Allowing doctors or other medical professionals to legally end the lives of patients is a radical, "culture-changing" shift in American society that, once begun, can lead to unintended and horrible actions.
A nationally known speaker, Wesley J. Smith, issued that warning in Montpelier on Saturday to the roughly 400 people who packed the Statehouse during the annual Vermont Right to Life rally.
"When we're talking about assisted suicide, we're talking about something that is really a culture-changing agenda," Smith told the crowd. "I mean, think about the potential impact on how we view each other as human beings."
Smith, who is a lawyer, bioethicist and writer whose articles frequently appear in well-established conservative journals such as National Review and The Weekly Standard, gave an impassioned speech to the rally-goers, who ranged from young children to senior citizens.
Smith sprinkled his speech with stories from Oregon and the Netherlands, places that already have approved assisted suicide. His message was that even though most legislation allowing the practice limits it to the terminally ill, it quickly – and logically – begins to include people in all types of pain.
"Once you accept the premise that ending life intentionally through artificial means is an acceptable answer to a problem of human suffering, how do you leave it to the terminally ill?" Smith asked.
The answer is that once legal, it's not limited to the terminally ill, Smith said.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This is absolutely brutal: Massachusetts Dems have dropped a mail piece accusing GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown of wanting hospitals to turn away “all” rape victims.
The mail piece — sent over by the Brown campaign — shows pictures of women who are supposed to have been raped, one of them in a wheelchair bent over with her head in her hands. It says: “1,736 WOMEN WERE RAPED IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2008. SCOTT BROWN WANTS HOSPITALS TO TURN THEM ALL AWAY.”
Click to enlarge:
The mailer — paid for by the Massachusetts Democratic Party — says the claim is based on “a law to let emergency hospitals turn away rape victims in need of emergency contraception.” That appears to be a reference to a Brown-sponsored 2005 amendment that would have exempted hospital personnel, on religious grounds, to inform victims of the availability of the morning after pill.
As Coakley’s own Web site says, after Brown’s amendment was rejected, he voted in favor of the bill to require emergency rooms to provide rape victims with emergency contraceptives, and the whole debate seems to be more nuanced than the mailer suggests.
The mailer could be related to the fact that internal Dem polling reportedly shows Coakley under-performing with less-affluent women.
Update: Scott Brown and Republicans attack the Coakley campaign over the mailer.
Today is Religious Freedom Day marking the anniversary of Virginia’s 1786 Statute for Religious Freedom. Yesterday President Obama issued a Proclamation (full text) officially designating the observance. It said in part:
The Virginia Statute was more than a law. It was a statement of principle, declaring freedom of religion as the natural right of all humanity -- not a privilege for any government to give or take away. Penned by Thomas Jefferson and championed in the Virginia legislature by James Madison, it barred compulsory support of any church and ensured the freedom of all people to profess their faith openly, without fear of persecution. Five years later, the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights followed the Virginia Statute's model, stating, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .".
I think we should provide more incentives to donate, although I do not advocate buying and selling organs on the free market. This would lead directly to economic and physician exploitation of our most vulnerable people. I also vigorously oppose bending the definition of death for the purpose of saving others. One life is not worth more than another. Of course, it’s easier to make principled and categorical statements as a blogger. But, don’t ask me for my high and mighty opinion if my child is on the transplant list. I’d pay the ransom.
Martin Luther King Jr. was working hard to get people to Washington, DC. But when he told an audience, "We are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. We are going to bring those who have known long years of hurt and neglect.... We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago," the year was not 1963, and his issue was not segregation. Instead, it was 1968, five years after his "I Have a Dream" speech, and now the issue was joblessness and economic deprivation. King was publicizing a new mass mobilization led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a drive known as the Poor People's Campaign.In King's vision of the campaign, thousands of Americans who had been abandoned by the economy would create a tent city on the National Mall, demand action from Congress, and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience until their voices were heard. King argued in one of his last sermons, "If a man doesn't have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists."
Forget Michael Schiavo and Bob Schindler. Forget the earnest protestors and the solemn hospice workers. Forget the dopey politicians and the greasy media consultants. Forget the angry preachers and the smug doctors. In the end, in my opinion, the only true unvarnished hero in the recent "legal" phase of the Terri Schiavo saga is 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr. He is truly a profile in courage.
After his "special concurrence" in the Schiavo case Wednesday, Judge Birch is a hero to all of us who believe that the courts can rise and stay above cheap politics - and that the hypocrisy and demagoguery and self-interest that fuels the other two branches of government still can be neutralized when it comes into our courts of law.He is a hero to all of us who hoped during the past fortnight of argument and appeals that the federal courts would determine this case in a nonpartisan, non-ideological way. He is a hero to all of us who wanted the courts to beat back this brazen power-grab by the other two branches.
"In resolving the Schiavo controversy," Judge Birch wrote, "it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people - our Constitution."
Because the special legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Bush "constitutes legislative dictation of how a federal court should exercise its judicial functions (known as a 'rule of decision') the Act invades the province of the judiciary and violates the seperation of powers principle." To hold otherwise, Judge Birch concluded, would be to act in a manner consistent with the label "activist judge." Touché.
Judge Birch was appointed in 1990 by the first President Bush. Because he is a Republican appointee, and a judge who is generally viewed as a solid conservative jurist, his voice carries with greater force in this debate. It carries the word that what happened here in this case was so beyond the pale, so extralegal, that even political and jurisprudential opposites on the bench could agree that it was terribly wrong and had to be blocked.
A Clinton appointee could not have spoken with such legal and political and moral force in this case. It would have come off as too obvious; too predictable. It took a brave judge appointed by the current president's father to call the current president to task for trying to pull a fast one on the overarching concept we have in this country known as the separation of governmental power.
So Judge Birch is a hero and he is now a symbol. Of all of the federal judges who were forced - literally forced - by Congress and President Bush to give special treatment to the Schindlers, only Judge Birch spoke up and called it like he saw it.