Illinois Right to Life Committee
Analysis and commentary by Bill Beckman on current Pro-Life issues
02/04/09 A strategy for deception on FOCA?
12/12/08 The woes of Planned Parenthood
06/24/08 Performing a valuable service?
06/20/08 Misleading Use of Terminology
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (April 16, 2013)
During the symposium that I attended regarding end-of-life issues, information was provided about the status of the effort to incorporate the POLST (physician order for life sustaining treatment) form into the Illinois DNR (do not resuscitate) form. That new form (officially called the "Uniform DNR Advance Directive") has now been released for use in Illinois.
Though the presenters who explained this multi-purpose DNR and POLST form did not raise concerns about potential problems with using this form, Illinois Right to Life Committee (IRLC) joins a number of other Pro-Life organizations who find the POLST form problematic.
IRLC finds the POLST form to be dangerous and impractical for a number of reasons. As use of the POLST form was explained, it was observed that the form should be supported by other documentation to be placed in the patient's file that covers the discussion conducted with the patient during the completion of the POLST form. How often will such an ideal approach be achieved in practice when you start with a form of check boxes making choices about treatment options without any grounding to a specific life-limiting condition?
Instructions on the back of the Illinois DNR/POLST form reveal why use of the form should be of concern. A review of the completed form is suggested when the patient: 1) is transferred from one care setting or level to another, 2) there is a change in the patient's health status, 3) the patient's treatment preferences change, or 4) the patient's primary care professional changes. All of those reasons raise the question of why anyone would want this DNR/POLST form in their permanent medical record in the first place. Ironically, one of the benefits claimed for the POLST form is its transportability because of its placement in the patient's permanent medical record.
Having the DNR/POLST form in place makes it too easy for medical care providers to make decisions without current interaction with the patient or the patient's agent. The form may limit the patient's agent by specifying generic instructions that may have been valid for one medical condition, but are not the patient's wishes for another medical issue. Even though the patient's agent knows what the patient wants, the choices declared on the DNR/POLST form override any input from the agent to the decision-making process on what course of treatment is appropriate.
IRLC strongly recommends that the Illinois DNR/POLST form rarely, if ever, be used. Use a life-affirming durable power of attorney for health care (such as the IRLC Patient Self-Protection Document), and designate an agent that you can trust. POLST forms and living wills can only create complications for you and your agent in making the best decisions possible based on your current health situation.
Note that the instructions for the Illinois DNR/POLST form indicate that completion of the form "is always voluntary" and "cannot be mandated." Do not allow any health care facility to push you into completing a DNR/POLST form by claiming it is required to have this form in your medical record.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (October 15, 2012)
I have recently attended a number of events where many speakers have expressed great concerns about the future of religious freedom in our nation, so I am certainly not alone in my thoughts about religious freedom expressed below.
Do you support the following bold proclamation found in our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
If so, I think you should be very concerned about recent actions taken by our Federal government. Even supporters of the right to choose often justify their support for abortion by claiming that they do not want to force their moral beliefs on others. Then why are these supporters of choice using the HHS Mandate to force those who are morally opposed to abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives to pay for them? Isnt this mandate forcing a set of moral beliefs on others?
If the Federal government mandates that all health insurance policies, even those provided by church-run hospitals, schools, and charitable organizations, must fully cover morally objectionable services, isnt that a denial of liberty? Doesnt this mandate violate the First Amendment right to religious freedom? [and I will not even cover the violation of the right to life through abortion, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, etc.]
During the recent vice-presidential debate, Joe Biden stated, With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institutionCatholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospitalnone has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.
Paul Ryan responded, Now, Ive got to take issue with (your statement about) the Catholic Church and religious liberty. If they agree with you, why would they keep suing you? Contrary to Bidens misrepresentation, the fact is that there are at least 28 separate lawsuits filed against the HHS Mandate with 89 individuals plaintiffs, including 43 Catholic institutions.
The Catholic bishops responded to Bidens misrepresentation with a press release, stating This is not a fact. They went on to explain how the mandate violates religious freedom.
Among the 89 plaintiffs are businesses run by Christians who want to exercise their religious freedom to provide health insurance to their employees consistent with their religious beliefs. And, the HHS Mandate is just one way the Federal government is threatening our religious freedom through dangerous provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called ObamaCare.
Effective October 1, 2012, every hospital in the nation will be penalized for re-admitting patients within 30 days of their discharge, even for an unrelated condition. This arbitrary rule is a form of health care rationing. The unelected 15 member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created as part of ObamaCare, will provide many more mechanisms to ration health care.
Full funding of abortion through ObamaCare will also be coming soon. Abortion can easily be declared a preventive service that requires full funding without a co-payment.
How can we respond to these threats to religious freedom? I really urge you to consider the facts, not sound bites full of misrepresentations. If you value real freedom, not a false freedom of choice that offers no real choice, you must become a well educated voter. After this election, it may be too late to recover the religious freedom that is already, and will continue to be, lost. This matter is extremely urgent!
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (August 5, 2011)
I have often questioned the reliability of "brain death" as a means to accurately ascertain death. When numerous cases get reported (scroll to "Recovery After Brain Death" here) where patients who were declared "brain dead" actually recover, how can it be possible to accept "brain death" as accurate?
Since brain death is accepted by a large majority of the medical profession and recognized by law, how is it possible that these situations are occurring? If we assume that brain death is real death, then could there be issues about the accuracy of methods used to confirm that brain death has truly occurred?
A response from Dr. Thomas Zabiega to an article by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk (both printed in the Catholic New World) raises some very important questions. While not denying the conceptual existence of brain death, Dr. Zabiega questions the protocal for establishing brain death.
He observes, "No confirmatory test are usually recommended, such as brain blood flow studies or the EEG, which evaluates the electrical functioning of the brain." Even worse than failure to perform such tests that could confirm brain death, the regular use of the apnea test "goes against the fundamental medical ethical rule of 'first of all, do no harm'."
After explaining that the apnea test involves turning off the ventilator to observe if the patient can breathe by himself, Dr. Zabiega notes, "The problem with the apnea test is that this lack of oxygen even for a few minutes will lead to the destruction of the brain in a person who is not yet brain dead, rendering them brain dead due to the apnea test."
He then explains that "an apnea test will never be used in other ventilatior dependent patients because everyone knows it can lead to brain damage, so why is it used in patients who are presumed, but not yet pronounced, brain dead?"
Dr. Zabiega also notes the trend toward further easing of the criteria used to determine brain death. Where two physicians were needed to pronounce brain death, the American Academyof Neurology is advocating that only one is needed. The time between exams is being reduced from 12-24 hours down to 6 hours, but is likely to be reduced to no waiting period at all.
In summary, Dr. Zabiega states, "Therefore, whether the concept of brain death exists theologically, I will leave to the theologians. The question I have is whether our current medical criteria can truly determine brain death? I have my doubts."
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (May 12, 2011)
Yesterday I received two urgent emails about a hospice patient who was being overdosed on morphine. I have copied the email exchange below to tell this sad story about a hospice that is violating the original mission of hospice never to hasten death:
Please provide the Patient Self-Protection Document. My father is in a hospice and obviously being over-medicated. I am working fervently to get his morphine stopped and try to get things back to normal. He just entered there on Saturday. He hasn't had liquids in 48 hours due to being drugged. Any other advice would be helpful. Thanks.
I am hoping you can provide some advice. My father has terminal lung cancer; I have no doubt that he will be dying in the not so near future, and it will be hard to accept when the time comes. Long story short as I think you've seen the story many times before, he entered hospice care this last weekend, and if the course of action does not change immediately, he will likely be dead by the end of the week. He was for the most part fine, just needing some (BPAP?) breathing assistance and oxygen, when I spoke to him Sunday. They are dosing him heavily with morphine, and he is currently catatonic. I have told my mother to have them cease all morphine immediately, but is there anything else we need to do? If this continues, he'll be dead (killed by morphine lung paralysis, dehydration due to no liquids, or possible poisoning from bad kidneys and no treatment). Any suggestions?
My response was: How did the hospice respond to the request to stop the morphine? Especially if they did not accept this request willingly, I think you need to cancel this hospice immediately and look for another one that carries out the original mission of hospice to never hasten death.
Even if they did stop the morphine, they have already revealed their philosophy about care for the dying so you should look for another hospice in any case, but it can be less urgent if they did stop the morphine.
Was your father in pain? If so, there may be a need for some morphine, but they are taking that to an extreme and giving far too much morphine, effectively practicing what is called "terminal sedation." You indicate that your father just needed "some (BPAP?) breathing assistance and oxygen." Did the hospice agree with that assessment and provide it?
You can find a copy of the Patient Self-Protection Document here. You can download it in PDF format here or download it as a Word document here. At this point, I do not think the Patient Self-Protection Document will be of too much help since your father is not in a position to sign it. If you cancel the current hospice and do get him back to being "for the most part fine," then he could assign an agent (e.g. you or your mother) and sign it. Even then, it will not protect him from a bad hospice.
Let me know if you have other questions.
This sad reply came today: Thank you for your very prompt and thorough reply. Sadly, my father passed at about 1am this morning. We left south Florida a couple hours later and arrived in Atlanta this afternoon to be with my mom and family. My father had a very limited life expectancy remaining, about 6 months. With that in mind, I am still very sad and angry that this played out just like the stories related on your website. I am now left having to reconcile the situation as it is and making the best of it for my family. Honestly, in the big scheme of things in this case, it may work out for the best this way. Regardless, it was not our wish, desire, or decision for him to be terminally sedated, and that's very likely what happened. We had very real plans to move him down to Florida to enjoy his last days, and I can't help but feel cheated in this.
I'll follow up more after I get back to Florida in about a week. Unfortunately, a lot of people will not come across the valuable information you are providing until it is already a problem, and in many cases, too late. I can't but wonder what would have happened if I had initiated this 24 hours sooner; it's sad.
Anyway, thanks for your help, and if I can help stop this from happening to anyone else in the future, I'd be glad to help participate. I certainly would refer anyone mentioning hospice to your site, as I wish someone had done for me.
