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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Soylent Green is Fetuses



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I reported here a bit ago about how some hospitals in the UK were using the bodies of aborted and miscarried fetuses as fuel for the heating system. Now, dead fetuses are being incinerated to create electricity in Oregon and Canada. From the Lifesitenews story:

The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted that the remains of babies destroyed by abortion in B.C. facilities are ending up in a waste-to-power facility in the United States, providing electricity for residents of Oregon.

The province’s Health Ministry said in an email to the B.C. Catholic that “biomedical waste” shipped to the U.S. to be incinerated includes “human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue.”

“The ministry understands that some is transferred to Oregon. There it is incinerated in a waste-to-energy plant,” the email stated.

Well, pro abortion types do equate unwanted fetuses with tumors.

Would we ever do this to unclaimed bodies of born people? No, because the way we try to respectfully treat the remains of the dead reflects our belief in the intrinsic dignity of the living. 

If that is so, why treat the remains of the unborn so disrespectfully?

Answer: Abortion consciousness has reduced the value of the unborn in the minds of many to that of fodder or manure.

Alabama Supremes Accept Unborn Child Rights



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This will not impact the abortion issue because of federal preemption. But the Alabama Supreme Court has accepted that fetuses and embryos “from the earliest stages of development,” qualify as a “child” under Alabama law.

The case involves a law that criminalizes exposing a child to harmful chemicals. Sarah Janie Hicks took cocaine while pregnant, and when her son “J. D.” was born, he had measurable amounts in his system. She pleaded guilty under the pertinent statute, preserving her right of appeal.

The case went to the Supreme Court where Hicks argued that the world “child” in the statute did not include the unborn. But a previous case had found that it applied to “viable” fetuses.

Hicks next said that the world “child” was defined as being under the age of 18, and hence could not apply to fetuses and embryos. Again, the Justices disagreed. From the court ruling:

As this Court held in Ankrom, the statutory definitions of the word “child” in other chapters of the Code do not limit “child” to only a child who has been born but simply set a maximum age at which the person is no longer regarded as a “child” under a particular statutory scheme.

Also, the references to a “human fetus” or “unborn child” in the partial-birth-abortion statute and the Woman’s Right to Know Act both deal exclusively with unborn children. Thus, it would be inappropriate to use the word “child” because that would, nonsensically in that context, include children who have already been born.

Because both born and unborn children can be exposed to controlled substances, we have no reason to doubt that the legislature intended for the chemical-endangerment statute to be using the plain meaning of the word “child” and thereby protecting all children.

How early in gestation do the “rights” of the unborn extend. All the way, apparently:

Consistent with this Court’s opinion in Ankrom, by its plain meaning, the word “child” in the chemical-endangerment statute includes an unborn child, and, therefore, the statute furthers the State’s interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development. See § 26-22-1(a), Ala. Code 1975 (“The public policy of the State of Alabama is to protect life, born, and unborn.”)..

[T]he chemical-endangerment statute to protect the life of unborn children “is consistent with many statutes and decisions throughout our nation that recognize unborn children as persons with legally enforceable rights in many areas of the law”. 

I know there will be howling and gnashing of teeth about this ruling from certain quarters, and claims that it turns pregnant women somehow into chattel. But I don’t understand why expecting a mother to protect her born children from specified harms doesn’t interfere with her liberty, yet it does when she is gestating. During pregnancy, it isn’t ”just” her body. She has two for which to care.

A fundamental duty of any parent is to protect his or her child from harm. Thus, a father who hits his pregnant wife in the stomach would be properly punished if the unborn child was injured or is miscarried (as well as for assaulting the woman). So too, it seems to me, a pregnant woman who takes substances knows (or should know) could harm her child. 

I think one more point has to be made. The above statement potentially encompasses more than with which I am comfortable. Would a pregnant woman drinking wine with dinner potentially become criminal? What about smoking tobacco or marijuana? What about working in a factory with caustic chemicals? These are reasonable questions that need to be addressed by a law that would seem to have very broad application based on this case.

It seems to me the Alabama Legislature should narrow the applicable scope of the statute in cases of gestating mothers in order to better define it as applying only to those circumstances bringing high likelihood of significant harm.  A theoretical or minor risk should not be sufficient for a violation.

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Ideologues Bootstrap Assisted Suicide to LGBT



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The Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices has no shame. Now, they have bootstrapped assisted suicide onto the recent success of LGBT issues. From one of its ubiquitous emails:

1994 was a different time in America. A vicious plague was erasing entire communities across America and hope was scarce. The dark specter of HIV/AIDS loomed large as treatment options were unreliable, and many research programs were starved for funding.

Too many in the LGBT community in the later stages of this disease–seeing their friends and loved ones torn apart by it–turned to desperate acts of violence to escape the inevitable, and often excruciating pain that accompanies the terminal stages of AIDS. But on a particularly rainy day in November, Oregon voters went to the polls to pass the first Death with Dignity law in our nation’s history. Finally, terminally ill Oregonians, regardless of their sexual orientation, could have a dignified and compassionate end to their lives without resorting to desperate measures to stave off horrific pain.

LGBT victories were few and far between back in those days. But the voters in Oregon that night passed a landmark law in response to a real crisis and set in motion a legislative movement for choice that continues in America today.

What crap! I was involved in fighting Measure 16, the voter initiative that legalized assisted suicide in Oregon. I can tell you, it certainly wasn’t presented as an LGBT issue. Indeed, I don’t recall gay rights being brought up (not that I saw every advocacy ad or speech). If anything, the pro-16ers focused primarily on an anti-Catholic message.

The ones most concerned for the welfare of AIDS patients were opponents, who worried that as a (then) stigmatized group, some might be more likely to decide on suicide. And indeed, while very few people with AIDS have committed assisted suicide in Oregon, a 2007 article written by pro-assisted suicide advocates in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that AIDS patients were at “heightened risk” from legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Beyond that, assisted suicide took a terrible toll on the AIDS community in San Francisco at that time. I know. I was there.

