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'Volunteering' to Die
January 27, 2015

 

I recently read the story of a daughter’s anguished eyewitness account of her mother’s death. It was a death chosen for the mother by her son and oldest daughter, who decided that starvation was the best thing for a beloved mother who had suffered a stroke.

It was painful to read this account, and as the writer closes, she tells us: “The youngest daughter could do nothing except watch her mother die slowly, and write this, in the hope that my mother’s death, like her life, will have made a difference.”

The article was published in response to the latest tool in the euthanasia movement’s bag of permanent solutions for lives deemed unworthy to be lived. The acronym for this tool is VSED, which stands for “Voluntary Stop Eating and Drinking.” Or to put it another way, volunteering to kill yourself through your choice or that of the person responsible for your “care.”

BoatDisturbed by this practice, the Patients Rights Council penned a fact sheet about VSED. This is a document that should be read carefully by every single human being concerned with health care for an elderly or dying loved one—or one’s self. The document explains many things, including the fact that, contrary to popular claims, VSED is not painless: “Many advocates of VSED say it is painless, however their claim is based on the requirement that individuals receive medical supervision including pain and symptom control as they dehydrate to death. . . . Without powerful sedatives and other palliative measures (and, sometimes even with such measures), dehydration deaths have been described as horrific.”

This is merely the tip of the “die now or we will kill you” movement, also known by such terms as compassion or right to personal autonomy. Compassion & Choices—an avid proponent of VSED and the group most closely associated with Brittany Maynard’s pre-suicide video—defines it in a booklet as the choice of a patient who wishes to die sooner than later and thus refuses to eat or drink. This organization tells us that a VSED choice can only be made by a patient who is “decisionally capable” and has the “physical ability to eat and drink.”  

Such a definition is simply a description of suicide. 

On this topic Dr. Kevin Yuill writes

Those who support assisted dying but not suicide must ask why they approve of a terminally-ill person taking her life when they take a zero tolerance approach to other suicides. The similarities are there. Most of the reasons put forward for allowing assisted death can be reasons for any suicide. If autonomy is important, why isn’t the autonomy of those without a terminal illness?

Indeed, this is a conundrum that the culture of death is obligated to explain, but of course it cannot. Instead, such individuals and organizations move forward with the force of a tornado doing all they can to suggest, subliminally and otherwise, that personal autonomy is the only thing that matters when a human being is either contemplating suicide due to illness or preparing an end-of-life document that puts others in the untenable position of agreeing that a patient who cannot speak for himself would be better off dead.

In the current atmosphere of killing instead of caring, VSED becomes a very good idea to those who want quick relief from unselfishly caring for a loved one.

Consider the mother mentioned in the beginning of this article. Contrast her daughter’s agony about her death with Lehigh University bioethicist, Dena Davis, who has published articles on “pre-emptive suicide.” She argues that, in the case of a patient with severe dementia, the patient should not be denied his stated desire to voluntarily stop eating and drinking. In fact, she says that waiting too long to starve a patient is “too little, too late.” Why? Davis tells us that, by that time, “you lost your dignity a long time ago; you’ve probably been a burden on your family for six or seven years.” 

Wow! What a perfect, textbook attitude for a culture of death devotee.

And Davis’ crude remark brings us full circle, doesn’t it? 

This is indeed a battle between good and evil. It would serve each of us well to contemplate and teach what St. John Paul II said on this very subject: “Man is not the absolute master and final judge, but rather—and this is where his incomparable greatness lies—he is the ‘minister of God’s plan.’”

It is our responsibility to not only inform ourselves of these ghastly end-of-life measures, but to then inform others. There are many ways we can do this, and ways in which we can prevent them: 

1. Pray for those who have been victimized (killed) by the ill-conceived actions of their caregivers.

2. Ask your family and friends to read this commentary, check out all the links, and take action to protect their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. It is never too early to take pro-life action.

3. Protect your loved ones by reviewing ALL’s Loving Will documents. If you see a problem with your current one, get it revoked and contact ALL for a Loving Will package.

Human Dignity Exterminated in Frankenstein's Kitchen
January 23, 2015

 

Dignity is a word that is creating a stir in some philosophical circles, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. For example, one writer tells his readers that “Dignity 1.0, the older conception shared by Christians, natural law theorists and others, refers to the idea that humans have ‘inherent worth of immeasurable value that is deserving of certain morally appropriate responses.’” He then goes on to explain that currently there is a competing concept which he identifies as “Dignity 2.0.” The reason I bring it up has nothing to do with competing ideas about what dignity is, but rather how crass society has become when dealing with the uniqueness and inherent dignity of the human being.

