Texas Right to Life turned Mr. Dunn’s imminent death from metastatic pancreatic cancer into a crusade against the Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA or the Act). The Act is invoked by the attending doctor – not the hospital or ethics committee – when family members demand that he or she perform acts that go against the conscience because they are medically inappropriate, causing the patient to suffer without changing his course.
In this case, the mother and father disagreed with one another about the care plan and the patient was unable to make legally binding decisions. The father agreed with Mr. Dunn’s doctors that the treatment was causing suffering, objected to surgery to place a tracheostomy, and wanted hospice and comfort care. The mother wanted dangerous, painful procedures performed that would not change the medical outlook except to possibly hasten death.
And, unless you read the court records, you wouldn’t know that the judge ruled that Chris was not mentally competent to make his own medical decisions, that the hospital never wanted guardianship and had voluntarily promised to continue care until the guardianship could be settled. In fact all the lawyers, including the Texas Right to Life representatives, signed off on an agreement acknowledging this promise on December 4th. ( The official court records are available to view free of charge online at the Harris County District Clerk’s website as protected pdf images. See Family case number 2015- 69681.)
Inflammatory headlines falsely claimed that “the hospital” had imposed a “death sentence,” and was actively trying to kill Mr. Dunn by refusing to diagnose, treat or even give a prognosis. That same blog post mentioned non-standard treatments that some in the family were demanding.
First of all, of course there was a diagnosis. Several, in fact. From the signed affidavit of Mr. Dunn’s attending physician, filed December 2, 2015 in response to the law suit:
“Based on my education, training, experience, as well as my care of Mr. Dunn, I, and members of my team, have advised his family members that Mr. Dunn suffers from end stage liver disease, the presence of a pancreatic mass suspected to be malignant with metastasis to the liver and complications of gastric outlet obstruction secondary to his pancreatic mass. Further, he suffers from hepatic encephalopathy, acute renal failure, sepsis, acute respiratory failure, multi-organ failure, and gastrointestestinal bleed. I have advised members of Mr. Dunn’s family that it is my clinical opinion that Mr. Dunn’s present condition is irreversible and progressively terminal.”
The primary diagnosis was metastatic pancreatic cancer. The cancer was a mass that blocked the ducts and blood vessels coming from the liver as well as the normal function of the intestines. As liver excretions backed up into the liver and the blood pressure in the liver increased, Mr. Dunn suffered a life-threatening gastrointestinal bleed, fluid buildup in the abdomen and lungs, and sepsis (an overwhelming infection). All of these would aggravate respiratory failure, the necessity of a ventilator and lead to the kidney damage. Liver failure often results in hepatic encephalopathy and variable delirium.
There was definitely treatment given, including tube and IV feedings, antibiotics, the ventilator, and periodic removal of the abdominal fluid. Again, this was all publicly documented in Court documents, in the media and even on the Texas Right to Life blog that claimed that “Houston Methodist has invested no time or effort in Chris’s health, instead exerting their energies into trying to kill him instead.” [sic]
The Intensive Care doctors as well as the Biomedical Ethics Committee, met with the parents to explain Mr. Dunn’s condition and his prognosis. The family was given notice before the Committee hearing and met with the (not at all “nameless” or “faceless”) Committee to discuss their (differing) wants. Thirty days’ worth of medical records, a hospital case worker and assistance in finding alternative care were made available to the family.
Then, there’s the complaint about the limits on visitors and videotaping. It is not unusual to limit Intensive Care Unit visits to specific times and to allow only close family, especially when the patient can’t consent and there is contention among family members. It is certainly standard to prohibit filming in the Unit, since patients are visible from one area to the next, in various states of undress and undergoing constant or frequent *intensive* treatments.
(BTW, one of the lawyers in the TRTL ICU video proves the basis for the rules: he is not compliant with the usual isolation procedures. Former Senator Joe Nixon didn’t wear the protective gown at all correctly, risking the introduction of infectious contamination into the room and/or taking germs home with him.)
