have to scramble to distance themselves from an act that they never called for and which is obviously antithetical to their philosophy and work. Pro-abortion legislators seize on the opportunity to call for laws restricting legitimate pro-life activities such as sidewalk counseling and picketing, knowing the whole time that such legislation will do nothing to hinder a maniac with a gun. And, worst of all, thousands of people who would otherwise have joined the pro-life movement will continue to sit on the sidelines, believing the media lie that we are violent.

Pro-lifers should indeed condemn the murder of George Tiller. But we should not play permanent defense as the nonsense snowballs and the unfair attacks against the pro-life movement multiply. Here are some facts that should be taken into consideration by all people of good will, especially those whose responsibility it is to report on this story.

1) George Tiller is the first abortionist to be killed in eleven years. If you think that's a "trend,” or an “epidemic” as some have said, you're just not a serious person.

2) All of the posturing going on in the pro-abortion movement over the safety of abortionists is a ruse. There are four times as many hairdressers and 150 times as many convenience store clerks murdered as there are abortionists. Where is the “pro-choice” grieving over them?

3) George Tiller made his money performing late-term abortions, which often involves the killing of a viable human being. According to Kansas state statistics, he killed 395 viable third-trimester babies in one year – 2001 – all for “mental health” reasons (which, as we know, is the category for all elective abortions). Not one of those abortions was for a mother’s physical health or for a medical emergency. Americans overwhelmingly believe this disgusting practice should not be legal. If any objective journalist were to look into his practice they would see that most people, and all sane people, are appalled by what happened in his clinic every day.

4) Tiller has been tried on criminal indictments for multiple abuses of his practice, including breaking state laws requiring another medical doctor to verify that certain patients' lives were at risk before performing late-term abortions. This man was no hero or saint, and his being held up as a martyr says more about pro-abortionists than it does about those they are trying to condemn.

5) Abortionists are not only widely considered an embarrassment to the medical profession, but they are much more likely to commit violence than to suffer violence. You may be surprised to learn that more than a dozen abortionists have been convicted of murder and manslaughter ― of their wives, of their patients, and even of other abortionists. Yet you never hear about these killings in the press (see http://www.abortionviolence.com/ for documentation). Abortionists are more likely to kill than to be killed.

6) Whenever an abortionist mutilates, kills or molests a woman, the “pro-choice” movement always rushes to his defense, as they did for Brian Finkel, the Arizona abortionist who was sent to prison for 35 years for 22 counts of sexual abuse. So much for caring for women!

7) The pro-life movement is the most peaceful social movement in the history of this country. Most other social movements, including the unionization movement, the pro-abortion movement, the homosexualist movement, the animal rights movement, and the environmental movement have all demonstrated much greater violence. So where is the outcry over the violence committed by these movements?

During the predictable surge of publicity over Tiller's murder, we must remember that abortion itself is the most cowardly form of murder, committed against the most helpless and innocent of all of God's people, the unborn. We must also remember those who have died, but who are ignored by the media and the pro-abortionists ― the hundreds of women who have died of so-called "safe and legal" abortion, and the hundreds of other women who have been murdered by their boyfriends or husbands because they would not abort their children (see http://www.abortionviolence.com/ for documentation).

Let's not be bullied or silenced by those who are trying to tar the whole pro-life movement by cynically exploiting the murder of George Tiller. Let's instead reply with facts which add context to the "abortionists are heroes, pro-lifers are violent" narrative that the "mainstream" media seems too willing to parrot.

Not that I expect the media to suddenly start reporting the truth of abortion. If they did that, there would be no legal abortion in the first place. But we can try, and the facts are on our side. Let's pray, too, for the soul of George Tiller, his family, and his murderer, as well as for the conversion of all pro-aborts that they see how destructive abortion is for all human life, not just the child who is killed and the mother who is wounded.