I moved to SF in 1992. The city was in the midst of a calamity. You’d see young men on the streets–looking like they were 80–only able to walk because they were supported by friends. AIDS patients suffered alone in stinking single room occupancy hotels. I used to deliver dinners to them for Project Open Hand. If there is a hell, it looks–and smells–like some of the hotels I entered to bring a lonely, terribly ill man a meal.

An underground assisted suicide movement began within the AIDS community, with the message being (as I recall), “You can’t tell us how to love and you can’t tell us how to die.” There was much social support for suicide of AIDS patients, sometimes long before the final stages of the illness. Indeed, friends of the suicidal person would gather around the bed for the death.

Assisted suicide-sympathetic Doctors provided drugs fully knowing to what purpose they would be used. It was very open. Indeed, I debated some of these doctors at the time in public forums.

And then, the new drugs came out and people on the very verge of falling into the grave came back to vitality. But not all who would have, because many who would have survived were dead thanks to social and medical support for taking an assisted suicide overdose.

I have never forgiven the assisted suicide movement for that. And now C & C tries to turn assisted suicide into an LGBT rights issue? Lower than a snake’s belly! 

Green Compares Slavery with Global Warming



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I wrote in my ebook, The War on Humans, that the environmental movement is being hijacked by anti-humanists who not only disdain the human race–we are “cancers” or “maggots” on the earth, etc.–but who intend to force us into an impoverished lifestyle in the name of “saving the planet.”  

Some see these Green misanthropes as the radical fringe. Twenty years ago, they were. But the radicals have chewed to the center, mutating healthy environmentalism into an increasingly anti-human and anti-freedom movement.

Case in point: Christopher Hayes has his own television show on MSNBC and writes for the lefty wingy The Nation. He just penned an opus demanding that we only use 20% of known fossil fuel reserves to stop global warming. Not only that, but he claims that the global warming fighters are akin to the brave abolitionists who struggled so heroically against slavery!

With more than a whiff of authoritarianism, Hayes begins by citing a piece by global warming hysteric Bill McKibben, and then asserts that we will have to prevent oil, gas, etc. from being taken out of the ground. From, “The New Abolitionism” (my emphasis):

the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.

Please understand: These anti-humans believe this meme with their whole hearts. Witness the “nature rights movement” that would permit anyone to sue to stop human enterprise whenever it supposedly interferes with the rights of nature to “exist and persist.”

Witness the “ecocide movement” that seeks to criminalize such resource extraction as a crime akin to genocide, most particularly the Alberta Tar Sands that has the potential to free us dependence on Middle East oil, creating tremendous prosperity in the process.

And lest you think these misanthropes have no power, how much work has been done on building the Keystone Pipeline? Ask the farmers in the Central Valley in California how much water they are going to get this year to irrigate their crops.

Here’s where the slavery part comes in:

…the parallel I want to highlight is between the opponents of slavery and the opponents of fossil fuels. Because the abolitionists were ultimately successful, it’s all too easy to lose sight of just how radical their demand was at the time: that some of the wealthiest people in the country would have to give up their wealth…

It is an audacious demand, and those making it should be clear-eyed about just what they’re asking. They should also recognize that, like the abolitionists of yore, their task may be as much instigation and disruption as it is persuasion. There is no way around conflict with this much money on the line, no available solution that makes everyone happy. No use trying to persuade people otherwise.

Doing that would drive us into poverty and misery–and prevent those in the developing world from ever escaping their destitution. But never mind, there’s a planet to save!

If I’ve done my job so far, you should, right about now, be feeling despair. If, indeed, what we need to save the earth is to forcibly pry trillions of dollars of wealth out of the hands of its owners, and if the only precedent for that is the liberation of the slaves—well, then you wouldn’t be crazy if you concluded that we’re doomed, since that result was achieved only through the most brutal extended war in our nation’s history.

Hayes says that he’s not really comparing Exxon to slave holders–but he really is. After all, the odious slave holders weren’t killing a planet.

Hayes believes that the kind of violence required to end slavery won’t be necessary because government policy and selfless acts of investors can make oil, gas, etc. too expensive to extract from the ground:

…fossil fuel companies are spending hundreds of billions of dollars looking for new reserves—reserves that would be sold and emitted only in some distant postapocalyptic future in which we’ve already burned enough fossil fuel to warm the planet past even the most horrific projections.

This means that fossil fuel companies are taking their investors’ money and spending it on this extremely expensive suicide mission. Every single day. If investors say, “Stop it—we want that money back as dividends rather than being spent on exploration,” then, according to this industry insider, “what that means is, literally, the oil and gas companies don’t have a viable business model. If all your investors say that, and all the analysts start saying that, they can no longer grow as businesses.”

And where would that leave food prices? Skyrocketing! And our ability to freely travel? Gone. The generation of electricity? Hello brownouts! And prosperity generally? Collapsed!

But so what?

As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” What the climate justice movement is demanding is the ultimate abolition of fossil fuels. And our fates all depend on whether they succeed.

The stakes are not what Hayes believes. But the green anti-humanists truly believe they are! So what happens if the investors refuse to accept the expropriation of $10 trillion?

Follow the logic: I worry that some will abandon Frederick Douglas and bring out their inner John Brown.

“If Obamacare Dies, Sarah Palin Killed It”



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Several weeks ago the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia sponsored a debate–more a discussion–between me and Thaddeus Mason Pope about end of life care under the Affordable Care Act. He supports medical futility. I oppose it. We went from there.

I began my presentation with the quote in the headline above–asserting that Palin’s term “death panels” may have put a spear through the heart of Obamacare.