This tragic situation again puts emphasis on the need to take a buyer beware attitude toward any hospice to determine their approach to end-of-life care. Use the Hospice Checklist to help make that determination before it is too late.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Apr 4, 2011)
(not given in full because of time restrictions) Joe Scheidler has been a leader in Pro-Life activism for over 30 years. But Joes initial attempts at activism as Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life Committee were greeted with skepticism. When the board members of Illinois Right to Life were not able to recognize the benefits of Joes approach, he was asked to resign in May of 1980. Pro-Life Action League was formed later that year.
When I became Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life in 2001, I was not aware that I was taking a post once held by Joe Scheidler. His reputation of activism with the Pro-Life Action League put that former role in the distant and apparently long forgotten past. However, now and then I would get a call asking for Joe Scheidler. I eventually learned of Joes earlier position and realized that some people still thought Joe was connected with Illinois Right to Life even after all those years.
Looking to Joe as setting the standard for Pro-Life activism, I have taken a few steps of my own, such as forming and continuing to lead a monthly vigil at Planned Parenthood Express in Orland Park, IL. Joe and Pro-Life Action League offer help so others may be successful. With their help promoting the initial vigil in Orland Park, over 200 people from all over the Chicago area came to that vigil to establish momentum for a successful monthly presence that continues five years later. And the current board of Illinois Right to Life is more flexible now that Joe Scheidler has shown the way, because I have not been asked to resign.
The premier event that establishes Joes effectiveness in Pro-Life activism is called NOW v. Scheidler. Abortion advocates kept this case going for 21 years to try to stop Joes vital work from continuing. NOW v. Scheidler is the only case in U.S. history to go before the Supreme Court three times. Over that extended timeframe Joe was accused of racketeering under the RICO law and eventually convicted as a racketeer in 1998. It took two overwhelming Supreme Court decisions to clear Joe of racketeering, because the Seventh Circuit ignored the first decision of 8-1. They got the message after the second 8-0 decision. However, the last I knew the case still lingers with Judge Coar dragging his feet on Joes recovery of court costs from NOW and the abortionists.
One key thing we can learn from NOW v. Scheidler is the way the most innocent things can be twisted to mean something else. At one abortion facility where Joe had hoped to talk to the abortionist about abandoning his grisly trade, the abortionist was not there. Joe left his business card on which he wrote: Sorry I missed you. Ten years later during the NOW v. Scheidler trial in 1998, that business card was presented as proof that Joe was a criminal when it was shown to the jury on a huge screen with the suggestion that it was a death threat.
On the contrary, Joe was and is truly interested in the conversion of abortionists, as reflected in the efforts of Pro-Life Action League to present Meet the Abortion Providers. These testimonies of former abortionists are powerful evidence of the high costs suffered by abortionists and the freedom they gain through conversion.
When we look at where Pro-Life efforts stand today in our nation and around the world, I think it is fair to say, We could not have done it without you, Joe.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Apr 1, 2011)
IRLC received questions about abortion from a high school student in Vermont. Below are those questions and answers provided by Bill Beckman:
Q1. Why are are you pro-life?
A. To defend the right to life of all human beings from fertilization to natural death
Q2. If abortion was illegal, wouldn't there be a rise in 'back alley' abortions; how would you prevent this?
A. In nations where abortion has been or remains illegal (Poland, Ireland, Nicaragua, Chile, etc.), there are claims that women are dying from illegal abortions. In fact, maternal mortality is lower in these nations than in other nations where abortion is legal, so statistics show the claims are false. Poland is an excellent example because abortion had been legal there under the Communists, but was again made illegal. As a result, the number of abortions in Poland dropped radically and maternal mortality went down so there is no evidence of women dying from a rise in "back alley" abortions.
Q3. Are there any situations for which you think that it is okay to have an abortion, such as rape or endangering the mother's life?
A. Counselors of rape victims who get pregnant know that abortion makes matters worse and advise against abortion. A book called "Victims and Victors" (ISBN 0-9648957-1-4) has testimony from rape victims themselves showing that abortion is bad for the mental wellbeing of the mother while having the baby is good, whether she keeps the baby or decides for adoption. Each child has the right to life regardless of how that child was conceived. Should a child receive the death penalty for the crime of that child's father?
When a mother's life is endangered by her pregnancy, the doctor has two patients and has the duty to care for both of them. Doctors have knowledge and techniques to work for the benefit of both patients so the concept of aborting the baby to save the mother's life is not valid medical care. Even a tubal pregnancy where the baby will die and could cause the mother to die if not treated does not result in abortion, but requires surgery to remove the tube in which the baby is attempting to grow.
Q4. Do you think that other forms of contraception such as the Plan B pill are okay?
A. Plan B is very ineffective. Over the last 7 years Planned Parenthood has increased sales of Plan B by 143% (from 633,756 to 1,537,180). During the same period their abortions have increased 44% (from 230,630 to 332,278). If Plan B prevented pregnancy effectively, would not abortions have gone down, given the huge increase in use of Plan B? When it does "work", Plan B is also known to cause abortions itself by preventing the already conceived baby from implanting in the mother's womb.
Q5. I was wondering when you consider the fetus / unborn child to be alive?
A. When the sperm and egg join to form a new human being, it is certainly alive, or it could never develop into a child and grow to adulthood. This is a biological fact. Abortion advocates recognize that this new life exists, but they want to deny it personhood, so they can justify killing it. However, denying personhood of any human being risks denying personhood to other human beings. That is reflected in published positions (eg. Peter Singer at Princeton Univ.) that suggest that it is acceptable to kill babies after birth as well. Prof. Singer thinks at least a month should be allowed so the parents can determine if their baby needs to be killed because of defects. In his view that baby is not yet a person. Such positions about personhood expand to consider the end of life and deny personhood to some senior citizens because of their age or disabilities. Denying personhood to any human being at any stage of life is very dangerous to all of us.
Q6. Will women face major psychological problems if they are forced to give birth to their unwanted child?
A. The evidence is clear that many women face major psychological problems because of their abortions. A book called "Forbidden Grief" (ISBN 0-9648957-8-1) documents testimony from women about the negative effects of abortion on their mental state. Many women who get abortions (in some studies at least 64%) feel forced into abortion by parents, boyfriend, husband, school counselor, etc. The image that a woman would be "forced" to give birth to a child is a marketing concept to sell acceptance of abortion and has little validity in the real world. Most women who consider their children to be unwanted change their minds once birth has taken place, or even before that as the pregnancy progresses.
Q7. What do you think is more important: the right of the mother or the right of the fetus?
A. Each human being has the right to life from fertilization until natural death so both have the same right that cannot be denied. That is why a doctor has two patients when dealing with a pregnant woman. If the mother has a "right to abortion", that means she has the final say on whether her baby lives or dies. If she "wants" it, it is a baby. If she does not "want" it, it is a "fetus" or a "blob of tissue" that she aborts. Is it logical that such a power over life and death should be given to each woman? Belief in God makes it clear that no human being can have such power over another human being, effectively playing god with their life.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Feb 15, 2011)
Here are four personal testimonies on experiencing the March for Life in
Washington, D.C. on January 24, 2011 with over 400,000 people participating:
#1 -- by Michael Beckman
Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Roe v Wade has got to go! Thus chanted energized young participants in the March for Life (along with many other chants as well.). For me, the day began with the 10am Youth Mass at the Verizon Center with 25,000+ like-minded young people. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the hundreds of priests, deacons, seminarians, bishops, and religious who also made this Mass an incredible experience.
Following the youth Mass, all marched with signs roughly five blocks to the official March for Life which began at noon with a rally. Numerous representatives and senators spoke on how they will fight for life in Washington. Then the march began. Patience is the real key to this march because with 400,000+ participants, there is a long wait before you get to march. During the march, I encountered a diverse array of people: young people from schools and churches who had organized chants, families and church groups praying the rosary or chaplet of divine mercy, individuals who created large pro-life displays along the sidewalk, and people bearing signs with a myriad of pro-life messages. The march ends at the Supreme Court, and many people then visit their congressman following the march.
The March for Life sends a strong pro-life message to Washington politicians and judges that we will not tolerate their indifference to the destruction of innocent life. But the conclusion of the march doesnt end our role in the fight for life for another year. We need to continue to fight for life through prayer, pro-life vigils and protests, but most importantly, by voting pro-life politicians into office. Once we have done that, a victory ending this slaughter of the unborn will most certainly be assured.
#2 -- by Connie McMahon
Monday January 24, 2011 was a cool crisp cloudless day in Washington D.C. We started our Pro-Life pilgrimage by attending a youth mass at the Verizon Center . Imagine a basketball stadium filled with more than 25,000 young Americans seeking to defend the unborn. Father Mark Ivany gave the homily. I love it when a priest starts out with a story that catches your attention and makes you ask, where is he going with this? What does this have to do with the liturgy? Father Ivanys homily started out in such a way. He began with a story about one of his good friends who lived on a farm. On this farm there was a dog named Sandy and a goose named Bruce. Already you are probably asking yourself, what does a farm have to do with the Culture of Life? I was asking myself the same question. It was interesting how Father let his words unfold. When Bruce hatched, Sandy the dog was the first thing he saw. As goslings do, Bruce began to follow Sandy around, thinking the dog was his mother. Bruce the goose grew up to think he WAS a dog, and would do dog things like running up to cars as they pulled into the driveway, quacking as he defended his territory. It was very funny seeing a goose that thought it was a dog but it was also very sad. Because Bruce the goose never got to do all the wonderful things geese do. Bruce the goose never learned to fly. Bruce never got to become what he was made to be a goose, not a dog.
Father Ivany began to apply this story to our own lives. He reminded us that Man is made in the image and likeness of God and as such, we shouldnt settle for a watered down version of what it means to be human. This watered down version of humanity is offered to us everyday by the secular media and those around us promoting a life of self-absorption over self-sacrifice. To be human and made in Gods image means that we are innately pro-life. There is a deep calling within each and every one of us to defend the unborn, just as we would want to be defended if we found ourselves in a similarly vulnerable situation. By the grace of God we have been made in His image and likeness and through this likeness we have the potential to fly. Lets not close ourselves off to this opportunity or to what God is calling us to do.
Father then pointed to the insurmountable task of reversing legislation like Roe v. Wade. How can we bring about change, when it seems that so many in the mainstream do not want to defend the unborn. Pointing to the Saints, Father Ivany reminded us that God created us so that he can work miracles through us. He encouraged us not to give up hope. There was a time when slavery was legal. There was a time when women were not allowed to vote. Things like this are unheard of today. Yet now is a time when millions of people are silently and secretly denied their right to life through abortion. We must believe that God can and will use us to bring an end to abortion in America and around the world. God calls us to be his hands and feet. God calls us to do his will.