FrankensteinFor example, the prenatal testing arena has gone mad. Instead of using prenatal tests to help parents accept what may be a problem for their baby when he is born and how to deal with it, the popular idea today is to put such tests to use in order to end lives prior to birth so that, in some perverted sense, the parents feel assured that the decision to abort is the proper ethical course to follow. A baby with Down syndrome is the perfect example. Tests designed to detect this condition result in the intentional taking of the child’s life prior to birth in, according to one report, 90 percent of cases.

Has there ever been a more perfect example of replacing respect for the dignity of the human person with a ghoulish concept of what is best for everybody else except the human individual being killed?

Or we could talk about the enormous problems with surrogate mothers and the children they bear in this age of international surrogacy. An analyst who has studied this question since 2009 recently wrote, “International commercial surrogacy is arguably a market in which children are bought and sold; where they are commodities at risk of trafficking. This raises questions about whether this practice can ever be consistent with our internationally agreed ban on the sale of children.”

For that to happen, human embryos and, in fact, all preborn children would have to finally be identified in law as human beings who are individual persons. There is a slight chance of that happening in the current legislative and judicial arena.

So, how did we get to a point where international surrogacy and the buying and selling of babies is even a question? Well, human dignity in the era of reproductive technology has disappeared. Today the laboratory is used for mixing babies in petri dishes because would-be parents of any variety are willing to pay big bucks for the resulting child. Of course, first they want certain quality control standards to be applied before they pay for the product.

If the buyers reject the chosen item, it’s curtains for you, baby!

Sadly, the old-fashioned way of procreating children involving conjugal relations in marriage has become passé for far too many in this age of turning preborn children into marketable commodities.

This dehumanization of persons robs each one of them of their dignity at the moment human cells, genes, and chromosomes become nothing more than tools in the scientist’s bag of tricks. Frankenstein’s kitchen indeed!

So what about dignity? In the case of the human being we need only look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states, “The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God.” A human person’s dignity is a gift; it is innate and cannot be bestowed or taken away by anyone other than the Creator Himself.

But acts such as those described here and elsewhere exhibit a contempt for human dignity—and a contempt for God. Such arrogance breeds an absolute disregard for the intrinsic value of a human being’s life. 

In Frankenstein’s kitchen, evil brews as the death toll mounts. The stench in the kitchen wreaks, but I wonder: “Does anyone smell it?”

A Human Being Dies Every Time!
January 20, 2015

Leading up to the March for Life—and perhaps in an effort to grab a headline or two with a new or innovative idea—several pro-life legislative proposals are on the horizon. But at a time when the pro-life movement is focused on commemorating the deaths of millions of babies killed by abortion, these proposals are written in such a way that they would do nothing to halt the madness.

The awkwardly titled Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act deals with those babies who are capable of feeling pain during an abortion and therefore require special attention. But, according to the language of the proposal, only those pain-capable babies NOT created by acts of rape or incest or perceived to be a direct threat to the life of the mother would be protected.

The same problem exists in the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. The act would not prohibit Title X money (your tax dollars) from going to organizations that commit or advocate for abortions IF the babies they are killing are conceived due to an act of rape or incest or because of a perceived threat to the life of the mother. 

Let me repeat that. This proposal does NOT prohibit all Title X taxpayer funds from going to organizations or individuals that commit abortions.

Thus, sadly, neither of these even makes a dent in ending every abortion of every innocent baby from the moment of creation—his biological beginning. This is so because we don’t even know how to talk about when a preborn child’s life actually begins. It seems to me that my pro-life friends are either suffering from a political blind spot or simply do not want the fullness of truth to be part of their agenda.

For example, the March for Life publishes a set of principles that, by including the phrase “when the father’s sperm fertilizes the mother’s ovum,” does not address the protection of all preborn babies. By that definition, it would overlook babies who are created asexually. Only God knows how many babies would go unprotected if these principles prevailed. 

Like the legislative proposals we discuss, these principles are flawed.

I ask you, if we pro-lifers are truly committed to defending and protecting every single preborn baby’s life, then don’t we have to be certain that our language reflects the truth? And if that is so, then why in the world aren’t we talking like we know what it means to defend every innocent person’s life from his biological beginning until his death? 

Are we permitting politicians to tell us what is practical? I don’t know! But I can say, American Life League—thanks to the patient teaching of experts like Dr. Dianne Irving— has been at the forefront of teaching the right science for many years. And we fail to understand why such disconnect occurs repeatedly in the larger pro-life community. 

After 42 years, why don’t we all get it? Are we dull, or do we intend to deconstruct the truth and leave the bodies of babies in the wake of our flawed efforts?

