Marlowe's Shade

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Haleigh Poutre Receiving Rehab Therapy

From LifeNews

Although she didn't receive any visitors on her birthday, this is probably the best present she could get.

Haleigh was admitted to the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston and Department of Social Services officials tell the Boston Globe she is in medically stable condition.

After making a partial recovery, Poutre has been receiving physical, speech, and occupational therapy.
papijoe 9:59 AM |

Thursday, February 23, 2006

DS Kids

The Forced Abortion thread on Discarded Lies yesterday had me thinking about handicapped children. I've read that prenatal testing for Down's Syndrome can now be done in the first trimester, and I've seen figures as high as 90% for the detected Down's Syndrome pregnancies that are aborted.

All the kids I went to school with were pre-Roe vs Wade, and it was a pretty solid Catholic area at the time. We had of course a "special class". I probably was aquainted with approximately 2 dozen kids with Down's or similar disabilities.

No one was politically correct in those days so the epithet "retard" was probably only second in popularity to "faggot". And there were the "short bus" jokes as well. But the special class kids were the brothers and sisters of our friends and classmates, and as such were part of a community of schoolkids who were for the most part only a little less "different".

And it's not that it was so hard to like the kids with Down's. Affable Kevin had eventually gone on to charm even the high school football jocks and was ensconced as coach's assistant. The vivacious Suzette was an outrageous flirt who prefered older men. And patient Owen, my frequent seatmate on the bus who also sat quietly in sunday school and came to resemble in character the Man of Sorrows the nuns taught us about. I've forgotten the names of the others, but I can't remember a single DS kid who wasn't somehow engaged socially and emotionally with the rest of us.

If the figures on abortions of Down's pregnancies are accurate, there are far fewer members of the special class these day. It seems that ADD and autism are now the focus of special needs programs. As we come in contact with fewer DS kids, this situation becomes worst as Down's Syndrome becomes even more of a spectre to pregnant women. DS kids will become increasing rare, like elves departing Middle Earth until they are finally just a legend.

This is an incalculable loss. Not only can DS kids approach "normal" development levels with aggressive occupational therapy, but more importantly, even if they lack intellectual prowess they retain a sweetness of character most of us can't hold onto into adult life. Emotionally they are archives of affection and ambassadors of innocence.

And maybe this is reason enough for our world's eagerness to be rid of them.

Cross-posted on Discarded Lies
papijoe 12:55 PM |

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

USAID's Contribution to Collapsing Birthrates

From Human Events

“Population stabilization” in developing countries is an official purpose of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), though in keeping with the zeitgeist, efforts to achieve that goal are today called family planning programs. In this time of massive deficits, American taxpayers pay over $400 million a year (conservatively estimated) to reduce the populations of Third World nations whose birthrates have already collapsed or are collapsing. In fact, if USAID wants to promote long-term population stabilization in the Third World, it should be encouraging women to have more children rather than less. Birthrates have been on a rapid downward trajectory in almost every country in the world.

Why are we spending millions in tax dollars to help our own extinction as a species?

This is a horrific scenario:

Over 50 developing countries are on USAID’s family planning list. These countries are in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Some of these countries have dangerously low birthrates and should not be targeted for contraception under any rational analysis.

Russia, not usually considered a developing country, is on the list.

Surely she can take care of herself when it comes to family planning? Actually, she can’t, as her population commits suicide. According to the United Nations Population Division, the Russian birthrate has dropped to 1.4 children per woman over her lifetime on average, disastrously lower than the minimum replacement rate of 2.1. This comes as Russians emigrate to other parts of the world in substantial numbers. Russia is already shrinking by over 500,000 people annually as the remaining population ages rapidly. If Americans are to be taxed to assist Russia in her population efforts, a questionable proposition at best, it should be to promote childbearing instead of the opposite.