One thing you can do is forward this information and the address of the abortion violence Web site to your friends so that we can reach those of good will ― those who aren't just mindlessly screaming bloody murder but who can actually think and listen to reason ― and show them that the story they've been told about supposedly "violent" pro-life activists is just that ― a story.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pop Can Baby Miracle Baby 12.5 oz.

June 2, 2009
The "Pop Can" miracle baby

taylorrideout.jpgWPXI in Pittsburgh reports on the smallest baby ever to survive at Magee Women's Hospital:

At birth baby Taylor Rideout weighed just 12.5 oz. and was just 10 inches long....

"She's a fighter," said Taylor's mother Brittany Rideout.

Please see the rest of the story at http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2009/06/miracle_baby_su.html

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Boy, 8, tells Texas lawmakers how stem cells cured him

Please see: http://www.txcn.com/sharedcontent/dws/txcn/austin/stories/052108kvuestemcells-cb.15973e44.html for a video of this young child explains how adult stem cell treatment has cured him.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Notre Shame, For Shame Obama, For Shame Media

Never have I ever heard more obvious double-speak than I have heard during Obama's speech at Notre Dame commencement. Never. Also, never have I heard more shameful an attitude toward life. It is equal only to the Pres of Iran saying there was no such thing as a Jewish holocaust. Pathetic and even more pathetic that so many people have bought into these lies about what pro-life is and the absolute scientific and psychological damage to the mother, not even considering the torture to the child. TORTURE !

Example...

The media as well as President Obama *deliberately* say "stem cell research* to make people believe that Catholics are against stem cell research which is a complete and total lie and anywhere on the internet can you find that out. There is a deliberate effort to eliminate the word "embryonic" by the media, by Obama, and by Father Jenkins in his allowing this lie to be said at Notre Dame.

The facts of the futility of embryonic stem cell cures is also available on the internet easily found. As well, the cures from regular stem cell research not only is in excess of SEVENTY cures but also easily found on the internet.

Shame on Obama for lying and shame on Fr. Jenkins for assisting in this lie. They BOTH know the truth and they are bought and sold. One thing they both have very much in common....lies.

And another lie
...I am anti-abortion, Obama says, but yet now wants us to pay for abortion in other countries including the one child policy in China. Of all the money Obama promises he excludes any type of program that will help mothers of unwanted pregnancies. Obama pulled the funds for the mothers! Hello...are you listening?

If ever there were a forked tongue, Obama and Jenkins have exactly that.

I have to really wonder how educated our educated really are that people believe what was said by Obama at Notre Dame as truth. Our educated at one of the most notable universities have absolutely no clue what double speak is or how to recognize it. Obama has the cattle prod and the young people seem to be ready to to buy into it. Time to take a much closer look at "education."

Case in point. You can show a 3 year old a picture of a pre-born baby at 3 months and that 3 year old child will say, "that's a baby!" I have much more confidence in the intelligence of my 4 year old grandson than I now have in Obama or in Jenkins or in anyone who applauded the lies at Notre Dame.

It's a hard hard decision women have to make, says Obama. And he is really heart felt about what they go through. Really? And that's why he refers to a woman with an unwanted pregnancy as being "punished?" Hello? Are you listening? Punished? A child is a punishment for what? So...kill it ? Kill what we don't want is the answer?

Great...let's use that as a rule for society. Let's kill what we don't want. OH?? You don't think that's ok? Why? Because you can't actually see the person you kill in the womb? Is it any less killing because you cannot see the baby? Ok...the answer is NO and not just "no" but "hell no." Believe it or not, rationalize it to fit your needs, describe your sad situation...it's the killing of a human being.

A pepperoni pizza is a pepperoni pizza no matter how badly you want it to be a NY strip steak. And abortion is murder no matter how badly you wish to dismiss that fact.

It's your body you can do what you want? Really. Let's think about that. There is a test that is given to see if someone in an accident is brain dead. No brain waves? The person is dead. So tell me exactly WHY the pro-aborts put all the money they can into preventing these same tests from being done on the pre-born baby EVEN.....EVEN....at the earliest stages of pregnancy. Ok, you guessed it. Because there ARE brain waves.

