Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Abortion Always Takes a Human Life

Gregg at Pundit Review knocks it out of the park with his response to these comments by Roger Pilon in WSJ

Whether we believe that the right to life begins at conception or at some point over the next 270 days, we all believe, I hope, that it begins at some point along that line. We all agree, there is some point at which abortion amounts to murder…we just can’t agree on where that point is.

Gregg fires back:

This is utter nonsense. We should be able to agree on “when life begins” since it is an undisputed empirical biological fact that can be found in any first year medical student’s embryology textbook that life begins at conception when the human sperm fertilizes the egg-called the process of “fecundation.” Any other arbitrary demarcation of “when human life begins” contradicts this scientific fact. There is no debate on “when human life begins.”

I encourage you to read the whole post, it is tremendous. However his response to a readers comment deserves a post of its own:

Doug H, you say:

“If “everyone” agreed, there would be no Roe in the first place, and no abortions at all–or conversely there would have been no need for Roe in the first place.”

Of course not “everyone” agreed that abortion should be banned or heavily restricted, however all 50 states had laws on the books prior to Roe which either banned or heavily restricted the practice. The overwhelming majority of Americans opposed abortion until the activist Douglas Court decided Roe based on the infamous “penumbras and emenations” of the Constitution- some recondite “right of privacy” based on the Griswald discision in 1965. As Roger Pilon states in his article that I link to, even Ruth Bader Ginsberg admitted in her 1993 Madison Lecture at NYU Law School that Roe was not solid constitutional law and that a more “measured” opinion might have spared the nation this pain. The premise of your argument is flawed. To say there was a “need” for Roe because not everyone “agreed” doesn’t make any sense. The fact is that the activist Warren Court imposed their own social views on America by usurping the legislative authority of the individual states to decide abortion on their own. I encourage you to check out “Men in Black” by Mark Levin for a full history of Roe and the cases which preceded it. It is highly instructive to see how Justices Lewis Powell and Potter Stewart who voted with the majority in Roe were influenced by their own personal preferences. Potter Stewart, for example saw abortion as a reasonable solution for population control. Blackmun as well acknowledged similar policy issues at stake in the abortion debate including population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones. Unfortunately personal policy preferences have nothing to do with constitutional analysis. Liberals unanimously concur that Roe was justified on policy grounds and not legal grounds. Again, the judicial branch of our government only has the authority to interpret the law not to make it (legislate from the bench). Not only wasn’t there a “need” for Roe, there is never a “need” for any activist decision not founded entirely on the constitution of the United States of America. When people “disagree” it is for the people themselves to decide via the constitutionally proscribed legislative process. Although I do agree that when it comes to abortion, because of the proclivity of activist courts to overthrow and usurp the will of the people as communicated at the ballot box, in this case, as I mentioned, I believe a Constitutional Right to Life Amendment is necessary to protect every living human being regardless of what stage of development. Even the most defenseless human beings are protected under our Constitution.

To your second point:

“Obviously, reasonable (and unreasonable) people disagree, which is why the debate continues, probably without end, and why many pro-choice (NOT necessarily “pro-abortion”) people acknowledge the reproductive rights of those who believe differently than you do.”

First of all, people who claim to be “pro choice” are always “pro abortion.” Let me explain why.

Claiming that one is personally opposed to child abuse but in favor of his neighbor’s “right” to abuse his child is the same in that it recognizes and promotes the very legitimacy and social acceptance of child abuse.

Similarly, when an individual claims that he opposes abortion because he believes it to be the deliberate taking of life, he is, in effect, legitimizing and condoning abortion when he or she cedes that “right” to others. This is an untenable and illogical position which cannot be rationally justified. Individuals who make this claim believe that they have taken a “middle of the road” more “moderate” position in between the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” positions. However, one cannot have it both ways. Either an individual believes that all human life is sacred and deserves legal protection or he doesn’t. People who are “pro-choice” vote the same way that “pro-abortion” people vote. Both vote against conferring legal protection on the unborn.

The bottom line is that those who call themselves “pro-choice” oppose legal protection for the unborn and condone the murder of other developing babies. Indeed, one can’t be pro-choice and pro-life simultaneously. The statement that “I believe that abortion is murder and am personally opposed to murder but support a women’s right to choose murder” is an irreconcilable, confused, and utterly absurd notion that is totally inane.

