The New Face of Euthanasia

April 26, 2012 2 comments

Hey guys! This is my first official post as your new co-webmaster and we are starting on a high note here. In our focus on euthanasia I am sure many of you are aware of the Rasouli case. For those of you who are not, this case was started by 2 doctors, right in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, who filed an affidavit because they “saw no medical purpose in keeping Mr. Rasouli on life support” after an infection resulting from surgery for a brain tumour left him in a persistent vegetative state. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where many believed it would be a new precedent setting case for euthanasia.  The decision to pull the plug however was opposed by Mr. Rasouli’s family, who long said that they saw improvement in his condition. At this point let me say how disturbing I find this. This is not a case of a person asking themselves for the right to take their own life, or even a family member of a vegetative relative asking someone to pull the plug on their relative, but a doctor, with no consent from anyone, unilaterally making the decision of life and death over another human being. I have always had the greatest respect for doctors and their efforts to save the lives of others, but in my opinion and I think the opinions of many others, this puts a troubling amount of power in their hands. But there is good news to report in this case. It seems that Mr .Rasouli is, although not completely, recovering. An article in the Globe and Mail on Tuesday reported that Mr. Rasouli is able to voluntarily control certain gestures, including the ability to give a thumbs-up gesture to communicate (although not yet completely) with loved ones, answering verbal requests from his wife. Doctors report that, at the moment, Mr. Rasouli is conscious of the world around him and suggest that far from being in a persistent vegetative state, only a step away from brain death, he may be, at least partially, conscious but paralysed. This to me is a reminder of the incredible mystery of the human body and medicine, that we can say that someone will absolutely never get better, and that term persistent vegetative state is always one that you hear connected with that, and then the next day someone is communicating with their thumbs to their wife. Who knows what ways Mr. Rasouli will surprise us all if we give him a chance to heal his body. We simply do not know. However, shockingly, this new development have not caused doctors to stop their calls to pull him from life support, saying that they “remain of the view that the standard of care does not require continuation of mechanical ventilation given his condition.” Now there is no doubt that this is a horrible situation for Mr. Rasouli and his family to be in. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be paralysed, with almost no way to communicate with my loved ones. The pain and fear would no doubt be unimaginable. However, like all life issues, to me it comes down to the issue of who has the right to make that call? What right do doctors, who have already misdiagnosed him once and admitted that they are as yet unclear about what his prospects are, have to tell him that his life does not have value, that he does not give meaning and hope to his family and loved ones crouched around his hospital bed. What right does any human being have to tell another living, conscious, feeling human being that his existence means less to the world then the bed he is occupying and that they are better off dead?  That’s what it comes down to for me anyway. What do you think my friends? Please comment, whether you are for or against this issue. I would love to talk to others and get their opinions about this issue.

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Apparently having the right to kill your child….

Makes you a better mother.

Quite a different stance than this:

We don’t wish to take the country back in time; rather, we aspire to move it forward, beyond a time when women are treated as objects and pitted against their children and their religious institutions — and toward a time when truly emancipated women embrace their intrinsic dignity and, with it, their authentic womanhood.

The wonders of “choice”

March 23, 2012 1 comment

Granted, this case from the Ottawa Citizen is not representative of every woman seeking an abortion, but it does raise the question of, “What constitutes choice?”. Here are some highlights from the article:

Anna, first, asked her mother whether she would help her, if she had the baby. Her mother flatly refused, saying, “I do not want to waste my life babysitting.” Her male partner said he “wasn’t interested in a kid” and their relationship has since broken up. She tried to get an appointment with her gynecologist to discuss her options, but the first available one was two months away. She then contacted an abortion clinic, which gave her an appointment in two weeks, at which time Anna was nine weeks pregnant. She said, “I went to them to get information on abortion, to know more about my options, the consequences of an abortion. I was open to getting an abortion, because that was what everyone around me recommended I do. I saw abortion as an option, but was really not sure. I was hoping for some answers.”

What answers did Anna (not real name) get?

Anna met, first, with a nurse for a “consent interview.” She said, “The nurse told me that at this stage of the pregnancy the fetus is just a bunch of cells. I also asked her if the abortion would have any impact on my health, my future pregnancies, and so on. She said abortions had no impact at all, no consequences at all, that all that I had read (to the contrary) were myths. The nurse said, ‘In two weeks, it will be as if all this never happened’.”