I then said:

People are afraid of centralized bureaucrats dictating whether Craig’s [the moderator’s terminally ill babies) children can have medical care, whether my 96-year-old mother can have medical care, whether people with disabilities can have medical care…If you start looking at a quality of life ethic instead of an equality of life ethic, you’ve broken the back of Hippocratic medical values…

I worry you are deprofessionalizing medicine, turning it into a technocratic endeavor. I don’t think that’s good for the country. I don’t think that’s good for the medical system. And I don’t think that’s good for patients.

It was a good and thorough discussion, during which we disagreed and agreed about differing aspects of medical futility, health care rationing, and Obamacare. If you are interested, here is the link to the Youtube video.

I hope you will take the time to tune in, because your life and that of those you love are materially impacted by these issues.

 

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Post’s Junk Biology Pushes Human Cloning



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Here we go again! Now that human cloning has been done with adult cells, the pro-cloning crowd pushes it using junk biology–just as they did in years past.

First at bat: The Washington Post in an editorial. It acknowledges that embryonic stem cell research is controversial because it destroys embryos. Then, it pretends that human cloning [SCNT] doesn’t involve embryos. From the editorial:

Scientists have been working on something called somatic cell nuclear transfer, which involves taking the nucleus out of a human egg and replacing it with the nucleus from an adult cell. Last week’s announcement came from researchers who had refined the nuclear transfer process and achieved the results they were looking for — pluripotent human stem cells.

No, they made human embryos asexuallye.g. the same cloning technique used to make Dolly–which they then destroyed as occurs in ESCR to obtain embryonic stem cells.

In other words, same controversy, squared. The embryos in cloning are not so-called “leftovers” (as if that makes it okay) that would die anyway. The cloned embryos were created as a method of manufacture. Not only that, but in this circumstance, they were manufactured in order to destroy them in experiments.

By the way, the reason reproductive cloning could work in theory is that a baby starts as an embryo–whether made by mixing sperm and egg or through cloning. Thus, before Dolly was a lamb, she was a sheep embryo. She was always the same organism. So too, a cloned human embryo.

Reading the Post, you’d think that cloned embryos are not really human:

There is, moreover, a clear ethical distinction between cloning a human’s cells in order to redeploy them in medical treatment and growing a genetic copy of a human being.

But the act of cloning is makes a new human being! Once the cloning works, a human organism exists. After that, it is just a matter of what you do with the nascent human that was created. Destroy it for stem cells, gestate to fetal stage and abort, or bring it to birth. Same human being, different fates.

The editorial–as ever in this debate–supports drawing “lines” to prevent only what could be done tomorrow, but permitting what can be done today:

As long as scientists do not cross ethical lines much farther from where they are now — lines that Congress could write into federal law — researchers should have the flexibility to go in whichever direction is scientifically useful.

Do they really believe that bilge?

As we all know, tomorrow never comes. When the next step is eventually taken, the Post will say, now we have to let this be done, but don’t worry, we’ll outlaw what be done tomorrow, until it can be done, then it will be allowed.

Here’s a classic of the genre: Remember the syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman? She wrote back in the 1980s that IVF should be allowed to develop, but that we should tell the scientists we wouldn’t let them take steps in the future that would treat embryos like so much “caviar” to be discarded.

When I pointed out to her twenty years later that she explicitly supported doing that very thing in the ESCR debate, she shrugged, telling me, “My lines have changed.”

They always do. And that’s why the Post’s editorial actually advocates for an anything goes course (eventually) in human cloning.  

Post Script: Proving my point about the non-existing lines of pro-cloners, Gene Tarne notes that on October 2, 1994, the Post strongly editorialized against creating human embryos for destructive resource. From “Embryos: Drawing the Line:”

The creation of human embryos specifically for research that will destroy them is unconscionable.

That was then. This is now. Like I said…

How Media Helps Push Us Off Suicide Cliff



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I’ve seen it again and again in my more than twenty years of opposing assisted suicide: the media promote suicide in the guise of reporting the news. Indeed, these days, it is almost a universal rule.

Here’s the biased–both by what is reported and what isn’t–usual pattern:

1. Make sure the headline promotes assisted suicide, particularly important since many won’t read the story;

2. Introduce an ill person with terrifying disease–often ALS (motor neurone disease), the bloody flag of the euthanasia movement;

3. The patient just wants to die when a “line” is crossed;

4. But mean society won’t let doctors prescribe death, so he has to die in a way he would rather not (take your pick) violently, with his family absent, in Switzerland, in agony, etc.;

5. If the law would only permit doctor-prescribed suicide, he could die at home, in his own bed, surrounded by the things and people he loves;

6. Write the story as if it appears or implies that the suicide is a necessity;

7. Never mention suicide prevention and how people similarly situated were helped not to kill themselves and are glad to be alive;

8. Don’t fairly present opposing arguments, e.g. no quotes, quotes from priest only, no or bare a mention of reasons to keep assisted suicide illegal;

9. Immediately have the suicidal hero–or a “compassionate” family doctor–slap down the concern;

10. Don’t describe the horrors of Belgium, the Netherlands, or Switzerland–oft discussed here;

11. Assure that assisted suicide guidelines will prevent abuse–without noting it hasn’t worked out that way wherever society widely embraces euthanasia consciousness.

Et voila! You have a story in which the reader is left nodding, “Of COURSE the law should be changed so he could die as he pleases.” 

Read this story in the Bristol Post, and you see the pattern played almost to a tee in all its propagandistic reader manipulation:

1.Pro allow the suicide headline:

Beethoven and Bordeaux, not Beatles and beards for my dying wishes, says ex-Bristol head 

2. Suicidal person with terrifying disease:

Former schools inspector Chris Woodhead has revealed that he has planned his final moments in his battle with the progressive disease which has left him quadriplegic and  unable to feed himself since his diagnosis in 2006. 