And there is more. This is some of the best commentary I've seen on the subject, Gregg has done his homework and then some. If you are not familiar with Kevin and Gregg's radio show, please check out the archives.
papijoe 12:43 PM |

Dutch Establish Child Euthanasia Commission

This is mind boggling considering the euthanasia of children is still technically illegal in Holland. But leave it to the Dutch to find new ways to make the rule of law meaningless.

From Reuters:

The Netherlands is setting up a commission to regulate the practice of ending the lives of "seriously suffering" newborn babies, the government said on Tuesday, in a move critics say could allow more euthanasia.

Euthanasia of newborns and late abortions remain illegal, but the commission -- composed of three doctors, a lawyer and a ethicist -- is likely to recommend that doctors who follow certain rules are not charged in concrete cases.

Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Junior Health Minister Clemence Ross-van Dorp said they hoped the commission, expected to start work in mid-2006, would improve the transparency of decision making.

"We wanted to respond to the needs of doctors to create clarity in how to deal with ending the life of seriously suffering newborns as well as the legal consequences of late abortions," the ministers wrote in a letter to parliament.

"The conventions, as well as the opinion of the commission, offer doctors the knowledge that cases will not just be seen from a legal perspective but also from a medical and ethical perspective ... the uncertainty of doctors is being addressed."

The attention to the concerns and needs of the doctors is quite touching. Can you feel the love?

But seeing as the focus, as usual in the Netherlands, is on removing any consequences for doctors, the emphasis on guidelines is misleading:

A study earlier this year showed that Dutch doctors had reported 22 cases between 1997 and 2004 of euthanasia of babies with spina bifida, a disabling birth defect affecting the spinal column, but had not been prosecuted after judicial review.

Prosecutors had decided against charging doctors as long as unofficial rules -- dubbed the Groningen protocol after the university hospital that compiled them -- were met.

The ministers want the commission to work on the basis of similar criteria, allowing euthanasia or late abortion if the baby had no chance of survival and was suffering unbearably, if the doctor consulted at least one other, the parents agreed and the life was ended in the correct medical way.

It has often been pointed out that guidelines are meaningless when not backed up by the appropriate punishments for violating them. Because of this the slippery slope in the Netherlands has already become a free fall. Innocent lives will hang in the balance, their fate not subject to justice, but the whims of the Commissiom of Death.
papijoe 9:41 AM |

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Australian "Dr Death" Moves Operation to NZ

I had mentioned in yesterday's post how euthanasia advocates were gearing up to propose new legislation in New Zealand. Into this fray comes Dr. Philip Nitschke. If New Zealand seemed a better political climate for his views, it should also be pointed out that the main reason for the move is that he had worn out his welcome in his native Australia.

Philip Nitschke says new laws in Australia will restrict his organisation from January 6. These include running a website, preparing written material or organising workshops on euthanasia.

Nitschke says he will continue living in Darwin but will visit New Zealand often.

An organisation which opposes euthanasia says his work will be legal in New Zealand, but that only shows what a soft touch New Zealand is.

Family Life International says New Zealand is fighting youth suicide and the culture of suicide, so should not allow people to set up professional operations that promote suicide as a viable alternative.

It is reminiscent of Oregon in that areas with already high suicide rates seem to favor right-to-die legislation.

Despite at one time being nominated for "Australian of the Year" (He did not even make it to the finals IIRC), his image there has been tarnished by revelations of his actual agenda. Much of the credit for exposing Nitschke's fanaticism goes to Wesley Smith for for highlighting Nitschke's more bizarre efforts and views.
papijoe 6:50 AM |

Monday, November 28, 2005

Post-Thanksgiving Round-Up

Here's a round-up of the euthanasia reports I missed while I languished in a tryptophan-induced haze the past few days.

