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The Charlie Gard Story is the Fruit of a Terrible, Progressive Tree

Charlie Gard is a British baby who has a genetic illness that is probably terminal. He has been on life support, but the British doctors wanted to remove life support.

Not wanting to give up hope, Charlie’s parents raised over a million dollars to bring their child to the US for an experimental treatment that might save his life, though likely wouldn’t prevent him from being disabled.

But the hospital refused to release him to his parents so they could try.

The parents sued, but the courts agreed with the hospital that it was time for Charlie to die.

If you’re a parent, this probably makes you angry.

If you’re human, it should make you angry.

But this is more than an isolated, sad story about a sick baby.

This outcome is what progressives have been fighting so hard for. Even if they didn’t know it.

This isn’t merely parents and doctors with a difference of opinion.  It isn’t parents refusing to accept the inevitable.  It’s the state seizing custody from parents in order to hasten the death of a baby because they believe its in the child’s best interest to die.  It’s the state denying parents the opportunity to try, slim as the chance may be.

When you take the position that human life has value only to the extent it helps other humans, this is what you get.

When the power to make life and death decisions about health care is taken away from families and given to government, this is what you get.

When you are convinced that government is better at determining what is good for a child than the parents, this is what you get.

You get laws that give a mother the right to kill her child but prohibit her from trying to keep him alive.

Is everyone left-of-center happy that Charlie Gard has been taken from his parents so the state can facilitate his death?  Certainly not.  But if  you don’t like the fruit, stop watering the tree.

This is Europe.

This is progressivism.

Don’t let it happen here.

 

Why We Cannot Stop Fighting for Life

Western society has truly become a “culture of death.” Three recent news stories illustrate this unfortunate development:

 

1. Charlie Gard is a ten-month-old with a rare genetic disorder that has put him in a coma. An American doctor offered the family a potentially life-saving experimental treatment for Charlie, and the family soon raised over $1.6 million to cover the expenses.

Charlie’s story took a turn for the worse when his London hospital refused to permit his parents to take him across the Atlantic for treatment. His doctors believed that since he would likely be disabled if the treatment were successful, “it is in Charlie’s best interests to permit Charlie to die with dignity,” a sentiment echoed by a British judge after Charlie’s parents sued.

According to the judge, “Although the parents have parental responsibility [in making medical decisions for their children], overriding control is vested in the court exercising its independent and objective judgment in the child’s best interests.”

Charlie’s parents fought valiantly for the right to secure potentially life-saving treatment for their child, appealing the decision to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Justice was denied, however, when the ECHR refused to intervene earlier this week, allowing doctors to end Charlie’s life.

 

2. The parents of an Iowa boy (“Z.P.”) born with cerebral palsy successfully sued their doctor for failing to inform them that their baby would be born with the disability. They say they would have had their baby aborted if they had known about the disability.

Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parents. As James Silberman accurately notes, “If the right to kill unborn children exists, it follows that a doctor’s failure to inform the parents of an unborn child about the presence of an undesirable trait would indeed be a violation of that right.”

 

3. The Oregon Senate passed a bill (SB494) earlier this month that would have allowed nursing homes to starve disabled patients to death. The bill was introduced after Bill Harris sued the nursing home caring for his wife, Nora, who suffers from dementia. Harris wanted the nursing home to stop spoon feeding Nora.

Although Nora is dealing with advanced Alzheimer’s, she is still conscious and wants to eat. SB494 would have allowed the nursing home to withhold food and water from Nora until she starved to death.

Thankfully, the legislation recently failed in the House Judiciary Committee. Although the mere fact that the bill passed the Senate is remarkable and frightening, it is unsurprising, considering that Oregon was the first state to allow doctors to kill terminally ill patients who want to die.

 

Why We Must Keep Fighting 

Human life is sacred. Every person, regardless of his or her disabilities or circumstances, has dignity and is inherently valuable.

Human life is beautiful. Anyone who has met the inspiring and beautiful people living with disabilities knows this to be true.

Those with disabilities offer so much to the world; most importantly, they provide the opportunity for society to grow in its compassion for the weak and vulnerable.

Those who have disabilities are no less human than you or me. Their humanity demands the same natural rights we all share, the most important of which is the right to live.