3. Wants to die when line crossed:

A former Bristol teacher and head of Ofsted says he wants to die when motor neurone disease deprives him of his ability to speak.

4. “Has” to die in way he doesn’t want:

Bristol University graduate Mr Woodhead, a former head of English at Gordano School in Portishead, previously stated in 2011 that he might be willing to go to Dignitas, an assisted suicide centre in Switzerland, to die.

5. Would rather die at home with what he loves:

…he said he would not be going to the clinic to end his life alongside “bearded social workers”, and would much prefer to live his final moments with his loved ones, listening to Beethoven’s later quartets with a bottle of Bordeaux.

6. Suicide a necessity: Implied in this case as the story says zero about what can be done to ensure comfort or alleviate impact of person’s “line.” For example,this story never mentions technology that facilitates communication, e.g. as used by Stephen Hawking, if the patient loses the ability to speak.

7. Other options not mentioned: The story does not interview suicide prevention expert or hospice professional who works to help people with ALS keep on keeping on. The medical director of St. Christopher’s Hospice could have given the reporter an earful of such hopeful examples.

8. No meaningful opposition allowed. Here’s the only sentence involving the reasons not to legalize assisted suicide:

But it has concerned critics who are worried it may be open for abuse.

9. Slapdown!

Mr Woodhead said he didn’t ‘buy for one moment that we are going to see all sorts of vulnerable people bumped off by their avaricious relatives’.

10. Don’t mention horrors elswhere already documented abundantly. Check

11. Guidelines will prevent abuse!

He said: “It seems to me obvious that society can build necessary safeguards to guard people and that people are making huge song and dance about something which is quite simple.”

Of course, it isn’t nearly that simple.

And once assisted suicide was allowed for ALS patients, the same pattern would apply to people with disabilities, chronic diseases, mental illnesses, etc.  Because legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill would not stop trips to Switzerland to be made dead by the non terminally ill–already occuring

But why do a balanced job? That takes work. And insight. And objectivity. And professionalism.

Black Mountain Project’s Ironic “Uncivilization”



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My new ebook, The War on Humans, documents the decline of the environmental movement toward a Utopian and explicit anti-human ideology that believes increasingly in sacrificing human wellbeing to “save the earth.”

Here at HE, I have discussed (and will again) the ubiquitous name calling–humans as a plague, etc.–movies that promote the meme, e.g. Noah and The Day the Earth Stood Still, “nature rights” that would prevent us from developing natural resources, and “ecocide” that would punish it as a crime equally abhorrent as genocide, etc..

But, I haven’t dealt too much (although I do in WOH) with the Black Mountain Project, a nihilistic “artistic” movement that believes we are all doomed to an unpreventable environmental apocalypse, so let’s embrace “Uncivilization.”

What’s Uncivilization, you ask? Well, if a major profile of the BMP’s nihilist in chief Paul Kingsnorth in the New York Times Magazine is accurate, some pretty unserious paganism. From, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It–And He Feels Fine:”

In the clearing, above a pyre, someone had erected a tall wicker sculpture in the shape of a tree, with dense gnarls and hanging hoops. Four men in masks knelt at the sculpture’s base, at cardinal compass points.

When midnight struck, a fifth man, his head shaved smooth and wearing a kimono, began to walk slowly around them. As he passed the masked figures, each ignited a yellow flare, until finally, his circuit complete, the bald man set the sculpture on fire… Then as the wicker blazed, a soft chant passed through the crowd, the words only gradually becoming clear: “We are gathered. We are gathered. We are gathered.”

“Gathered” to what end? Baying at the moon:

After that came disorder. A man wearing a stag mask bounded into the clearing and shouted: “Come! Let’s play!” The crowd broke up. Some headed for bed. A majority headed for the woods, to a makeshift stage that had been blocked off with hay bales and covered by an enormous nylon parachute.

There they danced, sang, laughed, barked, growled, hooted, mooed, bleated and meowed, forming a kind of atavistic, improvisatory choir. Deep into the night, you could hear them from your tent, shifting every few minutes from sound to sound, animal to animal and mood to mood.

Art! Finally, they reached the great goal:

The next morning over breakfast, Dougie Strang, a Scottish artist and performer who is on Dark Mountain’s steering committee, asked if I’d been there. When he left, at 3 a.m., he said, people were writhing in the mud and singing, in harmony, the children’s song “Teddy Bears’ Picnic.”…“Wasn’t it amazing?” he said, grinning. “It really went mental. I think we actually achieved uncivilization.”

Their parents would be so proud. Good grief.

There a pretty big irony here. Uncivilization is very much on the grid. For example, there is the BMP’s Web page. That requires civilization’s electricity, computer servers, software, etc..

The BMP has a blog! That requires civilization’s computers. Computers use elements such as rare earth, that has to be mined. More civilization. 

And hardcover books!

These books are designed to be beautiful physical objects: objects you will value in themselves, as well as for their content. Each book is around 300 pages long, with colour plates, and is put together by our friends at Bracketpress in Lancashire, who also designed our manifesto.

And–get this–an album on vinyl. Vinyl is made from oil! 

Vinyl is not a natural substance but is a synthetic man-made material. It is a type of plastic that is made from ethylene (found in crude oil) and chlorine (found in regular salt). When processed, both the substances are combined to form Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) resin, or as is commonly referred to – Vinyl.

My head can only shake.

This is all very unfortunate because it makes environmentalism ridiculous. 

We can best thrive as a species and protect the environment in the context of a pro-human environmentalism that promotes prosperity via the responsible reaping of the earth’s bounty. That was once the movement’s strength.

But few outside of committed ideologues will take a movement seriously that increasingly promotes economic decline, “humans are cancer” tropes, hystericalism, and as discussed today, people who bay at the moon in supposedly artistic solidarity with the doomed earth.

