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When Doctors and Judges Turn Murderous

Update (06/14/2017): The European Court of Human Rights will allow Charlie Gard to be kept on life support while they consider the case.


Doctors and judges in Great Britain may kill an innocent baby boy today.

Charlie Gard is ten months old. Like many baby boys, he likes holding his stuffed animal monkey.

Sadly, Charlie has mitochondrial disease, an extremely rare genetic disorder affecting the part of cells that create the energy needed for life. Although Charlie has been on life support for months, a doctor in the United States has offered the family an experimental treatment that might save his life. Tens of thousands of people have donated $1.6 million to pay for the treatment.

Even with the possibility of successful treatment across the Atlantic, Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London refused to let his parents take him to America for treatment. Specialists then petitioned a British Court for permission to end his life, despite pleas from the his parents to keep him alive.

Justice Francis, the High Court judge who heard Charlie’s case, ruled that “it is in Charlie’s best interests” for the hospital “to permit Charlie to die with dignity.” In his ruling, Justice Francis rejected the objections of those who ask why courts should make these decisions and override the rights of parents:

“The duty with which I am now charged is to decide, according to well laid down legal principles, what is in Charlie’s best interests. Some people may ask why the court has any function in this process; why can the parents not make this decision on their own? The answer is that, although the parents have parental responsibility, overriding control is vested in the court exercising its independent and objective judgment in the child’s best interests.”

According to Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother, the American doctor says there is no reason why the treatment wouldn’t work for her baby boy. Yet the British doctors and judges steadfastly refuse to budge.

Connie posts regular updates on her Facebook page. Her timeline is filled with pictures of her holding her son, alongside captions like “We won’t give up on you baby boy” and “If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting.”

Throughout the ordeal, her social media posts have kept a positive tone. At times, though, her vexation seeps into her posts. “We have had the money for over 2 months but we are NOT allowed to take OUR OWN SON to a hospital that want to try and save his life!” Connie wrote last week.

“Why can’t we be trusted as parents?? I would never sit by my Sons side and watch him suffer, I’m not like that! Why can’t the drs in America be trusted either?? Why why why can’t we try and save our Sons life??”

Connie and Chris (Charlie’s dad) are heroes. When doctors told them their son’s life wasn’t worth saving, they kept fighting. When a judge unilaterally decided it’s better to kill the baby than to allow them to seek treatment elsewhere, they kept fighting.

The Telegraph, an English newspaper, even published an insensitively written editorial by a mother who had lost a son. Her advice to Charlie’s young parents? “Sometimes in life things just don’t go as you want them to… Sometimes you have to let go.”

But these heroes keep fighting. They know the immeasurable value of their baby boy’s life.

On the other hand, if Charlie is killed, the doctors and judges involved in his case will be nothing less than murderers, perversely justifying their senseless slaughter with the fallacious claim that their murderous act will be merciful and in the best interest of their victim.

What about the parents? Don’t their wishes and beliefs count for something? Are they not ultimately responsible for their child?

We cannot stand silent as this innocent baby boy is murdered by the government that is supposed to protect him and the doctors who swore an oath to “do no harm.” This is the fruit of the culture of death. This is the fruit of the “death with dignity” movement. We have devalued life to the point that doctors and judges think they can decide whose lives are worth living.

Yesterday, Charlie’s parents were able to enjoy their first picnic with him. “Charlie was awake the whole time. It was wonderful for him to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair,” Connie said. “We put on some music and Chris and I lay down next to Charlie. For the first time in months we felt like a normal family.”

Charlie’s fate now rests in the hands of the European Court of Human Rights. It will likely decide today whether Charlie’s life is “worth living.”

No matter how the Court decides, we cannot give up fighting for the most vulnerable. We must keep defending life.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Arizona Implements Universal School Choice; Washington Should Follow Suit

A few weeks back, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation making his state the first in the nation to codify universal school choice into law. The new law expands the state’s “Empowerment Scholarship Accounts,” which were established 2011 and originally applied only to children with special needs.

The traditional education model redirects taxpayer money to government schools. State schools and districts then decide how best to use the money. Instead of maintaining the failing status quo, Arizona will be allowing parents to take control of their money so that it may be used for the education that best meets their family’s needs.