Your body? Is there one heart or two? Is there one nervous system or two? Are there only 2 legs and 2 arms and no head because it's YOUR body you want to kill? Ah, no...don't think so. Another lie...the heart beats at THREE weeks. Wanna know the double speak given about that? "It's not a heart beat..it's heart "motion". Hello? Are you listening?

The media...........if you don't hear it, you think it isn't happening? Oh, think again. You think when they say that Catholics object to stem cell research that that is true? You are being lied to 100%. And it is deliberate. So, think again. Catholics DO promote stem cell research because it is NOT the destruction of human life. I challenge you to find the truth of "adult stem cell cures" and the futility of embryonic stem cell research.

Check out the Discovery Channel and any other programs that like to walk us through surgeries. Check the made-for-TV-movies/CSI programs/etc to see every kind of gory detail of blood and guts but do you EVER see an abortion? Why is that? It's the most common surgery in the United States...in fact, the world...but you have never seen it ! Are you listening?

Forget religion? If that bothers you then just check the scientific facts about the unborn. I challenge you to do just that. Not convinced? Go to the website of http://www.priestsforlife.org and look at the pictures of aborted babies.

Look, if you don't want to look, you already know it's murder. If you do look, and you are pro-abort, then I am convinced you won't be after you see it. America won't outlaw abortion until America sees abortion. And that, my dear, is a fact. If you don't want to look because you already know it's murder, then you are desperately trying to rationalize some type of genocide as "ok" as long as it doesn't interrupt your life. Hey...I know a lot of 2 year olds who disrupt life. Should we kill them? No?? Why not?? Just because you can SEE them? Oh. Listen. Up. You can see the unborn.

Look at the pics and you will see the reality of genocide.

It's not YOUR body
being pulled apart limb from limb. It's not YOUR body being burned to death. It's not YOUR body that has the brain sucked out of your head. So, it obviously is NOT your body that you choose to kill. And...do you value your freedom more than you care about murder? Ok then..................do this........

Have the baby and let the baby live !!!!! Let the baby live with an adoptive family who can't have a baby that you so desperately want to kill to be rid of.

SHAME on Obama. SHAME on Jenkins. SHAME on anyone who chooses to abort when adoption is ALWAYS an option.

Wait !! Saving you the trouble of searching for pictures of aborted babies ! I knew you would thank me for this so here is the link: http://www.priestsforlife.org/images/index.aspx#galleries

If you already know abortion is murder, you won't look. If you are convinced that abortion is ok.. I dare you! And then come back after you see the pics and leave me a comment on what you saw. Please do that. I will look forward to your pro-abortion ideas after you look.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thousands More, 12 Bishops, and 18 Politicians Join in Regional Marches for Life Across Canada Total Number of Bishops: 24

Tuesday May 19, 2009


By Alex Bush

May 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The 12th annual March for Life in Ottawa may have drawn a record number of participants; but the pro-life show of strength this past week was not just limited to the national March, with numerous regional events taking place across the country. In addition to the 12,300 people and 12 bishops that participated in the Ottawa March for Life, approximately 4,000 people, including 12 bishops, participated in regional Marches For Life.

All told, more than 16,000 Canadians participated in pro-life demonstrations last week, and the number of bishops involved totaled 24.

In addition to the multitude of marchers and bishops, 18 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from New Brunswick joined in the New Brunswick March for Life, including the PC Opposition Leader David Alward and the Liberal Minister of Health Mike Murphy.

Marches took place coast to coast across Canada, setting numerous records for attendance. 40 people from Newfoundland, 140 from Manitoba, 350 from Nova Scotia, 400 from New Brunswick, 400 from Alberta, 700 from Saskatchewan, and a mighty 2,000 from British Columbian took part in various local marches.