Russia's is not an isolated case:

It is not only mighty former enemies to which USAID ships contraception by the boatload. Tiny little Armenia, already the victim of a massive genocide by the Turks in the 20th Century, has a birthrate of 1.4 also, and is also losing people though it has only 3 million to begin with. The UN conservatively projects that the proportion of retirees (people 65 or older) in the population will double to 24% by 2050. Can Armenia afford that? Why are we contributing to this problem?

Russia’s neighbor, Georgia, has the popular 1.4 birthrate and a shrinking population. Bulgaria has a dismal 1.2 rate and a shrinking population. Romania has a rate of 1.3 and a shrinking population. The united nation of Serbia and Montenegro has a rate of 1.6 and a shrinking population. Democratic Ukraine has a rate of 1.2 and a rapidly shrinking population. Yet all these nations, with populations already contracting and with birthrates that will lead to more rapid contractions in the future, get family planning money from USAID. Instead, the agency should be shipping badly-needed babies to these nations, whose social support systems are due to go bankrupt from lack of working-age people in the next few decades. These countries’ fiscal futures make the United States’ problems with Social Security and Medicare seem very minor indeed.

I can't help but think of Hitler's notion of lebensraum. His plan was to conquer and depopulate Eastern Europe and Russia to make room for his master race. It would seem that this failed dream of the Nazis is now being fulfilled by the "Sustainable Development" overlords of the UN and their ilk, and as always, funded with US tax dollars.
papijoe 10:33 AM |

Forced Abortions and Contraception Proposed in Holland

From LifeSite

Marianne van den Anker, an alderman in the Rotterdam city council in charge of public health and security has proposed forced abortion and forced contraception for teenage mothers whose origin is in the Antilles and on drug addicts and people with mental handicaps. The alderman suggested that such mothers are nearly always guilty of child abuse.

This is a new waypoint on The Netherland's slippery slope precipitated by its euthanasia policy

While several reports have referred to van den Anker and her Leefbaar Rotterdam party as "right wing", the alderman is the furthest thing from the right side of the social conservative spectrum. In addition to being pro-abortion, van den Anker has set up a program in the schools to counter intolerance of homosexuality.

Apparently for Dutch politicians and policy-makers, the practice of playing God is habit-forming:

Van den Anker told the NRC Handelsblad paper that children from these mothers run an "unacceptable risk" experiencing "violence, neglect, mistreatment and sexual abuse." She added, "The exceptions, and there are some, can be counted on a pair of hands."

Her announcement of her plan came during a workshop on child abuse where she pressed her case for forced abortion saying, "What do you think of a 24-year old Antillean mother who visits the doctor, is 19 weeks pregnant, has three existing children , then abuses one of her children in the hospital, before announcing to the doctor that she wishes to proceed with her pregnancy , even though she doesn't know who the father is, has no idea how she's going to raise another child, take care, feed and dress the child, and on top of that is HIV positive?"

The politician noted that street gangs of Antillean youths were terrorizing the city.

Apparently even colleagues in her own party find this proposal "absurd and idiotic", but given the history of Hollands social programs, what kind of moral stand can they take now? This is simple an extension of their other "progressive" policies.
papijoe 9:06 AM |

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Zealand Cracks Down on Nitschke

From Australian Broadcasting Company

Darwin-based voluntary euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke has been referred to the New Zealand Ministry of Health for allegedly holding euthanasia workshops without being registered.

The Medical Council of New Zealand made the referral after Dr Nitschke held three workshops in January based on the book Killing Me Softly.

The council alleges Dr Nitschke held the workshops within council guidelines for practicing medicine and therefore should have been registered as a New Zealand doctor.

The council says Dr Nitschke has known of the council requirements since 2001.

Dr Nitschke says he was not practicing medicine and is disappointed with the council's decision.

According to a later report, Nitschke may face charges.
papijoe 2:11 PM |

Friday, February 17, 2006

Korean Govt Says Hwang Never Cloned Stem Cells

From LifeNews

Government prosecutors investigating the faked embryonic stem cell research supposedly conducted by Hwang Woo-suk and his colleagues have confirmed that his team never created patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would supposedly overcome rejection issues.
Park Han-cheol of Seoul District Prosecutors' Office, who is leading the Hwang probe, told the Korean Herald newspaper, "there is no possibility that NT-1 is a cloned somatic stem cell."