The always brilliant Wesley Smith has this chilling report on euthanasia and health care rationing in Europe:

In Europe there are medical treatments, operations or drugs which are not available to persons above a certain age, or to persons who are considered too sick, or to anyone at all. Political authorities, claiming to be the guardians of solidarity in society, decide who is allowed to get what kind of treatment, operation or drug. Soon euthanasia might be the price the solidarity principle of the welfare state imposes on those people whose health care is costing society the most. Politicians in Belgium and the Netherlands have already granted their citizens a "right to die" by means of a lethal (and cheap) euthanasia injection. Is this a new "freedom" that the state, which is constantly restricting every other aspect of our lives, generously bestows on us? Or does it boil down to "economic euthanasia," which enables governments to save money by eliminating those that cost the welfare state too much?"

USA Today jumps on the media euthanasia bandwagon. Same misinformation we seen before.

The Germans are now investigating the assisted suicide death connected to the Swiss right-to-die group Dignitas that was posted a while ago. The doctor that performed the assisted suicide himself committed suicide when he discovered that the medical report that claimed she was terminally ill was a fake. Death begets death.

The right-to-die activist in Cambodia who is facing expulsion pleads his case in the world press. The family of the British woman who apparently responded to his invitation to kill herself in Cambodia might be skeptical of his claim that "he meant nobody any harm".

I found this great resource for Catholics on euthanasia. Thanks for sending this Fredi!

The suicide of a right-to-die advocate and the comments of the investigating coroner have galvanized the pro-euthanasia elements of New Zealand society to push once again to legalized euthanasia.

And finally cloning golden boy Hwang Woo-Suk has resigned in disgrace. Don't let the screen door hit ya, Professor...
papijoe 6:54 AM |

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Ethical Abuses in South Korean Cloning Research

This LifeNews reports perpetuates the cover that the Koreans are doing "stem cell research" but I believe it is more to the point that the defining characteristic of their efforts is the unfettered use of "therapeutic" cloning, which is a bogus distinction from any other kind.

The stem cell research program in South Korea has already been saddled with worldwide criticism for allegations in scientific journals saying a junior researcher donated her eggs for use in stem cell studies. Now another member of the research team says it ran afoul of ethical considerations.

Speaking at a news conference, Roh Sung Il, head of Miz Medi Hospital in Seoul, said he paid 20 women for contributing their eggs for research. Roh works with human cloning scientist Hwang Woo Suk, who has come under tremendous fire.

No surprises here. Cloning crosses an ethical point of no return, and guidelines become irrelevant. Why be bound by rules when you are already playing God?
papijoe 6:45 AM |

Monday, November 21, 2005

Death on Demand: Assisted Suicide Not a Medical Solution

My minimum Weekly Wisdom Requirement from Wesley J Smith :

A Swiss assisted suicide organization called Dignitas has helped a depressed woman kill herself in Germany. True, the woman presented a fake medical report, stating she was very ill. But the head of Dignitas said it didn't matter since, "in any case every person in Europe has the right to choose to die, even if they are not terminally ill." (As a result of the suicide, the doctor who faked the medical report also killed himself.)

This is reminiscent of Dr. Philip Nitschke in Australia counseling a "terminally ill" woman named Nancy Crick about how to go about committing suicide. (Assisted suicide advocates who were present clapped when she swallowed the poison pills.) But when it was discovered upon autopsy that Crick was not actually dying, Nitschke said he'd known it all the time and shrugged it off: She wanted to die, he sniffed, so no big deal.

Cases like this have appeared in Oregon since the beginning of their "Death with Dignity" law. I've said it often but it bears repeating: the right-to-die movement always dissembles on its agenda.
papijoe 8:29 AM |

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Euthanasia and Torture

Joe Carter has a fascinating piece on an interesting ethical juxtaposition:

Recently there has been widespread discussion and news coverage on two seemingly unrelated topics – euthanasia and torture. Taken together, though, they reveal our peculiar attitudes and moral reasoning on suffering and death.

The modern ethical stance seems to lead to this:

Inducing suffering to prevent death is unconscionable but inducing death to prevent suffering is excusable

I recall another contrast. When Terri Schiavo was being slowly executed (where was the concern for suffering then?), Pope John Paul was dying a noble but excruciating death. I will never forget the image of him using his staff to keep him upright, which was in fact the Cross. To me he was clearly modeling the true "good death" where he used his final agonies as a points of identification with the sufferings of the Lord.

