The legacy of Dr. Death

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a.k.a. “Dr. Death,” died the other day, of natural causes and not by his own hand.  Dr. Kevorkian was a practitioner of “physician-assisted suicide” and a hero to the euthanasia movement.  Ross Douthat has  brilliant op-ed piece in the New York Times, no less, that questions his legacy.  A sample:

We are all dying, day by day: do the terminally ill really occupy a completely different moral category from the rest? A cancer patient’s suffering isn’t necessarily more unbearable than the more indefinite agony of someone living with multiple sclerosis or quadriplegia or manic depression. And not every unbearable agony is medical: if a man losing a battle with Parkinson’s disease can claim the relief of physician-assisted suicide, then why not a devastated widower, or a parent who has lost her only child?

This isn’t a hypothetical slippery slope. Jack Kevorkian spent his career putting this dark, expansive logic into practice. He didn’t just provide death to the dying; he helped anyone whose suffering seemed sufficient to warrant his deadly assistance. When The Detroit Free Press investigated his “practice” in 1997, it found that 60 percent of those he assisted weren’t actually terminally ill. In several cases, autopsies revealed “no anatomical evidence of disease.”

This record was ignored or glossed over by his admirers. (So were the roots of his interest in euthanasia: Kevorkian was obsessed with human experimentation, and pined for a day when both assisted suicides and executions could be accompanied by vivisection.) After his release from prison in 2007, he was treated like a civil rights revolutionary rather than a killer — with fawning interviews on “60 Minutes,” $50,000 speaking engagements, and a hagiographic HBO biopic starring Al Pacino.

Fortunately, the revolution Kevorkian envisioned hasn’t yet succeeded. Despite decades of agitation, only three states allow some form of physician-assisted suicide. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous 1997 decision, declined to invent a constitutional right to die. There is no American equivalent of the kind of suicide clinics that have sprung up in Switzerland, providing painless poisons to a steady flow of people from around the globe.

Writing in The Atlantic three years ago, Bruce Falconer profiled one such clinic: Dignitas, founded by a former journalist named Ludwig Minelli, which charges around $6,000 for its ministrations. Like Kevorkian, Minelli sees himself as a crusader for what he calls “the last human right.” And like Kevorkian, he sees no reason why this right — “a marvelous possibility given to a human being,” as he describes it — should be confined to the dying. (A study in The Journal of Medical Ethics suggested that 21 percent of the people whom Dignitas helps to commit suicide are not terminally ill.)

But unlike Kevorkian, Minelli has been free to help kill the suicidal without fear of prosecution. In the last 15 years, more than 1,000 people have made their final exit under his supervision, eased into eternity by a glass of sodium pentobarbital.

Were Minelli operating in the United States, he might well have as many apologists and admirers as the late Dr. Death. But it should make us proud of our country that he would likely find himself in prison, where murderers belong.

via Dr. Kevorkian’s Victims – NYTimes.com.

HT:  Gabriel Torretta

Pro-abortion theology

Katherine Jean Lopez quotes from “O, Beautiful,” a play by Theresa Rebeck, which is getting praise in the New York Times:

‘This is a loving, caring Jesus,” is how the director of a play involving abortion described a leading man to the New York Times.

The play, written by a Notre Dame grad, recently took to stage at the University of Delaware. The dialogue includes a gal asking Christ: “Did you ever say, ‘I’m Jesus, and I say that stupid girls who let guys talk them into going to the back seat of their cars have to have babies?’ Did you say that ever?”

“No,” Jesus replies.

“All you talk about is, be nice to each other!” the teenager continues. “You never said nobody’s allowed to have an abortion.”

The fictional Jesus confirms her assertion.

“So can I? Can I? Can I?” she asks.

“Honestly, I — I don’t really have an issue with it,” Jesus tells her.

Honestly?

Honestly. Rather than uplift and challenge, the hallmark of great art, this just seems to bring Jesus down to our broken level. Where’s the hope in that?

via Defining Divinity Down – Kathryn Jean Lopez – National Review Online.

What shallowness.  What bathos.  What flaming ignorance.  What a reduction of Christ’s teachings.  “Be nice.”  But no one has to be nice to the baby.

 

 

The lies of embryonic stem cell research

Embryonic stem cell research, contrary to the rhetoric, will NOT lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s.  And it probably won’t for Parkinson’s disease, either.  According to Joe Carter, stem cell scientists know this, but purposefully lie about it to overcome pro-life opposition to the destruction of embryos:

Several years ago I worked for a Christian bioethics think tank when ESCR was being hotly debated in the media. Although the ethics of the issue were contested, there was not much disagreement about the basic science involved. Yet some scientists were making claims about ESCR that no one with even the most basic knowledge about the subject could honestly believe were true. But they fooled others into believing them.

