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Friday, February 26, 2010

Senate Passes Conscience Protections

By a vote of 21-13, the Idaho State Senate gave its approval to SB1353 this morning following lengthy debate.

In contrast to the committee hearing, much of the debate this morning was focused on the consequences of acknowledging the conscience rights of providers in end-of-life situations.
Sen. Les Bock (D-Boise) made one of the more emotional arguments against the bill by describing the decision-making of his family when faced with the challenge of creating a “peaceful resolution” for their mother’s life. He lamented the notion that a doctor or nurse might impose their moral or ethical concerns into a family’s plans for administering legal procedures designed to hasten death. Bock contended that acknowledging the conscience rights of medical professionals would only complicate already-difficult situations for families.

But, of course, what Bock failed to acknowledge is that families in such difficult circumstances do not have the right to forcibly implicate another – even their doctor -- in immoral actions. Moreover, his argument failed to recognize that SB1353 only protects the right of a nurse or pharmacist or doctor to withdraw from treatments they find morally challenging.

Sen. Russ Fulcher responded by noting that it was the medical community itself which offered the language referring to “end of life treatment and care”, and that this broader definition would afford medical professionals an opportunity to exercise their moral and scientific judgment when faced with difficult situations.

Sen. Chuck Winder skillfully led the debate on behalf of the legislation, arguing that it struck a practical balance between the rights of medical providers, employers and patients.

Sen. Shirley McKague joined in defense of the legislation by reminding senators of the constitutional principles at stake in safe-guarding liberty. She offered a quote from Thomas Jefferson which featured conscience rights as our most precious liberty.

Republicans John Andreason, Joyce Broadsword, Chuck Coiner, Tim Corder, Shawn Keough, Joe Stegner and Gary Schroeder joined Senate Democrats in opposing the legislation.

SB1353 now goes to the House for a committee hearing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Senate State Affairs Approves Conscience Bill

The Senate State Affairs committee voted 6-3 to send SB1353 to the Senate floor with a recommendation that it be approved by the full Senate.

The legislation will create statutory protections for health care professionals in specific areas of medical practice – including the dispensing of abortifacients and in end-of-life situations.

Opposition to the bill came largely from the Abortion Lobby because of their fears that it will create impediments to easy distribution of so-called “Emergency Contraception”. Much of the morning debate was taken up with a debate of how the drug works.

Oddly enough, the debate was settled by the closing testimony of retired abortionist Duane St. Clair, who acknowledged that “Emergency Contraception” can sometimes cause the destruction of an embryo by making the uterine wall inhospitable to the new human life.

Important supporting testimony was provided by Idaho Right to Life and the Catholic Diocese of Boise.

Dr. Will Rainford, representing Bishop Driscoll, emphasized the spiritual gravity of forcing Christian medical personnel to participate in medical procedures they know to be wrong.

Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Eagle) is the lead Senate sponsor of the measure.

The measure was passed with six Republican votes: Chairman Curt McKenzie, Pro Tem Geddes, Sens. Bart Davis, Russ Fulcher, Monty Pearce and Denton Darrington supported the measure. Sen. Joe Stegner (R-Lewiston) joined Democrats Kelly and Stennett in opposing the bill.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Senate Panel Approves Health Freedom Act

The State Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to approve HB391, the Health Freedom Act on a vote of 6-3.

Sen. Joe Stegner (R-Lewiston) was the only Republican on the panel to vote against the measure which seeks to lay a defense for Idahoans, based upon the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, against a likely federal take-over of the health care industry.

While some in media have predicted that ObamaCare is dead, it is clear that Speaker Pelosi is hard at work trying to convince members of her caucus – as well as Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid – that her party should take the plunge and abuse the budget reconciliation process to secure nationalized health care.

Idaho Democrats in the Legislature continue to defend ObamaCare, with Senate Democrat Leader Kate Kelly opposing the Idaho Health Freedom Act, sponsored by Reps. Clark, Luker and Labrador.

The Health Freedom Act now awaits action by the full Senate.