In the modern world suffering has no value. But commonsense tells us that pain has a valuable function. While it's pointless to impose a Christian view of pain on a secular world, it seems we need to find a rational justification that harmonizes with our view. This would offer an alternative to the false logic that negates Life by valuing it less than comfort.
papijoe 9:06 AM |

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pro-Life Nurse Says Beware of "Living Wills"

From LifeSite

A pro-life nurse representing a leading organization of medical professionals that opposes abortion says pro-life advocates should be on guard for problems involved with living wills. Since the euthanasia death of Terri Schiavo in March, more attention has been focused on the documents.

Deborah Sturm, a registered nurse and member of National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, discussed living wills and advanced directives at the recent meeting of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

"The standard living-will documents that are advocated by those who support euthanasia have a general presumption for death," Sturm told Zenit news service. "The language is often ambiguous and can be interpreted by a health-care provider in a variety of ways that a patient did not intend."

"Some living wills allow for the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration -- which, of course, includes food and water -- if a patient is comatose or vegetative," she told Zenit. "It is against Catholic teaching to refuse a patient nutrition and hydration just because they have these diagnoses."

"In other words, a living will can kill a person," she explained.

Sturm suggests this alternative to living wills:

Strum says pro-life advocates should look at living will alternatives and pointed to organization that have good alternatives. National Right to Life, the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force and other groups have legal documents that presume the patient wants to live and prefers lifesaving medical treatment.

"All of these documents involve designation of a health-care proxy who speaks for the patient when they cannot speak for themselves," Sturm told Zenit.

If someone already has a living will, the pro-life nurse encouraged them to replace it with one of these documents.

"If they have already signed a living will," she said, "they should ensure that it is properly revoked -- in writing."
papijoe 10:31 AM |

Monday, November 14, 2005

South Korean Cloners Already Stumbling on Ethical Issues

Wesley J Smith reports in his blog Secondhand Smoke that that an American researcher has quit over violations of the generally accepted ethical guidelines:

When S. Korean researcher Woo-Suk Hwang successfully cloned the first human cloned embryos, there were rumors that women on his research team had been coerced to "donate" their eggs (which requires an onerous medical procedure), or that other irregularities had occurred. Hwang denied it. But now, an American researcher, who had agreed to team with Hwang, has quit, citing inappropriate conduct by Hwang surrounding the human egg issue. (The researcher also stated that there were technical errors in the earlier cloning report. We will have to wait and see what those were.)

The orginal report hints that this may give pause to potential US collaborators who were formerly tripping over themselves to jump on Dr Hwang's bandwagon:

"The National Academy of Sciences guidelines for stem cell research prohibits payment to egg donors, and scientists in the U.S. have embraced those principles," said George Daley, a researcher at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and at Children's Hospital Boston, who is scheduled to visit Hwang in Seoul later this month to look into setting up a collaboration. "There is a right way and a wrong way, and we must be sure to perform this vitally important medical research the right way."

I can't improve on Wesley Smiths closing comment:

Human cloning leads to dehumanization: Of the clone, of women, and of our ethical values.

In other words, there is no right way...
papijoe 7:52 AM |

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Part XI: New World

[I'm parking this post here temporarily until my editors at Discarded Lies return. If you want to read the whole series, start here]

Within minutes of setting off the smoke canister, the Harrier slid in over the tops of the trees and set down in the field. The Persian had set the lightweight ladder against the side and was already at the level of the pilot when the canopy opened. The pilot removed the respirator and barked in an authoritative female voice, "If you ding this plane, we're both dead!" She finally discouraged his ardent kisses with a whack in the temple with the spare helmet. She tossed a g-suit to the tall man. "Let's go, I have to get this thing back to Spangdahlem by 0200! From there you'll be a Czech doctor taking a military flight to speak a UN refugee conference!" Soon they were lifting off, while the Persian hopefully pantomimed holding a telephone to his ear.


The tall man slipped out of the airport conference area before the Czech doctor was missed and was soon ensconced in the Center for Jewish History on West 16th St. Spread out before him was an excerpt of correspondence between ben Israel and a chaplain of one of the princesses of Orange, regarding the Montezino reports of finding Jews in the New World and the book he would write on his theory of the American Indians being the lost Ten Tribes. This was also connected to his millenial belief that when the Jews were scattered around the globe, the Messiah would come.