We have not been given the authority to decide whose lives are “worth living.” Abortion, euthanasia, and suicide are so destructive because these things demean human life.

Our shared humanity enjoins us to fight against these evils. We must defend the defenseless. We must speak for Charlie, Nora, and “Z.P.” We must not permit judges and legislators to change and manipulate our laws to allow for the murder of the innocent.

Who will defend the most vulnerable if we do not? I pray that we may never forget that their lives are immeasurably valuable, and I pray that more good people rise up to restrain the evil that has convinced far too many people that some lives are more valuable than others.

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito (Latin: Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it).


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


 

Culture of Death: Parents Successfully Sue Doctor For Wrongful Birth

Iowa’s Supreme Court recently ruled that the parents of a disabled child can sue their doctor for failing to warn them of the boy’s disability. Had Jeremy and Pamela Plowman known that their child, referred to as “Z.P.” in the lawsuit, had cerebral palsy, they say they would have had him aborted prior to birth.

Iowa is the 24th state to allow “wrongful birth” lawsuits through court decisions and the 25th overall. This decision is a logical extension of landmark abortion cases like Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), which established that parents have the right to kill their children in the womb for any reason. If the right to kill unborn children exists, it follows that a doctor’s failure to inform the parents of an unborn child about the presence of an undesirable trait would indeed be a violation of that right.

This case reminds us that we find ourselves in a culture of death. This is the culture created by the abortion industry, along with help from Supreme Court decisions written by Justices Harry Blackmun (of Roe) and Anthony Kennedy (of Casey).

Short of overturning Roe and Casey, there isn’t much we can do in the legal realm. However, this case provides an opportunity for the pro-life movement to gain ground in the culture.

It’s difficult for most people to relate to the victims of abortion, in part because we can’t remember our lives in the womb. That’s why it’s so important for those engaged in pro-life apologetics to share the stories of those who have survived botched abortions.

There’s a reason that the abortion industry, abortion lobby, abortion supporters, and mainstream media pretend that survivors of abortion like Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden don’t exist. There’s a reason they react maliciously when we show images of children killed by abortionists. They do this because their culture of death can be perpetuated only if the victims of abortion remain faceless.

I don’t know Z.P. I don’t even know his full name. But I know that he is a human being with inherent worth and that it would have been an act of violence to kill him.

Thankfully, Z.P.’s disability was not recognized prior to his birth. Let’s hope the Plowmans eventually come to understand the beauty and value of their son.


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.


 

Oregon Legislation Would Allow Nursing Homes to Starve Dementia Patients

Nora Harris, 64, is in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. Although she is conscious, she can no longer use utensils to eat and drink.

Under current Oregon state law, so long as Nora is conscious, her caretakers must offer her food and water and help her to eat and drink.

Bill Harris, Nora’s husband, believes that Nora would rather starve to death. He sued to stop the spoon-feeding last year but lost the case.

Oregon lawmakers are now considering legislation that would allow nursing homes and hospitals to starve and dehydrate patients like Nora.

Oregon Right to Life says SB494, which passed the Senate last week, “would allow the starving and dehydrating of patients who suffer from dementia or mental illness.” David Kilada, Oregon Right to Life’s political director, explained the legislation in a post on ORTL’s blog:

“SB 494 removes current safeguards which prohibit surrogates from withholding ordinary food and water from conscious patients with conditions that don’t allow them to make decisions about their own care. Currently, patients like Nora are given help with eating and drinking when they cannot do it themselves. This is not tube feeding or an IV—this is basic, non-medical care for conscious patients.

“The way these safeguards are removed is subtle. A cursory look at SB 494 might lead you to think it merely updates the law regarding advance directive. This is true, but there’s more. If the bill passes, it could allow a court to interpret a request on an advance directive to refuse tube feeding to also mean you don’t want to receive spoon feeding! SB 494 would also create a committee, appointed rather than elected, that can make future changes to the advance directive without approval from the Oregon Legislature. This could easily result in further erosion of patient rights.”

The patients who would be affected by SB494 aren’t comatose. They aren’t relying on ventilators, tube feeding, or an IV to stay alive. Instead, these patients are fully conscious and aware; they are simply unable to feed themselves.