Why the New York Times takes the Black Mountain Project or Kingsnorth seriously is another story of decline. But I’ll leave that for another day.

MDs Serving “Society” Aren’t Professionals



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This isn’t good. Apparently, some medical societies are buying into the distrust sowing meme that doctors should give better care to some patients than to others.

Why? Duty to society. From the New York Times story:

Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care.

The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent.

No! Doctors are fiduciaries of each individual patient. They owe each patient the highest duty of care. They don’t owe a fiduciary duty to “society.”

Take that away, and doctors are no longer professionals, but technicians.

Making matters worse, some advocate that doctors threat different patients differently based on invidious “quality of life” discrimination:

The cardiology societies, for instance, plan for now to rely on published literature, not commission their own cost-effectiveness studies, said Dr. Paul A. Heidenreich, a professor at Stanford and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the new policy. They plan to rate the value of treatments based on the cost per quality-adjusted life-year, or QALY — a method used in Britain and by many health economists.

The societies say that treatments costing less than about $50,000 a QALY would be rated as high value, while those costing more than $150,000 a QALY would be low value. “We couldn’t go on just ignoring costs,” Dr. Heidenreich said.

QALY is a method of health care rationing in which the cost effectiveness of the same treatment is judged differently for different people based on the quality of their lives. 

I love the smell of lawsuits in the morning. We in the USA won’t accept providing optimal care to one patient and less to another based on the doctor’s (or bureaucrats’) belief in the supposed differing values of the respective patients’ lives.

I’m all for good medical stewardship. But doctors can’t serve two masters–their patients and the perceived needs of society. Hippocrates knew that 2500 years go.

So did the great German doctor, Christof Wilhelm Hufeland, who famously warned: “It is not up to [the doctor] whether life is happy or unhappy, worthwhile or not, and should he incorporate these perspectives into his trade the doctor could well become the most dangerous person in the state.”

Adults Cloned! Outlaw Before It’s Too Late



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Once Dolly the sheep was manufactured, human cloning was always mostly a matter of developing the right technique.

As I described elsewhere, it was a bit ago using fetal cells. Now it has apparently been done with adult cells by Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology. From the Time story:

​​In this case, cells from a 35-year-old man and a 75-year-old man were used to generate two separate lines of stem cells. The process, known as nuclear transfer, involves taking the DNA from a donor and inserting it into an egg that has been stripped of its DNA.

The resulting hybrid is stimulated to fuse and start dividing; after a few days the “embryo” creates a lining of stem cells that are destined to develop into all of the cells and tissues in the human body.

It’s not a quote, embryo, unquote: It is an embryo-embryo, made asexually.​​

Human cloning will lead to the exploitation of women, since human eggs are an essential ingredient of each cloning attempt. And not just any eggs will do. they have to be quality eggs!

The findings confirm that the key factor in making nuclear transfer work with human cells is not the age of the donor cell, as some experts have argued, but the quality of the donor egg. “No matter how much you tweak the protocols or optimize them, it looks like the major player in efficiency is the individual egg quality,” says Mitalipov. He notes that all of his stem cell lines came from the same egg donor. The two cell lines described by Lanza’s group also came from one egg donor.

For the time being, a low supply of eggs will continue to impede the technology. But if they ever learn how to make “quality” eggs from stem cells or harvest and mature them from aborted female fetuses–yes, that is being experimented with–or such like, it will be Katy bar the door!

Women can die or be rendered infertile supplying eggs. And since mostly poor women will be tempted to be egg suppliers, it seems to me we should prevent paying for eggs in biotechnology just as laws currently prohibit buying kidneys.

Last year, California’s increasingly radical legislature tried to go in the other direction, passing a bill to allow eggs to be purchased for use in experiments–which I wrote about at some length. Governor Brown vetoed it. Now, it’s up for consideration again. Brown won’t be running for reelection this time. What will he do?

In any event, the time for making informed decisions about whether we want to go down this road can’t be put off any longer. Human cloning is the gateway to Brave New World. We either outlaw it now–as the United Nations overwhelmingly voted to do years ago, as “incompatible with human dignity”–or eventually see a day in which cloned fetuses are farmed in artificial wombs for use in experimentation, reproductive cloning further distorts human procreation, and human cloned embryos are experimented on to perfect genetic engineering, among other terribles.

Or, we can continue to pretend it will never happen here and just allow it to actually happen here through torpor.

Govt. Pay Seniors to Sign Advance Directive?



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I am in favor of advance directives. And I usually like Senator Tom Coburn, But this idea seems wrong-headed to me.

Coburn has introduced the Medicare Choices Empowerment and Protection Act, that would pay Medicare beneficiaries to prepare an advance directive. From the story:

The “Medicare Choices Empowerment and Protection Act” was introduced Friday by Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK). It would pay eligible beneficiaries $75 for creating an online advance directive or $50 for creating one manually in 2015, with incentives in subsequent years tied to consumer price inflation.

Do we really want the government even more bureaucratically involved in our health care than it already is under Obamacare?  Even though the plan would initially be voluntary, how long does anyone think that would last under the autocrats that currently run our government?

Worse, once the federal bureaucracy got its mitts on this area, its intrusiveness would only expand and its “neutrality” about what decisions seniors make, evaporate. Guaranteed.

This part also alarms me:

It also calls for an accreditation process to be established for advance directive vendors participating in the program, and the creation of a system to facilitate easy access to advance directives for beneficiaries, suppliers, providers and healthcare proxies…

The bill says that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should consult with experts when establishing and implementing the program, including nurses, palliative care experts and health information privacy authorities.

That would just open the door to the suicide-peddlers Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices to become accredited vendors. I have long suspected that C & C wants to become the Planned Parenthood of death, receiving government funding to push their ideology. This bill would, I fear, help them move toward that goal.