The scholarship money can be spent on private education, online learning programs, tutoring, homeschool curricula, testing fees, and more. The average amount provided per student without disabilities is $5,700. That number increases to $19,000 for children with disabilities.

The enormity of this victory for Arizona students and families cannot be overstated. School choice is the single most important reform needed to improve primary education because, as we have discovered, the problem with education is not a shortage of money. From 1970 to 2010, federal education spending per student increased 375%. Over that same period, student achievement has remained entirely stagnant. Increasing funding will not fix the systemic inefficiencies and backward incentive structures that have led to failing schools across the country.

The traditional method of funding education, which entails transferring funds from government treasuries to government schools, does not work. Throwing money at the problem simply cements this deeply flawed structure into place. The systemic inefficiency and corruption has metastasized to the point that the system desperately needs to be reset. (For great investigative reporting on education system and teachers union corruption, watch the documentary The Cartel.)

Low-income students are most harmed by the current education system. Well-to-do families can afford to send their kids to private schools if their local public school isn’t up-to-par, but those without the necessary funds have no choice but to send their kid to a failing institution.

Not only does the quality of education suffer without competition, but the content is souring as public educators become bolder pushing leftist ideology on students. Secular humanism and progressive politics pervade every academic subject, and many parents with traditional values are worried their children’s schools are promoting values at odds with their family’s beliefs.

The answer to both the quality and content problems is very simple: Give education funding to families. Make schools compete for students by giving parents control over where education funding goes. Give the districts no choice but to increase the quality of the education and provide a balanced worldview. As parents use education money in ways that best serve their children, schools that don’t provide quality education will either improve or be replaced by schools that do.

In many areas of the country, including parts of Washington, students are locked into the school that serves their community. If the local public school is terrible, too bad. Unless you’re able to pay out-of-pocket for private school education, your kid will have to settle for a subpar government education and be left behind his or her peers attending better schools in other zip codes.

Giving parents the ability to customize their child’s education to the individual needs of their child should be a slam dunk bipartisan reform for the divided houses in Olympia. There’s no reason for the current top-down, one-size-fits-all education system to continue. Families should be allowed to use their own tax dollars to decide how their child gets educated and tailor that education to their child’s needs.

Forcing them to settle for whatever education the government provides, however terrible that education may be, is not only detrimental to both family and society but also deeply immoral. We cannot allow those opposing reforms to continue robbing students, especially low-income students in failing school districts, of their potential and of the quality education they deserve.

 

James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.

New York’s War on Parents

Americans have traditionally understood that parents, not the state, have been delegated the responsibility to raise their children. But government officials in the Big Apple state are not afraid of running roughshod over parental rights, especially when it comes to a parent’s decisions about their children’s education.

Last week, the story of Kiarre Harris gained national attention. Harris, a single mother, felt her two children weren’t experiencing success in the Buffalo Public Schools they attended. Like many parents concerned about their children’s education, she decided to exercise her right to homeschool.

Harris filed paperwork to unenroll her children from public school, complying with the notoriously burdensome rules governing homeschooling families in New York. Working with a homeschool coordinator, Harris successfully completed the process on December 7, 2016.

A week after obtaining confirmation that she had successfully withdrawn her kids from public school, Harris received a phone call from a Child Protective Services representative, demanding to know why her children had been absent from school. She informed the CPS official that her children were now being homeschooled and offered to furnish copies of the paperwork that had been filed with the school district.

Harris thought the issue had been resolved – that is, until one month later, when CPS officials and police came to her home with a court order to remove her children, accusing her of “educational neglect.” When she refused to comply, police arrested her for obstruction. She was jailed and has been unable to see her children, who are now in foster care, for weeks.

Harris blames Buffalo Public Schools for not properly processing the paperwork unenrolling her children.

Buffalo Public Schools denies Harris’ claim. The district alleges that Harris had an encounter with CPS before making the decision to homeschool her kids. Their statement also implies that Harris did not have full custody of her kids, which is a requirement for parents making the decision to homeschool, but Harris contends that she does in fact have full legal custody.

“As we learn more, we realize [what has happened to Harris and her children] is happening a lot more than we realized,” said Samuel L. Radford, president of the District Parents Coordinating Council.

Unfortunately, Radford’s analysis seems to be right. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, New York has earned a reputation for “their systematic mistreatment of homeschooling families.”

