Life Advocacy Briefing

July 24, 2017

Charlie’s Fate Back in Court / Bucking the Death Lobby
California Injustice / No Better Time, No Better Cause
The Fundamental Question

Charlie’s Fate Back in Court

A COURT IN BRITAIN IS EXPECTED TO RULE TOMORROW (Tuesday) in the further appeal of 11-month-old Charlie Gard’s parents, who are seeking to offer their disabled little one a further chance at life by undertaking experimental medical treatment of his multiple congenital challenges.

The little guy is the subject of international concern over the insistence by a renowned children’s hospital in London that life support be withdrawn over the objections of his parents.

Last week, a leading neurologist from Columbia University in New York, Dr. Michio Hirano, traveled to London and examined the boy, estimating his ability to help the child at between 10 and 56%.  Dr. Hirano specializes in treating rare genetic conditions, such as Charlie is enduring.

In public appeals, the parents have raised more than $1.5 million in donations to aid them in taking Charlie to a place of hope – like the United States – and in providing him “cutting edge treatment,” as reported by Claire Chretien for “So far,” she notes, “English and European courts haven’t even let them bring Charlie home for his last few hours of life, let alone to another country to continue his care.

“‘A world where only parents speak and decide for children and where children have no separate identity or rights and no court to hear and protect them is far from the world in which Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) treats its child patients,’ according to the hospital,” quoted by Ms. Chretien. “‘Charlie’s parents fundamentally believe that they alone have the right to decide what treatment Charlie has and does not have,’ GOSH said. ‘They do not believe that Great Ormond Street should have had the right to apply to the court for an independent, objective decision to be made. They do not believe that there is any role for a judge or a court. They believe that only they can and should speak for Charlie, and they have said many times that they feel they have been stripped of their rights as parents.’”

Not surprising, since they have! Nor did they choose the court-appointed “‘guardian’ who is supposedly advocating for the infant’s well-being in this bioethics case,” notes Ms. Chretien. That “guardian,” she writes, “is a euthanasia activist. Her name is Victoria-Butler Cole,” writes the LifeSiteNews reporter, “and she has tried to block Charlie’s parents from being allowed in the room as doctors meet and examine him.”

In addition to his parents, Charlie has a huge cadre of supporters who call themselves “Charlie’s Army” and demonstrate in London’s streets.

And he has advocates in the United States House of Representatives.  Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) have filed bills to grant Charlie and his parents permanent US residency status; the House Judiciary Committee has approved one of those bills, according to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). And Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) stepped forward in a Fox News interview last Thursday advocating for Charlie; Mrs. Beutler’s own daughter was born with a severe genetic condition and with treatment is surviving well.

Bucking the Death Lobby

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS PURSUING AN ATTEMPT to block the District of Columbia’s ordinance excusing doctor-abetted suicide. Though the action earlier this year to veto the ordinance – for which Congress has authority under the Constitution – did not carry through to completion in the prescribed review period, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced an amendment to the FY 2018 Financial Services appropriation, which includes funding for the nation’s capital city, seeking to repeal the law. His amendment carried 28-to-24 in the House Committee on Appropriations on July 13; the Finance spending bill has not yet come to the House floor for action.

In quick response to the House committee action, the DC mayor, Muriel Bower, announced last Monday the deadly ordinance would, reports Claire Chretien for, “immediately go into effect.”

The committee action spurred a pro-assisted suicide lobby group, which calls itself “Compassion & Choices,” to send what Ms. Chretien characterizes as “a panicked e-mail to supporters. ‘Lawmakers did not just vote to block funding for the DC Death with Dignity Act that authorizes medical aid in dying for district residents,’” wrote the lobby, quoted by Ms. Chretien. “‘They voted to invalidate the law altogether,’ wrote Charmaine Mansala,” according to LifeSiteNews. “‘If this outrageous power grab succeeds, it will inspire opponents of medical aid in dying to seek a nationwide ban on medical aid in dying.’” If only.

“The DC government’s Dept. of Health website,” reports Ms. Chretien, “now has a page devoted to educating people on their ‘right’ to obtain lethal drugs with which to commit suicide. The page links directly to Compassion & Choices.” The website also, according to the Washington Post, has a section in which “physicians can register to participate” in the abetted suicide program.

“Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC),” reports the Post, “said she will try to strike all District-related measures when the budget [sic] bill goes to the House floor.” The delegate is granted speaking privileges in the House of Representatives and voting privileges in committee but does not have a vote on legislation in the House deliberations.