After celebrating Communion with over 25,000 other Catholics and hundreds of Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, we were escorted to the National Mall where congressmen, senators and religious leaders offered their support for the pro-life cause to the applause of at least 400,000. Bundled against the cold and carrying thought provoking signs regarding the right to life, hundreds of thousands of Gods children joined together to remind our legislators that, as one sign read, The Natural Choice is Life. We mustnt give up hope. God will work through us if we only open ourselves to Him. God can and will work miracles through all those whom He created in his image and likeness.
#3 -- by Stephanie Compton
Born and raised as a member of the St. George Parish family, pro-life is a subject that has always been part of my life. This past January, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. with the John Paul II Newman Center at Illinois State University to partake in the 2011 March For Life. Along with the 65 students, 2 nuns and priest that took the pilgrimage from ISU, we were accompanied with students from the St. Johns Newman Center at University of Illinois as well. With the two Newman Centers, I was able to travel with about 150 students who were as passionate as I was to fight against this holocaust.
I have a couple different reasons for attending this march. Yes, a weekend in D.C. with friends and missing a day of classes seemed like a good reason to attend. However, my reasoning went much deeper. Abortion is something that I have always had an interest in speaking out against, and I never felt the silly little debates with peers ever seemed to make much of an impact. Yes abortions are morally wrong and they disregard human life; however, I find abortion to be wrong for other reasons, more personal reasons, as well. I watched my mom suffer through the heartbreak of 2 miscarriages; I saw how upsetting it was to no longer be able to produce life. Women who are selfish and decide to terminate a pregnancy because they are not ready to have a child are keeping those couples out there who more than anything want to care for and love a child from the ability to adopt. Along with that, about a year ago I received news that my 21 year old cousin, a junior in college, was pregnant. This deepened my desire to defend life even more watching her live everyday with the judgment received being an unwed young mother. However, on top of her last semester of school and a job she is now a mother to a beautiful baby boy who is loved by so many people.
We started the weekend off with an hour of adoration at ISU, followed by Mass upon arriving at U of I, and finally offering a rosary to the babies, the healing of the mothers, the forgiveness of the doctors as well as everyone on the march and government officials at the start of our bus ride. Sunday was our free day to explore the city yet we called our day short to arrive at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 3 hours before Mass, only to find seating to be scarce. With 10,000 attendees and no longer being able to stay overnight in the crypt people began arriving early morning. Filling up the main chapel, televisions were set up in the crypt and the side chapels for us to watch Mass. The 3-hour long mass was an incredible experience like no other I have seen. Monday the diocese of Peoria gathered with Bishop Jenky to celebrate Mass before rushing over to the rally where we were able to listen to numerous congressmen and women speak out against abortion. Our group also had the privilege to meet with Congressman Todd Akins. The march itself was such an uplifting experience seeing hundreds of thousands of people from all over the U.S. as well as from Canada, Germany and Italy with banners, chants, prayers and songs all speaking up for those who cant. Our group was able to break from our singing to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and then upon reaching the capitol say a rosary while standing in front.
I really hope and pray that we are a step closer to the end of this terrible holocaust. This year marked 38 years of marching and speaking up for the innocent lives being aborted every day. Lets pray that this upcoming year, we will conquer. Human life is to be respected from conception to natural death no matter the obstacle.
I am a 15 year old sophomore at Tinley Park High School. I just attended my first Pro-Life March in Washington D. C. and it wont be my last! I went with the Archdiocese of Chicago. I made a lot of new friends and I learned a lot of interesting and shocking facts about the abortion industry and the Pro-Life Movement. This was such a moving experience.
When my group first arrived, the first thing we did was pray outside of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. We prayed the rosary, sang hymns and said other prayers. There were several people walking in and out of Planned Parenthood looking visibly upset. I can only imagine the horrors that went on behind those doors. This experience outside of Planned Parenthood set the tone for us being there- despite the long bus ride and really cold weather.
Next was Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This is the largest Catholic Church in our country- and it was filled! People even had to sit on the floor. It was amazing! This Mass was to prepare us for the March the next day and just seeing the number of people attending made us feel even more excited to be there. The procession at the beginning of Mass took 45 minutes alone- there were so many priests, cardinals and bishops to concelebrate Mass.
Finally, it was time for the March. It started off with a Mass which took place at both the Verizon Center and the D.C. Armory. Last year only the Verizon Center was needed to fit all of the people for Mass. After Mass we walked 3 miles to the rally location. We heard prolife members of Congress, other political figures, men and women who have been part of abortions, among other powerful speakers preceding the March. You may not have seen this on the news or read this in the papers but we shut down D.C.! There were well over 400,000 participants in the March for Life and most people in attendance were young people. This was encouraging to me because in 15-20 years from now we young people are going to be the ones to change things. We are going to be the politicians, priests, religious, doctors and lawyers, etc. to put an end to this silent holocaust.
I learned some shocking truths on this trip. For example, many businesses we dont suspect support Planned Parenthood financially, and as a prolife consumer we need to be careful of what we buy. Also we, the prolife community, are a big enough group that when we boycott businesses that support Planned Parenthood we make a loud enough statement that companies stop their donations- such as Kohls, Mrs. Fields Cookies and, ironically Toys R Us. One more interesting fact I learned: I am a survivor. One third of my generation has been killed by abortion.
I had such a good time with my friends, standing up for the weakest among us. It is now up to me and every other young person that went on this trip to stand up for life and work for its protection. Please consider joining me and hundreds of thousands of others next year in this most important March for Life.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (June 10, 2010)
May 28, 2010 is a date to remember like March 31, 2005 (the date Terri Schiavo died of dehydration). On May 28th Lydia Tyler, a reasonably healthy 94-year-old woman, lost her fight against overdosing with painkillers. Even though Lydia had no underlying illness or life-threatening condition, verbally rejected taking the painkillers, and had many relatives who were fighting to prevent this outrage from happening, nothing was able to stop "the system" from killing Lydia.
The relative that Lydia had selected as agent for her health care and financial decisions hid behind the decisions of a public guardian that he got appointed through a court. On April 28th this guardian convened an "end of life meeting." Lydia's other family members, including a hospice nurse and a hospice chaplain, were told they could neither attend nor participate in that meeting.
Though claiming to be following "doctor's orders," the guardian, nurses, caregivers, and management of Brighton Gardens in Orland Park, IL carried out the systematic execution of Lydia Tyler using painkillers as the weapon of choice. Attempts by the Thomas More Society legal team to get a judge to listen to reason and stop this outrage were not successful.
All that is now possible is an attempt to protect the estate of Lydia Tyler from the greed of the relative who instigated this death march to hasten the date when he would obtain his inheritance. Is this situation unique? Unfortunately, it appears such actions are becming much too common, often with the assistance of courts and their appointed agents.
I just recently received a call from a Rockford resident who described how his sister engineered the death of their father with the assistance of hospice, providing the morphine that hastened his death. As the designated agent for her father's health care decisions, when this sister claimed that he was still in pain, hospice just provided more morphine that she administered. This sister even found an attorney who drew up a revised will that increased her share of the inheritance, and got her father to sign it, though he was already under the influence of morphine at that time.
Whether for an inheritance, to eliminate inconvenience to relatives, or to reduce health care costs charged to the government or private insurance, senior citizens are becoming as much an endangered species as children in the womb. The only protection is to find a friend or relative to appoint as your agent who truly has your best interests at heart, and also using a life-affirming durable power of attorney for health care such as the IRLC Patient Self-Protection Document.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Feb 18, 2010)
The term "portable medical order" appears to be a variation in terminology for a document that originated as a "Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). This concept was first established in Oregon, the first state to legalize assisted suicide, under a paradigm created by the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
The deception begins with the title since the "treatment" is much more likely to be life-ending rather than life-sustaining. Put another way, it is a physician order to end life-sustaining treatment. A POLST Paradigm program must meet specific program requirements that provide an indication of the dangers inherent to this concept.
More information about this dangerous concept can be found at OHSU.edu/POLST. That link also provides current information about the localities where these dangerous forms are already available. The map reveals that in addition to Oregon, Washington state, California, Hawaii, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, New York, and parts of Wisconsin have established similar forms that comply with the specific program requirements of the POLST paradigm. As many as 17 other states have created some type of "portable medical order" forms that are not fully satisfactory to the POLST pushers. Fortunately, so far Illinois is not involved.
In North Carolina, the form is called Medical Order for Scope of Treatment (MOST). The provisions can be found in Section 14 of this bill passed in 2007: NC 2007 H634. An analysis of the dangers posed by the North Carolina form (which would likely apply to all of the other forms) can be found at LifeTree concerns about MOST form.
The Washington State form can be found at Washington State POLST. Other state forms can be found at Sample POLST forms. In general terms, these forms amount to a doctors order permitting a broad range of non-treatment, but without even the safeguards of witnesses and specific triggering events associated with advance directives.
IRLC strongly recommends never to sign a living will and has the same concerns about "portable medical orders" under whatever name they might be encountered. If your doctor suggests any kind of portable medical order or standing physician's order, say "absolutely not" and consider finding another doctor, because your current doctor is suspect as not truly Pro-Life.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Feb 11, 2010)
Now that abortion advocates have total control of the U.S. government, steps to spread their politically correct agenda widen every day, both here at home and internationally.
President Obamas Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a recent speech, declared, We have pledged new funding, new programs, and a renewed commitment to achieve universal access to reproductive healthcare This year, the United States renewed funding of reproductive healthcare through the United Nations Population Fund, and more funding is on the way. The U.S. Congress recently appropriated more than $648 million in foreign assistance to family planning and reproductive health programs worldwide. Thats the largest allocation in more than a decadesince we last had a Democratic president, I might add "
Exactly what does "access to reproductive healthcare" look like? How about working hard to create sexual addiction during youth and then making money providing "access to reproductive healthcare" as a poor remedy for that addictive behavior?
In its new report "Stand and Deliver," the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is demanding that governments, religious institutions and society at large provide "comprehensive sexuality education" for children as young as ten years old. According to IPPF, as "young people are sexual beings," it should be self-evident that "sexuality education promotes individual well-being and the advancement of broader societal and public health goals." IPPF argues that "comprehensive sexuality education" must be mandatory in school.
