Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nevada's Personhood Petition.

The same conservative activist who worked to amend the Nevada Constitution to state that marriage consists of one man and one woman is now hoping to do the same with the Personhood Constitutional Amendment in 2010 and 2012.

Richard Ziser, a former US Senatorial candidate, was approached by "socially conservative and religious organizations" to organize the petition, including Crisis Pregnancy Center, the Christian Action Council, and the Catholic American Life League. They will be responsible for raising the estimated $1 million necessary to pay volunteers to get petition signatures.

What will a Personhood amendment achieve?

A 1990 voter-approved law puts the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision permitting abortion into Nevada statutes. The law cannot be changed without a vote of Nevadans, according to Legislative Counsel Brenda Erodes. And even if the state law were changed, it wouldn’t override the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, she said.

Also, members of Congress have repeatedly stated that the health care reform legislation they are considering makes no provision for encouraging any kind of assisted suicide. Nevada has no law allowing assisted suicide that Ziser's petition would affect, and the petition would not override any federal law.

That's right. The Personhood Petition will do nothing to change Nevada law. Why is Ziser willing to spend $1 million on an amendment that will change nothing? And what do reproductive rights groups think?

Ziser’s Personhood Nevada organization opposes abortion, but that is not the sole thrust of the petition, he said.

“The whole purpose of the petition is the protection of human rights and civil rights for all humans,” he said. “We are talking about the full spectrum of life from the beginning to the end.”

He noted that the petition gets its “life, liberty and property” language out of the Declaration of Independence.

Elisa Maser, president and chief executive officer of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, the lobbying and political arm of Planned Parenthood in Nevada that advocates for reproductive rights, compared the initiative to a similar effort in Colorado in 2008.

That personhood initiative lost by a 3-to-1 margin, she said.

“It puts government, lawyers and the courts in the middle of our personal lives,” Maser said.

The article closes with Ziser's unfounded assessment that young Americans oppose abortion more now than they did 20 years ago, because he says, they post sonogram pictures.

He said he believes that fewer Nevadans support abortion rights today than 20 years ago.

Young people are more anti-abortion and aware that life begins at the moment of conception, he said.

He noted that young adults now often hang sonogram pictures of their children taken in the womb, an indication that they know life begins long before birth.

“I saw one in a real estate office yesterday,” Ziser said.

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The Hospice Bake Sale: Why Are Hospice and Palliative Care so Underfunded?

Google "hospice bake sale" and you'll get 32,600 hits. Forty thousand hospice care workers in the US are volunteers. (The latest figures on hospice patients dates from 2005 which means that not a lot of study is going on.) Then, 1.2 million Americans, or roughly one third of all deaths, were under hospice care.

We just don't get end of life care right in a majority of the US. It's a mystery to me why an essential phase in our lives, our death, is left to hospitalization when most wish to die at home or left to organizations funded by rummage and bake sales. Don't take this as a slight to the amazing, dedicated and professional hospice volunteers. But the fact that death is left to volunteers says something about how we value the dying process. Shouldn't hospice workers be paid for their necessary work? And why have hospitals been so slow to develop hospice care facilities or palliative care divisions? Could it be there there's no money in it? Studies show that the typical hospice patient saves Medicare $2 to 3 thousand dollars.

Today, BuffaloNews announces that with the help of grants (one private, one governmental), three organizations have joined to form the Palliative Care Institute in Buffalo: The University of Buffalo; Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care. The article states:

“At a time when Americans are concerned about rising health care costs and are demanding health care reform, the Palliative Care Institute is a powerful ally to improve health care for one of our community’s most vulnerable populations — people diagnosed with long-term chronic diseases and debilitating illnesses,” said William E. Finn, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care.

Terminally ill patients, many suffering from long-term chronic illnesses, are frequently burdened by costly and unwanted therapies, unnecessary hospitalizations, poorly controlled symptoms, financial stress and poor communication with their caregivers, according to Finn and others.

“We hope to change behaviors and practices to encourage palliative care and expand the amount of research in the field,” he said.

UB is one of 17 medical schools that partner with a hospice to train specialists in palliative care. One goal of the institute — one of only a handful of such programs in the country— will be to coordinate similar training programs in UB’s schools of nursing and social work.

The article continues:

Research into the value and effectiveness of hospice remains in its infancy, and hospice is often mistakenly associated with euthanasia. By having a separate local organization focusing on the expansion of research to prove the benefits of hospice and the training of people in different disciplines, palliative care can gain greater acceptance among the public and policy-makers, officials said.

Until our society engages in a frank discussion of end of life care, our hospice and palliative organizations will be underfunded and under-resourced, elder abuse will continue, elder choice in care will remain limited, and end of life care costs will continue to cripple our medical systems.

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The Heritage Foundation Fundraising Email.

I guess it's money time for the right. On the heels of an email from the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation (see prior post) comes this from The Heritage Foundation. Both sound so fearful. Makes me wonder what exactly they are so afraid of. Obama's Radical Agenda?! Don't they realize how centrist he really is?

