Trump, Hillary, and Bioethics

by Wesley J. Smith

I have been asked what I think the US election means to bioethics. A lot and not much. Here’s how I put it in an interview in BioEdge:

BioEdge: You can’t escape without a question about the US presidential election. Which of the presumptive nominees is more likely to wind back the “culture of death”?

Smith: None of the above, I’m afraid. If Hillary Clinton becomes president she will accelerate current trends with great gusto, not only in the USA but internationally. I don’t think Donald Trump has thought—or much cares about—bioethical issues, and I am under no illusion that he will grapple with bioethics in any fundamental manner.

However the election turns out, for issues I care most about, winter is coming. It’s just a matter of how cold that winter will be and how well we can insulate ourselves against the chill.

Beyond that, I’ll comment on any specific proposals or comments from either candidate as they unfold.

Protect Vermont MDs’ Right to Not Push Assisted Suicide!

by Wesley J. Smith

Assisted suicide isn’t the same as palliative care. The latter about easing symptoms and alleviating pain. The former about intentionally ending life.

But the culture of death brooks no dissent. Vermont authorities require doctors to counsel terminally ill patients on receiving assisted suicide under a law that requires all end of life medical options to be discussed.

That is, doctors are to be forced by law to counsel their terminally ill patients about the pros and cons of committing suicide.

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed suit contending violation of the First Amendment and conflicts with aspects of Obamacare that prohibit discrimination against doctors that refuse to participate in life-ending actions . From the complaint:

Vermont medical authorities have recently determined to force conscientious doctors and other clinicians to counsel their patients for physician-assisted suicide.

Although Act 39, the State of Vermont’s assisted suicide bill, passed with limited protections for conscientious physicians, Act 39 and a separate existing mandate to counsel and refer for “all options” for palliative care have been construed by State medical licensing authorities, including Defendants, to require all healthcare professionals to counsel for assisted suicide. 

Imagine. Not long ago, assisted suicide was against the law in Vermont. It violates the Hippocratic Oath.

Now, all doctors are required to discuss the option of being made dead objectively and without judgment.

Forcing doctors to violate their conscience and essentially push suicide as if it were no different than controlling symptoms or other medical treatment–or refer for that purpose–is to force doctors to commit what they might consider a grievous sin or moral wrong.

That’s tyranny.

But we are seeing more and more of such cases these days. Because as I wrote above, the culture of death brooks no dissent.



Quebec Can’t Kill Them Soon Enough

by Wesley J. Smith

Waiting periods for reflection are supposed to be a “safeguard” against abuse in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

That has been exposed as mere veneer as Quebec euthanasia advocates are furious that the province has imposed a 10-day waiting period. From the CBC News story:

The federal assisted-dying law requires a 10-day delay between a patient’s request for doctor-assisted death and the administration of the procedure.

Quebec’s law doesn’t stipulate a waiting period before a doctor-assisted death is administered, though patients have typically received the procedure within 48 to 72 hours. “When you’re really ill, you’re at the end your life and you’re really suffering … Each hour, each day can be an interminable agony.”

“They changed the law by simply sending out a letter,” said Hivon, who is among five candidates campaigning to become the new PQ leader.

Once you accept killing as an acceptable answer to human suffering, the time will come when getting dead takes first priority, not protecting the lives of the despairing ill and disabled. 

Things are deteriorating in Canada very swiftly. USA take warning!

AMA Playing “Hide the Ball” with Futile Care Rule?

by Wesley J. Smith

“Futile care” is ad hoc health care rationing. It permits a doctor to refuse wanted life-sustaining treatment that is working, based on the values of the MD that keeping the patient alive is not the “medically appropriate” approach.

The term “medically appropriate” in such cases is a misnomer. The “refuse wanted treatment decision” is really a subjective values judgment of the doctor, as opposed to an objective medical medical determination.

Or to put it another way, the treatment isn’t refused because it doesn’t work, but because it does or will.

“Medically ineffective” treatment would seem to be wholly different concept, an objective determination that a requested intervention will not work.  

Wild example: If I ask my doctor to cure my earache by performing an appendectomy, she should absolutely refuse because such an intervention would be objectively futile.

The new AMA ethics rules would seem to conflate these two distinct concepts. Under the heading “medically ineffective interventions,” the AMA would empower doctors to refuse “medically inappropriate” care. From the preliminary rule (my emphasis):

5.5 Medically Ineffective Interventions

At times patients (or their surrogates) request interventions that the physician judges not to be medically appropriate. Such requests are particularly challenging when the patient is terminally ill or suffers from an acute condition with an uncertain prognosis and therapeutic options range from aggressive, potentially burdensome life-extending intervention to comfort measures only.

Requests for interventions that are not medically appropriate challenge the physician to balance obligations to respect patient autonomy and not to abandon the patient with obligations to be compassionate, yet candid, and to preserve the integrity of medical judgment.

Physicians should only recommend and provide interventions that are medically appropriate—i.e., scientifically grounded—and that reflect the physician’s considered medical judgment about the risks and likely benefits of available options in light of the patient’s goals for care. Physicians are not required to offer or to provide interventions that, in their best medical judgment, cannot reasonably be expected to yield the intended clinical benefit or achieve agreed-on goals for care​.