"There is no doubt about this in the scientific field," he added.

What this means is that all the embryonic stem cell research being proposed is based on something that has yet to be attained. Wouldn't those billions of dollars being proposed in state legislatures across the country be better spent on research that has yielded more concrete results, such as adult stem cell research?
papijoe 9:49 AM |

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Euthanasia Cases Double in Belgium Over Four Years

From Ireland Online

Some 400 cases of euthanasia were reported in Belgium last year, up from 200 cases four years ago, according to figures published today.

About one third of assisted suicides are the result of a surgical procedure.

In some cases, medical treatment is stopped or not started at all, said Wim Distelmans, chairman of Belgium’s euthanasia evaluation committee.

Some 80% of the mercy killings were performed in the northern region of Flanders, where there is a network of specialised doctors, Distelmans was quoted as saying.

Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, becoming the second European country after the Netherlands to do so.

The bill defines euthanasia as an act practised by a third party intentionally ending the life of a person at his or her request.

The number of cases is probably about five times higher, based on a previous statement by Distilmans admitting that only 20% of cases are even reported. More confirmation of the slippery slope.
papijoe 1:29 PM |

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

South Korean Govt Charges Hwang Pocketed Research Funds

From LifeNews

Seoul, South Korea ( -- Officials from the South Korean government who have been looking into the fraudulent embryonic stem cell research work of Hwang Woo-suk's team have found that he embezzled government funds and mismanaged public donations over the last few years.

The South Korean Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) release its report on Monday after a three week investigation.

"The cloning expert has been given a total of 24.6 billion won ($25.36 million U.S.) in state and private research donations so far," the report said. "It includes 18.6 billion won ($19.1 million U.S.) in government funds and 6 billion won (6.18 million dollars) in civilian funds."

However, just $16.9 million was spent over the past five years in compliance with BAI guidelines.

Investigators said Hwang embezzled as much as $2.57 million of both the taxpayer funds and private donations and can't account for $6.4 million of the money. They indicated he managed most of the money through various personal bank accounts and he could not account for where it all went.

From April 2004 to April 2005, Hwang transferred at least $206,000 in government funds from those accounts to a private account and put over $700,000 in private donations into a private account that he withdrew as cash last year, BAI reported

So Hwang is a fraud AND a thief. Sadly for the South Korean people, he may go down as one of the greatest con men of all time.
papijoe 9:59 AM |

Friday, February 03, 2006

Wesley Smith on Haleigh Poutre

From LifeSite

This terrific article from Wesley reminds me why I became a big fan in the first place. He applies the same passion and lucidity in defending Haleigh as he did as a voice in the bio-ethical wilderness denouncing Terri Schiavo's death sentence. Going behind the standard newswire account, he uncovers some chilling details of this case:

Within a week or so of the beating, her doctors had written her off. They apparently told Haleigh's court-appointed guardian, Harry Spence, that she was "virtually brain dead." Even though he had never visited her, Spence quickly went to court seeking permission to remove her respirator and feeding tube. The court agreed, a decision affirmed recently by the supreme court of Massachusetts.

And so, no doubt with the best of intentions, a little girl who had already suffered so much was stripped by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of even the chance to fight to stay alive. If she didn't stop breathing when the respirator was removed, which doctors expected, she would slowly dehydrate to death.

Then came the unexpected: Before "pulling the plug" on Haleigh, Spence finally decided to visit her. He was stunned. Rather than finding a little girl with "not a chance" of recovery, as doctors had described Haleigh's condition to him (as reported by the Boston Globe), Haleigh was conscious. She was able to give Spence a yellow block when asked to by a social worker and respond to other simple requests.
Laudably, Spence immediately called off the dehydration. Haleigh is now off her respirator and breathing on her own. She has been transferred out of the hospital and is currently being treated in a rehabilitation center.

