Thursday, January 14, 2010
Not My Tax Dollars!
What the Aid in Dying Movement Must Learn from Abortion Advocates.
It accepted the racism that lay buried in middle class hostility to poor women, “welfare queens” and the “sexually promiscuous”—all those who might be expected to look to Medicaid to pay for abortions—whom the rest of us should not support.
Not concentrating on overturning Hyde was arguably the worst decision the mainstream choice movement made. No effort at a constitutional amendment ever got off the ground, but the largely unchallenged Hyde Amendment emboldened anti-abortion groups to pick off powerless constituencies one at a time. From poor women they went on to adolescents and secured “parental consent and notification” laws.
The Voices Behind the Defeat of New Hampshire's Aid in Dying Bill.
Representatives defeat a bill on Wednesday that would have made the state the fourth to legalize assisted suicide. Oregon, Washington and Montana already allow the practice and the New Hampshire bill would have targeted the elderly and terminally ill as well.
The House voted 242-113 against the measure, which would have allowed physicians to dispense lethal drugs to patients to use to kill themselves.
The vote came after a majority of the members of the House Judiciary Committee recommended the state House kill the bill. Some lawmakers wanted to send the legislation back to the panel for more study but a majority decided to defeat the measure.
Alex Schadenberg, the head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeNews.com today that Margaret Dore and members of the coalition worked hard to defeat the legislation.
"This vote proves that assisted suicide is a recipe for elder abuse and Choice is a Lie," he said.
The language of the bill could have turned the Granite State into a suicide haven because the measure, HB 304 by Representative Charles Weed, would not only have allowed assisted suicide but would have gone further by making it so a terminally ill patient need not be actually suffering serious symptoms to qualify for assisted suicide.
Rep. Nancy Elliott, a member of the committee opposed to assisted suicide, told AP after the committee vote, "It's not the function of government to encourage suicide in the young or the old. It's a prescription for elder abuse."
Supporters of assisted suicide opposed the bill because it did not take into account current laws and needed more safeguards before moving forward. They promised to bring back another bill with them.
Bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith criticized the bill when it was introduced and said it would make it so a terminally ill patient need not be actually suffering serious symptoms to qualify for assisted suicide.
"Assisted suicide advocates are cultural imperialists who, as they pretend they only want a 'limited' change in law and culture, actually seek to widen and expand the euthanasia/assisted suicide license through the use of loose definitions and broadly worded 'restrictions," he said.
The Weed measure said a “qualified patient” for assisted suicide "means a capable adult who us a resident of New Hampshire or is a patient regularly treated in a New Hampshire health care facility."
That opens the door to residents of new England states to drive to New Hampshire to kill themselves under the law.
"This would generally spread assisted suicide access to citizens of Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine," Smith explained. "But it also at means people from all over the country could easily qualify for assisted suicide by traveling to New Hampshire for treatment, then obtain the prescription, and go home."
"Usually, state laws and proposals require that patients asking for assisted suicide be residents," he noted.
Kevin Smith of the conservative Cornerstone Policy Research and Bob Dunn, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Manchester, also strongly opposed the bill.
Calls to Include Coverage of Immigrants in Health Care Bill
The leader of New York City’s massive public hospital system warned this week that the health care bills in Congress would burden safety net hospitals by failing to provide coverage for uninsured immigrants while also reducing federal payments for indigent care.
In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Alan D. Aviles, president of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, called for congressional conferees to lift the existing five-year ban on federal health benefits for legal immigrants. Neither the Senate bill nor the House bill currently do so. Mr. Aviles also encouraged the Senate to accept House language to allow illegal immigrants to buy health coverage on new government exchanges at full cost.
To do otherwise, he said, “makes no practical sense and is needlessly punitive.”The call was hosted by National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights group, and included the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, which also supports extending benefits to immigrants.
“These exclusions do not eliminate the cost of care for these individuals and families,” Mr. Aviles said. “They merely transfer the costs to providers. And often the uncompensated care burden will be shouldered disproportionately by safety net systems like ours simply because we will not turn these uninsured immigrant patients away.” He added: “We will necessarily have to divert resources meant to support many of the essential services we provide to the community at large.”
Under both bills, federal payments to hospitals that handle large numbers of uninsured patients would decline gradually as more Americans gained coverage. The bills would make insurance mandatory for most people, and the government would subsidize the cost of policies for those with low incomes. Illegal immigrants would not be eligible for the subsidies, just as they typically are not now eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
Brown, Coakley, and Emergency Contraception.
A lot has been made recently in the US Senate race about Scott Brown's 2005 "conscience clause" amendment; Yvonne Abrahams does a nice job on it in today'sBoston Globe, Janet Wu hit him the other night on WCVB-TV, and of course Martha Coakley ran an ad mentioning it while showing a cowering rape victim in a stairwell. Brown's daughters, in response, held a press conference and recorded a radio ad defending their father against the charge.
The issue is fairly straightforward. If you were, say, a woman in Brighton who had been raped, and you went to St. Elizabeth's Medical Center -- a Caritas Christi hospital -- and asked for emergency contraception so that you would not become impregnated with the rapist's baby, they would tell you no dice. The state legislature wanted to make the hospital provide the pill. The Catholic Church opposed that mandate. (Abraham, in her otherwise excellent column, suggests that the law was largely about allowing individual practitioners to opt out. While that would have been an effect, the legislative battle was entirely about the state's Catholic hospitals' refusal, as policy, to offer emergency contraception.)
There's a legitimate debate to be had on that issue (not to mention, on whether the refusal to provide the pill is an act of good "conscience"), and that debate was waged among the Democrats controlling the legislature, and the Church lost. So, they needed a Republican to try a Stupak-like attempt to introduce a "conscience clause" amendment to the mandate bill, in hopes that they could pressure enough legislators to win an open up-or-down vote. They got Brown to introduce it.
And frankly, his daughters may very well be correct when they insist that this was not because Brown is a cold-hearted, misogynistic bastard. Instead, it was more likely because he owed a big favor to the cold-hearted, misogynistic Church, which had just played a major role in getting him elected.