Anna changed into a hospital gown and was taken into an examination room where a technician proceeded to do an ultrasound. Anna asked what the fetus looked like and could she see the ultrasound. She said, “The technician told me she was not allowed to show me the images and I was unable to see the screen,” which showed the fetus. At nine weeks gestation, it would have had a beating heart. The technician then picked up the printout of the ultrasound, but dropped it on the floor. She scrambled to gather it up quickly, saying, “You don’t want to see this.” But that’s exactly what Anna did want.

So, Anna was told that her 9-week old baby was just a “bunch of cells”, that after 2 weeks she will be as good as new and she did not have to worry herself with those pesky ultrasound images. That’s great information! Choice wins the day! But all kidding aside, this girl wanted information and was not given any so she had an abortion.

Anna said that “the attitude in Quebec, that ‘of course you should have an abortion, it is of no consequence’, is not true.” She explained, “I feel terrible. I can’t go to work. I’ve started seeing a psychologist. I feel guilty.” She mused, “I wonder why Quebec is like this.”

It’s not just Quebec. These lies about abortion travel all over the world. This is not a case of a woman exercising her choice to have an abortion, this is a case of a woman who did not have support and felt that abortion was her only chance. And, since she was told abortion was more like getting your tonsils removed than the killing of a human being, she thought “what’s the harm?”. I wonder how many more woman there are like Anna, who experienced the wonders of “choice”.

Heart beat = Viagra…

March 15, 2012 1 comment

…or at least that how it seems in Ohio (kind of makes sense since Viagra was first used to treat hypertension, but I digress). Here is this piece of non-sense as reported by the National Post:

Ohio State Senator Nina Turner is taking aim at the multitude of reproductive rights bills that have made waves in the United States this year — 430 thus far, by MSNBC’s count — by sponsoring a bill of her own: One that would force men to meet with sex therapists before being prescribed Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications.

Really, Turner’s beef is with Ohio’s House Bill 125, the “Heartbeat Bill”, which would not allow for an abortion to take place once the heart beat of the unborn child is detected. I guess having guys chat it up with a sex therapist before getting their Viagra is “levelling the playing field” against those neanderthals trying to save babies’ lives. Maybe Turner is also of the same clan who compare vaginal probes to rape, even though they are widely used on women before undergoing an abortion.

This quote was interesting:

“Women should not need a permission slip from government to take care of their own reproductive health.”

And unborn babies should not have the government compare their lives to erectile dysfunctions. This just goes to show what kind of lunacy can be accepted when you deny the personhood of the unborn child.

Where’s that in the Bible?

It makes me laugh when people accuse me of proselytizing on the job just because I tell patients how certain medications can work. I thought it was my job as a pharmacist to know the different mechanisms of action of drugs but apparently I am getting this information from Psalms or St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Here is an example:

A third way is by changing the womb lining, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the lining of the womb (implantation). A fertilized egg (embryo/unborn baby) needs to attach to the womb to receive blood and nutrients and continue to grow. If an embryo/unborn baby does not attach, it cannot survive.

Man, that must be straight out of the Epistle of James! Actually, this is from the patient counselling leaflet of a popular contraceptive, Alesse.

Imagine a woman, who believes that life begins at conception, taking the pill for contraceptive purposes for years and never knowing about the potential abortifacient properties of the pill. Imagine yourself as a health care provider and having that same woman come back to you and saying, “Why didn’t you tell me if you knew?” Yes, the vast majority of women do not care. However, the vast majority of patients do not care if their antibiotic can sometimes cause diarrhea but I still tell them.

Women are being lied when they think that a pill is only contraceptive in nature. Sure, a group of “experts” magically changed the time when a woman becomes pregnant but it does not negate the fact that some women truly care if they are ending a life 7 days after conception. They deserve to know full well what is happening when they take the pill. It is not about proselytizing, it is about informed consent.

Are pro-lifers self-righteous?

So, it looks like my post from last week has some critics. I thank Christine for the post and I was hoping for a little discussion on equality and rights for the unborn, but maybe next time (I guess debating the personhood of the unborn is tough?). In the comments section Christine said something interesting:

…and if my side is reactionary, yours is nothing but self-righteous…

That got me thinking. Are pro-lifers self-righteous? Do we feel morally superior to pro-choicers? Are we so absorbed with the rights of the unborn and abortion that we fail to find common ground with pro-choicers and work with them?