In explaining how public policy on healthcare brought about this sorry state of affairs, he reveals an insidious precedent that should be a source of national disgrace.

Lest anyone think that Haleigh's apparent consciousness protects her from suffering the fate of Terri Schiavo, who was ordered dehydrated by a Florida court based, in part, on a finding that she was unconscious, think again. In most states, exhibiting consciousness is not a defense against dehydration for profoundly impaired patients. Indeed, cognitively disabled people who are conscious are commonly dehydrated throughout the country. So long as no family member objects, the practice is deemed medically routine.

How can this be? The simple answer is that tube-supplied food and water — often called "artificial nutrition and hydration" (ANH) — has been defined in law and in medical ethics as an ordinary medical treatment. This means that it can be refused or withdrawn just like, say, antibiotics, kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, surgery, blood pressure medicine, or any other form of medical care. Indeed, removing ANH has come to be seen widely in medicine and bioethics as an "ethical" way to end the lives of cognitively disabled "biologically tenacious" patients (as one prominent bioethicist once described disabled people like Terri Schiavo and Haleigh Poutre), without resorting to active euthanasia.

Note to self: Avoid healthcare professionals who use terms like "biologically tenacious".

As always, Wesley has done his homework. Here is the background on this policy:

It wasn't always so. It used to be thought of as unthinkable to remove a feeding tube. Then, as bioethicists and others among the medical intelligentsia began to worry about the cost of caring for dependent people and the growing number of our elderly — and as personal autonomy increasingly became a driving force in medical ethics — some looked for a way to shorten the lives of the most marginal people without violating the law or radically distorting traditional medical values. Removing tubes providing food and fluids was seen as the answer. After all, it was argued, use of a feeding tube requires a relatively minor medical procedure. Moreover, the nutrition provided the patient is not steak and potatoes, but a liquid formula prepared under medical auspices so as to ease digestion. There can also be complications such as diarrhea and infection.
Having reached consensus on the matter, the bioethics movement mounted a deliberate and energetic campaign during the 1980s to change the classification of ANH from humane care, which can't be withdrawn, to medical treatment, which can. The first people targeted for potential dehydration were the persistently unconscious or elderly with pronounced morbidity. Thus, bioethics pioneer Daniel Callahan wrote in the October 1983. Hastings Center Report, "Given the increasingly large pool of superannuated, chronically ill, physically marginalized elderly it [a denial of ANH] could well become the non treatment of choice."

In March 1986, the American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, responsible for deliberating upon and issuing ethics opinions for the AMA, legitimized dehydration when it issued the following statement: Although a physician "should never intentionally cause death," it was ethical to terminate life-support treatment, even if:

...death is not imminent but a patient's coma is beyond doubt irreversible and there are adequate safeguards to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis and with the concurrence of those who have responsibility for the care of the patient. . . . Life-prolonging medical treatment includes medication and artificially or technologically supplied respiration, nutrition and hydration.
There it was: Food and fluids provided by a feeding tube were officially deemed a medical treatment by the nation's foremost medical association, meaning that withdrawing them was deemed the same as turning off a respirator or stopping kidney dialysis.

As often happens in bioethics, once the medical intelligentsia reached consensus, their opinion quickly became law. Thus, in 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, which upheld Missouri's law allowing for the removal of life-sustaining treatment from a person, provided there was "clear and convincing evidence" that the person would not have wanted to live. Unfortunately, the Court also agreed that tube-supplied food and fluids is a form of medical treatment that can be withdrawn like any other form of treatment. (This is often erroneously called the "right to die.") With the seeming imprimatur of the Supreme Court, all 50 states soon passed statutes permitting the withholding and withdrawal of tube-supplied sustenance — even when the decision was made by a third party.

With that principle established, what did unconsciousness have to do with it? Not a thing. It didn't take long for the American Medical Association to broaden the categories of dehydratable people. Thus, in 1994, a brief eight years after its first ethics opinion classifying tube feeding as medical treatment that could be withdrawn only when the patient was "beyond doubt" permanently unconscious, the AMA proclaimed it "not unethical" to withdraw ANH "even if the patient is not terminally ill or permanently unconscious." And that's where the matter stands today.