As for me and all of us at American Life League, we stand by what our vice president, Jim Sedlak, said publicly last week: “You’ve gone about this all wrong for 40 years. You should have been fighting for the life of every single human being since the beginning; if you had, you wouldn’t need exceptions today. You’d be talking about every human being created by God instead of stating which ones of God’s creations need to be sacrificed for the greater good.”

I sincerely hope we have not forgotten—and that we will never forget—that a human being dies every time an abortion is performed.

For more information about the humanity of the preborn baby, follow these links:

Caution Again: Need to Use Newer URL’s for Carnegie Stages for Issues Concerning the Early Human Embryo, at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_226new.url.html 

Theological, Scientific, Moral and Legal Reasons NOT to Promote “From Conception to Natural Death," at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_224erroneousphrase.html

What you need to know about “IVG” (in vitro generated gametes), (March 20, 2014), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_221invitrogeneratedgamete.html

Junk Science In, Junk Prolife Out (October 28, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_218junksciencejunkprolife1.html 

#1 - Totipotency: Scientific References  (September 23, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_217totipotencyscientificreferences1.html

Beware New Prolife Calls for Human Cloning “Bans” (June 3, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_213beware.html

FERTILIZATION and IMPLANTATION of the Early Human Embryo:  Accurate Scientific Resources (May 8, 2013),  at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_212accurateresources1.html

Plan B’s Manufacturer:  Pills Can Be Abortifacient (April 27, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_211manufacturerandpills.html

"Contraceptive" and "Morning After" Pills:  Women and Young Girls, You're On Your Own (April 5, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_210asecret.html

"Conception" is not "The Immaculate Conception" (January 26, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_209immaculateconception1.html

Errors in the “Sanctity of Human Life Act”, and the March For Life “Principles 2013” (January 15, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_208errorprolifeprinciples.html

“Why Accurate Human Embryology Is Needed To Evaluate Current Trends In Research Involving Stem Cells, Genetic Engineering, Synthetic Biology and Nanotechnology” (November 20, 2012), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_206accuratehumanembryology1.html

“Any Human Cell – iPS, Direct Programmed, Embryonic, Fetal or Adult – Can Be Genetically Engineered to Asexually Reproduce New Human Embryos for Purposes of Reproduction (‘Infertility’)” (November 2011), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_194cellasexuallyreproduce1.html 

January 22 Again
January 16, 2015

 

In five days the throngs will again descend on the nation’s capital and gather in state capitals across the land. They will come together peacefully, for the 42nd year in a row, to mourn the deaths of countless millions of preborn babies. The March for Life is upon us.

Nobody knows for sure how many children have been returned to God by surgical, chemical, and clinical acts of murder and mayhem, but die they did. And so we say to our lawmakers and among ourselves that this is the year victory will be achieved. But after 42 years, perhaps we should examine why we continually say that every year, and what we will do differently to avoid another tragic memorialization of preborn babies in 2016. 

We know from past experience that, even with an alleged pro-life majority in both houses of Congress, the best we can hope to achieve is the defunding of Planned Parenthood—a victory that, even with an Obama veto, might squeak by and make it into the law books. A long shot maybe, but we will accept the odds.

Will that crippling of the abortion giant end all child killing prior to birth? No, but it will send a signal that pro-life Americans are serious—very serious—about taking Planned Parenthood off the federal dole and beginning to turn the tide back to respect for the sanctity of every innocent human being at every stage of his life.

The next thing we can do differently is focus more attention in a unified way on teaching the young and the ignorant about the simple facts of life. For example, a pregnancy is not a disease; it is a blessing—even when accompanied by trepidation, fear, and loneliness. This is why we need to quadruple the number of pro-life pregnancy care centers in America. 

The pro-abortion, culture of death movement recognizes how effective these centers are. Just think about the collusion between Maryland state officials and NARAL designed to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers. These centers save mothers and babies from the acts of abortionists, so let’s open more. With an increasing number of centers, we will see more babies saved and more lives turned around by love, compassion, and concrete assistance.

Finally, we need to think about the future—a future that will be fashioned by the young who are now in grade school, high school, and college. Their world is a whole lot different than my generation. When I started fighting against abortion in 1969 we did not Tweet, Facebook, or e-mail. We walked the streets, we made phone calls, and we sent letters with postage stamps on them. We went door to door, educating and being offended by nasty looks, words, and actions. In that sense, the fact that people are angered by our defense of the innocent has not changed, though the tactics of such folks have.