Very Disturbing Glimpse Into Medical Ethics

There has been some real push-back to a guest opinion we published by Mary Ann Kreitzer entitled, "Terminal Sedation: Abortion for the Elderly". There have been some very good points made. It is wrong to cast a wide shadow of condemnation on those many men and women who devote themselves to caring for people as they face death.

At the same time, it is just foolish to ignore disturbing trends in modern medicine, in which seniors and the disabled are being ushered into premature death.

To help encourage a fuller understanding of these threats to the sanctity of human life, we republish here a news story which appeared yesterday in The Gazette, a Montreal newspaper:

Doctors back 'right to die'

Consultation; But MDs oppose assisted suicide

The Gazette
February 16, 2010 2:59 PM

Euthanasia is already a reality in Quebec hospitals, the president of the federation of Quebec medical specialists, told a National Assembly committee yesterday.

Doctors know when death is "imminent and inevitable," Gaétan Barrette explained.
But doctors are aware they can be charged with murder if they administer a "palliative sedative" before a patient is on his or her last breath.

Geoffrey Kelley, chairman of the committee, explained that MNAs will hear about 30 expert witnesses on "dying with dignity" to prepare a paper for a travelling public consultation this fall.
Barrette told the committee the issue of euthanasia could not be discussed in Quebec 50 years ago, comparing it with the evolution in thinking about abortion.

"Doctors are ready to debate euthanasia," Barrette said. And like abortion, he said, limits must be established. Not every patient will want euthanasia and not all doctors will agree to perform the procedure.

Barrette explained that a patient who is lucid consults with a doctor, friends and family members before requesting euthanasia.

For patients who are not lucid, a biological will can guide relatives who must decide.
The patient could have a terminal disease, like cancer. And patients at the "end of life" could be babies born with serious medical difficulties or seniors whose bodies are shutting down, one system after another.

"It's a cascade," Barrette said. "We can't invent it. We see it. There are safeguards."
Barrette said palliative care, using opiates to ease the pain, is also an important facet of end-of-life care.

"The choice of the patient is his choice," he said. "We want legislation in tune with the wishes of the public."

Polls indicate a high percentage of Quebecers favour euthanasia, including doctors.
But Barrette and Yves Lamontagne of the Quebec College of Physicians told the committee that doctors do not want to perform assisted suicides.

"We are not there to execute people," Lamontagne said.

Euthanasia, the decision to end life when death is imminent and inevitable, is "extremely complex and emotionally charged," Lamontagne added.

Yves Robert, secretary of the College, told the committee that Quebec is the only jurisdiction in Canada where patients can refuse medical treatment, which can lead to death.

"It doesn't exist elsewhere in Canada," Robert said. "We are ahead. Can we go farther?"

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have Our Hearts Grown Cold?

WorldNetDaily carried an important story late last week about fresh evidence of Planned Parenthood’s corporate policy of helping cover up the sexual abuse of teenage girls – as well as a pattern of violating state laws requiring parental consent before an abortion is committed against a girl.

The intrepid Lila Rose produced a sting tape of an abortuary run by Planned Parenthood in Alabama. Posing as a 14-year old girl, Ms. Rose asked for their help in skirting the parental consent law and protecting her 31-year-old “boyfriend”.

Not a problem, said the staffer. “As long as you consented to having sex with him, there’s nothing we can truly do about that”, the counselor adds. This, despite the fact that Alabama law makes it clear that 14-year-old girls cannot give legal consent because they are children.

The smoking-gun tape was so concrete that the Alabama Department of Health undertook an investigation of the abortion center, producing a 38-page report documenting that the Planned Parenthood operation systematically ignored two key laws designed to protect young girls: The first requires parental consent before an abortion. The second requires reporting suspected cases of sexual abuse to law enforcement officials for investigation.

“The Health Department report documents the same malpractice that we have found in state after state,” Rose is quoted as saying. “Sexually abused minors are being neglected by Planned Parenthood, which puts its own ‘abortion-first mentality’ before child protection.”