Current Oregon administrative rules require that nursing homes offer their patients three meals and snacks each day. The facilities must also provide “assistance with eating (e.g., supervision of eating, cueing, or the use of special utensils).”

Patients can refuse to eat the food they are given, but Nora still expresses a desire to eat. SB494 would allow Nora’s nursing home to withhold food and water from her, even if she wants to eat and drink.

With its passage in the Senate, SB494 now moves to the House of Representatives. Oregon was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide in 1997 for terminally ill patients. Since then, a total of 1,127 patients have died from doctors giving them prescription medication to end their lives, according to a 2017 report by the Oregon Public Health Division.

FPIW Signs Letter Asking Congress to Adopt Pro-life Healthcare Reforms

Recognizing the potential for unprecedented action on healthcare reform during the 115th US Congress, several pro-life organizations have delivered a letter to legislators, calling on them to ensure that any healthcare reforms prohibit federal taxpayer dollars from being used for abortion.

Joseph Backholm, President of Family Policy Institute of Washington, signed on to the letter, joining representatives from Family Research Council, Priests for Life, American Center for Law and Justice, National Right to Life, Christian Medical Association, Students for Life of America, and dozens of other pro-life organizations.

Congress is currently considering several legislative proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The letter, which was delivered to Republican Members of Congress today, reminds them that “any bill funding healthcare must carry restrictions on abortion funding or it will end up funding the brutal practice of abortion.”

“We are greatly encouraged by the many Republican healthcare proposals that embrace the principle that abortion is not healthcare and should not be incentivized through federal healthcare programs including tax credits for health insurance,” the letter says.

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

 

 

Should Women Be Able to Sue Doctors for the Emotional Damage from Abortion?

It’s no secret that abortion can cause significant emotional damage to women who choose it.  But should women be able to sue their doctors if they experience emotional damage from an abortion?

Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren thinks so and has introduced legislation that would do just that.

In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Chelgren explained the purpose of the bill.

“What we’re asking for is that individuals, doctors and clinics that make money off of women by giving them abortions are simply held accountable. That’s all this does. It protects women from people who would normally be trying to sell them something in a time when they are under the most stress that is kind of imaginable.”

The legislation allows a lawsuit regardless of how much time has passed since the abortion.

Despite the fact that emotional risks associated with abortion are well documented, no state currently has a law that specifically permits lawsuits for those harms.

Known side effects from abortion include regret, anger, guilt, shame, a sense of loneliness or isolation, loss of self confidence, insomnia or nightmares, relationship issues, suicidal thoughts and feelings, eating disordersdepression, and anxiety.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, AmericanPregnancy.org describes that the risk of side effects has a lot to do with the the mother’s beliefs about the baby.

“Those who believe it is not a baby until it is born have less of a chance of experiencing negative emotional consequences. However, those who believe it is a baby are more likely to experience negative emotional side effects.”

If passed, the legislation would likely create a deterrent to doctors performing abortions.

As a result, abortion industry advocates are describing the legislation as “anti-woman.”

Is this an appropriate way to limit the number of doctors willing to provide abortions? Comment below.

 

AMA Reconsidering Position on Euthanasia and Suicide

The American Medical Association (AMA) is considering whether it will drop its stridently held position against physician-assisted suicide.

In June, the AMA asked its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs to reexamine the association’s disapproval of the practice.

The AMA has long opposed physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, believing these practices to be “fundamentally inconsistent with the physician’s role as healer.” It most recently reaffirmed its opposition to physician-assisted suicide in the newest edition of its Code of Medical Ethics, which was adopted earlier this summer.

Other medical associations – including the California Medical Association, the Oregon Medical Association, and the American Medical Students Association – take a neutral stance on the issue of physician-assisted suicide.

A majority (54%) of American doctors support physician-assisted suicide, according to a 2014 Medscape survey of 21,513 American and European doctors.

Five states (Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, and Vermont) currently allow some form of physician-assisted suicide. In Washington State last year, there were 176 “participants” who received lethal medication from doctors to end their lives under the authority of the Washington Death with Dignity Act, according to state records.

Supporters of physician-assisted suicide are often motivated by misguided compassion. Arguments for physician-assisted suicide fail to recognize other more humane forms of treatment, as well as the inherent dignity and value of the terminally ill.