The Bishops that participated at the Marches across Canada were, in New Brunswick, Archbishop Robert Harris; in Alberta, Archbishop Richard William Smith, Bishop Frederick Henry, Bishop Joseph Luc André Bouchard, Bishop Gérard Pettipas; in British Columbia, Archbishop Michael Miller, Bishop Richard Gagnon, Bishop David Monroe; in Saskatchewan, Archbishop Daniel Bohan, Bishop Albert LeGatt, Ukranian Bishop Bryan Bayda, and Ukranian Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski.

The Liberal MLAs from New Brunswick also used the March for Life as an opportunity to throw their support behind a PC bill that would allow distraught women to give their newborn babies to hospital staff. The "Safe Haven Bill" was introduced after the public mourning of a baby boy, known as Baby Taylor, who was left to die of exposure near Moncton, New Brunswick over the winter and was only found during the spring thaw.

The marchers from New Brunswick also placed 250 Roses at the Legislature and at the three main abortion facilities in the province (which includes two full-fledged hospitals) to commemorate the 25,000 unborn babies who have been aborted in New Brunswick since 1969.

The Complete list of bishops that participated in the various Marches for Life is as follows (to find the contact information to send the bishops a letter of thanks for their participation, see: http://www.cccb.ca/site/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,1211/lang,eng/):
1. His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet - Quebec City
2. His Grace Archbishop Terrence Prendergast - Ottawa
3. His Grace Archbishop Thomas Collins - Toronto
4. His Grace Archbishop Brendan O'Brien - Kingston
5. His Grace Archbishop Sutton, OMI, emeritus archbishop of Keewatin-LePas
6. His Grace Archbishop Richard William Smith - Edmonton
7. His Grace Archbishop Michael Miller - Vancouver
8. His Grace Archbishop Daniel Bohan - Regina
9. His Excellency Bishop Paul-André DuRocher - Alexandria-Cornwall
10. His Excellency Bishop Ronald Fabbro - London
11. His Excellency Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe - Sault Ste. Marie
12. His Excellency Bishop Stephen Victor Chmilar - Ukrainian Bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada
13. His Excellency Bishop Michael Mulhall - Pembroke
14. His Excellency Bishop John Stephen Pazak - Byzantine Rite
15. His Excellency Bishop Robert Harris - Saint John
16. His Excellency Bishop Frederick Henry - Calgary
17. His Excellency Bishop Joseph Luc André Bouchard - Saint Paul
18. His Excellency Bishop Gérard Pettipas - Grouard-McLennan
19. His Excellency Bishop Richard Gagnon - Victoria
20. His Excellency Bishop David Monroe - Kamloops
21. His Excellency Bishop Albert LeGatt
22. His Excellency Bishop Bryan Bayda, Ukrainian Bishop of Saskatoon
23. His Excellency Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski Ukrainian Bishop of Westminster
24. Mgr Gerard Drainville, retired bishop of Amos (Quebec)


12,000: Canadian 2009 March for Life Smashes Previous Attendance Records
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051409.html

Now 11 Bishops Confirmed: Unprecedented Promotion of March for Life from Catholic Bishops
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051303.html

New Brunswick Right to Life Says Abortion Law Being Abused at NB Hospitals
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051517.html

Notre SHAME !

Friday, May 15, 2009

Self-Induced Abortion Pill And 2009 Facts From American College of OB/GYN

United States use of the abortion pill RU486 was approved by the pro-abortion administration of President Bill Clinton. But this action, finalized in 2000, did little more than whet the appetite of the abortion industry, since there were some strings attached.

At the top of the list of items abortionists have worked unceasingly to remove were the commonsensical limitations on its use and the attempt to assure that the two-drug abortion technique is administered in a manner that decreases the chances that there will be complications for the mother. (The first drug kills the baby. The second drug-- typically the prostaglandin misoprostol--stimulates severe uterine contractions to expel the dead or dying baby.)

For example, the abortion industry didn't like that the protocol put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expected the woman to come back for separate visits to take each of the drugs in the chemical cocktail (at least 24-48 hours apart), and which limited the drugs' use to the first 49 days of pregnancy.