No matter what the era, however, our arguments were the same as they are today: A human being prior to birth is a member of the human family and we are obligated to defend and protect him no matter what the cost. This is a lesson we can easily teach and repeat to young people even as young as preschool.

Education and inspiration go hand in hand, and today there are so many tools at our disposal that changing hearts and minds is possible in ways we never could have previously imagined. By the same token, teaching the young the truths we know are inviolable is not all that difficult.

So as we go forward to the March for Life this year, I hope that each of us will be inspired and rejuvenated by these profound words written by St. John Paul II in 1995: 

In this great endeavor to create a new culture of life we are inspired and sustained by the confidence that comes from knowing that the Gospel of life, like the kingdom of God itself, is growing and producing abundant fruit (cf. Mk 4:26-29). There is certainly an enormous disparity between the powerful resources available to the forces promoting the “culture of death” and the means at the disposal of those working for a “culture of life and love.” But we know that we can rely on the help of God, for whom nothing is impossible (cf. Mt 19:26).

American Life League will have a booth at the March for Life Expo at the Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday, January 21, and Thursday, January 22. Stop by booths 409 and 411 for fun giveaways, photo ops, and important information. We will be at the March. Where will you be? 

Onward to victory we go.

 

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Rapists, the Law, and their Victims
January 13, 2015

 

Analyn Megison was the victim of a senseless rape—a rape that resulted in the creation of a baby. Legally, she had a choice, but she knew the life growing inside her was a gift. She explains, “Love is stronger than fear. I became pregnant due to rape, and I chose to love and raise my child.”

Her testimony, “Hard Cases, Exceptional Choices,” gives us a window into the life of a woman who overcame a tragedy in her personal life in order to celebrate the life of a child given to her as a gift by God. The story tugs at our heartstrings, but is really only the beginning of her saga. You see, the man who raped Analyn was not convicted of the rape and he subsequently sued for custody of his child. 

But Analyn is no passive victim. She has chosen to fight back and make a difference, for at the time the rapist came forward with his bizarre claim there was no state law in Florida to protect the rape victim in cases like this. She writes, “I recall the judge asking if there was any law to prohibit this—even a federal law—and me replying: ‘Not yet, but I am working on it.’”

So Analyn founded an organization called Hope After Rape Conception. Its members are committed to making sure that no rape victim is ever again confronted with the ugly truth that, if a rapist is not found guilty of his crime, he can come after the very child who was created from his violent act.  

There was a bill introduced in the last Congress—US House bill HR 2772 and its companion Senate Bill S 2443—that addresses the problem by giving states a financial incentive to pass the needed legislation. Right now, with a new Congress in session, the first step is to get the bill reintroduced.

And this is where we come into the picture. Even though a law of this type is needed, some might ask: Why should those of us who fight to protect the innocent from the violence of abortion be interested in working to get this bill passed? For many years politicians have told us that the politically expedient thing to do is ensure that abortions in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother are included in legislation. But such a position suggests the forgone conclusion that when a woman is violently assaulted by a rapist, her desire to get an abortion should pregnancy occur must be respected. And it assumes that she will want to have an abortion. Yet, this argument is inherently flawed because it eliminates an entire person. If a woman who is raped does become pregnant, we are dealing with two human beings, neither of whom is guilty of a crime and neither of whom should be killed because of the violence of a third party—the rapist. It is inconceivable to think that the very man who sexually assaulted his victim might then be permitted to legally work to acquire custody of the baby because he was not convicted of his crime. This is something that should concern everyone. And this is why we are obligated to do all we can to fight for the rights of both the mother and her baby. How could we do any less?

Analyn has written, “If pregnant rape victims know that their state protects them from the rapist having parental rights, they will be less likely to choose abortion. . . . Furthermore, it’s a prime opportunity for 100 percent pro-life legislators to show how much concern they have for pregnant rape victims—by protecting them from the rapist.”

Please pray that the bill is reintroduced in Congress this week or next.

In the meantime, talk about this to those you know. The average American has no idea that a rapist can actually use the legal system to fight for custody of a baby conceived in the aftermath of his vicious attack on that baby’s mother. In addition, spread the word about the magnificent, heroic work of Hope After Rape Conception. Of note is the fact that pro-life leader Rebecca Kiessling, another rape victim, is on the board at HARP. And stay informed about the bill’s movement by signing up today for American Life League’s Pro-Life This Week.

The outrage that stories like Analyn’s evoke in my heart cannot be adequately described with words. No rapist deserves custody of a child he fathered. It goes without saying that when one is genuinely pro-life to the core, one is obliged by God to defend all those victimized by the grizzly results of a culture of hedonism gone mad. Let’s do something positive to end rapist rights.

 

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