HSLDA is a non-profit advocacy organization that provides homeschooling families with legal services. It is suing New York City on behalf of Tanya Acevedo, a homeschooling mom. Like Harris, Acevedo was accused of “educational neglect” and was subjected to an invasive CPS investigation after New York City failed to properly process her paperwork withdrawing her son from his public school.

Jim Mason, HSLDA’s Vice President of Litigation, worked with Tanya as she battled CPS and New York City to exercise her right to homeschool her child. He published the following statement on December 5, 2016:

“After Tanya [Acevedo’s] situation was resolved, I asked other NYC homeschooling families for their stories. What I found appalled me.

“Family after family have found themselves in legal limbo because [New York City’s Central Office of Homeschooling] simply cannot or will not follow the timelines in the regulation. More than one homeschooling family told me they had been turned over to CPS because of the office’s delayed handling of the homeschooling paperwork.

“The injustice against homeschooling families in New York City can no longer be tolerated. On December 5, HSLDA filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City public schools over their systematic mistreatment of homeschooling families. We are asking for money damages and for a court to order the New York City bureaucracy to simply follow New York’s homeschooling regulation.”

Harris and Acevedo’s regrettable experiences shed light on the difficulties homeschooling families face. Despite the Supreme Court’s recognition that parents have a fundamental right to “establish a home and bring up children” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 1923), some elitist bureaucrats feel they can make better decisions than parents about what is best for children .

The family is society’s first and most important institution, and the parent-child relationship is sacrosanct. Parents are ultimately responsible for the education and well-being of their children. As long as parents comply with reasonable expectations, government shouldn’t interfere with this sacred relationship unless the child’s health or safety is at risk.

At present, Harris’ kids are still in foster care. New York officials should wise up, realize they aren’t the parents, and stop violating the rights of those who are.

 

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and a research fellow for FPIW. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

February 13, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Abortion Insurance Mandate, Sexual Orientation Change Therapy Ban, Immunizations Exemptions, Parental Notification, Telemedicine & webcam abortions, Employer Contraceptive Mandate, Internet Crimes Against Children, Parental Notification, Abortion Insurance Mandate (upcoming hearing), Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Telemedicine & Webcam Abortions, Employer Contraceptive Mandate

February 6, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Parental Notification, Abortion Insurance Mandate (upcoming hearing), Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Telemedicine & Webcam Abortions, Employer Contraceptive Mandate

January 30, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by Joseph Backholm

Topics: Telemedicine, Abortion Insurance Mandate, Parental Notification, Employer Contraceptive Mandate, Internet Crimes Against Children

 

 

Parental Notification: Why You Should Care & Hearing Information

On Monday, February 2nd at 1:30 PM in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, there will be a hearing on SB 5289 which will require parents to be notified before a minor has an abortion.

The United States is one of only six nations in the world that allow abortion on demand into the third trimester and Washington is one of only thirteen states currently where a minor can get an abortion without her parents awareness.

We are on the fringe of the fringe.

Abortion is the only procedure a minor can get without her parent’s consent, much less notification. In Washington State, a minor cannot get a tattoo or go to a sunbed even with parental permission. She cannot go to an R rated movie or get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental permission.

However, she can get an abortion without their awareness.

There are a couple problems with the lack of parental notification. First, it isolates girls from their parents in moments when they most need parental involvement.

Second, the lack of parental notification makes it possible for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to assist in the sex trafficking of minors, as documented here, here, and here.

Since medical providers are not obligated to notify parents when a minor indicates she wants an abortion, they are only required to report if a rape has occurred. In the case of a pregnant minor, that means the father is more than 5 years older than the mother.

Unfortunately, the mandatory reporting requirement for rape is easily avoided by serial abusers.

Under the threat of abuse, pimps teach the girls they abuse to lie about the age of the father and organizations like Planned Parenthood tell clients to say as little as possible so they can maintain plausible deniability. As a result, those who claim to be –and should be– looking out for the best interest of these girls are in reality assisting in the abuse of children. Our lack of parental notification makes it possible.

Opponents of the bill claim that parental notification endangers girls whose parents might become abusive when they learn their daughter is pregnant. They say the girl should decide what her parents know.

They assume that in crisis you can trust the judgment of the typical pregnant 15-year old better than the judgment of the typical parent. While it is understandable why a girl would not want to tell her parents, it is equally understandable why it would be good for her parents to know despite the child’s reservations.