So legally the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can dehydrate an 11 year old to death while she is still conscious and aware. And if we don't start reversing these policies that hold life so cheaply, this is just the beginning of the brave new world the experts and bureaucrats have in store for us.
papijoe 11:56 AM |

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Montreal Women Gets Probation for Euthanizing Son

From LifeSite

A Montreal woman, Marielle Houle, who pleaded guilty to killing her some Charles Fariala using sleeping pills and a plastic bag, has been sentenced to three years probation. Houle had pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting the suicide of her son, a playwright and student suffering from multiple sclerosis and apparent depression. The maximum penalty for assisted suicide is 14 years.

Houle’s lawyer, Salvatore Mascia, described her crime as an act of “unconditional love.” The Crown, however, said that while Houle’s intentions may have been “compassionate,” Canada is not a society that tolerates euthanasia. The court’s leniency was likely due to Houle’s “fragile” mental and physical health.

Disability Rights Advocate Cheryl Eckstein had some comments:

I can't think of anything more hopeless than to have a mother help their son or daughter believe there is no hope and that it is better for them to be dead. I can not conceive in my mind how a mother - any mother could agree to such a crime. Just what could be worse?

Many question why the mother helped her son kill himself ... why she supported her son's decision to take his life and why neither seemed to have sought help. She worked in healthcare and must have known about the various groups who could help. How does a nurse's aide obtain enough drugs to kill? Such an act is not impulsive, it takes time to plan. I believe both bought into the lie, that all was hopeless.

I am a chronic pain patient. I am well acquainted with pain - suffering and disappointments. Many of my symptoms mimic MS - (spastic muscles, hearing and visual problems - at times I have difficulty walking without the aid of a cane). Over the years the symptoms have increased - I have experienced a lot of pain, cognitive problems - often called a "fog", (I sometimes wonder if maybe I am also in the first stages of Alzheimer's) and serious disabling fatigue. (Thankfully, with medication my pain is manageable) Every single night for over 3 years, my fever mysteriously rises to over 100 degrees. Every single morning I wake up in a drenched bed- including my pj's. One symptom that is very hard to bear is when I am in the sun I break out in hives all over my body ... the hives feel like they are burning into my skin and the itch is unbearable. This happens within a minute of exposure and no matter how well I am covered, it doesn't matter. Thus, my daytime outings have seriously diminished. One of my absolute favorite hobbies is gardening. I find it hard not to grieve the loss of being able to go out whenever I want. Also, physically I am no longer able to tend a garden.

The combination of symptoms led to depression. I kept hoping the diagnosis was wrong and that it was just a flu - I was in deep denial. I was certain that I would wake up the next day and have my old life back. It took some time for me to finally accept that I was very ill. I also knew that without help, depression will keep me in an utter state of hopelessness.

I have had to learn how to let go of many of the things I was able to do in the past. One major loss is my ability to practice my favorite pieces on my grand piano. Before I founded The Compassionate Healthcare Network, I was a classical concert pianist and teacher. Now when and if I am able to sit and play, it is only for a short time, and I must choose more simple compositions. Yes, I've done my fair share of grieving. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have help from compassionate and positive people. Compassion literally means "to suffer with." I am blessed to be loved and cared for by a most compassionate husband.

According to Cheryl the support from loved ones is critical and she seems to think this was the missing factor that could have averted this tragedy:

When one is struck with illness it is also critical to have positive family and friends supporting you. I have learned from those who love me, that it is okay that I am a burden at times to them. When we open our hearts to others and express our need, we will find burden-bearers who are willing to help. No one is assured of living in great health ... none of us know when illness or accident could come upon us and alter our lives forever. MS is not a death sentence! It is not fatal disease.

Cheryl has made the case to the Canadian Senate that euthanasia and assisted suicide puts the depressed and unwanted at risk. Let's hope the political shift in Canada will take her warning to heart.
papijoe 9:23 AM |