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Life Notes – Sept-Nov

Daleiden charges dropped

Seven of the eleven charges against David Daleiden and his organization, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), were dropped by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in July. In 2015, NAF sued Daleiden and CMP for releasing undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of baby body parts, illegal under federal law. The videos shocked the nation. One video showed a Planned Parenthood doctor explaining how to “crush” the unborn baby to harvest her organs intact. Others revealed the extensive revenue the abortion giant receives from the body part trafficking.

Although dropping these charges is a step forward, Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) attorney Charles LiMandri says the NAF strategy is to speed up the case so it can secure a permanent gag order against Daleiden and CMP, blocking the release of additional videos. FCDF attorneys and co-counsel at the Thomas More Society plan to file a motion to dismiss the NAF’s remaining claims. LiMandri says, “NAF’s latest litigation maneuvering shows that this case has only ever been about one thing — an unconstitutional silencing of a pro-life hero.” [Lifenews.com, 8/16/2018]

Australia blocks euthanasia

In August, the Australian Senate came within two votes (36-34) of allowing its territories to legalize euthanasia, erasing a 1997 law prohibiting euthanasia in Australia’s territories. One of the swing votes, Senator Steve Martin, said his conscience would not allow him to support the bill “without ensuring that appropriate safeguards were in place.”

The 10 territories over which the federal government has more oversight and control have been barred from legalizing euthanasia since Parliament reversed the Northern Territory’s 1995 law allowing it. In the end, legislators knew that passage of the bill would have made the legalization of euthanasia “almost automatic” in the Northern Territory.

Catholic Health Australia CEO Suzanne Greenwood believes that the lack of palliative care specialists in the country made the bill dangerous. “We are gravely concerned that the effect of the bill would have been undermining the medical profession, devaluing palliative care, and desensitizing public attitudes to suicide,” Greenwood explained.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says euthanasia becomes legal because people think, “We can control it; it will only be for the few.” Schadenberg maintains, “Once you open up the door that it’s OK to kill, the only question left is, whom do we kill?” [https://www.world.wng.org, 8/24/2018]

British Medical Association to allow killing of non-dying patients

A recent ruling by the High Court (UK’s Supreme Court) says that National Health Service (NHS) staff do not need a court’s permission to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration from a patient who is incapacitated and unable to speak or feed themselves. Now the British Medical Association is working on confidential draft guidelines justifying the withdrawal of food and fluids from patients with dementia, stroke, and brain injury who are not imminently dying as long as the doctor believes it is in the patient’s “best interests.” The document will not be available to the public prior to publication in the fall.

The draft has huge implications for the care of some of the most vulnerable people in England and Wales. It clearly does not cover patients who are “expected to die within hours or days,” but rather those who “could go on living for some time if CANH (clinically assisted nutrition and hydration) is provided.”

Dr. Peter Saunders, CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship, a British organization with 4,500 doctors as members argues, “Once we accept that food and fluids by tube is a ‘medical treatment’ rather than basic care and that providing this basic sustenance to someone with a medical condition they would not find ‘acceptable’ is not in their ‘best interests,’ then we are inviting professionals to devise a simple scheme whereby the starvation of large numbers of non-dying but expensive and ‘burdensome’ patients can be achieved simply and efficiently, and largely undetected, without involving the courts.” [Lifenews.com, 7/30/2018, 8/16/2018]

AMA May Drop Opposition to Assisted Suicide

In July, the American Medical Association unexpectedly decided not to reaffirm its opposition to assisted suicide. Its own Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, following two years of study, recommended that the nation’s largest medical society reaffirm its long-standing position. The panel concluded that, “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as a healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” The issue will now go back to the Council for further study, opening the door to a change in position.

Executive Director of Patients Rights Action Fund, Matt Valliere warned, “A referral back to CEJA is a lost opportunity and a failure to stand against a policy that has grave consequences for everyone, but especially persons living with illness, disabilities, or socio-economic disadvantage. Assisted suicide is not medical care.”

The medical community’s position on assisted suicide has historically been very influential. In almost every state where the medical community has supported assisted suicide or become neutral on the issue, laws have subsequently been passed to permit the practice. [Lifenews.com, 6/11/2018]

Argentina rejects abortion

In mid-June, Argentina’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, narrowly approved (129-125) a bill that would have legalized elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. It would have forced religious hospitals to do abortions and, in some cases, legalized abortions up to birth.

The month prior to lower chamber’s vote, 3.6 million people marched in cities across Argentina opposing the bill. Many doctors across the country voiced their opposition to the pro-abortion bill. About 300 hospitals and medical groups stood against the bill.

Then, on August 8, pro-lifers around the world celebrated as the country’s Senate voted against the measure 38-31, with two abstentions.

Argentina, like many South American countries, has faced intense international pressure to legalize abortion. Human Rights Watch, funded by George Soros, has pushed abortion in Argentina for years.

Had the legislation passed the Senate, Argentina would have been the first nation to legalize abortion since a historic May vote in Ireland overturned the Eighth Amendment’s legal protections for the unborn.

Cardinal Mario Poli, current archbishop of Buenos Aires told churchgoers at the Metropolitan Cathedral, “Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the state.”

The decision could echo across Latin America, where the pro-life movement remains strong even as the influence of the Roman Catholic Church wanes. [Lifenews.com, 8/8/2018, 7/9, 2018]

Shocking Audio/Video of Hospital Offering Death to Patient

Roger Foley, 42, a Canadian man suffering from an incurable neurological disease, recently released audio/video showing hospital staff at London Health Sciences Centre offering him death rather than helping him secure an assisted home care team. Foley’s inability to move his arms and legs prevents him from living independently.

When a staff member tells Foley it would cost him $1,500 per day to remain in the hospital, Foley replied that he had recently read an article which quoted the Ontario health minister saying it’s “not legal” for hospitals to coerce patients. The staff member is then heard saying the hospital does not use “this conversation in every situation.”

Hospital lawyers received the audio excerpts on July 19 and have not responded to media requests for a statement.

Ethicist Tom Koch was shocked by the recordings. “When we are given the option for a rapid death rather than a complex life then we are all at risk. I have heard from other friends of mine elsewhere in palliative care that they are all facing this enormous pressure toward the rapid, cost-effective ending rather than the complex and perhaps more expensive but skilled home care that we all deserve.”

The audio/video tapes can be viewed at https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/chronically-ill-man-releases-audio-of-hospital-staff-offering-assisted-death-1.4038841

In related news from Canada, doctors in the province of Quebec, which legalized assisted suicide in 2016, say that lack of proper care is depriving patients of free and informed consent to having their lives ended. Dr. Charles Bernard, President of the College of Physicians and a supporter of euthanasia, warns that lack of quality palliative care has forced some patients to “choose” to be killed. Bernard says, “In certain identified cases, patients, for lack of palliative care, might have had no choice but to ask for medical assistance in dying to end their days ‘in dignity,’ which deeply concerns us.” The College advised that “end-of-life care cannot be limited to access to medical assistance in dying.”

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