Acknowledging that there are too many abusive parents in the world, it is an insult to every parent in Washington that the abortion industry and their allies in the legislature act as though they have a duty to protect our daughters from us.

By requiring parental notification, this bill acknowledges that it is generally a good thing for parents to know what is going on with their children. However, it also contains a judicial bypass provision which would allow a judge to waive the parental notification requirement in the minority of cases in which a child actually could be in danger. It protects those truly at risk without assuming every parent is a danger. That’s what rational public policy should do.

The possibility that parents might respond poorly to news that their daughter is pregnant is an argument for keeping parents out of every decision. After all, parents might also respond poorly to news that their child has committed a crime or received bad grades in school. But for good reason, we still tell them.

The argument that we should favor keeping parents in the dark in order to protect the children is incoherent. That incoherence exposes the fact that the more likely explanation has much more to do with money the abortion industry makes off of children which eventually finds its way to political campaigns.

Parental notification is not an issue about abortion. It is an issue about parental rights and the well-being of our daughters. It is a disagreement between politicians who pretend they care more about our children than we do and the parents who know better.

Please attend the hearing on Monday at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg building on the capitol campus. The hearing room is certain to be full, so show up early. Even if you do not wish to testify, your presence communicates the injustice of this issue to legislators who have been dragging their heels for years on this issue. Please bring friends as well and call ahead to schedule meetings with your legislators in person to share your thoughts on this issue.

If you cannot attend the hearing, please call your legislators directly or through the legislative hotline at1-800-562-6000. You can also email them by clicking here.

Thank you for rejecting passivity and standing for what is just.

Why Boys in Girl’s Bathrooms?

There’s a conflict between non-discrimination laws and religious freedom.

Where religious freedom exists to limit government’s intrusion into matters of conscience, non-discrimination laws invite government into private dealings and empower them to force people to do things they otherwise would be unwilling to do in the name of ending discrimination.

As non-discrimination laws become stronger, religious freedom becomes necessarily weaker.

That is why florists, photographers, and bakeries are being forced by governments to do things that violate their beliefs despite the fact that this is an acknowledged and unambiguous assault on those individual’s rights of conscience.

But religious freedom isn’t the only thing being harmed by non-discrimination laws.

Good sense and public decency appears to be in the crosshairs as well.

While religious freedom is being taken away in the name of stopping discrimination based on “sexual orientation” (for a good article on why anthropologists say sexual orientation didn’t exist until 150 years ago, click here), many people don’t know what “sexual orientation” means.

In many jurisdictions, including Washington State, the definition of sexual orientation includes “gender identity”, “gender expression” or “transgender.”

This is where things just get silly.

Consider how this has been playing out all over the country:

  • A San Antonio Macy’s clerk, named Natalie Johnson, was fired from her job because she told a man in a dress that he could not use the women’s dressing room.
  • In Batavia, New York, a male high school teacher began dressing as a woman in anticipation of a sex-change operation.  Parents who wanted their children removed from the class were told that was not possibe because New York’s disability laws protected the teacher.
  • A Catholic Hospital in Daly City, CA paid a $200,000 settlement in a discrimination lawsuit that was filed against them after they declined to perform “breast augmentation surgery” on a man who claimed to be a woman.
  • A 5th grade boy at Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono, ME claimed to be a girl and as such wanted to use the girl’s restroom. When the school assigned the boy his own, separate bathroom, the parent’s filed a complaint against the school for “implicitly isolating” their child by not allowing him to use the girls restroom.  The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled against the school saying it had unlawfully discriminated against the boy. 

These examples are just the start.

If a 100 pound, anorexic girl tells you she feels obese, you help her see herself in a way that conforms to reality. If that same girl tells you she feels like she’s a man, why should the response be different?

The way we feel does not change reality.

Non-discrimination laws are undoubtedly driven by good intentions.  But it is apparent that they have ventured far afield of what they were originally intended to do — eliminate racially based segregation.

Tonight, the Port Angeles School Board will be voting on whether to allow boys dressed as girls into the girl’s restrooms at school.  As the father of three daughters, I say absolutely not.  And I’m quite sure I’m not alone.

But unless we like boys in girls restrooms, it’s time to start evaluating just how far we are willing to go in the name of “non-discrimination.”