There is no doubt that the failure to report suspected sexual abuse is systematic, a corporate policy of sorts, throughout the Planned Parenthood empire. Several years ago we reviewed available data on reporting of sexual abuse in Idaho and found a huge discrepancy between reports filed and teenage pregnancy rates. The data strongly suggests that this reluctance to report abuse is as true in Idaho as it is everywhere else.

Please stop and ponder that for a moment. In effect, Planned Parenthood is engaging in a criminal conspiracy to protect predators, to enable the continued sexual abuse of teenage girls across the country.

Yet the public tax dollars continue to be pumped into the organization. Sometimes a public relations problem – but never a criminal charge against the corporate culture at Planned Parenthood.

Where is the outrage?

Compare the reaction this Planned Parenthood story has received with the fever pitch after the ACORN tapes were revealed.

While public outrage was fed by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others, even allies in Congress had to feign a shared indignation and move to block ACORN funding. (In fact, there are still ACORN stories up on Hannity’s website).

But no story, no big tv interview, no petitions to stop public funding of Planned Parenthood. About the only place we were able to find a clear expression of moral outrage was on David Horowitz’s blog.

Is the lack of outrage due to the chilling of our hearts? Can we not feel the tremendous damage that Planned Parenthood is doing to America’s children? The sexualizing and abuse of our children, particularly our daughters, may be a crime of greater long-term magnitude than even the slaughter of preborn children.

Our failure to rise up and demand an end to our collective partnership with Planned Parenthood is an indication that we need some very serious prayer efforts, begging the Lord to lead us into repentance.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Conscience Protection Bill Introduced in Idaho Senate

On Friday morning, the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee voted to introduce a revised conscience protection bill, SB 1353, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Winder and nine other members of the Idaho Legislature. It provides for “Freedom of Conscience for Health Care Professionals” working here, in six critical areas of health care.

The new bill clarifies some key language and creates an exception for life-threatening emergencies, a change requested by the Idaho Hospital Association.

While there were many Abortion Lobby representatives in the room, things went pretty smoothly at the print hearing. That is likely to change when the bill comes up for formal consideration – hopefully late next week. Probably the biggest battle will come over giving pharmacists and other health care professionals the right to object to dispensing so-called “Emergency Contraception”.

We did get an early signal that opposition to the bill will be led by Democrat Leader Kate Kelly. She made quite a point at the hearing of having her opposition to even considering the bill recorded in committee minutes. It seems that the only “choice” Sen. Kelly will tolerate is one which conforms to her worldview.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Need for Greater Humility in Modern Medicine

Our dear friend, Judie Brown, published a powerful piece yesterday on the powerful trend in modern medicine to dehumanize the vulnerable, specifically the disabled.

Judie focuses on the recent story of a man long dismissed as “brain dead”. New medical tests demonstrated that he is anything but. While unable to communicate with his keepers in the normal fashion, it turns out that he is quite conscious. He accurately responded to various questions by changing his brain wave patterns in a measurable way.

She goes on to challenge what can only be described as the arrogance of today’s medical industry, and attacks the new utilitarian morality which seems to dominate medical ethics today. Persons are being evaluated on the basis of their perceived functionality – as if a person’s inability to do something we demand is the ultimate measure of whether that person is actually a human being worthy of life.

Such thinking is not just troubling, it is a dire threat to all of us. But it is equally obvious that this “morality” is the logical extension of the values embodied by Roe v. Wade.

Writes Mrs. Brown:

“[Functionality or utility has] nothing to do with the fundamental fact that a human being is. He exists from his beginning to his death regardless of his attributes or abilities. Neither his human rights, nor his identity as a person should be subjectively weighed by other individuals.”
We would add – especially weighed and discarded by those professionals empowered to withdraw life-sustaining treatment on the basis of such personal judgments.

You won’t read about this in the mainstream media, but did you know that credible studies, going back to 1991, have found that as many as 43% of those labeled “vegetative” are misdiagnosed? And that was before doctors were able to access this new technology.

The fundamental problem here is that man’s natural inclination toward arrogance and God-rebellion is showing. Without God, and His law … everything is up for debate. One opinion is as valid as another, even if it results in the death of the innocent preborn child or the vulnerable senior.