California Injustice

PRO-LIFE HERO/UNDERCOVER JOURNALIST DAVID DALEIDEN has been held in contempt of court by SanFrancisco-based US District Judge William Orrick for releasing court-embargoed videos of National Abortion Federation sessions in which abortionists freely advocated – and confessed to – gruesome actions which constitute cruelty and, in some cases, trafficking in aborted baby body parts.

This is the same judge before whom Mr. Daleiden has been appearing in a federal case seeking to suppress truth and undermine the practices of undercover investigative journalism itself. And the same judge who has refused to recuse himself from the case despite his own involvement with a Planned Parenthood-connected organization and his wife’s public opposition to Mr. Daleiden’s case.

The penalty for Mr. Daleiden’s “contempt” citation? Not a fine or jail time. No, Mr. Orrick has ordered Mr. Daleiden to pay $137,000 to the National Abortion Federation (NAF).

Last Monday’s “contempt ruling against [Mr.] Daleiden is combined,” report Lisa Bourne & Lianne Laurence for, “with [Judge] Orrick’s decision [the week before] that his lawyers, former LosAngeles prosecutor Steve Cooley and Brent Ferreira, had violated [Mr.] Orrick’s injunction against release of footage from the NAF’s 2014 and 2015 conferences.

“[Messrs.] Cooley and Ferreira told Associated Press they plan to appeal the ruling,” reports LifeSiteNews. “‘We are evaluating our options right now,’ Alexandra Snyder of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, which coordinates [Mr.] Daleiden’s legal defense, told LifeSiteNews. ‘We do not believe’ the NAF should get any money, [Ms.] Snyder said,” in the Bourne/Laurence report. “‘They’re the criminals here. It’s outrageous that they should be receiving anything.’”

No Better Time, No Better Cause

July 17, 2017, commentary by Jeremiah Keenan in The Federalist

            A little more than 40% of abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s revenues come from taxpayer dollars. Technically, it is illegal for this money to pay for abortions. In reality, abortion providers have been caught illegally billing parts of the process to Medicaid hundreds of thousands of times, with Planned Parenthood being a prime offender.

            This fact, in itself, might be sufficient justification for suspending federal funding, but the problem goes deeper still. Even assuming Planned Parenthood complied with the law, the abortion corporation earns about $100 million in pure profit from federal reimbursements. Once in Planned Parenthood’s coffers, this money belongs to Planned Parenthood, and nothing prevents it from paying for suction catheters, Sopher clamps and the routine operating costs of an abortion mill.

            Furthermore, by directing tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, the government helps legitimize an organization that specializes in taking human life by paying for the low-capital healthcare services Planned Parenthood provides on the side. When Planned Parenthood provides a pregnancy test, a pap smear or a sexually transmitted diseases check, it is quite likely they will be reimbursed with tax dollars. In this way Planned Parenthood can maintain its organizational focus on abortion (which accounts for 86% of their private revenue) while positioning themselves in the political arena as a non-profit dedicated to women’s health.

            Unsurprisingly, the pro-life movement has been fighting to cut off these cashflows for years. “Funding for Planned Parenthood has been a perennial issue,” wrote The New York Times’s Avantika Chilkoti. “Since … 2010 … each time, Republican leaders have finessed it by saying the matter would be settled in a broader healthcare bill. … That broader bill,” Chilkoti points out, “is now here.” The American HealthCare Act – currently struggling its way through the Senate as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) – includes a long-anticipated section defunding Planned Parenthood for one year. But it doesn’t have the votes to pass. Since its current form, which was released on Thursday, will draw no Democrat support, the 52 Republicans in the Senate can only afford two defections. At the moment, there are several.

            This means the defunding provision is by no means secure. Two of these potential “defectors” directly oppose defunding Planned Parenthood – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already begun to hint that it might be necessary to rework the bill so it can gather votes from across the aisle. Any efforts in that line would, of course, bring up the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. Thus, it is quite plausible – and indeed was predicted weeks ago by some close to the negotiation process – that the Planned Parenthood defunding provision – although slated for inclusion in initial versions of the bill – will be scrapped before a final vote.

            If you think this unlikely because defunding Planned Parenthood was a significant campaign promise, think again. Republicans ran on repealing ObamaCare for years, yet the BCRA keeps most of it in place – particularly if the Cruz Amendment, currently in brackets, does not pass. It would be remarkably easy for Leadership to pass the buck yet again and state that the difficult path to 50 votes on the BCRA required them to scrap the provision and defund Planned Parenthood in a separate bill.