But what happens when women do receive both RU486 and the prostaglandin simultaneously? It is "not as effective," according to a study just released by researchers at the Boston Medical Center.

The findings, presented at the 2009 Annual Clinic Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found that women receiving the drugs simultaneously required "surgical interventions" (to deal with bleeding, failed abortion, patient satisfaction) nearly twice as often as those women who observed an interval of at least a day between the administration of the RU486 and the prostaglandin (7.4% vs. 3.9%).

Rates of completed abortion after two weeks were 77% for the group receiving the two drugs simultaneously, and 84% for those taking them separately. Both completion rates are considerably lower than the 97% figure advertised by the industry. See, for example, Planned Parenthood's webpage on the abortion pill at www.plannedparenthood.org

.

According to Medscape Medical News (5/5/09), Melissa Stafford, the lead researcher who presented the findings at the ACOG meeting, indicated that simultaneous administration was "convenient," according to a reporter, "because it allowed the physician to confirm that medication was taken properly" and because "it eliminated the risk of losing medications."

Unspoken, but obviously a factor to patients, was the "convenience" of not having to plan a return visit for the second pill.

In the end, Dr. Stafford indicated, the reduced effectiveness was too big a hurdle for the Boston Medical Center. "We have changed our practice," she told Medscape, "and we no longer offer simultaneous administration of mifepristone and misoprostol for medication abortions."

None of this came as any surprise to pro-life experts who have followed the twists and turns over the last decade.

"Those who have developed and promoted RU 486 have told women that the abortifacient offers them a way to have an abortion without the risk of surgery," says Dr. Randall K. O'Bannon, National Right to Life's Director of Education and Research.

"But as this latest study shows," he continued, "the abortion industry's efforts to tamper with the FDA protocol have decreased the 'effectiveness' of these drugs and put many of these women in line for surgical abortions after their chemical abortions failed."

Almost immediately after the drug combination received government approval, the abortion industry began to ignore the FDA-prescribed protocol. They altered the doses-- decreasing the dose of the expensive RU486 (at one point, priced $90 a pill, three pills to a dose) and increasing the dosage of the cheap prostaglandin (misoprostol). Rather than have women return to the office a couple of days later to take the prostaglandin orally, the clinics gave the women the misoprostol in their first visit when they came in for the RU486, with instructions to take the prostaglandin home and vaginally self administer. The ignored the 49 day limit, prescribing the pills to women at 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks or more along in their pregnancy.

Although the industry refused to link the decision, when women began to die, they pulled back some.

Planned Parenthood, the leader in the abortion industry, announced it would no longer be recommending the vaginal self administration of the misoprostol. Their website temporarily reduced time frame it could be used from 63 to 56 days. (It is back up to 63 now.)

This most recent study shows that the industry continues its efforts to streamline the process, with all the risks inherent in that.

O'Bannon noted, "Making chemical abortions more 'convenient' for patients, for abortionists, may help the industry attract more customers, but it may also have the consequence of making these already dangerous abortions even more dangerous for women."

He concluded, "As long as the abortion industry puts its own profits and preferences ahead of patient safety, both mothers and their unborn children will continue to face danger behind clinic doors."

www.nrlc.org/News_and_Views/index.html

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And *We* Pay For This Insanity Thanks To Obama

Render Unto Caesar? I don't really think this is our obligation in any way shape or form. Asking us to pay for this?? No words can I think of to describe the insanity of this.

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Chinese officials force paid surrogate mothers to have abortions

Guangzhou, China, May 2, 2009 / 07:43 am (CNA).- Echoing other reports of coercion in enforcement of China’s one-child policy, Chinese authorities have reportedly forced mothers to abort their children in a crackdown on the country’s underground surrogate pregnancy industry.

One U.S. investigator of China's one-child policy said the alleged coercion was “not surprising.” In the latest incident, Reuters reports that three young surrogate first-time mothers were discovered by authorities hiding in a communal flat in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. District family planning and security officers broke into the apartment, corralled them into a van and drove them to a district hospital where they were compelled into a maternity ward.