Dear Ann,

President Barack Obama has moved into the White House. And with his liberal allies running Congress, the Left will work quickly to enact their radical agenda.

We conservatives have to repel the liberal tide, and it will not be easy. The Heritage Foundation -- America’s leading conservative policy organization -- is prepared to fight back. But we need your help!

Join the more than 400,000 Americans supporting Heritage now! We fight for our ideals with common-sense policy proposals and a clear message based on reliable conservative principles.

If you join today with your tax-deductible gift of $25 or more, we will send you a free Pocket Constitution.

The Left makes no bones about imposing their radical plans on America -- from massive new spending programs to misguided ideas about the war on terror, health care, education and even the Supreme Court. Nothing is out of the question for them.

That is why The Heritage Foundation is working harder than ever to meet this challenge. We will not stray from our mission to fight for free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

Liberals think the magic solution to the problems facing our nation is a new New Deal, but Heritage knows that there is a better way. We are on the front lines -- our offices are a stone’s throw from the Capitol -- battling for a better America that gets back to its conservative roots.

Join us in this crucial fight right now.

We are building on our 35-year record of success -- from welfare reform to missile defense to tax cuts -- and with your support, we can put America back on track.

In Washington, there are no permanent victories and no permanent defeats. We must remain steadfast in our commitment whether the times are good or bad. That's why your support is so important. Without conservative allies like you, none of what we do would be possible.

Ed Feulner Signature
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundatio

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Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Fundraiser Email.

Today I received this fundraising email, written by Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother. I will see him speak on Saturday at the PA "Pro-Life" event in Scranton.

I print the letter in full so that you can see the many arguments against aid in dying from the "pro-life" standpoint. The foundation includes Schiavo's maiden name, Schindler, because the family wishes to claim back her legacy from her husband, Michael Schiavo, who successfully worked to end her "suffering" via the courts.

"As the Director of the largest organization in the Catholic Church whose exclusive aim is to bring an end to euthanasia as well as abortion, and as one of the handful of people who were allowed to be in Terri Schiavo's room during her final months and hours of life, I want to express my unqualified support and endorsement of the work of Terri's Foundation."

- Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

October 2009

Dear Friends,

As you probably know, it was because of Terri's inhumane suffering and death that our family established Terri's Foundation. We did this to honor Terri's legacy of love for life but, even more importantly, to make certain that the tens of thousands of families trying to protect their loved ones in situations like Terri's would never have to endure what our family experienced - having to watch a loved one barbarically die by dehydration over a two-week period.

Now more than ever all of us at Terri's Foundation remain dedicated to continuing this fight! Not only in loving memory of Terri, but now, also in memory of my wonderful father, for his dedication and his commitment to helping other families during his remaining years.

My parents were never the same after being forced to watch their daughter die such a horrific death. Especially my dad, who was unable to accept the fact that as a father, he could not protect his child from the people that were intent on deliberately killing her because of her disability.

It is Happening EVERY DAY! Please Join Us in This Fight by clicking here to Help Today!

There are countless cognitively disabled, elderly and other people with disabilities who need to be protected. In fact, this past year, Terri's Foundation has received an increasingly amount of contact from disabled individuals or their advocates asking for assistance in many different forms.

With involvement in upwards of 200 cases, and to the extent our resources have permitted, we have provided assistance, and fortunately we have played a key role in helping to save many lives. But it is clear that the need is much greater!

Moreover are the recent news stories that have been exposing the potential dangers of a government controlled health care. In particular is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the health adviser toPresident Barack Obama, who is explicit in pushing a "quality of life" ethic, making it known that there should be some arbitrary standard in deciding not only who should get medical care but also whose life is worth saving.

Even more alarming however, is that since Terri's Foundation was established we have come to realize that these types of decisions are already being made. In many states, hospitals have formed ethics committees that are responsible for deciding who should or should not receive life-sustaining treatment. And if Obamacare takes over health care, we must realize the possibility that every American may be affected by health care rationing.

A Multi-Billion Dollar Funded Industry!

We are grateful for your past support, but we cannot do this alone. We need your help!

The culture of death movement in this nation is funded by multi-billion dollar industries seeking to gain further profit from the de-valuation and destruction of the weak, the elderly and persons with disabilities. In order to make tangible gains against the pro-death mentality and to advance the Culture of Life through loving action, education, and advocacy, financial resources are crucial.

That is why it is vitally important that you click here and help Terri's Foundation today! Please join us in the battle for the cognitively vulnerable, the elderly and chronically ill by helping today!

As we said, we are committed to not only helping families, but to exposing the dangers of a very aggressive death mentality permeating our nation today! We will continue to help keep you informed about what you can do to not just protect yourself, but your family as well.

In loving memory of both Terri and our wonderful and courageous dad, I sincerely hope that you will help us build a Culture of Life!

Bobby Schindler

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