Here’s how Wesley Smith puts it:

“The bio-ethics mainstream has rejected the sanctity of life ethic and replaced it with the so-called ‘quality of life’ ethic. It began with the claim that the inability to communicate meant that one had lost ‘humanhood’ (now called personhood). Thus today, not only unconscious but conscious patients are dehydrated to death in all fifty states and it is shrugged off as medical ethics.”

Just to raise your anxiety even higher – we must point out that this is the state of affairs even before ObamaCare is forced upon America.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Idaho House Passes Health Freedom Act

The Idaho House of Representatives passed HB391 on Tuesday by a lopsided 52-18 vote. Sponsored by Reps. Labrador, Luker & Clark, this legislation lays the groundwork for the State of Idaho to fight ObamaCare should it be shoved through the Congress.

Sadly, the vote was a strictly partisan affair. All Democrats voted against it, all Republicans voted for the measure. One would have hoped that at least some Democrats would have joined the effort to push back against Nancy Pelosi's

frightening plan to take over America's health care system. The current versions of this scheme would fundamentally alter the relationship of citizens to their government. It is arguable, in fact, that much of the driving mania behind ObamaCare is not compassion for the uninsured, but a deep desire to impose a European-style socialism upon the last bastion of capitalism.

Citizens would be required to buy health insurance, and private companies would be required to compete against a taxpayer-subsidized government entity as a first step toward us all into a single-payer system controlled by government bureaucrats.

The worst features of ObamaCare, of course, are the threats to life mandated by its cut to Medicare, its massive subsidies for abortion-on-demand, and the absence of conscience protections for health care providers.

HB 391 declares that "the power to require a person's choice in securing health care services is not found in the Constitution of the United States, and is, therefore, a power reserved to the people pursuant to the 9th Amendment, and to the states under the 10th Amendment." The legislation makes it illegal for any state official to enforce or otherwise participate in a federal health care system that violates this public policy.

You can read the legislation yourself by following this link:

The battle in the Idaho Senate is likely to be more intense. We encourage our readers to contact their state senators to urge their support for this critical legislation.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Manic Drive for Health Care

Pollster Scott Rasmussen has new numbers on his website today showing that Obama's approval rating continues its inexorable downward trend. Today's disapproval rating is 54%, his biggest negative number yet.

To put that number in perspective, remember that, a year ago, his positive approval was 65%. Now it sits at 46%.

While the president's mishandling of the economy is certainly the over-arching context for these abysmal numbers, it is equally obvious that Obama's obsession with taking over our health care system is the noxious, dead fish stinking up the country's living room. Rather than taking concrete steps to support the private sector's economic recovery, the president continues his manic drive for nationalized health care. And every version of that vision includes expanded abortion, diminished conscience rights for health care professionals and rationed care for the disabled and elderly.

Our political system depends upon an unstated presumption: Those elected to office will represent the wishes of their constituents out of enlightened self-interest. Pundits too often belittle the role of polling and other mechanisms (like election returns), which serve to hold elected officials accountable to the will of the voting public. Representatives are called by that name for a reason: they are supposed to represent the will of the people who put them into office.

President Obama's failure to accept defeat on health care suggests that he has rejected the basic tenet necessary to a constitutional republic. He seems to suffer from that liberal delusion that he is just plain smarter than the American people.

If that is right, then ObamaCare is far from dead.

Some pundits are suggesting that a strategy has been developed: Obama will stage some public, bi-partisan forums in which he can manipulate opponents into appearing as if they are nothing more than self-seeking obstructionists. (Even if that is not an obvious conclusion – the president's allies in the media will continue to pound that conclusion into the public consciousness). Such a media assault will become the pretext for congressional allies to abuse the budget reconciliation to enact most of his legislation.

It is in that context that two big bills now pending in the Idaho Legislature must be considered as essential to defending Idaho families.

Conscience protection for health care professionals is one essential piece of business this Legislature must enact. As of this writing, SB1270 is being rewritten to take into account a few reasonable suggestions made by folks in the medical industry and to broaden support for the legislation. We expect the bill to be reintroduced this week.