Some Dutch Pharmacists Say No to Euthanasia



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As we move into a morally polyglot society–with the culture of death rushing to the fore–the question of medical conscience will become increasingly hot button. 

This is apparently already occurring in the Netherlands where many pharmacists apparently refuse to dispense drugs for use in lethal injection doctor-administered homicides. From the DutchNews.nl story:

Dutch pharmacists sometimes refuse to provide the drugs needed by people who have chosen to end their lives through euthanasia, the NRC reports on Wednesday. Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002 under strict conditions and if approved by two doctors.

Stop the tape! “Strict conditions” my right nostril.

Back to the story:

Although only doctors have the legal right to decide about euthanasia, pharmacists’ asscociation KNMP thinks pharmacists have a right to their own opinions. ‘A pharmacy is not a shop where deadly drugs are just handed over’, an association spokesperson told the programme. During the programme one doctor complains that his painstaking and regulated preparations for euthanasia are sometimes blocked at the last minute by a pharmacist who ‘has never even seen the patient.’

The KNMP suggests a conscience protection.

Although they have no official role in the euthanasia process, pharmacists are not legally obliged to make drugs available, the NRC says…

The KMNP wants pharmacists to become part of the euthanasia law. It should also be possible for pharmacists who do not wish to cooperate to refer a doctor to another pharmacy, the association told the programme.

Ah, but that protection could be less than meets the eye. The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) has opined that euthanasia-dissenting doctors have a duty to refer to a colleague they knew is willing to kill.

If the pharmacist’s protection included such a duty, it would require all pharmacists to be complicit in the taking of a human life when asked to dispense lethal drugs.

No! Dissenting professionals should not be forced to have innocent blood on their hands. A conscience clause involving euthanasia should allow for total non-participation and cooperation by any and every medical professional.

Switzerland’s War on the Elderly



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The UK media has reported the case of a third healthy elderly woman in the last several weeks having flown to Switzerland to be made dead. From the Express story:

ANOTHER British woman has been helped to die at a Swiss suicide clinic because she had grown tired of life, the Sunday Express can reveal. The 99-year-old Londoner, who was not terminally ill or severely disabled, felt her time had come to an end.

Geriatric depression is treatable, but never mind. Sigh.

And get this: 3000 people die each year in the clinics. That’s nearly 10 each day!

The deaths have once more re­ignited the debate on assisted ­suicide, which is illegal in the UK and remains a highly contested issue.

Yet as MPs prepare to vote on the Assisted Dying Bill, now in the House of Lords, which would change the law, retired doctor Michael Irwin, who has helped a number of Britons end their lives at Swiss suicide ­clinics, revealed that 3,000 ­patients are helped to die every year.

So, let’s make suicide even easier to access so more can die?

I don’t see how these poor women can be called “patients.” They weren’t in Switzerland for medical care. They were there to be made dead. They were assisted in killing themselves for pay! Call them customers.

Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death.

Embryo Value Debated in Europe Too



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Pro embryo-destructive research activists are often so irrational. They claim than an embryo isn’t an embryo but merely a “bunch of cells.” Well, for the reductionist minded, so are they.

They claim that an embryo is no different than the cells you kill when you brush your teeth. But embryos are organisms and mouth cells are not.

They claim that embryos aren’t really human because they don’t have toes and fingers. Yes! A scientist actually said that to me in a debate! Idiotic.

And they say that only USA religionists care about embryos, when in actuality, Germany (as just one example) bars destructive embryo research and outlaws human cloning. Germany is hardly the Bible Belt. 

European law also bars patenting embryonic stem cell products because they come from destroying embryos.

And now, the European Parliament is debating the value of embryonic human life because a petition signed by nearly 2 million people requires it legally. From the NYT story:

Leaders of One of Us, the group that brought the petition, told lawmakers that they were seeking to prohibit the use of European Union funds for research, foreign aid programs and public health activities that are linked to the destruction of human embryos.

“The problem here is with those who claim that an embryo, a fetus, is nothing,” said Grégor Puppinck, president of the One of Us committee backing the initiative. “It is understood that life begins at the point of conception and must be respected,” said Mr. Puppinck, who also called for a ban on “the financing of abortion in development aid.”

And, of course, one of the embryos-are-just-chopped-liver types angrily brings up religion:

Some of the loudest outbursts during the hearing came when Ana Gomes, a lawmaker from Portugal, repeatedly asked whether the European Center for Law and Justice, an organization based in Strasbourg, France, of which Mr. Puppinck is director general, had any links with Pat Robertson, the American Christian evangelist.

Mr. Puppinck said in an interview that the European Center and the American Center for Law and Justice, a law firm and educational organization that Mr. Robertson had helped to establish, shared the same chief counsel. But Mr. Puppinck said he had never met Mr. Robertson and he criticized Ms. Gomes for raising issues that were “not the point of the debate.”

They always do. Pro embryonic research types are almost always the ones obsessed with religion.

Opponents point out the scientific truth than an embryo is a nascent human being, a human organism, and make the philosophical argument that being human matters morally in and of itself. Hopefully that POV will not go away.

Global Warming Hysterics’ War on the Destitute



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The Green misanthropes that are corrupting environmentalism want to keep the world’s destitute in squalor to “save the earth.” It’s so cruel. Rather than electrifying Africa, for example, we are told it has to wait until it can be done by solar or other renewable sources–decades away, if ever. Meanwhile, people live in misery.

Then, as some kind of penance, the developed world is supposed to transfer hundreds of billions to the destitute, which would make us much poorer, much of which would go into private pockets, and create a culture of dependency that would be hard to escape. Like I said, it’s all very cruel.

