Medicine and Life

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, just published a new book called Pro-life Reflections for Every Day.  The “minute meditation” for October 9 was based on a quote from Pope John Paul’s 1995 encyclical, The Gospel of Life. Here is the meditation from the book published by Catholic Book Publishing Corp. in New Jersey.

Physicians and health care workers are also responsible, when the skills they acquired to promote life are placed at the service of death. – The Gospel of Life, 59

Reflection. Pro-abortion politicians will often say to us, “Legislators should not be practicing medicine.” But we’re not asking them to practice medicine, but to prevent the abuse of medicine.

Medicine is for the purpose of preserving life; abortion takes life. There is no disease that abortion cures, and no proven medical benefit.

I thought the meditation was apropos since August 1, 2012 is the beginning of implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) the massive so-called “healthcare reform” that the Congress and President Obama passed in 2010. The first implementation is the requirement that all health plans pay for contraception and potentially abortion-causing drugs such as Plan B–a.k.a. the morning after pill or Ella–with a very narrow exception for religious organizations.

But of course, this is but the beginning of the rules that lead to death that the PPACA, for example, all health plans will be required to collect $1 per person per month to be applied to a special fund that will pay for abortions. By the way, the PPACA also states that the employee doesn’t need to be informed that their premiums will include this $1 per month charge nor will you have an opportunity to opt out of it.

Private Family Matter

Today, President Obama defended the right of a woman to choose to kill her baby as a “private family matter” and that “government should not intrude” on it. What does that mean?

If I have a child with a woman out of wedlock, I am forced by the courts to pay child support even though I don’t want to. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some parents choose to not to vaccinate their children, yet the government makes it mandatory for entry into school. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some parents don’t want to take their children to the doctor when they’re sick, yet the government may take their children away if they don’t. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some parents don’t think their child should be restrained in a car seat, yet that’ll get the parents a traffic ticket. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some parents choose to give their children alcohol, yet the government says it’s illegal to provide alcohol to a minor. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some parents think it’s okay to leave their children at home alone, yet the government will arrest the parents for endangering the welfare of a minor. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some parents think it’s okay to have sex with their child, yet that parent would be arrest for pedophilia. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some men (and women) think it’s okay to have more than one wife at the same time, yet they’ll get arrested for polygamy. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some men think it’s okay to beat their wives, yet that’ll land the guy in jail. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters.

Some people don’t want to purchase health insurance, yet under the health care reform law passed last year everyone will be forced to purchase an insurance plan. So the government DOES intrude on private family matters. (President Obama’s big idea.)

So why is it okay for the government to become involved in all these private family matters (and more), but Obama uses that as an excuse to justify legalized abortion-on-demand? You can’t have it both ways, Mr. President. You cannot, on the one hand, legislate dozens, if not hundreds, of private family matters and then say that the government should not intrude on a private family matter when it is politically expedient for you (Obama has flip-flopped on many things but he has unswervingly supported the right to kill a baby in the womb).

Maybe it’s just me, but…justifying the murder of 1.2 million babies in the womb every year by saying it is a “private family matter” is patently disingenuous and a red herring cop out used to justify receiving pro-abort PAC money.

Be Ever Vigilant

In 2009’s various versions of the health care reform bill, one section that received much attention was the section that called for annual “end-of-life planning” sessions for everyone who was covered by government-approved health insurance (that would have been you and me). I’ve written about it previously here, you can read about it in Health Plans Forced to Provide Assisted Suicide Counseling.

The final version of the bill that was ultimately passed and signed into law did not include separate sections detailing these mandatory annual planning sessions. Instead, the planning sessions were folded surreptitiously into sections that altered Medicare. On January 1, the new regulation, which allows Medicare to pay for end-of-life planning went into effect. Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article:

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Do you see the two-step process that was used to circumvent the public’s distaste for this kind of “counseling”? First, the health care legislation allowed for “coverage of yearly physical examinations.” That’s well and good and people on Medicare should have that kind of coverage. But the second step is what is disturbing: an administration official decided, contrary to what the people wanted, that counseling on end-of-life decisions should be part of wellness visits, and included it in the regulations that govern Medicare.

I am a proponent of discussions regarding care in end-of-life situations–that’s not the concern here. The problem  is who is giving this counseling and what resources are used. One example of a government resource would be the Department of Veteran’s Affairs document, “Your Life, Your Choices.” I’ve written previously about the problems with this document in The VA’s “Your Life, Your Choices” Document.