Spain goes one step further. Spanish adolescents are being told by their socialist government, "Sex is for enjoyment as much as we can or want. Do and let others do whatever they wish." Those words appeared in a pamphlet distributed to high school students in the region of Catalonia, according to Spanish news site Forum Libertas (Liberty Forum). "Enjoying sex is a natural and recommendable thing," the pamphlet also states. "Learn the best ways to enjoy it with security and tranquility." The pamphlet also endorses homosexual relationships, Forum Libertas reports. No mention is made of abstinence, nor the consequences of sexual intercourse.
Abortion advocates in the USA are trying to catch up with their deviant European allies. The attack on abstinence education continues on many fronts. In January the Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill that bans abstinence education from all Wisconsin public schools in favor of pushing birth control.
In 2009, and expected again in 2010, the Illinois Legislature considered "The Reproductive Health and Access Act" which is more accurately called the Illinois Freedom of Choice Act. Buried in that bill is a provision to require "comprehensive sex education" in all Illinois public schools. Under a large public outcry, this bill was stopped in 2009.
The Federal Government has defunded abstinence education in recent budgets while expanding funding of "comprehensive sex education" and that same step has been taken in a number of states. These misguided actions reject logic and truth in favor of political correctness.
The strong case for abstinence is made in articles found here. Studies of questionable methodology, all strongly criticized, have been used in an attempt to discredit abstinence education. There are virtually no studies that attempt to show benefits from "comprehensive sex education" and those that do exist provide evidence of its failure.
Even so, "safe sex" advocates like Dr. Laura Berman continue to proclaim "Abstinence should be first -- but not only -- sex education option." Following is the IRLC response to Berman's article:
Government sponsored ads tell teens "Just say no to drugs" and other ads tell parents they can make a difference to prevent drug use by their teenage children. The Ad Council runs messages telling parents to warn their teenagers about the dangers of drinking alcohol. New teenage driving restrictions throw the book at those teens who might drink and drive.
Parents and educators would be shocked if programs dealing with drugs and alcohol said abstaining from drugs and alcohol should be first, but not the only, substance abuse education option. The logic would be, since we know at least some teenagers will do drugs and alcohol anyway, we need to teach them "safe highs" and "safe drinking" -- be sure to have a designated driver. Substance abuse education "shouldn't just be about teaching kids to say no."
If that concept seems self-defeating, and even downright crazy, then follow the same logic presented by Dr. Laura Berman in her Feb 10th article entitled "Abstinence should be first -- but not only -- sex education option." Is it really going to work to first suggest "abstinence is the best policy" and immediately offer pointers on "safe sex"? Parents know instinctively this approach will not succeed with sex anymore than such an approach would work with drugs, alcohol, or even good eating habits.
In the Fall of 2006 Arne Duncan, then CEO of Chicago Public Schools established "comprehensive sex education" consistent with that advocated by Dr. Berman. More than three years later, have teen pregnancy or abortion rates been reduced in the Chicago schools? I don't think so! Abortions in 2008 for Cook County residents jumped by 3,233 (14.5%) to a total of 25,529 after trending downward from 2000 through 2007.
Dr. Berman contends "by giving teens info, we aren't giving them permission." Who is she trying to kid? It is time for a reality check on sex education! Abstinence education works for sex just like it does for drugs and alcohol. Mixed messages don't work.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Nov 24, 2009)
Have you ever thought about how sad it is that so many people are seeking to adopt children while so many babies are aborted daily? I recently received an email from a couple who is seeking to arrange a private adoption by providing information about themselves they are hoping will reach mothers who are considering adoption.
I checked with Mary Strom of the Women's Center about how they handle such requests. After briefly explaining the process, she said, "I think they should commit one day a week to pray outside an abortion facility." I reacted by saying, "That seems like an idea that deserves a response of why didn't anyone think of that years ago?"
Here is my response to the couple who contacted me (and my recommendation to anyone who is seeking to adopt):
I forwarded your email to the Women's Center of Greater Chicagoland, pregnancy care center (The Women's Center -- 800-400-4205), and was informed that they will place your information in a book they maintain, available to be reviewed by any mother who considers adoption.
The serious difficulty with finding mothers willing to consider adoption begins with their decision to abort. They have already dehumanized their baby and made a selfish decision. It is very difficult to move from that place to reach a selfless decision for the benefit of their baby by considering adoption. Such a decision requires a personal sacrifice by the mother.
If through the grace of God the pregnancy care center counselor is able to get the mother to reconsider and hopefully reverse her abortion decision, the typical result is her desire to keep "her baby." While that is a life-affirming result, it fails to completely overcome the self-interest mode of thinking the mother has created by considering abortion in the first place.
To overcome this serious hurdle, spiritual assistance is needed. In that mode, one suggestion would be to commit one day a week to spend some time praying outside the abortion clinic closest to your home. While there may not be a direct connection between your desire to adopt a child and the mothers entering that facility to kill their children, you will establish a spiritual presence for those mothers and their babies.
In some cases a chance encounter between those praying at the abortion facility with a mother who is questioning her abortion decision has led to an ultimate adoption arrangement with those who were praying. Even if that does not happen, the blessings of taking spiritual action to be present for mothers and their babies who are aborted could lead to the blessing of a mother who chooses life overcoming the resistance to the adoption option, looking at the book of potential parents, and selecting you. Such a baby is truly a gift from God in a similar fashion to a baby conceived by the parents.
If you have never prayed at an abortion facility, be aware of the following considerations. You should always have a minimum of two people present, a cell phone, and a camera as a precaution for the very remote chance that someone would cause trouble because they are upset by your presence. Many abortion facilities have prayer warriors and/or sidewalk counselors present on Saturday mornings so you could check then first to see if others will be present. Then you can learn from them about other times people might be present.
If you do not find anyone prays at the abortion facility nearest to your home, and you would like more information before beginning your own vigil there, feel free to contact me by email (email@example.com) or at 312-422-9300.
I also recommend that you contact other pregnancy care centers to see if they have a similar procedure. In the Chicago area, here are some possibilities (check "abortion alternatives" in your phone directory for more):
Aid For Women (312-621-1100)
I can hardly imagine the impact if even 10% of the people seeking to adopt a child "adopted" this recommendation to pray at an abortion facility. Could it become an even greater impact than 40 Days for Life is having now? If you are seeking a baby, go to where the babies are located and trust God to do the rest.
Illinois Right to Life Perspective (Oct 28, 2009)
Calls and emails to IRLC from around the nation have shown that actions intended to hasten death are becoming much to common with disabled patients. Pushing morphine, even when patients state they are not in pain, is being reported. Pressuring relatives to choose hospice care, even when patients do not have any terminal condition, is also occurring around the nation. Below are some of the situations that IRLC has been made aware of:Sept 15, 2009 -- Euthanasia whether in hospice or hospital?
While we also know that there are many hospices and hospitals that would never take such measures, this pattern is a warning sign to be very discerning in selecting medical providers and hospice services. The IRLC Hospice Checklist and Patient Self-Protection Document are recommended as tools to help you become better prepared to defend your right to life and that of a disabled relative.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Apr 3, 2009)
Over 235,000 say Obama invitation is an "embarrassment" (reaches 367,000 later)
The following letter was submitted to the Chicago Tribune in response to their criticism of Cardinal George for acknowledging the embarrassment to faithful Catholics caused by the invitation of President Barack Obama to give the commencement speech at Notre Dame University on May 17th:
Chicago Tribune editor:
Your 4/3/09 frontal attack on Cardinal Francis George for having the audacity to defend the most basic human right to life, as proclaimed by the Catholic Church, is itself an insult to both Cardinal George and to all faithful Catholics.
When Cardinal George spoke out for the human rights of illegal immigrants, there was no concern expressed about the "uneasy mix of religion and politics." It is hypocritical to give William M. Daley a featured diatribe of nearly 800 words where he effectively claims that Cardinal George, by acknowledging the invitation of President Obama to Notre Dame has been an embarrassment to Catholics, becomes a threat to turn the USA into a theocracy.
Cardinal George's statement recognized that the Notre Dame invitation of Obama "brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic." That must be a statement of fact when, as of 4/3/09, over 235,000 signatures have been placed on a web-based petition asking that the invitation to Obama be revoked. Where are all the Catholics who are embarrassed by Cardinal George's statement?
In extending the invitation to Obama, Notre Dame University violated a policy adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2004. This policy states, The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. The policy did not make an exception for inviting the U.S. President to Notre Dame. Fr. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, failed to respect this very clear policy.
Observing that a majority of Catholic voters supported Obama does not justify ignoring the US bishops' policy. Nor does this voting result show that Catholics agree with Obama on abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Polls show that Catholic voters did not vote for Obama based on these life issues.
Mr. Daley claims that "Obama has made a serious effort to reach out to those with different views, especially on morally challenging issues like abortion and stem-cell research, in a search for understanding and common ground." Actions speak louder than words. Claiming to reach out and find common ground is meaningless when Obama is even moving to revoke the conscience rights of doctors who refuse involvement in abortion and other "morally challenging" procedures. No understanding is achieved when Obama is willing to again fund the UNFPA, even though this agency has been implicated as complicit in forced abortions in China.
A church leader defending the human right to life against the threats of abortion and embryonic stem cell research does not threaten the "separation of church and state" any more than opposing slavery or the death penalty. Objections to providing a platform at a Catholic institution to a politician who is acting forcefully to expand abortion both in the USA and around the world is certainly appropriate for both Catholic church leadership and the Catholic laity. They are making their voices heard, much to the dismay of those at Notre Dame who extended the invitation to President Obama.
Links to additional information and action items:NDResponse, and Stop Obama at Notre Dame.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Mar 20, 2009)
The headline read, U.S. births break record. The 4,317,119 births, reported March 18th by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, topped a record first set in 1957 at the height of the baby boom. The article also noted that the teen birth rate was up for a second year in a row.
When the proponents of comprehensive sex education begin using this information as justification for more of the same, will they be claiming the need to reduce a record teen birth rate? If so, they will be distorting the facts. The title of the CDC press release was Teen Birth Rates Up Slightly in 2007 for Second Consecutive Year.