Support for my disgusted view comes now from an IPCC scientist. From the BBC story:

Climate scientists meeting in Berlin have been accused of “marginalising” the views of developing countries. They are preparing to release a key report on how the world must cut carbon emissions to stem dangerous warming. They are likely to say that if significant action isn’t taken by 2030, temperatures will quickly break through the 2 degree C threshold. But a lead author told BBC News that this focus on cutting CO2 was ignoring the development needs of the poor. “The narrative, the language, the views of the IPCC still marginalises the developing country perspectives,” Dr Chukwumerije Okereke, from Reading University, told BBC News.

“Quite frankly this is reinforcing historical patterns of injustice and domination” Dr Chukwumerije Okereke University of Reading Dr Okereke was a lead author on chapter four of the new report, dealing with sustainable development and equity. He believes that there has been a fundamental shift in the discussions because the issue of historical responsibility for carbon emissions has been watered down by richer nations who are more concerned with the future than the past.”…”In effect, this is shifting the burden onto the developing countries and is holding them down from developing; quite frankly this is reinforcing historical patterns of injustice and domination.”

But Okereke is wrong too. His approach would require us to stifle our already shaky economies, which would be as foolish as throttling growth and preventing the exploitation of resources in the developing world. Both proposals are a radical call to self-flagellation in the name of a neo-earth religion or imposition of “nature rights.”

Even if one believes global warming is a crisis–count me as dubious, given virtually no warming in 18 years–Bjorn Lomborg’s approach is best. Prosperity is required to develop the technology to make the transition the warming believers claim we need.  

“De-growth,” Draconian Malthusianism, humans depicted as “maggots” or “cancer” on the earth, throttling growth, etc., will just generate more misery and promote increased conflict. That’s known as a war on humans coming and going.

Forced C-Sections & Obsession with Birth Control



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I read an interesting column in the Guardian today about how many hospitals in Brazil basically force mothers to have C-sections rather than natural birth. From, “Inside the War on Natural Birth,” by Jill Filipovic:

…forced or coerced c-sections are not unusual here in Brazil, where some hospitals deliver almost 100% of babies surgically. And as I’ve found in my visit across the country with the International Reporting Project, birth plans are as much about social class, religion and the role of women in society as they are about so-called choice.

“In our culture, childbirth is something that is primitive, ugly, nasty, inconvenient,” Dr Simone Diniz, associate professor in the department of maternal and child health at the University of São Paulo, tells me. “It is something poor women are supposed to endure.”

By contract, she said, c-sections are seen as “modern and elegant”. In Brazil, low-income women largely depend on the public health system, which leads to much higher vaginal birth rates, while wealthier women use private facilities, making c-sections a kind of status symbol.

The column writer–feminist leftist that she is–analyzed the issue in the context of resistance to abortion rights:

Forced and coerced c-sections, abusive birth practices, restrictive abortion laws and adherence to the she-was-asking-for-it rape myth – these malpractices all exist on the same continuum of belief: that women’s bodies are public property. But when it comes to reproduction, those values also often prove illusive – women in America, too, have been forced into c-sections, and many of our reproductive choices remain overly politicized.

Needless to say, I have a far different take. It seems to me that forced C-sections are just the latest step in the decades-long drive to exert hyper-control over every aspect of human procreation.

Indeed, I warrant that support by writers like Filipovic for the millions of stilled beating fetal hearts as benignly ”choice,” actually strengthens the cultural impetus to commit (other) profound procreative wrongs–such as the “war on natural birth”–that we see increasingly around the world.

Before you start yelling, I am not talking about reasonable methods of family planning. Rather, forced C-sections follows logically from transforming procreation into a consumerist industry–with the values associated with all enterprise–using popular culture to create demand (for abortion, included), quality testing of products, rejection of the poorly constructed, and research and investment into more efficient methods of manufacture and quality improvement.

Think about it:

- There is great pressure placed on gestating women to have prenatal genetic testing, toward the desired (if not yet mandatory) end that “defective” products–babies with Down, Dwarfism, and other anomalies–not be born.

- This idea has bled over into advocacy for “after-birth abortion,” e.g. the infanticide of unwanted babies, either because they are ill or disabled, or even, simply if they don’t fulfill current parental (or societal) desires.

- Global warming hysterics and other assorted Green misanthropes engaged in a war on humans have extolled China’s “one-child” policy even though it includes forced abortion and has led to mass female infanticide.

- Bioethicists widely disdain “reproduction roulette,” by which they mean allowing nature to determine which of us is conceived.

- IVF is now used by people who aren’t actually infertile, for purposes of convenience or in furtherance of other social agendas.

- Embryos created through IVF are tested, not just for disease–but also for sex and cosmetic issues–with those not passing muster discarded as medical waste or consigned to the fodder pile of experimentation.

- Some of the most prominent bioethicists insist that genetically engineering for intelligence is morally required–blatant eugenics. 

I could go on and on. Indeed, the values prophesied by Huxley in Brave New World are being embraced by the upper crust with a fervor that would have surprised even him. So why not, one dark day, forced IVF? It would suit the real agenda, which is not “choice” –but control–which is actually something different.

Indeed, why allow women to gestate at all? Remember, in the novel, babies weren’t born into families but hatched out of artificial wombs. That would permit true equality of the sexes, which abortion is supposedly about. And think of the efficiency!

 

 

If He’d Mercy Killed Wife, Would be Applauded



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A correspondent from the UK sends me an article about a man arrested for providing a morphine patch for his demented wife newly in a care home. From the Telegraph story:

An 83-year-old man was arrested and locked up for seven hours for giving his wife painkiller patches at a care home. Walter Crompton was detained by police when he went to visit Ellen, his wife of 60 years, who suffers from dementia.

Care home staff had contacted officers four days earlier after Mr Compton gave her the morphine patches. He was arrested for administering a toxic substance and his subsequent bail conditions bar him from seeing his wife until the end of the month.