The “agreed on” term is especially important in this context. Under futile care, if a patient wants to stay alive, and the MD thinks that should not be done, there is no “agreed upon goal.”

In such circumstances, under futile care theory, the MD and/or a hospital ethics committee have the right to refuse wanted treatment–which works–based on their subjective personal value beliefs that it is “inappropriate.”

Coercion should have no place in medicine.

Question: Is the false heading and subsequent conflation of distinct ethical concepts a game of “hide the ball?

The Monsanto International Tribunal

by Wesley J. Smith

I have been so caught up in the continuing dissipation of medical ethics and the euthanasia juggernaut in Canada, I haven’t had the time to discuss ecocide in awhile.

Last year, I warned that Monsanto would be put on a mock trial for “ecocide.”

What is that, you ask? Ecocide is a radical environmentalist agenda that would criminalize the large scale exploitation of natural resources as an international “crime against peace” deemed as heinous by the Greensters as genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Ecocide is not yet international law–even though it has received a friendly reception in high places. But we can get a glimpse of what it would be like should the UN adopt the proposal.

I have previously written about a moot court ecocide trial in which hypothetical executives of Alberta tar oil companies were tried in the chambers of England’s Supreme Court.

Now, in the Hague, Monsanto will be tried for war crimes and ecocide by a gaggle of hard leftists.  From the Monsanto-Tribunal Website:

The Monsanto Tribunal is an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity, and for ecocide. Eminent judges will hear testimonies from victims, and deliver an advisory opinion following procedures of the International Court of Justice.

A parallel People’s Assembly provides the opportunity for social movements to rally and plan for the future we want. 

Right, a communist one.

Not to worry, I am sure the pretenders will give the hated company a fair trial.

It’s easy to chuckle about this and say, “This is just radicals doing the nonsense radicals do. It will never happen.” If you think that, you haven’t been paying attention for the last fifty years.

These people seriously want to criminalize the activities necessary for human thriving.

For more information on the future the environmental misanthropes have in store for us, see my book The War On Humans.

Dutch MDs Must Help Patients Starve to Death

by Wesley J. Smith

The Dutch Medical Association has released an ethics paper requiring physicians to help anyone who desires to commit suicide by self-starvation do the deed. 

It illustrates how euthanasia consciousness utterly corrupts all it touches.

More details over as The Corner, by hitting this link.

Euthanasia Tyranny Prevails in Canada

by Wesley J. Smith

Back in 2014, before the Canadian Supreme Court imposed euthanasia on the whole country, Quebec legalized what it calls “aid in dying,” which in the context of the law requires a doctor-administered lethal jab.

But mere legalization wasn’t enough. Quebec’s Health Minister is in the process of forcing dissenters within the medical profession to kill–which is tyranny.

A palliative care center in McGill University Health Centre did not permit euthanasia within the clinic. The Health Minister would not let that stand!

Note carefully, it wasn’t that a patient who wanted to be killed couldn’t be terminated in the hospital. Just that the patient would have to be moved out of the palliative wing.

As I said, the Health Minister would not let that stand!

And now, the palliative care center has bowed the knee. From the Montreal Gazette story:

The McGill University Health Centre has repealed its policy exempting the palliative care unit from offering medical aid to die, said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette on Wednesday.

“This morning, I met with Mr. (Normand) Rinfret and he told me that as of this very moment, the policy has been repealed,” Barrette said, referring to the MUHC’s executive director. “As we speak today, no patient can be transferred out of the palliative care unit at the MUHC, and medical aid in dying will be made available in the unit itself.”

The culture of death brooks no dissent. It seeks to poison every nook and cranny of the medical sector and society.

We will see such pressure nationally soon enough as the national law begins to masticate medical ethics in the rest of the country.

Canada is no longer a free country. Any nation that forces doctors to commit or be complicit in–and hospitals to permit–homicide, is a tyranny.

Catholic Nursing Home Successfully Sued for Refusing Euthanasia

by Wesley J. Smith

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Unless one operates a Catholic nursing home in Belgium, apparently.

Even though euthanasia clearly infringes on the religious beliefs of the Catholic Church, a Catholic nursing home was ordered to pay civil damages in Belgium for refusing to participate in an euthanasia killing. From the Christianity Today story:

A Catholic nursing home in Belgium is reported to have fallen foul of the country’s courts after refusing to permit a resident to access euthanasia.

The incident happened in 2011 when Huize Sint-Augustinus home in Diest refused to allow an elderly woman’s doctor access to see her – when it was thought she was about to be given a lethal injection. The home has been ordered to pay €6,000 (approx $6,600 or £5,000) in damaged to the family of the woman.

The civil court in Louvain ruled that “the nursing home did not have the right to refuse euthanasia on the grounds of conscientious objection.”

Forced to be complicit in homicide or pay damages! The culture of death brooks no dissent.

Secularists these days generally give a fig about religious freedom, reducing it to a mere freedom of worship (if that). They are no civil libertarians.

Any society that violates religious liberty without a compelling reason–such as say, stopping child sacrifice–is a violator of human rights as defined by the United Nations.

Belgium can now be added to that list.