That title does not suggest a new record or a crisis. Actually, after the teen birth rate consistently declined from 61.8 per 1000 in 1991 to 40.5 by 2005, would a slight uptick to 42.5 over the two most recent years have significant meaning? The teen birth rate is certainly a long way from returning to the 1991 record.
To understand more about this increase, the data cannot be taken in a
vacuum. Did the abortion rate fall? If more teenagers are choosing life, the birth
rate can rise while the pregnancy rate remains the same or even falls. More
effective parental involvement laws in many states could be one factor contributing to
such a change, given that they have been
shown to reduce teen abortions.
More effective parental involvement laws in many states could be one factor contributing to such a change, given that they have been shown to reduce teen abortions.
The teenage birth rate varies substantially by race, highest for Hispanics at 81.7 per 1000, then blacks at 64.3, and lowest among whites at 27.2. As the Hispanic population increases, that puts upward pressure on the overall average teenage birth rate. Maybe that is one of the key factors to explain the increase in the last two years.
The record number of U.S. births includes some interesting differences. In 13 states the birth rate increased, while falling in 3 states, and remaining the same in remaining 34 states. The CDC report does not provide teen birth rates by state. Do the teen birth rates follow the same pattern as overall birth rates by state? If so, then other factors must be involved that could have little to do with either comprehensive sex education or abstinence.
This new report cannot justify any claims advocating the need for more comprehensive sex education. Based on many other information sources, there are still no reliable studies that can make a effective case showing that comprehensive sex education will reduce teenage pregnancy or abortion rates, but studies do show that abstinence education works.
In European nations such as Great Britain, where a strong push has been made in recent years for expanded comprehensive sex education, the actual result has been increased teenage pregnancies and abortions. Serious efforts to reduce teenage birth rates begin with teaching abstinence to reduce teenage pregnancies and abortions.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Feb 24, 2009)
Recently a question was raised about why the prayer vigil and witness at Plannned Parenthood Express emphasizes the need to protect teenagers, given that the largest number of abortions occurs in the 20-24 age group.
Statistics are important, but they do not always tell the whole story. Based on national statistics for all age groups, approximately 22.6% of pregnancies end in abortion in recent years. Based on Illinois statistics for abortions and births in the adolescent age groups, here are the percentages of pregnancies that end in abortion: ages 10-14 = 50.6% ages 15-17 = 32.0% ages 18-19 = 25.4%
In other words, the abortion rate is much higher among Illinois teenagers than the national average for all abortions. Why might that be? Don't you agree that they are much more vulnerable to pressure from authority figures and other so-called experts than young adults? Might that explain why they have significantly higher rates of abortion?
Planned Parenthood is one of those so-called experts. When teens head to Planned Parenthood, many of them are almost certainly trying to hide something from their parents. The inaccurate and immoral advice they will get from Planned Parenthood will be more likely to hit home when they are so conflicted already.
In contrast, 20-24 year olds are mostly independent of their parents and have already established the type of lifestyle they are living. If one of these women goes to Planned Parenthood, she is much less likely doing it out of fear, but rather based on the lifestyle she has chosen.
That brings up another aspect. It is important to reach teenagers before they choose the wrong lifestyle. Later, it will be much harder and possibly "too late" to reach them, at least until all of their mistakes catch up with them years later when they finally recognize how they have messed up their lives. Isn't it better to work toward preventing all that pain?
Planned Parenthood understands the need to reach teenagers to get them to choose the immoral lifestyle they are marketing. That is why they employ peer conselors to reach teens right in their schools. Use of this strategy can be verified with some basic research on the Internet.
Based on the ease of locating such items, I must conclude that these examples represent nothing more than the "tip of the iceberg," making this Planned Parenthood strategy a serious threat across the nation.
The articles and references I found show that Planned Parenthood is actively engaged in use of peer counseling to reach teens and get them into PP offices for indoctrination on their view that treating anyone as a sex object is normal behavior, as long as they obtain "consent" and use birth control "responsibly" to practice "safe sex."
Some items reflect dates back to 1985 so PP has been working on rolling out this markeitng strategy for a long time. By now, they must be getting even more dangerous, especially when they can get inside the schools with "comprehensive sex education" to achieve multiple layered marketing of their lies selling the casual sex lifestyle.
This peer counseling effort is not targeting 20-24 year olds. It is targeting teenagers. I think this information makes a strong case for putting an emphasis on protecting teenagers from Planned Parenthood. Parents need to beware of this threat to the wellbeing of thier teenage children.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Feb 4, 2009)
Concern about the threat to virtually all abortion regulations posed by the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) have generated online petitions, postcard campaigns, statements from Catholic bishops, letters to Congress, and other opposition throughout the Pro-Life community.
Has this risk been overblown? Is there really no risk at all? It seems "abortion rights" proponents are trying to challenge the credibility of their opposition by claiming they were never serious about FOCA in the first place. They might have a bridge to sell you too; in Brooklyn perhaps?
"Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, and others are saying that they aren't going to try to pass the 'Freedom of Choice Act' (FOCA). Don't believe it for a second. If your opponent gives up the frontal attack . . . you better start watching your flank," warns Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life (AUL).
Now there is contradictory information coming from Catholic sources as well. A Catholic News Service (CNS) article on January 27 reported a comment by Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, on FOCA. Bishop Lynch was quoted as saying, "But there is no plan to shut down any hospital if it passes. There's no sense of ominous danger threatening health care institutions." This piece was written by CNS reporter Nancy Frazier O'Brien.
Ronald J. Rychlak, University of Mississippi School of Law, writes, "This piece is clearly intended to soften up Catholic opposition to FOCA and to the Obama administration. OBrien tries to assure readers that FOCA poses no threat to Catholic sensibilities; there is no danger. She actually argues that the new administration has had a whole week, and it has not yet reintroduced the legislation. In fact, she explains, FOCA is dead."
Rychlak concludes, "Our bishops have taken a strong leadership position on FOCA. Other Catholic leaders and entities should follow their example. Unfortunately, the CNS article by Nancy Frazier OBrien seeks to undercut them."
Referencing the same CNS article, Deal Hudson, Catholic author and publisher, observes, "It's strange that O'Brien would attribute Catholic fears to "misleading e-mails flying around the Internet," when the USCCB's Office of General Counsel itself released an analysis of FOCA last August."
This is certainly not the time to let up the pressure against FOCA. As Charmaine Yoest of (AUL) notes, "We are now seeing the abortion forces waging an incremental battle working to pass what we have termed 'FOCA-by-Stealth.' They think that if they take FOCA and repackage it and pass it in pieces and under different names . . . that we won't notice." Do not fall for this deception!
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Dec 12, 2008)
It is a David versus Goliath situation. On the one side is the hand-to-mouth Pro-Life movement. On the other side is the billion dollar abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has well paid attorneys who seem to continuously protect them from complying with any law they would like to ignore.
Lila Rose, a UCLA student journalist, spent her summer stopping at Planned Parenthood locations around the nation. Stating she was a pregnant 13-year-old, Lila took video of Planned Parenthood employees violating mandated reporting laws and parental notice laws. She placed some of these videos on YouTube, including Indiana and North Carolina encounters. Lila said this footage is "only a sample" from many hours of footage she collected in her undercover audit.
The heat from the Bloomington, Indiana video finally got to Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN). Betty Cockrum, president and CEO, issued a statement on 12/11/08 saying the assistant violated the groups policies regarding reporting abuse. Per Indiana newspaper reports, the statement said, While this video was altered and edited from its original form, it is clear the actions by the employee in question were unacceptable. A thorough internal review of this matter has taken place and the health center assistant shown in the video is no longer employed by PPIN.
All employees of PPINs network of 35 health centers across Indiana have been retrained on reporting procedures and policies, Cockrum said. Is this for real? Is Indiana an exception to the national pattern? Similar efforts by Lila in 2007 led to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA) threatening a lawsuit against her. That PPLA action is more typical of how Planned Parenthood responds when they are caught.
That threat did not prevent Lila from continuing her efforts to reveal how frequently Planned Parenthood breaks the mandated reporting laws. Did Lila's refusal to be intimidated, and her continued efforts to expose them, actually intimidate Planned Parenthood into real concern they might actually be open to legal action for violating these laws?
This PPIN corrective action certainly contrasts with the situation in Kansas where Planned Parenthood is now bringing their sixth legal action against Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline. PP of Kansas is trying to prevent criminal prosecution on 107 counts from moving forward by attacking Kline. After each motion against Kline is found to have no merit, PP files another one.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois is one step closer to losing a legal battle after Judge Judith Brawka of Kane County Circuit Court upheld two counts of slander and libel, alleged by Eric Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League, in a lawsuit filed in 2007, holding that those counts should not be dismissed as a matter of law.
The courts decision overruled an objection by defendants, Planned Parenthood of Illinois and its Chief Executive Officer Stephen Trombley, that the alleged defamatory, libelous and slanderous statements were immune from suit under Illinois newly enacted Citizen Participation Act. Previously, Judge Brawka had ruled that other counts were protected by that law, but that ruling will be appealed.
Is the day coming when Planned Parenthood will be held accountable for their flagrant violation of laws they find inconvenient or disagree with? Will they actually be convicted of criminal offenses that could put their over $335 million of government funding in jeopardy?
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Oct 16, 2008)
During the October 15th third Presidential debate Barack Obama suggested that We can find common ground in seeking to minimize the number of abortions by supporting alternatives. He made reference to new provisions in the Democratic platform as evidence of that intention, including more help for pregnant women and new mothers and for adoption programs.
In fact, the concept that an Obama presidency would reduce abortions is not consistent with reality. First, Obama would approve elimination of the Hyde Amendment that has put significant restrictions on government funding of abortion since 1976. Unrestricted government funding of abortions under Medicaid would certainly result in more abortions.
This year only a veto threat from President Bush preserved the Hyde Amendment so it would be quickly eliminated in an Obama presidency. Planned Parenthood is so confident they will be performing more abortions that they are building mega-clinics around the nation with large capacity for abortions. Of course, Planned Parenthood received another assurance directly from Barack Obama in 2007 that he wanted his first action as President to be approval of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act.
This radical bill would overturn virtually all laws regulating abortion, both Federal and state. It would repeal the Federal law banning the gruesome procedure of partial-birth abortion, and it would repeal every state law on parental notification, informed consent and waiting periods. Restrictions on government funding of abortion would be overturned. Even basic medical regulations of abortion clinics would be repealed.