First, it is important to note that I am pro-life because I believe the pro-life side to be true. There is no other reason for me to be on this blog unless I am convinced that the unborn are persons and that others need to come to this realization, as well. Therefore, it is not a matter of I am right because I am so smart and wonderful, but rather it is a realization of the truth of the pro-life side and a desire to spread that message of the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.

Furthermore, I am not pro-life so that I can put other people beneath me and tell them what to do. I respect everyone’s freedom and choices because we are all human beings with free will. However, and I think even pro-choicers will agree with me, when that freedom impedes or harms another person, then you have crossed a line. Pro-choicers believe that by outlawing abortion we are impeding and harming women. However, any society that has to resort to abortion has failed women. If a woman has no support, is frightened and has no other alternatives then abortion is not a choice but rather a necessity. The last thing authentic pro-lifers want to do is to put women down or to make them feel even more scared than they may already feel. We understand that an unplanned pregnancy is a difficult situation to face for any woman. Therefore, there are pro-lifers who run crisis pregnancy centres so that women can have the support and care they need to ensure they choose life for their children. Crisis pregnancy centres have gotten a bad rap recently but, minus the media bias, they do more than Planned Parenthood when it comes to taking care of mothers and their children.

Now, I will grant the pro-choice side the fact that they truly want choice. I just want to ask a question: What are pro-choicers doing to ensure that pregnant women actually have a choice? I do not know of any pro-choice pregnancy centres but if they are helping pregnant women in any way, please let me know.

I think pro-choicers may also believe we are self-righteous because there are some pro-lifers, although not all, who disagree with birth control. Not only are we taking away a woman’s right to choose, but we are telling her what to do in the privacy of her own bedroom (nevermind the fact that there are pro-choicers in the States who would like to keep us out of their bedrooms but pick up the tab, but that will be for another post). The University of Toronto Students for Life has no opinion on birth control (unless, of course, they can act as abortifacients) but you cannot deny the link between birth control and abortion. In fact, the United States Supreme Court had this to say in the 1992 ruling of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey:

But to do this would be simply to refuse to face the fact that, for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.

In other words, abortion has to remain legal because for the last few decades it has been available as “back-up birth control”. It is quite logical once you think about it. However, pro-lifers bring it up because it is true not because we are so wonderful at self-control and we think that women who use contraception are heathens.

In addition, pro-lifers are not trying to solely work through the courts to get rid of abortion. We are, primarily, trying to raise awareness on the ground level through dialogue and education. We do this in sun or rain and whether it is warm or freezing cold. We realize that raising awareness for the rights of the unborn is something that needs to be done not for our sake but for the sake of those who do not have a voice.

Finally, the reason pro-lifers usually do not try to find common ground with pro-choicers is that we believe in the personhood of the unborn and they do not. If you truly believe that the unborn are human beings who have rights then abortion can never be a choice. How can you justify murdering someone when you acknowledge that they have rights like you and me? Does that mean it is okay for someone to murder you for any reason? If pro-choicers, for example, want to help at crisis pregnancy centres that is great. However, we will not allow anyone to tell a woman that if all else fails then it would be alright to murder her child. That should never be a choice. The most bogus claim is when a person says that they believe that the unborn are persons but they themselves should stay out of the woman’s “choice”. That is not acceptable. If your neighbour was beating his wife every night would you say to yourself, “spousal abuse is wrong but I am going to stay out of it.”? I would hope you would have the courage to call the police. All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Again, it is truth that drives us to speak up against abortion, not that it makes us feel good and mighty.

I hope I have done a good enough job at pointing out why pro-lifers are not self-righteous. If I have missed anything, please comment 🙂

Killing babies the same as abortion: Experts

Really? I thought that’s what pro-lifers have been saying for the last little while, but don’t trust us! Trust the experts!

Seriously, though, this article in the British Medical Journal is callous. It really goes to show what kind of mentality arises when there is no respect for life. What stood out for me is that for a medical journal article there is a lot of talk about “personhood”, which is really a philosophical issue instead of a scientific one. And in terms of verbal gymnastics, check out this little somersault on the issue:

we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’,
to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.

Disgusting. In order to feel better about the killing of a newborn they use the euphemism of “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide”. Not only does it lessen the personhood of the newborn, it sounds nicer too. Win Win! Again, I ask why is there talk of moral status of an individual in a scientific journal? How can you perform experiments in a lab regarding personhood?

Science already has a term to describe a fetus, a newborn and a child: Human life.