After the news of the new regulation was released, and pro-life bloggers and commentators started pointing this out, the Obama administration had a sudden reversal regarding this regulation and deleted it from the Medicare regulation; from a New York Time article:

The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday. …

While administration officials cited procedural reasons for changing the rule, it was clear that political concerns were also a factor. The renewed debate over advance care planning threatened to become a distraction to administration officials who were gearing up to defend the health law against attack by the new Republican majority in the House. …

Although the health care bill signed into law in March did not mention end-of-life planning, the topic was included in a huge Medicare regulation setting payment rates for thousands of physician services. The final regulation was published in the Federal Register in late November. The proposed rule, published for public comment in July, did not include advance care planning.

An administration official, authorized by the White House to explain the mix-up, said Tuesday, “We realize that this should have been included in the proposed rule, so more people could have commented on it specifically.”

“We will amend the regulation to take out voluntary advance care planning,” the official said. “This should not affect beneficiaries’ ability to have these voluntary conversations with their doctors.”

Did the Obama administration get caught with its hand in the cookie jar? The section in the 2009 health care reform bill that mentioned these mandatory visits were removed and provisions which would open the way for it were quietly hidden  in other sections. Then the proposed rule published for public comment last July did not include this regulation, once again hiding it from view. Is this the kind of “transparent government” that then-candidate Obama promised voters in 2008?

Folks, this is just one more reminder that those who are defending the sanctity of human life need to be ever vigilant. Those who want to devalue human life are constantly probing for weaknesses in our defense and will do anything to further advance their agenda where the sanctity of human life takes a back-seat to political expediency.

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Abortion and Health Care Reform

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign has a short video (2:50) on YouTube speaking about abortion and so-called health care reform.  Take a look at the video by clicking here and then pass it on ‘right-clicking’ on the link and copying it.

I’ve been spending part of the last two weeks actually reading the legislation contained in H.R. 3200 — America’s Affordable Health Choices Act 2009 and wanted to share some of what I’ve discovered with you, dear reader.

Although the word “abortion” does not appear anywhere in H.R. 3200, it is important to recognize the words that may imply abortion services are to be provided. For example, in Section 1714 – State Eligibility Options for Family Planning Services, the legislation delineates the eligibility requirements for women who are pregnant and women who are not pregnant to receive taxpayer-funded “family planning services.” The proposed legislation states the following:

… provide for making medical assistance available to an individual … such medical assistance shall be limited to family planning services and supplies described in 1905(a)(4)(C) [of Title XIX of the Social Security Act] and, at the State’s option, medical diagnosis and treatment services that are provided in conjunction with a family planning service in a family planning setting.

While, this might seem like an acceptable measure, but in reality, actual services received will depend on what limitations are placed on family planning services and supplies by Section 1905(a)(4)(C) of Title XIX of the Social Security Act. It would appear that the only limitation is that these services are provided

… to individuals of child-bearing age (including minors who can be considered to be sexually active) who are eligible under the State plan and who desire such services and supplies. (See the Social Security website by clicking here for the full text.)

In reality, there is no limit to what kinds of medical assistance, medical diagnosis, or treatment services can be provided at taxpayer expense. Also note that these services can be provided to minors “who can be considered to be sexually active [emphasis added]” and not just to those who actually are sexually active. Nor is there any mention of parental notification or consent before providing “treatment services” to minors.

What could the authors of H.R. 3200 possibly see as treatment services under this legislation? Abortion proponents have long asserted that reproductive rights include access to abortion services. One of the nation’s largest family planning provider, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), lists amongst it women’s health services both the abortion pill (RU-486) and in-clinic abortions.

I have written previously regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receiving the Margaret Sanger Award from the PPFA. In her acceptance speech, she stated that increasing the level and quality of women’s health care worldwide depended on increasing access to family planning options. Secretary Clinton concluded by stating that PPFA has been a leader in ensuring that

… women’s health and women’s reproductive health is included in any deliberation concerning our – finally adopting – a healthcare system that takes care of all of our people. (See full text of the speech by clicking here.)

When the dots are connected, it is a reasonable and certain conclusion that H.R. 3200, if passed into law, will provide for taxpayer-funded abortions for women—and girls—without any limitations.

For more information, go to these websites: National Right to Life’s Stop the Abortion Agenda website; Family Research Council’s document called “Seven Reasons Abortion is in the Health Care Overhaul”; or Stop the Abortion Mandate’s facts webpage.