Recently, an analysis was performed on the impact of the Freedom of Choice Act. Projections indicated that annual abortions would increase by at least 125,000 with the loss of parental notice and informed consent laws. These laws have been effective in reducing abortions. I think these projections are conservative. How fast would we move from 1.2 million abortions back toward the 1.6 million that were occurring in 1990?
Even pregnancy help centers would be under threat during an Obama presidency. A bill to restrict pregnancy help centers has already been submitted in the current Congress. Obamas consistent 100% rating from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood would confirm the strong likelihood that he would approve such a bill.
Abortion advocates claim that pregnancy help centers mislead and intimidate women by warning them about the potential complications from abortions such as depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and increased risk of breast cancer. They even claim that showing women ultrasound pictures of their babies amounts to intimidation.
Such charges have no basis in fact. The risks from abortion are real and the ultrasound pictures accurately show the developing baby. Attempts to deny freedom of speech by restricting pregnancy help centers could only lead to an increase in abortions.
How radical might such a bill get? In England, a bill is being considered that prohibits anyone from presenting information to a woman that might lead her to change her mind about obtaining an abortion. Abortion advocates apparently follow the strategy that ignorance is bliss, rather than the medical practice of informed consent, and they want to make sure that no one else gets in their way.
Obama supports court nominees who would confirm abortion as a constitutional right. He opposed the ban on partial birth abortion and expressed contempt for the Supreme Court decision that affirmed that ban as constitutional. Obama opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in Illinois. He has never taken any action that would reduce or restrict abortion in any way.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (September 5, 2008)
The letter below came from a distraught mother who contacted Illinois Right to Life Committee to see what she could do so other mothers do not experience the tragic circumstances that she describes. Because Illinois does not have a parental notice law in effect, her daughter was able to get an abortion without her even knowing beforehand. This case shows the urgent need for a favorable ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the Illinois Parental Notice Act of 1995 to become effective.
A Missouri parent's rights denied in Illinois
In January my 16 year old daughter came to me requesting to be on birth control after being with her boyfriend for two years. We discussed the consequences of premarital sex and that I didnt really like it, but would rather her be safe than not, so took her in myself and was supportive. Later that month she needed a tonsillectomy and had to be put on antibiotics, so it counteracted the birth control pill. She was at home mostly during that time, not feeling well, so I felt it was safe. One night in July my daughter asked if she could go on a camping trip with a friend and I said that would be fine, but later when I discovered she was not where she was supposed to be, I panicked. After several hours of looking for her franticly one of her friends mom told me that she and her 18 year old boyfriend and their 18 year old friend had travelled to Illinois (we live in Missouri) to get her an abortion. I was devastated. She was 20 weeks along and I didnt even know she was pregnant. She had hidden it well in fear of what their parents would say, what peers would think of them, how would they raise a child, etc., all legitimate fears. All legitimate fears that had either of their parents known, any of us would have supported them and loved them and helped them. Because they are immature and did not realize the emotional consequences of what they have done, they traveled to Illinois to get it done, it being illegal in Missouri without parental consent. They needed someone to sign for them as an adult who would not benefit financially from the abortion, the Illinois law says, so this 18 year old kid, their friend, was allowed to be the adult. I was so upset. How could they take away my parental rights for two days and allow another kid to sign for my child? She couldnt get the tonsillectomy without my consent, or have dental work, or take Tylenol at school, but she was allowed to make a life and death choice without my consent? All because of legitimate fears, but not real fears. They did not understand in their fear that we all would have supported them through adopting the baby out to a loving home, raising it myself, or helping them through raising it themselves, whatever they decided in that way, as long as the baby didnt die. Illinois is Obamas state and he sees this as fair. He wants to actually take the rights away from every parent of a teen in this country if elected with The Freedom Of Choice Act he intends to pass if elected.
My daughter was raised in a Christian home, attending church one to two times a week. We talked to her about abortion, premarital sex, birth control, how we love her. We are not bad parents. We have done everything that parents are supposed to do. It literally could happen to anyone and I felt extremely cheated and helpless. I was stripped of my parental rights for two days while they made soup of my grandchild and sucked it out with a hose. I asked her why she didnt tell me and she said she was afraid and knew I wouldnt let her do it. I agreed, absolutely not, they would not have touched my daughter or grandchild. There are too many botched abortions and these are vulnerable babies, both my daughter and the fetus. They give them pro-choice counseling all day and justify their feelings that its their body, not to think of the baby and feed their already frightened minds that its okay to do what they are doing and its understandable to leave their parents clueless, its none of their business.
With sex being glamorized everywhere kids turn around in this generation, with such a high rate of kids having sex as teens, every parent of a teen should be alarmed and warned, or even if you know kids you love. If you value your rights as a parent and are considering Obama for president, please reconsider. Now many want to make judgments about Sarah Palin? Most teens are having sex, she just got caught and chose not to travel to Illinois, where she very well could have, to have the baby killed without her parents ever knowing. She chose the hard road, to have everyone able to judge her and is a great example of what teens should consider in this situation. And we have her family all supporting her in the public eye and we want to judge them as bad parents? It could happen to anyone. Bristol Palin is just lucky to have a supportive family through it, something I wished I would have had the opportunity to do for my daughter and it was taken away by Barack Obamas decision that abortion is okay for any age and parents dont need to know. Every teen should have to inform their parents of such a decision and give them the opportunity to love and support them anyway. We were all denied what was rightfully ours. Dont think it cant happen to you if you have kids! What would you want for yourself and your child or niece or nephew or grandchild?
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (August 13, 2008)
While the Terri Schiavo case was in the news back in 2004, another Florida case got much less publicity. Hanford Pinette had signed both a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care that designated his wife as agent. When he had congestive heart failure, he needed a ventilator.
His doctors insisted he had no hope of recovery so the provisions of his living will should be exercised by removing the ventilator. When he wife Alice refused, hospital officials took the case to court and won. Even though Hanford was still conscious, doctors removed his ventilator and he suffocated within two hours.
Today in Rochester, NY local TV news reported on the case of Dorothy Livadas, 97, who lives with the aid of life support. Though she had signed documents giving her daughter, Ianthe Livadas, the power to make medical, legal, and financial decisions for her, she had also signed a "living will" instructing that she be taken off life support if she lapsed into a state where there was no reasonable expectation of recovery.
The dispute over her mother's condition forced Ianthe Livadas into a five-month legal battle against doctors, attorneys, and the Catholic Family Center. "You don't expect a hospital to be threatening you that they're going to put aside your mother's choice of health care proxy and power of attorney, and replace you," Ianthe said.
Medical "experts" testified in court that there is no chance Dorothy will awaken or communicate. Livadas daughter disagrees. "Just the other day, I saw a sneer on her face when I mentioned someone she doesn't like very well. When you know someone all their life, you can tell what they're thinking by subtle movements in their face that others would miss," she said.
However, the courts have ruled that Ianthe Livadas no longer has a say in her mother's care as Justice Harold Galloway awarded custody to Catholic Family Center. He said that Ianthe "fails to appreciate her mother's true medical condition," and that she "lacks the objectivity and insight to make necessary decisions."
This is just the latest known case where signing a "living will" allows the medical profession to stop "life support" of a conscious individual because they have "no hope of recovery" even when the agent designated by a durable power of attorney for health care disagrees. The living will simply makes it that much easier for the medical profession to get the agent declared incompetent.
The news report did not identify whether "life support" consists simply of a feeding tube or includes a ventilator as well. From past experience, I would be suspicious that use of the generic phrase "life support" would likely indicate that only a feeding tube was involved. If that be true, they plan to starve Dorothy to death because doctors have agreed she has "no reasonable expectation of recovery." That is called euthanasia!
At the same time, more debate is occurring about the ability of the medical profession to establish the mental capabilities of disabled patients using their traditional approaches. Michael Egnor, M.D., professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at State University of New York, contends that the diagnosis of persistent vegetative state, in Terri Schiavos case specifically, and in other cases more generally, is of dubious validity. Dr. Egnor references a study of the brain of a PVS diagnosed patient that reveals mental activity almost identical to that of conscious volunteers who were given the same instructions.
The results suggest that patients diagnosed as PVS are truly conscious. Those findings certainly support the contentions of Alice Pinette about her husbands responses and Ianthe Livadas about her mothers responses, even though in both cases medical professionals testified in court that they were unresponsive so their living wills should be enforced.
Would you want your living will enforced when you are still conscious? Do not ever sign a living will because it amounts to a license to kill you!
Dr. Egnor describes the Cambridge testing scenario as follows:
In the September 2006 issue of Science, Dr. Owen and his Cambridge colleagues published a study entitled "Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State." Owen and his colleagues studied the responses of a woman who was in a persistent vegetative state, which was the consequence of severe diffuse brain damage that she had suffered in an automobile accident the year before.
The patient had no evidence of any mental function. Based on a battery of standard tests, including MRI scans, electroencephalograms (EEGs brain wave tests), and careful bedside examinations by neurologists and neurosurgeons, she was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. Persistent vegetative state means that she had no mental state no consciousness. She was, in a sense, a shell, a human body without a mind. Thats what "vegetative" means.
Owen and his colleagues did a fascinating series of tests. First, they asked a group of normal volunteers to have a kind of research MRI scan of their brain, called a functional MRI (fMRI). fMRI doesnt measure the actual activity of the neurons in the brain, but it measures the blood flow and brain metabolism in specific regions of the brain. It has been found to correlate to some extent with mental activity. Thinking about things can make the metabolism in certain parts of the brain increase, and fMRI can detect this. The observation that brain activity can locally increase brain blood flow and metabolism was originally made a century ago, in animals in the lab, so its not new. What is new is that we can now measure it in living people non-invasively, using fMRI.
The Cambridge researchers asked the volunteers to think of things, like playing tennis or walking across the room, and they recorded their fMRI brain responses. They also presented the volunteers with nonsense words, to distinguish understanding in the brain from the mere reflex to sounds. The response to understanding was different from the response to sound. The fMRI test seemed to test understanding, not just reflexes.
They did the same tests to the woman who was in a persistent vegetative state. They asked her to imagine playing tennis or imagine walking across the room, and they did the sham test with random words as well.