"I was crying 'I don't want to do this'," a 20-year-old woman called Xiao Hong told Reuters. She was pregnant with four-month-old twins.

“But they still dragged me in and injected my belly with a needle,” she said, reporting that the incident took place in late February.

She said the government officers had forced her thumbprint onto a consent form before carrying out the abortion.

Another surrogate mother, a 23-year-old from a village in Sichuan province, said officers made her take pills and then surgically removed her three-month-old unborn child while she was unconscious.

"I was terrified," she said to Reuters.

The official Guangzhou Daily newspaper quoted district family planning officials as saying the women were unmarried and acting as “illegal” surrogates. The paper also reported that the mothers had agreed to undergo “remedial measures” in accordance with the law.

Official media coverage critical of surrogacy has led some observers to expect more action against the practice in the future.

According to Reuters, underground networks of surrogacy agents, hospitals and doctors have grown in recent years as wealthy infertile Chinese couples hire surrogates to produce babies for them.

The surrogates are often confined to secret flats for most of their pregnancy to avoid detection. Medical staff at public hospitals and health clinics who are part of the surrogacy network discreetly perform fertility, obstetrics and childbirth procedures.

Surrogacy has been on the rise globally. India in particular has become a center of surrogacy for infertile and homosexual Western couples.

In China, prospective surrogate mothers are paid between 50,000 to 100,000 yuan ($14,460) per pregnancy by some businesses, attracting many women from poor rural areas. The average per capital income for rural households is around $600. An estimated 25,000 surrogate children have been born in China.

A March investigation by the Population Research Institute (PRI) reported that the one-child policy and coercive abortion had links to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The UNFPA claimed to have mollified the one-child policy and to have “played a catalytic role in introducing a voluntary reproductive health approach in China.”

Colin Mason, Director of Media Production at PRI, had conducted the investigation. In March he told CNA that coercive measures undertaken by the government are “worse now than ever.”

"Crippling fines, intense pressure to be sterilized, the flagrant display of quota information, and even the seizure of ‘illegal children’ by the government are commonplace," Mason continued. "The UNFPA insists that its presence has led to the removal of these measures. It has not."

Under President Barack Obama’s recent omnibus spending bill, the UNFPA is slated to receive $50 million in U.S. funding.

During the George W. Bush presidency, the UNFPA was denied a reported $235 million because of investigations linking it to coercive abortion practices in China. Funding for such groups is banned under the Kemp-Kasten Amendment.

CNA spoke about coercive abortions in China with PRI’s Colin Mason in a Friday phone interview.

He reported that he didn’t run into “that many” cases of forced abortion.

“It’s not something people are willing to talk about when they think will get into trouble,” he said.

However, he said the law is clear that any couple with a child over the policy limit will be fined a certain amount, “five to seven times the yearly wage.”

The policy also encourages such couples to “opt” to be sterilized, but Mason explained “the law made it clear that that’s not really an ‘option.’”

Responding to the report about one woman being coerced to sign a consent form before her alleged forced abortion, Mason told CNA “That doesn’t surprise me at all.”

“It’s entirely possible that that happened,” he said.

“The UNFPA claims that they essentially eradicated coercion. That’s clearly not the case.”

“Based on what I saw, the government will go to any length it thinks it needs to.

“The tragedy is not only that this is going on but that Americans are so ignorant about it. The Chinese are trying to keep this a well-kept secret, and to certain extent Western aid groups are aiding and abetting it by keeping it under the radar.

“They realize that if the international community is made aware of this situation, they would be horrified.

“We in the West, even in this media age, know so little about it.

“We keep hearing more stories, we keep being surprised.

“Anything at this point shouldn’t surprise us.

“The idea that things are getting better in China is complete nonsense,” he told CNA, saying his opinion was based on the ease with which he discovered cases of coercion in China.