From right-to-die to involuntary euthanasia

Pass right-to-die legislation, allowing patients to choose physician-assisted-suicide, and what do you get?  In Belgium, at least, doctors are killing almost as many patients who do not ask to die as those who do.  See Wesley J. Smith, Almost as Many Non Voluntary Euthanasia Deaths in Belgium as Voluntary » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

The conservative case for Kagan

Before the anti-Kagan bandwagon sets off, consider this:

As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.

Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton's presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in the thorny issue of abortion.

The abortion proposal was a compromise by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Clinton supported it, but the proposal failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.

via The Associated Press: Kagan in ’97 urged Clinton to ban late abortions.

UPDATE: Today’s Washington Post has various articles that suggest that Elena Kagan may be the best candidate conservatives could hope for from President Obama:

–As Dean of Harvard Law, she integrated the faculty, bringing in notable conservative scholars.

–Hardcore leftists are angry at the nomination, wishing the president had chosen someone more ideological, less pragmatic, and of an intellectual heft to counter Justices Scalia and Roberts.

Pro-life Oklahoma

My home state of Oklahoma has passed–and overridden a veto of–some strong anti-abortion laws:

The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion.

Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.

A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb.

Opponents argue that the law will protect doctors who purposely mislead a woman to keep her from choosing an abortion. But the bill’s sponsors maintain that it merely prevents lawsuits by people who wish, in hindsight, that the doctor had counseled them to abort a disabled child.

via Strict Abortion Measures Enacted in Oklahoma – NYTimes.com.

The states seem to be asserting themselves. Is a new federalism asserting itself?

Pro-life Nebraska

The Nebraska legislature has banned abortion after 20 weeks, raising some new legal possibilities for restrictions:

Two landmark measures putting new restrictions on abortion became law in Nebraska on Tuesday, including one that critics say breaks with court precedent by changing the legal rationale for a ban on later-term abortions.

Republican Gov. Dave Heineman signed both bills, one barring abortions at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the other requiring women to be screened before having abortions for mental health and other problems. Both sides of the abortion debate say the laws are firsts of their kind in the U.S.

A national abortion rights group already appeared to be girding for a legal challenge, calling the ban after 20 weeks “flatly unconstitutional” because it is based on the assertion that fetuses feel pain, not on the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb.

“It absolutely cannot survive a challenge without a change to three decades of court rulings,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Courts have been chipping away at abortion rights … this would be like taking a huge hacksaw to the rights.”

The law focusing on late-term abortions is designed to shut down one of the few doctors in the nation who performs them in Nebraska.

Set to take effect in October, it is based on the claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. The current standard in abortion restrictions is viability, or when a fetus is able to survive outside the womb — generally at 22 to 24 weeks.

The law could lead to changes in state laws across the country if upheld by the courts, said Mary Spaulding Balch, legislative director for National Right to Life.

“It would broaden the interests of states in protecting the unborn child,” she said. “It says the state has an interest in the unborn child before viability.”

Heineman also signed the other bill, approved by lawmakers on Monday, that requires the screening for mental health problems and other risk factors indicating if women might have problems after having abortions.

via The Associated Press: Neb. governor signs landmark abortion bills.

Goldwater’s pro-abortion conservatism

David Mills, at the First Things blog, found a quote from Barry Goldwater arguing that being pro-abortion is actually being conservative:

While searching the web for something, I came across the Planned Parenthood site and followed a link to a group of theirs called “Republicans for Choice.” It included as a pull-out quote these words from Barry Goldwater:

A lot of so-called conservatives today don’t know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the religious right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.

It is impossible for me to think well of someone who could say something so morally cretinous, whatever else may be said in his favor. If protecting the life of the unborn is not conservative, I don’t know what would be—or, alternatively, why anyone would care to be a conservative. And if “do-gooder” is an insult in this case, the man doesn’t know what the good really is. He has taken a position the man of basic, of normal and merely human, moral awareness does not take.

via Goldwater and the Do-Gooders » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

Abstinence funding

The health care reform bill consisted of 1,990 pages.  Congressmen could hardly have read what they were voting for.  Who knows what all is in there?  There may be all kinds of surprises.  For example, to the dismay of many liberals, funding for abstinence education–which Democrats thought they had killed–was stuck into the bill, to the tune of $250 million:

A little-noticed provision of the health legislation has rescued federal support for a controversial form of sex education: teaching youths to remain virgins until marriage.

The bill restores $250 million over five years for states to sponsor programs aimed at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by focusing exclusively on encouraging children and adolescents to avoid sex. The funding provides at least a partial reprieve for the approach, which faced losing all federal support under President Obama’s first two budgets.

via Health bill restores $250 million in abstinence-education funds – washingtonpost.com.

Isn’t it something that teaching children to wait until they get married to have sex is now “controversial”?


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