The other very important bill is sponsored by Reps. Labrador, Clark and Luker. It is called the Idaho Health Freedom Act (HB391) and is now pending on the House floor. This legislation pushes back against the federal government take-over of health care by asserting the constitutional liberties of Idaho families to make our own health care decisions.

We ask for your help in seeing that both bills become law.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Terminal Sedation: Abortion for the Elderly

Guest Opinion
By Mary Ann Kreitzer

I spoke to a friend this morning whose father was murdered by terminal sedation (a.k.a. “palliative” care). Her father suffered from Alzheimer’s and his mind was pretty well gone, but physically he was in great shape. He and his wife lived with one of my friend’s children, who took him for a long walk every day and knew how to manage all his grandfather’s moods. They were good buddies. My friend lived nearby and spent as much time as possible visiting her parents and enjoying her father’s company.

But the rest of the family (including my friend’s mother, who had power of attorney) decided to put him in a nursing home where he was difficult to control because he wanted to be released. My friend told me that every time she went to visit him he was trying to escape—pulling at every door and even the bookcase, looking for a way out. Three nursing homes and several months, later he pretty much gave up. When she went to see him, he would be sitting in a wheelchair slumped over and drooling. He got an infection and ended up in a hospital “palliative” ward, where he was denied food, water and antibiotics. Within several months, he went from an elderly man who was walking two miles a day with his grandson, to dead from dehydration and terminal sedation. It was Terri Schiavo and Hugh Finn without the publicity.

My friend considered trying to get guardianship at one point, but she was familiar with the earlier cases and knew it would be a lengthy legal battle and the result would be the same. He had also deteriorated so much she didn’t think he could recover. With a number of young children still at home, she didn’t think she could deal with the fight. So here was a faithful daughter (and her husband) willing to care for both her parents until they died, who had to watch while her faithless siblings and her mom murdered her father.

Welcome to the realities of the culture of death.

Terminal sedation is abortion for the elderly. You have dementia and get pneumonia? Like Rahm Emmanuel says, never let a crisis go to waste. See it as an opportunity for a quick exit. No antibiotics and terminal sedation. Abortion completed. Your loved one is healthy but brain damaged like Terri Schiavo and Hugh Finn? No problem. Starvation, dehydration and terminal sedation. Call it late-term abortion.

You think I’m exaggerating? The New York Times ran an article in December on the practice. It is common in hospice programs. Hurry the patients along for the peace of the family and to empty the bed. Saves everyone anxiety, money and hassle. Except, perhaps, the patient. But he is drugged, so whatever objections he may have had, you’ll never have to hear them.
Sometimes, as in my friend’s case, though, things aren’t that smooth. Far from bringing peace to families, it brings terminal strife and family breakdown. And in the case of my friend’s mom, will children who killed their father hesitate at doing the same thing to the their complicit mother? After all, she had no objections to killing Dad; so how can she object to her own quick exit? It’s for the children (and their inheritance?).

I wish I could say this is the only case I know of the deliberate murder of elderly parents, but it isn’t. It’s common practice in some hospices, with or without the complicity of the families. Situations like my friend’s are also becoming more and more common as the baby boomers, who often gave their children nothing in the way of faith, face the results of their hedonistic lives. “Hey, Mom put me in day care for most of my childhood and aborted my siblings; I’ll put her in a nursing home and pull the plug as soon as possible.” So much easier for everyone.
The worst part, however, is that while the body is being killed, the souls of the killers are dying as well. How does God Who said, “Honor your father and your mother,” look at the deliberate murder of parents? It is mortally sinful! And that’s the greatest suffering for my friend. She would like to see her family in heaven, but fears that this life on earth may be the only common ground they ever share.

Please pray for all those in danger of death today from terminal sedation and for those who will carry it out and enable it. It’s a soul killer for sure! You can call it quick and painless, but in the end, the palliative care ward, like the abortion mill, is literally hell on earth.

Mary Ann Kreitzer is president of the Catholic Media Coalition and Les Femmes (a lay Catholic media apostolate in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia), as well as editor of Les Femmes’ quarterly newsletter, the Truth.

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