When they examined her fMRI responses, they found that her fMRI patterns were identical to those of the normal awake volunteers. By fMRI criteria, she understood. In fact, by fMRI critera, she was as conscious as the normal volunteers. Her brain was massively damaged, to the extent that she had been diagnosed as having no mind at all. Yet the blood flow and metabolism patterns in her brain were those of a normal person. And just like normal people, she showed different fMRI responses to nonsense words. So she not only heard what was said to her, but she understood, and complied with the researchers requests to think about specific activities like playing tennis and walking across a room.
Owens study generated enormous interest among researchers, physicians and the public, not only for its implications for diagnosis of persistent vegetative state (e.g. the implications for the Terri Schiavo case), but because of what it suggests about deeper questions about the relationship between the mind and the brain. Many other studies of fMRI in patients in persistent vegetative state are underway, and several studies recently completed with other patients tend to support Owens findings.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective (Friday, July 25, 2008)
Illinois Right to Life Committee (IRLC) was founded in 1968. That fact makes this year our 40th anniversary. From 1968 through January 22, 1973, IRLC worked successfully with many defenders of life to prevent legalization of abortion in Illinois. All those efforts were dashed by the infamous Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. However, Pro-Life citizens were not deterred by that setback. The effort to defend human life from many threats continues to this day with IRLC still proclaiming the truth about issues that threaten human life.
July 25, 2008 is specifically another 40th anniversary, that of Humanae Vitae. What is Humanae Vitae? "Humanae Vitae" ("Of Human Life") is an encyclical on artificial contraception written by Pope Paul VI. This encyclical created major controversy because it upholds the church's long-standing prohibition on artificial contraception.
Looking back at the epidemic of teen sex, cohabitation, abortion, STDs, child abuse, divorce and single parenthood that have been fostered by contraception and the casual attitude toward sex that it has encouraged, one is challenged to conclude that Pope Paul VI got the message right.
Think about it. Didn't the promoters of contraception claim that it would solve most of these problems relating to children and family life that have gotten far worse? Does anyone really think contraception has achieved the glowing results promised by its advocates?
The ignored alternative to contraception is natural family planning (NFP). NFP supports fidelity in marriage and the love shared by husband and wife. Maybe that is why divorce among couples who use NFP is under 5%. Apparently NFP fulfills the broken promises claimed for contraception.
Pope Benedict expressed concerns about the state of todays world while in Australia at World Youth Day. He observed, How can it be that domestic violence torments so many mothers and children? How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space the womb has become a place of unutterable violence?
He stated further, Gods creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The maxim says If we ignore history, we are bound to repeat it. Some recent headlines suggest we can look at some recent history with the opportunity to avoid repeating it, but only if we rise up against the advocates of comprehensive sex education and condoms as the most reliable means to fight AIDS.
The July 16th LifeSiteNews headline reads, Britain's Culture of Promiscuity sees nearly 400,000 new STD Cases. The British Health Protection Agency (HPA) recently reported 397,990 new cases of sexually transmitted diseases in Britain, the highest number since record-keeping began thirty years ago. In their report released July 2, the HPA found that half the cases of infection could be found in the 16 to 24 year age group, even though this group made up only 12% of the population.
This unprecedented epidemic of sexually transmitted disease follows aggressive government expansion of sex education to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions. That result has not been achieved either. Another recent study revealed that Britain's abortion rate in 2007 rose 21% among young mothers under the age of 14 and 10% for mothers under the age of 16.
Is there a cause and effect relationship here? The Family Planning Association said the solution is more sex education for children. In contrast, a recent study by the government-sponsored Sex Education Forum revealed that the school system in Britain is already saturated with sex education. One-third of secondary schools directly offer condoms and other contraceptives to students through "sexual health clinics." Pregnancy tests and morning-after pills are being offered in schools to hundreds of thousands of children, some as young as 11. Might this sex education be the ultimate cause of the problem since it teaches young people that there is nothing wrong with promiscuous sex?
Two weeks before this news broke, a commentary appeared on June 30th in the Washington Post. Entitled Let My People Go, AIDS Profiteers and written by Rev. Sam Ruteikara, this article reveals the facts about AIDS prevention in Uganda. He writes that in the fight against AIDS, profiteering has trumped prevention. AIDS is no longer simply a disease; it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. He goes on to say that Uganda devised a strategy to prevent AIDS called ABC (Abstain, Be Faithful, or use Condoms), but our main message was: Stick to one partner. We promoted condoms only as a last resort. Because we knew what to do in our country we succeeded. Indicting the international AIDS lobby, Ruteikara says, But international AIDS experts who came to Uganda said we were wrong to try to limit people's sexual freedom. Worse, they had the financial power to force their casual sex agendas upon us... As fidelity and abstinence have been subverted, Uganda's HIV rates have begun to tick back up.
Whether the goal is to reduce unwanted pregnancies, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, or specifically AIDS, the circumstances in Britain and Uganda provide the history that shows the folly of the push for comprehensive sex education over abstinence education.
Shall we let history repeat itself in our nation? When the National Institutes of Health recently reported that U.S. teen pregnancies in 2006 rose for the first time since 1991, promoters of comprehensive sex education such as Planned Parenthood claimed that these statistics proved that abstinence education has failed and must be replaced. Now that you know the history, you know their plan will only lead to failure. Abstinence education is the solution, not the problem.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Did I get that right? Barack Obama actually said that mental distress should not qualify as a justification for abortion. Obama stated, Now, I don't think that mental distress qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.
Unfortunately, Obama is wrong on two counts. First, he is wrong that mental distress does not qualify as a reason for abortion. Under the 1973 Supreme Court decisions on abortion, health of the mother is widely defined to include mental health as justification for abortion. Second, Obamas own record on abortion reveals that he would never prohibit abortions based on mental distress so his words are not consistent with his actions.
The mainstream media calls such statements by Barack Obama as moving to the center. They claim that candidates always move to the center once the primary determines a winner. Past history should confirm that such statements may win votes, but they do not accurately portray a change in position by the candidate. Therefore, rather than a move to the center, such statements actually represent an attempt to mislead voters or cover up an unpopular position on an issue.
Since the issue here is abortion, we can conclude that Barack Obama has recognized that the general public does not consider mental distress as a reason to get an abortion. However, his statement does not reflect his position on abortion law, court decisions, or court nominees.
In that case, Obama himself was sowing confusion about his position on abortion. In another case, the mainstream media was doing the same job. The evidence is overwhelming that Barack Obama opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in the form that it was approved in the U.S. Senate with no opposition. However, CNN analyzed Obamas position and raised questions about whether the bills were really the same.
Jill Stanek, who worked to get the bill passed both nationally and in Illinois, has presented the facts. When the bills sponsor tried to amend the Illinois bill so it would be worded exactly like the Federal bill, Obama, as head of the committee handling the bill, prevented consideration of that amendment as part of his actions to ensure the bill would die in his committee.
Voters make their decisions about candidates on a variety of issues. Voters should know that Barack Obama has not moderated his position on abortion. No matter how many delicately worded statements he makes, he has promised Planned Parenthood he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That bill would revoke all restrictions on abortion in place at both the state and Federal levels. That should be sufficient evidence that Obama is as pro-abortion as it is possible to be. He wants to eliminate all restrictions on abortion, including the very popular parental notice and informed consent laws that exist in a majority of the states.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Planned Parenthoods bad reputation must be spreading. Here are some recent headlines to consider:
These headlines suggest that word is getting out about the anti-family agenda and poor quality medical practices of Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, these headlines only appeared on a limited basis in the mainstream media.
Another event that got little attention from the mainstream media was an important court ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The June 30th WorldNetDaily headline read, Court affirms law calling unborn 'living human beings.' That headline does not immediately reveal that this ruling was a big loss for Planned Parenthood in South Dakota.
The Eighth Circuit ruling lifts an injunction obtained by Planned Parenthood to prevent enforcement of a South Dakota law. That law requires abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood to tell women seeking abortions that they may face serious medical conditions and will "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."
If Planned Parenthood truly wanted to reduce abortions, why would they be against such an informed consent law? Obviously they oppose the law because it will cause them to lose some of their abortion business. They would rather have the blood money from abortions than provide women information so they can make an informed decision about getting an abortion.
Behind closed doors, they still tell women that its not a baby, but just a blob of tissue, even though ultrasound technology has demonstrated such a claim is a boldfaced lie. Since that lie helps sell abortions to young, vulnerable women who are uncertain about abortion, Planned Parenthood has no problem keeping them in the dark. What are the chances that Planned Parenthood will actually abide by the law?
Given their track record of ignoring any laws that get in the way of selling abortions, it seems the chances of Planned Parenthood complying with this law are slim and none. Hopefully, that will lead to more lawsuits against Planned Parenthood. Mentioning lawsuits brings to mind two other recent headlines that reveal the lack of quality health care provided by Planned Parenthood:
Anyone who wants true health care should avoid Planned Parenthood always and forever.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Friday, June 27, 2008
Attempts have been made to legalize assisted suicide in California, but so far they have failed, leaving Oregon as the only state to enter that brave new world. The latest news from California mentioned a bill promoting euthanasia. What is that about?
In fact, the bill in question seeks to require medical providers to provide information and referrals to hospice whenever a terminal diagnosis is made. From the introductory text of California bill AB 2747, it states:
This bill would provide that when a health care provider, as defined, makes a diagnosis that a patient has a terminal illness or makes a prognosis that a patient has less than one year to live, the health care provider shall, upon the patient's request, provide the patient with information and counseling regarding legal end-of-life options, as specified, and provide for the referral or transfer of a patient if the patient's health care provider does not wish to comply with the patient's choice of end-of-life options.
How was legalized euthanasia established in this bill? Under the definitions section of AB 2747, the following definition was included:
"Palliative sedation" means the use of sedative medications to relieve extreme suffering by making the patient unaware and unconscious, and in some cases, involves the withholding of artificial food and hydration. A patients death, however, is caused by his or her disease processes and his or her complications, and not from palliative sedation.
Apparently, making a declarative statement that denial of food and water is not the cause of death makes it reality, regardless of the actions taken to make the patient unconscious and then withhold food and water. Fortunately, defenders of life in California protested enough so the definition has been changed to:
"Palliative sedation" means the administration of sedative medication to the point of unconsciousness in a terminally ill patient. It is an intervention of last resort to reduce severe, refractory pain or other distressing clinical symptoms that do not respond to aggressive, symptom specific palliation. Palliative sedation is not intended to cause death or shorten life.
