Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Catholic Hospitals Falling Away.
Palliative Sedation By Degrees.
We’ve gotten good at thwarting death, which can be good, but Western medicine, with close collaboration from science, has invented the following strange idea and carried it out beautifully: Death is failure. We are committed to keeping people alive as long as possible, no matter what. Have you heard the story of a man who was recently resuscitated by EMTs despite the fact that he had “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed on his chest?
Science and technology have forced us to think about what it means to be dead: When your brain stops? When your heart stops? When you can’t move or respond? And they have inspired us to create ways of measuring these vital signs and to invent ways of reviving them when they stop working.
I'm 13, Cute As A Button, And Telling You What Your Rights Are.
All the links you could ever want:
Commonweal Magazine on Baxter v. Montana.
But like most states, Montana treats the consent of the victim as a defense to some crimes—unless doing so violates public policy as reflected in state law. Thus the question the Montana Supreme Court set itself in Baxter was whether the physician’s assistance in a patient’s suicide violated the state’s public policy. It answered no, for two reasons, both of which are highly flawed.
First, the majority recognized that in Montana (as elsewhere) public policy does not allow the victim to give legally valid consent to crimes destructive of the person, such as assault. The majority attempted to distinguish this situation from PAS by saying that the public-policy exception applied centrally to “violent, public altercations [that] breach public peace and endanger others in the vicin- ity.” In contrast, it argued, death by PAS is “peaceful and private.”
This line of reasoning fundamentally misconstrues what counts as “private.” Our legal tradition has always recognized that when one member of the commu- nity seriously injures or takes the life of another, it is always an issue of public concern—no matter where it might take place or how serene the action itself might appear. The opinion’s requirement that the consensual attack be “private” and “peaceful” doesn’t hold up under examination. An assault consisting of a consensual strangling in a hotel room won’t spark a riot, nor will the consen- sual smothering of one sleeping spouse by the other. But these are still matters of public concern.
Second, the majority opinion points to Montana law as requiring doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment at the request of the patient or surrogate decision-maker. It asks how PAS can be against public policy when withdrawal of treatment isn’t.
There is a significant distinction be- tween a doctor’s respecting the wishes of a patient or surrogate to withhold or withdraw treatment, on the one hand, and assisted suicide and euthanasia on the other, as the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized. Doctors cannot force compe- tent patients to receive treatment they don’t want, no matter what the reason. But that is a far cry from saying they can help patients kill themselves with legal impunity.
Kaveny's conclusion? That "pro-lifers" should be worried. Because the decision now puts the onus to make assisted suicide illegal on the legislature, she fears that a public unwilling to vote for legalized AS might also be unwilling to make it a crime, as any bill would require. She claims that citizens may want to keep the possibility around "just in case." And she tells us that the decision is portable because the same construct of laws in other state constitutions like Montana's could allow aid in dying activists to make the same case elsewhere.
She's right. It wasn't as bad a decision as it could have been. Yet, the "pro-life" machine is incredibly powerful. The types of grassroots work, aided and abetted by powerful Legal Right and Medical Right organizations, has proven effective with initiatives like Proposition 8, for instance.
But I also find the bit in Kaveny's article about privacy to be interesting. Of course Roe v. Wade was decided on the grounds of privacy: that a woman had a right in consultation with her doctor to make the decision about her reproductive future in private. Kaveny then pulls out all the typical "pro-life" arguments against assisted suicide like coercion and financial concerns to scare us into thinking that assisted suicide is not a right, appealing to the state as keeper of laws surrounding murder and other life-ending crimes.
She makes no note of the fact that those who request aid in dying must self-administer the lethal drugs, instead it seems, arguing that doctors who abide by their patients wishes by prescribing the drugs should be liable for prosecution - and that giving such a prescription is very different from those doctors consenting with a patient's wish to not receive artificial treatments or to be removed from such treatments.
There is a firestorm coming to Montana as "pro-life" groups work to pressure state legislators to introduce bills that will render assisted suicide illegal. Abortion may be the primary "pro-life" issue but the battle to prevent legalization of aid in dying will soon focus resources and emotions on the other issue on the platform.
Fundraising on Fears of Health Care.
At Catholic Advocate we are committed to the cause of preserving the Washington and on a national level. We also believe that it is our mission to provide a strong, national voice to those who understand how important it is to preserve the lives of the most innocent in our society. Faithful Catholics MUST speak out and be heard on candidates, on issues, on legislation...and on their Church!from conception until natural death. We know that there is an army of Catholics working tirelessly at the local level, devoting prayer and action to saving the lives of millions of children per year. We believe it is our mission to provide a vibrant community where those on the ground can get up-to-the minute information on the impact of their work in
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Your donation goes to support strong initiatives that are bringing Catholic issues to the forefront in Washington DC and in our own. Just this week, Catholic Advocate kicked off a major pro-life push that, when accomplished, will provide grassroots pro-life advocates with the financial and personal support they so desperately need.