By the occasion of the questions you propose unto me concerning this adjourned Narrative of Mr. Antonio Montezinos, I, to give you satisfaction, have written a treatise instead of a letter, which I shortly will publish and whereof you shall receive as many copies as you desire. In this treatise I handle of the first inhabitants of America which I believe were of the Ten Tribes; moreover that they were scattered also in other countries, that they keep their true religion, as hoping to return into the Holy Land in due time....

So then at their appointed time, all the Tribes shall meet from all the parts of the world into two Provinces, namely Assyria and Egypt, nor shall their kingdom be any more divided, but they shall have one Prince - the Messiah, the Son of David. I do also set forth the Inquisition of Spain, and rehearse diverse of our Nation, and also of Christians, Martyrs, who in our times suffered several sorts of torments, and then having showed with what great honours our Jews have been graced also by several Princes who profess Christianity. I prove at large, that the day of the promised Messiah unto us doth draw near, upon which occasion I explain many Prophecies....

Nearby was a copy of the Tanakh open to Devarim (Deuteronomy) 28:64-68, a terrifying passage that was key to Menasseh's Messianic beliefs:

Then Adonai will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other godsÂ?gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There Adonai will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, "If only it were evening!" and in the evening, "If only it were morning!"-because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. Adonai will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.

There was also the account of Isaac Saravina. His parents, Maria Nunez and Duarte Saravina were the first Conversos married in Amsterdam. There is a story connected with his mother that she was on a ship captured by Sir Francis Drake but freed on the orders of Queen Elizabeth and was granted an offer to stay in England This would require conversion since Jews still weren't allowed in England, so Maria chose to keep her faith and sailed instead for the Netherlands.

Isaac was a trusted associate of Menassah ben Israel and helped him run his publishing business. He also shared the company of Rembrandt, Grotius and a collection of thinkers, both Christian and Jewish. Perhaps because his family history was permeated with romance, he agreed to take his new bride Rebekah, considered to be a great beauty like Isaac's mother, to the Dutch settlement of Recife. The Dutch had taken it from the Portuguese, and encouraged Sephardic Jews to settle there. When the Portuguese won it back the Dutch and the Jews fled in 16 ships, Isaac and Rebekah were among the refuges.

"We have taken what could. My beautiful Rebekah, bride of my youth is a pillar of strength for the other women and even some of us men. She cheers and encourages all and tries to make an adventure of the whole affair like she used to do with the children when they were cross. When the Spanish pirates boarded and threatened to steal all we had and turn us over to theinquisitionn, I could hear her reciting the Shema under her breath. I was about to tell her to be still for fear the it would enrage the Spaniards, but I held my tongue and it was then I saw the sail on the horizon. The pirates saw soon saw it too and fled in a great panic when they recognized the St Charles. While the crew and the French privateers were discussing our fate, it was Rebekah that finally convinced them to take us to New Amsterdam."

Another of Isaac's claims to fame was that he refers to a wedding present from Menasseh, which art historians have seized upon as evidence that Menasseh presented him with one of the original four etchings that Rembrandt did for ben Israel's book La Piedra Gloriosa. But the tall man strongly suspected that a different glorious stone was intended. This passage seems to indicate that the "wedding present" survived the attack of the pirates:

"After the tropical huts of Recife, I don't think any of us expected a little Amsterdam. When land was first sighted, all ran to the rail in excitement, but what hove into view as we approached drew a collective groan out of us. How could these tumbledown shacks protect from the cold and wind of winter? It was a hard rough place and the landmark that impressed us most was the gallows on the hill. Was this a bad omen?

It certainly seemed so. Once we arrived a lone Jew from Amsterdam, the righteous bar Shimon greeted us. He helped us sell the diamonds and gold we kept for these emergencies, but the local people knew we were in dire straits and we did not get the prices we hoped. It wasn't long before the French captain was threatening us with a suit, and we would be expelled or put in a debtor's prison to work until every guilder was paid. We auctioned everything we had except that which wasn't ours to sell. If bar Shimon hadn't kept us fed and found lodging we would have died in the streets."