For example, the Democratic Party was so convinced that it included in its 2004 platform the claim that, “Stem cell therapy offers hope to more than 100 million Americans who have serious illnesses—from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson’s.” Even at the time, researchers knew that ESCR could never cure such diseases as Alzheimer’s, and would likely never be useful for treating juvenile diabetes or Parkinson’s either.

While all Christian bioethicists were quick to point out that these claims were inaccurate, few were willing to say that the scientists were lying. However, Art Caplan—the “dean of liberal bioethics”—has no qualms about calling them out on their dishonesty.

via Lying About Embryonic Stem Cell Research » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

The post then links to this interview with Caplan.

Banning abortion after 20 weeks

Fifteen states are considering banning abortions after five months of pregnancy.  Nebraska and Kansas have passed it, and Iowa may be next:

The Iowa Senate will consider a bill that bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, following approval of the measure by the state House Thursday night, lawmakers said Friday.

State Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, a Republican, said the bill is a priority because a Nebraska doctor has said he plans to open a clinic in Council Bluffs, Iowa where he would perform so-called “late term” abortions.

“There is a substantial and growing body of medical and scientific evidence that unborn babies at 20 weeks can feel intense pain when they are aborted,” Hanusa said during debate Thursday. “At 20 weeks, unborn children have pain receptors throughout their body and nerves link these to the brain.”

Iowa is one of 15 states considering a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, citing fetal pain research. The bills are modeled after a Nebraska law passed last year. A Kansas 20-week ban has already passed the state’s legislature, and Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign it.

via Iowa House bans abortion after 20th week of pregnancy | Reuters.

 

Aborting girls

In many countries–especially China and other Asian nations–the preference for a boy baby is so strong that girls are routinely aborted.  But this is happening in the United States also!  The births among Asian-American populations are also heavily skewed to having more boys than girls.  Arizona has passed a law forbidding abortion for gender selection.

Why aren’t feminists supporting laws like this?

Arizona and the War on Baby Girls » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers do a lot of good, giving women with an unwanted pregnancy an alternative to abortion and giving tangible, material help to women in need.  But now pro-abortion forces are starting to target them.  In apparent retaliation for pro-life efforts to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and to require abortion centers to follow hospital standards, pro-abortion activists have pushed through a measure in New York City to regulate crisis pregnancy centers and to make them inform their clients up front that they are pro-life organizations.  From a (very biased) news story:

On the heels of a decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, and following an outcry regarding a controversial pro-life billboard ad, the City Council yesterday passed (39 to 9) a bill — Intro-371-A — that hopes to strengthen protections for women seeking reproductive healthcare in New York City.

The goal of Intro-371-A is to eliminate misinformation at women’s pregnancy centers citywide and also clearly identify those centers that are pro-life organizations with no licensed medical provider on staff.

The bill will help draw a clear distinction between the two types of centers so clients can make an informed choice during their time of pregnancy or family planning.

Specifically, the bill will require pregnancy service centers in New York City to inform their clients whether or not they have a licensed medical provider on staff; disclose the kind of pregnancy-related services provided by the center; and provide confidentiality protections for clients’ personal and health information.

“Our goal here is not to shut down these pregnancy service centers. We just want to keep them honest and tell women the kind of services they provide,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.

“We want women to make an informed decision about the health care services they are seeking and not duped by false advertising. Nobody has the right to prevent a woman from taking care of her health. Women will now feel confident in their personal and legal health care decisions – and know that no one will be allowed to stand in their way.”

Additionally, this bill will require pregnancy services centers disclose whether they provide or refer for prenatal care; provide or refer for abortion; and provide or refer for emergency contraception.

Notices will be required to be in both English and Spanish in the form of a posted sign visible at entry and in waiting areas as well in any advertising of services published.

“This bill is a truth in advertising measure.  To be clear, it only regulates centers that are deliberately trying to deceive women into thinking they are in a medical facility when they are not.  What those centers are doing is not only dishonest, it is incredibly dangerous,” Council Member Jessica Lappin said, sponsor of the bill.  “We are passing this bill to protect women and their health.”

Comments Susanne Metaxas, who directs a crisis pregnancy center in New York:  “With 41% of all viable pregnancies in New York City ending in abortion, you would think the city council would be looking to us to help women and mothers find a way to make the choices they really want to make!”

HT:  Cathy

 


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