            The problem, of course, is that such a separate bill would never become law. Even if Republicans showed a sudden resolve to pass it, it would not enjoy the privileges against filibuster that the BCRA does. And even assuming that the only Democrats who bothered to filibuster were those who received direct, substantial contributions from Planned Parenthood in 2016, that would include more than 20 Senators involved – more than enough to halt a bill. The fact is, if Republican Leadership takes the defunding provisions out of the BCRA, Planned Parenthood will be getting our tax dollars for the foreseeable future. This would be a raw deal for the preborn innocents as well as many pro-life Republicans who worked long and hard on the DefundPP campaign.

            Thus, during the fiddling and negotiation process of the next two to three weeks, it is important that Republican Leadership receives the impression that the defunding provision of the BCRA would be politically costly to drop. The easiest way to start, of course, is to e-mail and call your Senator. [1-202/224-3121] That only takes five or ten minutes, so do it. Planned Parenthood must be defunded, and that means it must be defunded in the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. …

            We are in the final stretch of a nearly decade-old fight to stop sending money from our federal taxes to America’s biggest baby killer. The entire defund campaign now hinges on whether we can convince wavering Leadership to leave the defunding provision alone as they tweak the BCRA to get their 50 votes.

            Planned Parenthood has hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and are working tirelessly to keep it. It’s up to you and me and all pro-life Americans to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Fundamental Question

July 14, 2017, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet/Chuck Colson

John Stonestreet: We’ve talked recently about who should make life and death decisions when it comes to medical care. What would Chuck Colson have said about the case of little Charlie Gard? Who should decide who lives and who dies?

            Back in 2009, Chuck prophetically warned that with nationalized health care comes increased government control over these decisions – especially when it comes to “quality of life” issues.

            If all that matters is what an individual can contribute to society as opposed to the fact that we’re made in the image of God, we are all in danger. So please listen today to Chuck Colson.

Chuck Colson: Maybe the biggest single issue in the debate over healthcare reform is cost. And by “cost” most people mean how are we going to pay for the President’s and Congress’s proposals.

            But there’s a more important question of cost when it comes to healthcare reform: that is, the price paid by the most vulnerable among us.

            In a recent New York Times Magazine article, ethicist Peter Singer explains “why we must ration health care.” Singer, a brilliant writer and a master logician, begins by pooh-poohing the idea that “it’s immoral to apply monetary considerations to saving lives.”

            Well, Singer is right when he says that “we already put a dollar value on human life.” Mattresses aren’t as fire-resistant, he says, as they could be because government officials have decided it would be too expensive to save those additional lives.

            Still, Singer couldn’t resist the temptation to play God. He rejects the idea that the “good achieved by health care is the number of lives saved.” In his utilitarian calculus, the “death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities.”

            How? Through the use of a “quality-adjusted-life-year,” or QALY. Say, for example, people prefer living five years disability-free to living 10 years with quadriplegia. Then, Singer reasons, when it comes to rationing health care, we ought to treat “life with quadriplegia as half as good as non-disabled life.” Believe me, he’s not kidding.

            What’s even more telling are the considerations Singer says we should not take into account: For instance, whether a patient is a mom or a dad. Thinking about a patient’s children, he says, “increases the scope for subjective – and prejudiced – judgments.”

            As abhorrent as Singer’s ideas are, they’re coldly consistent with utilitarian thinking that now dominates medical ethics. As early as the 1990s, Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the [then] President’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, envisioned “not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” Why? Because, he claimed, they’re “prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

            I’m sorry, but this is the precise same logic the Nazis used to exterminate the physically and mentally handicapped.

            The only viable alternative to this horrific utilitarian, materialistic vision is the imago Dei: the Christian belief that man is created in the image of God.

            Being created in the imago Dei endows every person with dignity – a dignity that is not derived from the majority’s opinion (or a government definition) about the quality of their life or their contribution to society.

            In the absence of this belief, every decision about the allocation of health care – and indeed about any area of life – becomes an occasion for the young and strong to impose their will on the old and weak.

            The word for this is “tyranny.” And all the hand-wringing and rationalizations about the need to overhaul the healthcare system shouldn’t distract us from the very real danger of nationalizing health care and granting government the power to decide whose life is worth living.

            I say leave it to the family and the doctors, as it is today. [Original publication July 27, 2009]