Instead of prescribing deadly drugs to end a patient’s life, physicians can more aggressively work to alleviate a patient’s pain and suffering through better palliative and hospice care.

Patients seeking physician-assisted suicide often suffer from depression and loneliness. This provides families and ministries with the opportunity to care for the dying, fulfilling intergenerational and communal duties by giving emotional support to terminally ill patients.

Physician-assisted suicide creates the perception that the terminally ill and elderly are burdens on their families and the medical system. It denies the most fundamental of rights – the right to life – and violates the basic principles of natural law and human dignity.

Life is an invaluable gift. Society looks to doctors for lifesaving medical care. The Hippocratic Oath, taken by physicians for millennia, dictates that they “do no harm.”

The American Medical Association should remain faithful to the oath taken by its members and reject efforts to change its position on this critical issue.

Take action by sharing your concerns with the AMA:

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Supreme Court to Hear Major Abortion Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will officially hear arguments on the appeal of H.B. 2, the law passed by the Texas legislature that requires abortion clinics meet the same health standards and regulations as other outpatient surgery centers, as well as require abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Sign the petition to Investigate Planned Parenthood in Washington!

After the law passed in Texas, abortion clinics in the state appealed to the Supreme Court claiming the law unconstitutionally burdens women’s access to abortion because it may result in the closure of a number of abortion facilities that would fail to meet the safety standards.

That’s kind of the point, no?

Texas led the way in its effort to make sure a woman’s health isn’t in jeopardy when visiting an abortion clinic.  By holding the facilities accountable to sanitation standards and by requiring the doctors performing abortions to have authorization to admit a woman to a hospital if anything goes wrong, it appears evident that Texas really does care most about women’s health.

Even with the existing framework thrust upon us by Roe v. Wade, the Court’s opinion was quite clear in making sure that states maintained the right to place reasonable requirements on clinics, especially when they were enacted in the interest of the health of the woman.  The Court’s opinion stated:

The State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient. This interest obviously extends at least to the performing physician and his staff, to the facilities involved, to the availability of after-care, and to adequate provision for any complication or emergency that might arise.

It’s very hard to imagine how Texas’ efforts would have crossed a constitutional line. But nonetheless, a victory for Texas in June would be a major victory for the safety of women and the eventual abolition of abortion.

 

You can read more about the legal standards and precedents to will be examined here.

Sign the petition to Investigate Planned Parenthood in Washington!

 

U.S. House to Vote on Defunding Planned Parenthood on Friday

While efforts to completely defund Planned Parenthood appeared to have stalled, many members of Congress haven’t given up the fight just yet.

After passing the House Budget Committee over a week ago, H.R. 3762, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015” has been scheduled for a full vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This Friday, October 23rd, Congress will vote on the bill that, if passed, would halt funding to Planned Parenthood for a year and repeal numerous unlawful provisions of ObamaCare.

According to LifeSite News, “House members plan to use a process known as reconciliation to stop most federal funds from flowing to Planned Parenthood,” adding that “[b]ills passed using reconciliation are not subject to filibuster, so they need only a simple majority to pass both Republican-controlled chambers of Congress.”  The Congressional Budget Office has also reported that passage of this bill would decrease budget deficits by approximately $130 billion over the next ten years.  You can read the bill in its entirety here.

This may be the best chance we’ve had to date at halting federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  Therefore, FPIW is urging Washingtonians to call their U.S. Representative, and all Washington representatives, to let them know how you feel about this bill.

To find out who your Congressman or Congresswoman is, click here.

Washington Congressmen and Congresswomen

Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (D – 01) 202-225-6311 https://delbene.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Rep. Rick Larsen (D – 02) 202-225-2605 https://larsen.house.gov/contact-rick/email-rick
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R – 03) 202-225-3536 http://herrerabeutler.house.gov/contact/
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R – 04) 202-225-5816 https://newhouse.house.gov/contact/email
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R – 05) 202-225-2006 http://mcmorris.house.gov/contact/
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D – 06) 202-225-5916 https://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me
Rep. Jim McDermott (D – 07)* 202-225-3106 https://forms.house.gov/mcdermott/webforms/new/contac …
Rep. Dave Reichert (R – 08) 202-225-7761 https://reichert.house.gov/contact-me
Rep. Adam Smith (D – 09) 202-225-8901 https://adamsmith.house.gov/contact
Representative Denny Heck (D – 10) 202-225-9740 https://dennyheck.house.gov/contact/email-me

* Rep. Jim McDermott sits on the House Budget Committee and voted “no” on 10/9 to refer this bill to the floor for a vote.  While unlikely to support the bill, we still encourage Washingtonians to call his office and share your thoughts on the bill with him.   