Mr Compton insisted the treatment had been prescribed by a doctor. “It’s a patch. Nobody ever killed anybody with a patch. I don’t understand why they needed to arrest me. I was just trying to help my wife and I didn’t know it was against the rules,” he said.

Now, he’s barred from seeing his wife until further court proceedings. That seems cruel to both husband and wife.

My correspondent opined that had he mercy-killed her, instead of trying to relieve her pain, he would not only have not been prosecuted by UK’s assisted-suicide compliant prosecutors, but indeed, would be applauded far and wide as a man of compassion.

I’m certainly not saying that Mr. Crompton acted appropriately. No doubt, he made a mistake and account must be taken.

But I also can’t say that my correspondent is wrong in her assessment.

Fertility Industry Dehumanizes Surrogates



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As a paid consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture, I have become informed about issues to which I might otherwise have paid scant attention. This is particularly true with regard to the increasingly dark side of the fertility industry, about which the CBC has been doing splendidly illuminative work. It has really opened my eyes.

There is no polite way to put it: The fertility industry dehumanizes women who supply eggs for pay or rent their uteri. For example, the term “surrogate mother” has been changed to “gestational carrier.” Why not just say brood mare?

The CBC’s Jennifer Lahl and her CBC colleague, Christopher White, have a great piece on the dark side of surrogacy in today’s NRO. In one section, they discuss the objections from the fertility industry to a Louisiana bill that would bring meaningful regulations to the field. From, “Why Gestational Surrogacy is Wrong:”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) issued a joint statement opposing the amended bill as it came to the House floor, contending that it “contains a number of provisions that make clear the process of collaborative assisted reproduction is either misunderstood or the supporters of this bill are biased against certain family models.”

The amended bill, which added provisions that removed financial incentives for surrogacy, gave sole medical decision-making authority to the gestational mother. Protest such as that expressed by ASRM and SART is witnessed when any state seeks to regulate the practice and further demonstrates the unwillingness of the fertility industry to acknowledge the problems associated with the practice — medical, psychological, and ethical risks and a lack of protection for women and children alike.

And here comes the dehumanizing part:

In their statement against the bill, ASRM and SART opposed use of the word “mother” to refer to surrogates; their preferred term was the dehumanizing term “carrier.” The introduction of “mother” was one of the most important changes to the bill, as it is important that surrogacy laws recognize the humanity of both the woman and the child, who in pro-surrogacy-industry bills is often treated as a product in a commercial transaction.

Every time I write about this issue, I hear from angry readers telling me that I am terribly insensitive to their pain, and that they would do “anything” to have a baby.

I am not insensitive, but the willingness to do “anything” is precisely the problem. And the industry is all too happy to profit off their pain–distorting procreation and creating increasingly unstable “family models” as they go along.

Here’s my bottom line: It is high time we understand that But I want a baby! doesn’t justify “anything,” because that really means “everything.”

Adopt. Adopt. Adopt.

Belgian Docs Give Selves OK to Kill ICU Patients



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The Journal of Critical Care Medicine has published a statement by the Belgian Society of Critical Care Medicine giving ICU docs the right to kill patients–even though euthanasia in the country is supposed to only be consensual.

Under the document, futile care impositions of withdrawing or withholding care are up to the medical team–whatever a patient or family may want. Moreover, in such cases, doctors are allowed to kill! From the statement (my emphasis) :

This statement paper, developed by members of the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine Council, is not about giving analgesics or sedative agents to combat pain or agitation, nor about the so-called double effect, wherein analgesics given to alleviate pain may have the adverse effect of shortening the dying process. The discussion here is about the administration of sedative agents with the direct intention of shortening the process of terminal palliative care in patients with no prospect of a meaningful recovery…

Moreover, we explain our belief in the concept that shortening the dying process by administering sedatives beyond what is needed for patient comfort can be not only acceptable but in many cases desirable.

In other words, kill the patient by intentionally overdosing with palliative drugs beyond what is needed for comfort–whether the patient wants it or not!

And note, the patient need not be actually suffering!

Shortening the dying process with use of medication, such as analgesics/sedatives, may sometimes be appropriate, even in the absence of discomfort, and can actually improve the quality of dying; this approach can also help relatives accompany their loved one through the dying process—such a decision should be made with due consideration for the wishes of family members.

The killing license also applies to children:

The present document applies to children as well as to adults

It’s only logical: Once killing is accepted as an answer to human suffering, what constitutes “suffering” expands like an elastic band to include that of society and the hospital having to care for lives defined as meaningless. And it can even include termination when patient suffering isn’t present.

As for choice: What’s that got to do with anything? Efficiency!

#itwillhappenheretoounlesswestopitnow!

Quebec Safe from Euthanasia--For Now



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Quebec’s Parliament came close to legalizing a very radical euthanasia bill, but then the fat was pulled out of the proverbial fire at the last minute, and new elections were called.

Boom! The political party pushing so hard for doctor-administered homicide lost the election big-time, perhaps putting euthanasia on hold in Canada’s French province. From the Catholic Register story:

A surprisingly strong victory by the Liberals in Quebec’s April 7 election means euthanasia is off the table for now while signaling a greater acceptance of religious Quebeckers, informed observers said. The Liberals led by Philippe Couillard trounced the Parti Quebecois (PQ), winning a majority 70 seats to the PQ’s 30…

McGill University historian John Zucchi said the Charter of Quebec Values, euthanasia and separatism were all “intimately connected” in this election.

All three issues showed the PQ either didn’t understand the needs of the electorate or responded with “facile solutions,” he said. “On the question of identity, they responded with a silly charter that would take care of problems by pinpointing ethno-religious groups,” he said. As to the “fears people have concerning the health system as they grow older, they responded with euthanasia.”

I sure hope this isn’t wishful thinking.

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