Life Notes

U.S. House passes the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

On October 3, the House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the point at which scientific evidence indicates that unborn babies can feel pain. There are exceptions for rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk. The 237-189 vote broke down mostly on party lines, with only three Democrats voting to abolish the gruesome procedure. 
The U.S. is one of only seven countries that allow elective abortion after 20 weeks. They include Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam.
Congressman Chris Smith pointed out that an overwhelming majority of Americans (60 to 64%) support legal protection for these unborn babies. “Today, we know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion – a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child.” According to the Susan B. Anthony List, “Nationwide polling by the polling company, inc./Woman Trend, Quinnipiac, National Journal, Huffington Post, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post/ABC News has found that a plurality or majority of Americans support limiting abortion after five months, women in higher numbers than men.”
Congressman Sean Duffy gave an impassioned plea to support the bill, saying, “You don’t have anyone in our society that’s more defenseless than these little babies. Can’t we come together and say we are going to stand with little babies that feel pain, that [could] survive outside the womb? If you stand with the defenseless, with the voiceless, you have to stand with little babies. If we can’t stand to defend these children, what do we stand for in this institution?” Supporters say that the bill could save as many as 10,000 babies each year. 
Similar bills were passed in the House in 2013 and 2015, but not the Senate. Sixteen states have passed similar laws. They include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where Senator Lindsey Graham introduced the bill two days after it passed the House, saying, “I am 100 percent confident that this issue will come to the floor of the Senate.” The bill likely faces the same outcome as in 2015, given that it is opposed by pro-abortion Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. President Trump has promised to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk, saying the bill would “help to facilitate the culture of life to which our nation aspires.” 

American College of Physicians opposes suicide following study

Following an extensive study, the internist members of the American College of Physicians issued a policy statement against assisted suicide. The physicians urge better care for the dying, not facilitation of their deaths. The ACP resisted the efforts of assisted suicide proponents who are working hard to convince medical associations to adopt positions of neutrality. 
The ACP’s position statement says, “Society’s goal should be to make dying less, not more, medical. Physician-assisted suicide is neither a therapy nor a solution to difficult questions raised at the end of life. On the basis of substantive ethics, clinical practice, and other concerns, the ACP does not support legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This practice is problematic given the nature of the patient-physician relationship, affects trust in that relationship as well as in the profession, and fundamentally alters the medical profession’s role in society. Furthermore, the principles at stake also underlie medicine’s responsibilities on other issues and the physician’s duty to provide care based on clinical judgment, evidence, and ethics. Control over the manner and timing of a person’s death has not been and should not be a goal of medicine. However, through high-quality care, effective communication, and compassionate support, and the right resources, physicians can help patients control many aspects of how they live out life’s last chapter.”

44 pages of violations close abortion facility

Pennsylvania passed a law in 2011 requiring abortion facilities to meet basic health standards and safety standards following the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who killed three full-term babies and caused the death of a patient.
Six years later, the infamous Hillcrest abortion facility in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, after being cited three times previously, has been cited by the state for 44 pages of health code violations and has closed. Violations include failure to maintain proper medical credentials, having no registered nurse on duty to assist patients, failure to document name and dosage of anesthesia on a number of patients, failure to secure drug samples, outdated medication and supplies (swabs for sexually transmitted disease had expired 13 years earlier), and failure to undergo criminal background checks required for seeing patients under 18 years old.
Some of the citations can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Health in a report titled “Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center.”

Illinois governor signs bill he promised to veto

Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, signed a bill approving taxpayer funding for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy after previously saying he would veto the bill because taxpayer funding for abortion is too “divisive.” Rauner’s signature came as a surprise to both proponents and opponents of the bill.
In addition to funding abortion, HB 40 strikes language that defined an unborn child as “a human being from the time of conception.” The bill would also keep abortion legal in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
State House Republican Floor Leader Peter Breen decried Rauner’s signature saying, “When you look someone in the eye and shake their hand and tell them you’re going to do something and then you reverse course, that’s a broken commitment.” Breen then suggested that Rauner may face a challenge in his next election. Polls have shown a majority of Americans don’t support using tax dollars to pay for abortions. Legislators heard from many constituents, including many who identify as pro-choice, who opposed the law because the state is already facing a financial crisis.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services estimates that taxpayers will pay about $1.8 million a year for abortions beginning in January. Illinois Right to Life projects that 12,000 or more additional abortions will occur every year.

40 Days for Life saves 587 babies

This fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign from September 27 through November 5 was the largest campaign yet, with pro-lifers participating in 375 locations in 25 countries. The campaign set a new record for number of babies (587) saved from abortion. Participation in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries across all six populated continents proves that this effort is indeed a global movement. 
The first 40 Days for Life campaign was in 2007. It is the largest internationally coordinated pro-life mobilization in history. The campaigns involve peaceful, prayerful gatherings outside Planned Parenthood or other abortion facilities. In those 10 years, over 5,000 campaigns have occurred in 741 cities in 47 countries, with 750,000 participants. Since then 90 abortion facilities have closed their doors and 157 abortion workers have quit their jobs.
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Assisted suicide deaths rise in Canada, Washington

Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide in June 2016. In the first year, from June 2016 to June 2017, there were 2,149 deaths from euthanasia.
Canada’s law established a self-report system, meaning the doctor who carries out the death is the same doctor who reports the death. Therefore, with no oversight, it’s possible that under-reporting and abuse of the law occurs. Canada’s law does not protect conscience rights for medical professionals who oppose the law, forcing doctors to “effectively refer” their patients to a physician who will kill.
A Canadian bioethicist published an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 43, Issue 9) promoting euthanasia and organ donation. A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (January 23, 2017) stated that up to 138 million dollars can be saved by euthanasia.
The Washington State Department of Health Death With Dignity report shows a record high number of 192 physician-assisted suicides for 2016. The number of deaths in 2015 was 166, a 31.7% increase over the 126 suicide deaths reported in 2014. 
Physician-assisted suicide proponents offer uncontrolled pain as a reason to support assisted suicide. The 2016 report, however, does not even list uncontrolled pain as a reason for seeking assisted suicide.

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