Again, the bill number is H.R. 3762, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” and the sponsor is Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

Why Defend Planned Parenthood?

To date, the Center for Medical Progress has released nine videos. The most recent was released this morning.

They’ve been called “troubling.”

After all, the videos depict the CEO of Stem Express joking about what happens when lab technicians open up a box of baby heads, show planned Parenthood employees sifting through a pile of body parts declaring, “Another boy!“, and Planned Parenthood executives negotiating the appropriate price for each body part — or “specimen.”

“Troubling” is the word we use when something looks awful but we want to give the person involved a chance to defend themselves before we rush to the gallows.

“Perhaps there’s more to the story,” we tell ourselves.

Oddly, there are many who can’t even bring themselves to call these allegations “troubling.”

The White House referred to the videos (not the content in the videos) as “fraudulent” and rejected calls to stop public funding to Planned Parenthood. The videos, they say are the work of extremists. Extremists are not those who dissect babies and sell their parts, but those who have a problem with it.

The White House did not mention the fact that in 2012, Cecile Richard, the President of Planned Parenthood, took a leave of absence from her job to campaign for President Obama full-time.

Washington’s Governor, Jay Inslee, issued an unambiguous defense of Planned Parenthood and also condemned the “extremists” who were calling for an end to taxpayer funding of their practices.

His wife, Trudi, prominently features her volunteer work for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and Planned Parenthood on her state bio.

Even after the videos, Hillary Clinton is “proud to stand with Planned Parenthood” and cites the fact that they do other things besides kill and dissect babies. Apparently, that should make us feel better.

In every case, those defending Planned Parenthood point out that “tissue donation” programs are perfectly legal as long as the programs “recover costs” instead of generating a “profit.”

What makes one defend the indefensible?

Some consciences have been so seared that they genuinely don’t understand what the problem is. Others are so politically invested that truth just doesn’t matter.

But for millions of others, they understand the point.

It is becoming harder to deny the obvious. These are babies being killed.

The idea that babies can be killed if their mothers want them dead is not morally defensible. As those so outraged by the death of Cecil the Lion demonstrated, we all understand that just because something is legal does not make it right.

On the issue of abortion, the gap between legal and right is cavernous. That may be why more than 80% of Americans support “significant restrictions” on abortion.

Psychologically, however, there is a step between knowing the truth and admitting the truth because when we admit we are wrong, we implicate ourselves.

Fifty-percent of Americaincluding the President, still haven’t seen the videos.

We have all chosen willful ignorance at one time or another in our lives. Whether we delayed opening our college rejection letter or avoided the call from the doctor, we want to hold on to the hope that the reality we fear may not be real.

But in this case it is real. Horrible things are happening to the most innocent while millions upon millions of us are celebrating it.

It may be a long time before President Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Jay Inslee come around on this. They have too much invested in the tragedy.

But each day, millions of Americans are seeing the light and their hearts are changing in exactly the right way.

Those of us who are celebrating this progress must be careful we don’t stunt it with our gloating.

We have all had moments in our lives when we realized we were wrong about something. The last thing we needed at that moment was someone with their wrists on their hips tapping their toes indignantly saying, “I told you so.”

If we are pro-life, we are also pro-hope. We are hopeful that even bad decisions and difficult circumstances can have beautiful endings. Let’s be consistent.

America’s embrace of abortion will never be something to be proud of, but our collective realization that we were wrong can be.

As our friends and neighbors come to the realization of how evil the abortion industry is, may our words and actions always communicate that we understand what it means to be forgiven despite being wrong. May our kindness also lead others to repentance.

If we turn them away, they may just decide to continue defending Planned Parenthood.

Please continue to contact your legislators about these videos and about the public funding of Planned Parenthood. You can call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or you can email them here.

Be kind and respectful, but be heard.