The narrative then describes the governor's attempts to expel them. Thanks most likely to it's Jewish stockholders, the Royal Dutch West India Company ordered him to leave the Jews alone. They eventually prospered, and their fortunes continued to improve under the British. But Isaac loses his cherished Rebekah to smallpox soon after they are permitted to build the first synagogue. In his grief, his memoirs turn to more philosophical matters. He takes comfort in the Torah and starts to make veiled references to the Lurian Kabbalah and renews his interest in Menasseh's messianic theories.

"Without Rebekah, my only hope is HaMoshiach. Menasseh died before seeing his life work fulfilled, but now we enjoy freedom in England and the colonies and are one step closer. The auto de fes still burn and the Cossacks kill us in the Ukraine but there is hope. The Torah tells us that Adam and our sin is the cause of our suffering, the Kabbalah says it's the Kelippot. Whatever has caused this the solution is HaMoschiach. I believe that I should trust my oldest friend and do what he would have wanted me to do. Some of the younger men who have been studying with me have offered to join my quest. Like the sojourner in Menassahs printing seal, I will become the Wandering Jew in the New World. We will go to Appalachia, into the wild with an ancient gift and find the Lost Tribes."
papijoe 6:47 AM |

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

UK Right-to-Die Bill Tabled for Fourth Time

From LifeSite

Despite dropping voluntary euthanasia and providing an opt-out for doctors, Lord Joffe has tabled his bill apparently because he does not believe he has the votes.

British doctors have won an agreement to include an opt-out clause in legislation in the House of Lords that would legalize assisted suicide. The changes make the bill less onerous, but pro-life advocates are happy that it will be tabled for a fourth time.

Under the provision, doctors opposed to helping terminally ill patients end their lives would be allowed to refuse to do so.

Euthanasia campaigner Lord Joffe says he will issue a revised version of his assisted suicide bill that includes the "conscientious objector" clause for physicians.

Joffe will also drop voluntary euthanasia from the bill after a committee made a recommendation to do so.

Doctors groups brought up the need for the op-out clause because of concerns they would be forced to bring up assisted suicide as an option for terminally ill patients. They didn't want to encourage patients to take their own lives as a possible option for dealing with their condition.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the bill now says "no person shall be under any duty to raise the option of assisted dying with a patient."

"It has always been for the patient to ask for assisted dying but what we are making clear is that it is not necessary for a doctor to raise assisted dying with a patient if he or she does not want to do so," Lord Joffe told the British newspaper.

The bill also drops the requirement that doctors refer a patient requesting information about assisted suicide to another doctor who doesn't have reservations about the grisly practice.

This is good news, but it seems like it will just be a matter of time before Lord Joffe gets this bill passed. He certainly is persistant.
papijoe 8:38 AM |

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Euthanasia Promoter Faces Jail or Expulsion from Cambodia

New Zealand's Scoop reports that the Cambodian authorities have declared, "No new killing fields!" and have taken additional steps since yesterday's report to shut down an American emigre's euthanasia service.

An American facing possible expulsion or imprisonment for creating a Web site luring suicidal people to die in Cambodia, said he made no money from his morbid venture and did it after failing to convince a California town to legalize euthanasia.

"I did not start this to make money, I did it because I believe in a person's right to choose the time, place, and manner of their own death," Roger Graham, a former California resident, said in an e-mail interview from his base in Kampot, Cambodia.

"I have made zero dollars off my Web site," Graham said.

"I am semi-retired at 57 years, although I do operate a small coffee and internet cafe in Kampot, Cambodia," he said, referring to a tourist-friendly, coastal town about 80 miles southwest from Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

"I lived most recently in the (United) States, in Paradise, California. I had an antique shop and sold on eBay, the Internet auction site.

"While in Paradise, California, I founded the Assisted Euthanasia Society of Paradise, and made an attempt at having the city council of Paradise pass an ordinance authorizing a peaceful and painless death. They declined."

Cambodian authorities said they do not want their impoverished Southeast Asian nation to gain a reputation as a great place to die.

Cambodia is trying to emerge from its gruesome history as the "killing fields" of Pol Pot's 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime, which killed more than one million people.

The Cambodians are deeply offended by this service, and are not fooling around.

"To take the Web site down now is too late," Kampot Provincial Governor Puth Chandarith told the German news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, on Sunday (Nov. 6).

"We will continue the case before the court. We believe the Web site destroyed the honor of Kampot by being there at all.

