in this issue:
urgent / terri schiavo: IN MEMORIAM / NAT HENTOFF
hot button issues: LOVING WILL / STOPP
abortion: SUPREME COURT / SUSPENDED
end-of-life care: NEXT STEP
human embryonic stem cell research: CONGRESS
planned parenthood: INDIANA / WASHINGTON
reminders: ALL’S NATIONAL PRO-LIFE T-SHIRT DAY / RIGHT TO LIFE ACT OF 2005
reflection for prayer: PSALM 118:5-6
urgent / terri schiavo
IN MEMORIAM: Despite the efforts of many who wished intervene on her behalf, Terri Schiavo passed away yesterday. Please pray that God will act in some fashion to use her plight to change hearts and minds so that others in her condition will not suffer the same fate. ALL’s Judie Brown notes, “The truly frightening aspect of Terri’s death is that it sets a precedent that can be used to impose a similar fate on other innocent, disabled human beings. Today’s victim is Terri Schiavo. Who’s next?”
(Reading: “American Life League mourns execution of Terri Schiavo,” American Life League news release, 3/31/05)
NAT HENTOFF: Columnist Nat Hentoff examines some of the many legal questions raised but left unanswered in the Schiavo case: “Contrary to what you’ve read and seen in most of the media, due process has been lethally absent in Terri Schiavo’s long merciless journey through the American court system.”
(Reading: “Terri Schiavo: Judicial murder,” Village Voice, 3/29/05)
hot button issues
LOVING WILL: “Even if you think your living will protects you,” said ALL’s Judie Brown, “you need to be aware that hospitals may not interpret your medical directives the way you intend. You may rightly say that if you are dying, extraordinary means need not be used to extend your life. However, in many cases, food and water are now considered ‘extraordinary means.’ Despite your wishes to the contrary, you could face starvation at the hands of uncaring people who would prefer to see you dead.”
(Reading: “Schiavo case shows urgent need for ethical directives,” American Life League news release, 3/30/05)
STOPP: ALL’s STOPP International has learned an employee of a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Florida has e-mailed supporters with a list of six Republican lawmakers who voted against a bill designed to assist Terri Schiavo. She told STOPP’s David Bereit, “We just felt that it was pretty courageous of them [the six senators] to do what they did, and it’s always a good idea to thank legislators when they do something you like.”
(Reading: “Planned Parenthood tells abortion advocates how to thank legislators for voting against Schiavo bill,” American Life League news release, 3/31/05)
SUPREME COURT: Justices let stand a lower court ruling that threw out an Idaho law that required girls under 18 to get a parent’s consent for abortions, unless there was a dire medical emergency. The lower court held the emergency abortion provisions were too strict.
(Reading: “Top court rejects appeal of Idaho abortion law,” Associated Press, 3/28/05)
SUSPENDED: Kansas has temporarily yanked the license of abortionist Krishna Rajaana after a surprise inspection turned up uncovered medical waste containers and a dead rodent in his Kansas City clinic. The Kansas state senate has okayed a bill mandating stricter standards for abortion facilities.
(Reading: “State board suspends abortion doctor’s license,” Associated Press, 3/26/05)
NEXT STEP: Advocates for the disabled say a Missouri law could become a template for protecting conscientious healthcare workers. The statute says: “No physician, nurse, or other individual who is a healthcare provider or an employee of a health care facility shall be discharged or otherwise discriminated against in his employment or employment application for refusing to honor a health care decision withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment if such refusal is based upon the individual’s religious beliefs, or sincerely held moral convictions.”
COMMENT: Nancy Valko, R.N., observes: “This conscience rights legislation might be the best first step legislation while legal protection for the disabled is being thrashed out. I have put my job on the line to advocate for patients and I need this kind of protection.”
(Reading: “Missouri statutes on ending care and assisted suicide,” 8/1/95; e-mail from Nancy Valko, R.N., 3/26/05)
human embryonic stem cell research
CONGRESS: The House may consider a bill that would expand human embryonic stem cell research, proposing a set of federal ethics rules. The bill would permit research on human embryos created from in vitro fertilization and donated for that specific purpose by the parents, who would not be paid. Research would not be permitted on human embryos created for research, either by coning or other technique.
COMMENT: Such research, regardless of how it is rationalized, is immoral; it involves killing a living human being in order to obtain cells for research, and the end does not justify the means.
(Reading: “House leaders agree to vote on relaxing stem cell limits,” Washington Post, 3/25/05)
INDIANA: Fort Wayne News-Sentinel columnist Kevin Leininger writes, “Welcome to the wacky world of abortion politics, where law, compassion and even common sense must be vilified if they appear to threaten the rights invented by the Supreme Court 32 years ago in its infamous Roe v. Wade decision.” Leininger is writing about Planned Parenthood’s reluctance to turn over Indiana abortion records that might uncover unreported cases of statutory rape, citing privacy concerns. “Consider what Planned Parenthood and its allies are really saying here,” he writes. “If rapists must go free to ensure privacy, so be it.”
(Reading: “Abortion records will aid hunt for abusers,” Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, 3/26/05)
WASHINGTON: Planned Parenthood fawns over its Central Washington affiliate for thinking out of the box in its effort to locate clinic space in sparsely populated areas. The solution was to set up operations at two churches – Disciples of Christ and United Methodist. The Methodist pastor was asked to leave the local ministerial association as a result of the partnership, but a Planned Parenthood executive says the minister was “OK with that.”
(Reading: “Takin’ it to the church,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 3/25/05)
COWS: The day before the court-ordered starvation of Terri Schiavo began, a Florida rancher was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. State agents reported finding 120 cattle dying of starvation during a recent investigation. Michael Swails said he lost his job and couldn’t afford to feed the animals. Some were still alive and were taken for medical treatment, and now are reported “fat and happy.” Felony animal cruelty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
(Reading: “Rancher charged with starving 120 cows in Immokalee,” Associated Press, 3/19/05)
ALL’S NATIONAL PRO-LIFE T-SHIRT DAY: American Life League’s third annual National Pro-life T-shirt Day is April 26. All pro-life Americans, especially students, are encouraged to wear pro-life apparel that day to show support for the preborn. The official shirt of ALL’s National Pro-life T-shirt Day is available online at www.NationalProLifeTshirtDay.com. The cost is $5 plus shipping and handling.
RIGHT TO LIFE ACT OF 2005: This bill (which will be identical to the previous version) states, “The terms ‘human person’ and ‘human being’ include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”
COMMENT: Is your member of Congress a co-sponsor? He or she should be. Ask!
reflection for prayer
PSALM 118:5-6: In danger I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?