This definition obviously removes the most egregious aspects of the original wording that were attempting to slide a legalization of euthanasia into a definition of terms. However, the original definition reveals what the supporters of this bill to promote more use of hospice really wanted. They wanted to define a standard of care within hospice that considers hastening death as a valid medical treatment.
Whether they achieved that result this time or not, we now have the evidence of their agenda for hospice. This situation confirms the concerns about hospice that we have expressed before. While there are still hospices that follow the original mission of hospice (to avoid artificially extending life, but never hasten death), caution and serious questions are necessary to select a hospice that has not been overtaken by the culture of death.
Further, should it be a concern that this bill is another mandate telling medical providers how to care for their patients? Is it good public policy to help hospices market their services by mandating that medical providers must provide information and referrals? At the very least, this approach seems to raise the possibility of another area where demands will eventually be made on Pro-Life doctors to provide or refer for medical care to which they have moral objections, especially if legalized euthanasia ever gets included in such a bill.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The headline in the June 23rd Wall Street Journal reads "Planned Parenthood Hits Suburbia." Now we have public admission from Planned Parenthood that they are targeting the "well-to-do" suburbs as they "follow the population" to find customers "who can afford to pay full price." Planned Parenthood leaders "aim to rally support with upbeat marketing" and attract new customers with locations "in shopping centers and malls." Steve Trombley, the top executive in Illinois, observed, "I like to think of it as the LensCrafters of family planning."
I posted this observation on the Illinois Review blog and received a response that Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service. They deserve to receive reasonable compensation for it. Is Planned Parenthood receiving reasonable compensation? What valuable service do they provide?
U.S. Senators recently grilled Exxon executives for their excessive profits that calculated out at around 10%. For their last reporting year "non-profit" Planned Parenthood pocketed "profits" of 11% ($112 million on revenue of $1.017 billion).
Planned Parenthood executives are paid larger salaries than many other non-profit organizations pay. With comparable salaries to other non-profits, their "profits" could have been even greater than 11%.
Planned Parenthood's service is only valuable to themselves. Their own statistics prove that pregnancy rates and abortions rise when they open new offices.
Their "service" of encouraging casual sex with so-called "comprehensive sex education" does not reduce unplanned pregnancies or abortions, but it certainly increases demand for Planned Parenthood's services, thus expanding their revenue and their profits.
Can this agenda-driven, anti-science behemoth called Planned Parenthood be stopped before they enshrine their anti-choice approach of "comprehensive sex education" and government funded abortions into government policy and law? Call your U.S. Congressman and request that government funding of Planned Parenthood must end. Ask for support of H.R. 4133 as an initial step in this process.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Friday, June 13, 2008
Studies have shown that the damage to women caused by abortion can lead to problems that cut future pregnancies short, leading to an increase in low birth weight babies. A report was issued on June 12th, entitled Worrisome rise in underweight babies. Of course, this report ignored any connection between abortion and low birth weight.
Use of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was identified as a factor, because of the greater tendency for multiple births, known to produce low birth weight. IVF violates the right to life because it turns human life into a commodity to be manipulated. IVF leads to the death of many embryos. IVF providers offer Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to determine which embryos have serious genetic conditions or other defects. All such embryos are allowed to die.
Once implanted, many more embryos die because of the greater risk of miscarriage. When more embryos are created than are needed for implantation, excess embryos might be allowed to die, or can be frozen or donated for research, where they will also die. When frozen embryos are retrieved for future IVF attempts, many of those embryos die. When more embryos develop in the womb than desired, selective reduction is pushed to reduce the risks from multiple births.
But I digress. The report on the increasing number of underweight babies broke down results by state. Is it surprising that the state identified with the highest rate for low birth weight babies was Mississippi? Mississippi seems unlikely to be a state with high use of IVF because IVF is very expensive, and statistics show Mississippi to be one of the poorest states. What about abortion? Mississippi has one of the lowest abortion rates, less than one third of the national average.
If neither of these factors helps to explain Mississippis high rate of low birth weight babies, what is the source of this problem in Mississippi? Another factor mentioned in the report was use of cesarean birth as a factor for low birth weight. I checked the state statistics and found that Mississippi has the highest cesarean rate in the nation (e.g. 31% in 2002).
Why are there so many cesarean births in a poor state? Are Medicaid clinic doctors using cesarean birth as a means to generate more income, while spending less time delivering babies, with the deliveries scheduled for their convenience? If so, the occurrence of more low birth weight babies is a result of the care decisions by doctors, not the actions or pregnancy decisions of the mothers.
The combination of potential factors (e.g. abortion and IVF rates, cesarean and poverty rates) makes it more difficult to evaluate causes of low birth weight babies in the general population. Since these factors can vary substantially from state to state, overall comparisons do not address the significantly different combinations of causal factors within each state. The report certainly does nothing to discount abortion as one important factor affecting the rising number of low birth weight babies.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Friday, June 6, 2008
Contrary to the accusations made that defenders of life are agenda driven and un-scientific, abortion advocates are producing evidence that these accusations actually apply to them.
Fr Thomas Euteneuer reports on evidence from Nicaragua showing the exact opposite of one of the favorite claims abortion proponents use to justify legalizing abortion. They always focus on the claim that women are dying from illegal abortion. If only it was legal, these women would not be dying. There has never been any evidence to support this claim.
Now there is more clear evidence to show that the reverse is true. There are less women dying when abortion is illegal. A recent publication by Nicaragua's Ministry of Health noted that the overall maternal mortality rate decreased by 58% in the year since abortion has been made totally illegal. There were 21 maternal deaths for 2007 compared to 50 maternal deaths the year before.
Those are the results after just one year. What happens after a number of years? Well, Poland restricted abortion in 1993 and has seen a phenomenal increase in maternal well-being ever since. Maternal mortality, recorded at 15.2 per 100,000 live births in 1990, dropped to 7.3 per 100,000 by 1999.
Going for the long-term case, abortion-free Ireland has the lowest rate of maternal deaths in the world so abortion advocates were never able to use the maternal death argument there. Ireland experienced only 5 deaths for every 100,000 births, according to 2005 data compiled by the UN Population Division.
These statistics totally contradict the favorite argument for legalization of abortion, that legal abortion will reduce maternal mortality. It seems that abortion advocates have no problem denying reality to push their abortion agenda.
Of course, once abortion advocates achieve legalization of some abortions with their deceptive maternal mortality argument, they move on to declare abortion a fundamental right so women must have this choice. They drop the word abortion and rally around a pro-choice agenda.
The latest evidence of their deceptive defense of choice comes from the Planned Parenthood abortion fortress in Aurora, IL. A sidewalk counselor recently learned that when a customer entered Planned Parenthood with Pro-Life literature in her possession, Planned Parenthood employees took the literature away from her, even though she wanted it. This blatant act is certainly a violation of choice, actually an act of theft! Here is the evidence of their anti-choice agenda as reported by Matt Yonke at Families Against Planned Parenthood:
Sidewalk counselor Karen Koller reports she was speaking with a young lady who was going to Planned Parenthood for birth control, but was very interested in the literature Karen gave her. On her way out of Planned Parenthood, she stopped to ask Karen for some more literature. She needed more because Planned Parenthood employees had taken it away from her!
They forced her to give them the literature she had received from our sidewalk counselors. Karen said employees told the girl, "We need to take these" and when she said she wanted to keep them, she was told the pamphlets were "not allowed in here." The young lady was livid and, after getting more literature from Karen, told her she was never coming back to Planned Parenthood after their rudeness and, let's call a spade a spade, theft of her materials.
So much for defending choice, and it looks like Planned Parenthood has a customer relations problem! There must be an opportunity here to conceive a strategy to help them get more of their customer upset with their anti-choice attitude and policies. Can you imagine the headline, Customers abandoning anti-choice Planned Parenthood? Of course, such a headline would only appear in a Pro-Life publication, because the mainstream media would cover for them.
Illinois Right to LifePerspective Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Illinois Right to Life Committee has prepared two new radio messages opposing the evil agenda of Planned Parenthood. These messages are called Defund Planned Parenthood and Abstinence is the Right Choice.
These two messages will be aired on WIND 560 AM along with messages on the topics of Natural Alternative to In Vitro Fertilization, The Deception of Choice, Focus on Successful Stem Cell Research, End of Life Choices? and Persistent Vegetative State and Living Wills.
Here is the text of the two radio messages regarding Planned Parenthood:
Defund Planned Parenthood
This is Mary Anne Hackett from Illinois Right to Life.
Do you want your taxes to be given to an organization that refuses to report sexual abuse of minor children and profits from their abortions?
Do you want your tax money to be given to an organization that is accused of defrauding the government by submitting inflated bills?
Should your tax money be give to an organization that accepts donations specifically targeted to kill black babies?
Would it bother you that this organization promotes pornography to teens and works hard to keep parents in the dark, while promoting sexual activity and performing abortions on their children?
That organization is Planned Parenthood! Last year Planned Parenthood reported revenue of over $1 billion, with $336 million of that amount coming from your tax dollars, mainly through Federal Medicaid and Title X programs.
Isnt it time to end Planned Parenthoods use of your tax money to promote their anti-family agenda? Call your congressman. For more information, call 312-422-9300.
Abstinence is Right Choice
This is Mary Anne Hackett from Illinois Right to Life
When we tell teens not to drink or take drugs, do we teach them safe drinking or drug use? Do we assume they will do it anyway and teach them how to avoid the consequences? We know that mixed messages would encourage more teens to do drugs or drink alcohol. We tell them the truth and stick to the message Dont do it!
Why should we treat teenage sex differently? The serious consequences of sexual activity are pregnancy, disease, and a broken heart. The mixed messages of comprehensive sex education cant protect teens from the consequences of bad choices.
Teens who abstain are better students, do not get sexually transmitted diseases, or have untimely pregnancies. High expectations honor our teens. We need to tell the truth and stick to the message most parents want their teens to hear - Dont do it!
Comprehensive sex education provides a mixed message that encourages sex. Abstinence education is the right choice for teens. Insist on abstinence education. For more information, call 312-422-9300.
Listen for these and other IRLC radio messages on WIND 560 AM beginning on June 9th.