On Monday, Catholic Advocate called upon the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to establish a National Collection for Life. On Monday, Catholic Advocate President Deal W. Hudson and Vice President Matt Smith delivered a personal letter to Cardinal , Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Bishop Kevin Farrell (Dallas), Chairman of the Committee on National Collections, asking that the USCCB dedicate monies received in church collections the Sunday before the annual March for Life to national pro-life activities. This collection would provide a huge financial boost to grassroots pro-life efforts nationwide by expanding the resources of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. This will open up fantastic opportunities to promote the sanctity of life at all stages.
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Deal W. Hudson, President, Catholic Advocate
What Is This Religion Blogosphere?
That “conservative” label is certainly accurate, if they are describing your GetReligionistas when it comes to matters of faith and doctrine. We are also very “conservative” when it comes to the basics of journalism.
However, I just looked up at the framed portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that is above my desk and asked the old Democrat if he thought that word fit me, when it comes to politics. He said that the label was too simplistic. Honest, that’s what he said.
Brad Greenberg of The God Blog shows up in the comments, as do some links and comments about other blogs on the list.
Frederick Clarkson of Talk to Action wrote about his inclusion on the list at DailyKos recently, taking the occasion to note that not everyone thinks renegade religion blogs are a good thing. Clarkson writes:
But significantly, the first thought from the editor of the blog First Thoughts, was to say that religion bloggers really ought to be subject to ecclesiastical authority.
First Thoughts is the blog of the religiously neoconservative journal, First Things.Noting the report's mention of the Vatican's concern about unsanctioned blogs, Clarkson continues:
Of course, most American religious individuals and institutions have no such censorious impulse. But that does not change the fact that religious rightism may not only express itself via blogging (as it already does), but will be considering how to silence bloggers with whom they disagree.
At Talk to Action, as I mention in my comment about the report at The Immanent Frame, we take a different view:
Our featured writers come from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds and represent a range of progressive political perspectives. But we all write from the standpoint of recognizing the importance, as well as the historic and constitutional significance, of religious pluralism and the separation of church and state. It is this unity of perspective about the nature of the threat to these values from the Religious Right that animates our conversation and gives structure to how we learn from one another...
Even as we think and write critically about the Religious Right, we seek to do so without resorting to unfair labeling and demonization tactics. In this way, we seek to model effective civic —and civil— discourse. We embrace a common understanding that we all share the same rights, but that the religious supremacism of most elements of the Religious Right is a threat to the rights of all.
It was really just a matter of time before the theocratically inclined began to cast wether eye at the blogosphere. And that time has come.
The discussion following Clarkson's post is telling: many tend to find criticism of the church overblown - in this case the concern that the Catholic church and others may work to censure online content by and about their denomination - or they find that criticism of the church doesn't go far enough, shutting down all constructive and productive conversation.
Justin Whitaker at American Buddhist Perspective reacts to his inclusion in the report and it's content.
Larry Beresford Hosts Hospice and Palliative Grand Rounds.
Repealing the Conscience Clause.
(Washington) The Obama administration is expected this week to begin the process of repealing so-called “provider conscience” regulations that could have been used to discriminate against gays, people with HIV/AIDS, and women seeking abortions.
The regulations, instituted in the last days of the Bush administration, strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse to provide a medical service over religious beliefs.
Human rights groups say the regulations could impair LGBT patients’ access to care services if interpreted to permit providers to choose patients based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure.
The regulations also threaten women’s access to comprehensive health care by permitting pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraception even when doing so significantly burdens the patient’s access, or to refuse to participate in an emergency abortion even when the woman’s health is at risk.
The Bush administration rule was quickly challenged in federal court by several states and medical organizations. As a candidate, President Barack Obama criticized the regulation and campaign aides promised that if elected, he would review it.
Late last week the White House released a statement saying that Obama supports a “carefully crafted” conscience clause – not Bush’s version.
The administration early this week will publish notice of its intentions, opening a 30-day comment period for advocates on both sides, medical groups and the public.
The administration already held a comment period regarding the laws. I hope that the "carefully crafted" regulations will protect the conscience of all individuals, not just those of health care providers and denominational institutions hell-bent on discriminating agains gays, women, and elders.