"Whether he is made to leave the country, or go to jail, is up to the court, but the case is at the court now and it must be heard by the court," the governor said.

"I've had the Web site for a year or so," Graham said in the interview on Sunday (Nov. 6).

Asked about the number of suicidal people who arrived in Cambodia after viewing his Web site, Graham replied: "I have assisted no one with their self-deliverance.

This contradicts yesterday's report that alleges Graham's involvement in the suicide of a British woman by the name of Kim Walton.

The site is now shut down, but the archived copy paints a bizarre portrait of Mr Graham:

After attracted complaints from Cambodian officials, Graham replaced it a few days ago with a page which said only: "This site is under construction."

But Google allows searchers to access a "cache" of the original site, displaying Graham's effort to convince people to die in Cambodia.

"If You are Considering Taking Control of Your Life by Choosing the Time, Place, and Manner of Your Death Then I Would Like to Recommend that You Visit Cambodia," the Web site's headline said.

"You are going to die anyway, so why not in Cambodia?"

But people should not kill themselves immediately upon arrival.

"There are many pretty girls here and they'll actually speak to you and be honestly glad that you will speak with them," the site said.

Grittier advice includes: "Please do not take an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. It is a slow, painful, agonizing, and uncertain death."

The site allows purchase of Derek Humphrey's "Final Exit" and other books, plus a PayPal link for donations "to Euthanasia in Cambodia."

"If you come to visit me here in Cambodia, I am not going to pull any switches. If all you want to do is kill yourself, do it at home. I am offering you an alternative end-of-life experience, not a suicide pact," his site said.

"I will help you to enjoy what is left of your life. I will help you to visit local Buddhist monasteries and pagodas. I will help you to find the right place for you to be cremated and I will see to the dispersal of your ashes."

"I will expect you to be able to contribute at least 25,000 U.S. dollars to a local charity, aid organization, or directly into the local economy. Other expenses should be expected," he told viewers of his Web site.

The right-to-die movement is full of quirky fringe characters, and Mr Graham seems to fit the mold of an off-beat aging boomer who has seized upon the euthanasia movement as a last stand of adolescent pique. It's sadly ironic that his contemporaries' opposition to the Vietnam War help usher in the genocidal Pol Pot regime, and now here is Mr Graham with his one man crusade to re-introduce the Culture of Death to Cambodia.

But the Me Generation doesn't care. They are too concerned with their own agenda to consider that cultures that value life may be offended. All that matters is that they have no restrictions on their Cult of Self.
papijoe 10:28 AM |

Monday, November 07, 2005

US National Sued in Cambodia for Euthanasia Website

From Xinhua Online

I didn't correct the grammarical errors from the source.

A US national who owned two web sites alleged promoting Cambodia as a euthanasia destination has been sued by Cambodia's Kampot Province governor Puth Chandarith, local media reported on Friday.

The defamation lawsuit filed at Kampot provincial court alleges that US national Roger Graham has destroyed Kampot's reputation by suggesting that it is a good place to come to die through his web sites and

The web sites inform visitors that euthanasia is not illegal inCambodia, encourage donations to support euthanasia in Cambodia, and state, in reference to taking one's own life, "You can in Cambodia!"

"We are taking action in every field we can to shut this guy down," the governor was quoted by The Cambodia Daily as saying. The governor said he was also considering revoking Graham's business license because he only had permission to run a cafe, not a euthanasia web site.

Roger Graham, 57, runs the Blue Mountain Coffee and Internet Cafe in Kampot town.

One death is already attributed to Graham:

Puth Chandarith said he received complains against the cafe owner following the September suicide of a British woman, Kim Walton, in a Kampot guesthouse.

According to In Chiva, Kompot deputy provincial police chief, Walton, 46, committed suicide on Sept. 7. She was found with pills and a will next to her body. Graham, In Chiva said, reported the suicide to police.

According to a copy of an e-mail message sent by Walton's sister on Oct. 7, while in Britain, Walton made contact with a man identifying himself as "Tola," and visited Cambodia's southwestern province of Kompot after receiving information from one of the two web sites that euthanasia was not illegal in Cambodia. The name of "Tola" was also used by Graham.

Graham said on Thursday that he was not aware that he was breaking any laws.

The report added that he may have his business license revoked. An Kerala report also said there might be criminal charges.
papijoe 8:19 AM |

Friday, November 04, 2005

Two Routes Down the Slippery Slope

From Notre Dame Observer

Law Professor Charles Rice has an interesting take on the different approachs to euthanasia in Holland and the US. Basically he posits that we may be farther along than the Dutch:

"If you allow it to occur," said Dr. Chris Feudtner of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "it will occur in cases where it is not ethical, period." Feudtner was referring to the Netherlands' legalization of euthanasia of newborns and infants pursuant to the Groningen University Protocol. The Protocol prescribes the killing procedures. The child must be in "hopeless and unbearable suffering," so that "the parents and the physicians … concur that death would be more humane than continued life." The Protocol codifies the informal Dutch practice under which newborns had been euthanized, usually for spina bifida, with no physicians prosecuted.

The Netherlands were the first nation to legalize euthanasia for adults, allowing the physician to "terminate life on request or to provide assistance with suicide." That law, which took effect in 2002, allows a person of 12 years or older to be killed if he had made an advance written request for termination of his life if his suffering becomes "unbearable" with "no prospect of improvement." If the patient is between 12 and 16, the parent or guardian must agree to the killing. If the patient is between 16 and 18, the parent or guardian must be consulted.

The Dutch get undeserved credit as trail-blazers in euthanasia. The United States may be the front-runner, even though our law does not permit a physician to kill the patient. Oregon allows assisted suicide, but that merely allows the physician to give the patient the means by which the patient can kill himself. While the law in the United States stops short of legalizing intentional, direct and active killing of patients, as permitted in Holland (and Belgium), it broadly permits intentional killing by terminal sedation or by withholding food and water.

I don't agree that this means we are farther ahead. The rule of law is important, and we haven't seen all the horrors of the Dutch experiment yet. But after Terri Schiavo I would agree that we are much farther along than most of us suspected.
papijoe 10:02 AM |

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Confederacy of Dunces

It's hard to know where to begin with this report from the AP:

Bodies recovered from a nursing home and hospital after Hurricane Katrina were so badly decomposed by the time autopsies were done that they probably won't yield evidence for prosecuting crimes, a coroner said.

Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard, who is overseeing autopsies for the state, said that he simply listed the cause of death as "Katrina related" for the 34 victims of St. Rita's Nursing Home and more than 40 people who died at Memorial Medical Center.

The Louisiana attorney general charged the owners of St. Rita's with negligent homicide and subpoenaed 73 people in a probe into whether euthanasia caused the deaths at Memorial.

"There is no physical evidence from the autopsy that these people were murdered or euthanized," Minyard said Monday. "If they did not have a knife sticking in them or a bullet in the body, it's hard pinpoint an exact cause."

Toxicology reports have not yet been returned, but, unless the bodies were injected with morphine or some drug, those reports will probably not prove anything either, Minyard said.

"You're dealing with people who are badly decomposed," he said.

The failure of autopsies — which were sought by the attorney general — to provide clear-cut causes of death or back up charges of euthanasia will not deter prosecutors from pursuing the cases, said Kris Wartelle, a spokesperson for Attorney General Charles Foti.

The St. Rita's case and the deaths at Memorial are two separate incidents, with the former being a case of the elderly left to die, while the latter being alleged active euthanasia. The way this is being spun is very disturbing and could be due to anything from moral myopia to deliberate muddling of the issues. The intentional obscuring of the facts seems to be the tactic of the nursing home owner's lawyer:

The Manganos' attorney, Jim Cobb, said the lack of autopsy proof that residents drowned will make it difficult to prove the charges against his clients.

"As part of his media onslaught, the attorney general indicated that all of these folks drowned," Cobb said. "Now obviously he's not going to be able to prove that."

A presumption can be made that drowning caused the deaths of those found floating or in certain areas after flood waters went down, Minyard said. But getting hard evidence means examining the lungs under a microscope, "which is practically impossible in these cases."

IMHO the State of Louisana will get another black eye if the owners of the nursing home get off an a technicality. I haven't seen any report that contradicts the prosecution's claim that these elderly victims were simply abandoned to the flood waters.
papijoe 8:52 AM |