It’s very unusual for patients on a ventilator to be conscious because of the severe discomfort associated with the foreign body – the breathing tube – that is necessary in the airways. It’s difficult to believe that anyone would complain about sedating Mr. Dunn in order to bypass his gag reflex.
Finally, the standard of care in advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer is pain relief and palliative support. The surgery to remove a pancreas is extremely dangerous for even healthier patients. As Mr. Dunn had already had an episode of bleeding and both liver and kidney failure, it’s likely that even a biopsy of the pancreatic mass or liver, much less surgery, would have caused more life-threatening bleeding. With liver and kidney damage, he wouldn’t have been able to tolerate trials of radiation or chemotherapy, either.
In fact, the doctors and nurses gave excellent treatment all along, as shown by his survival beyond the average for patients who presented in such a precarious state and acknowledged by Mrs. Kelly in her statement after Chris’ death.
The truth is that Methodist never made plans to “kill” Mr. Dunn. Mr. Dunn was never in danger of the hospital “pulling the plug.” The real problem was a disagreement between Mr. Dunn’s divorced parents over who would legally make medical decisions. That rift is bound to have been made worse by TRTL and the lawyers turning Chris’ illness into a public political battle. The accusations about euthanasia, killing and murder may cause other future patients harm, if they are reluctant to seek care because of these stories.
The Colorado policeman who was killed Friday, Garrett Swasey, is the Christian, pro-life man we should all be talking about.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
On the blog, Cripple Gate, Jonathan Standbridge has posted excerpts from officer Swasey’s last sermon. Mr. Standbridge notes that one of the tenants of the church where Swasey was an elder, is to oppose elective abortion as the taking of human life.
And yet, Officer Swasey put his life in danger for, and died as a result of, an attempt to protect the occupants of that Planned Parenthood business!
The frequent justification for elective abortion is utilitarian: we are told that in the interest of the greater good, the mother must sacrifice her unborn child in order to have a better life. Officer Swasey, in contrast, sacrificed himself for the lives of others.
There should be no more talk about pro-life “zealots,” “killers,” or “haters.” Instead, remember Garrett Swasey and how he served Christ and even the people of Colorado Springs with whom he disagreed on abortion.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6-8
What “executive priorities” would you like to see implemented by Executive Order of the new Republican President, beginning January 20, 2017?
Even as a “dream,” it’s not easy to write all this. It’s easy to see the objections and possible pitfalls. I need help. I suggest not enforcing any law that can’t be justified in 2 to 3 sentences, using “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and a plain reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No “penumbras,” no nuances. Make it plain and transparent enough that even Gruber’s criteria of “the stupidity of the American voters” is met.
Same 90 day deadline Obama set for his immigration fiat?
Here’s a short list:
Here’s a link to the ruling https://www.texasallianceforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/HB2-Stay-Ruling-CLEAN.pdf
Unfortunately, the Court allowed the El Paso abortion business to stay open, even though currently half of women seeking abortion travel to near-by New Mexico abortion businesses. Those women who go to the El Paso business will not have the protections guaranteed other women in Texas:
“Because of the long distance between El Paso and the nearest in-state abortion clinic, as well as the doubt that Jackson casts on whether we may
look to out-of-state clinics, the State has not shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits of the challenge to the physical plant requirements of
the ambulatory surgical center provision as applied to El Paso. Thus, the district court’s injunction of the physical plant requirements of the ambulatory surgical provision will remain in force for El Paso.”(Page 29)
Hopefully, women (and men) will protect themselves from unintended pregnancies now that more travel is involved to reach the abortion business sites.
If there is a market for the abortion businesses in other areas of the State, they will adapt. And Texas will prove whether or not there’s that market.
The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, which along with other faith-based organizations had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case examining free speech and assembly rights, lauded the decision announced today in the case, McCullen v. Coakley.
“The Court simply reaffirmed that the First Amendment’s protection of peaceful speech and assembly is a cornerstone of this nation,” explained CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens. “Hopefully such decisions will begin to address the alarming growth of coercive assaults on the free speech of anyone deemed not politically correct by the government.”
The brief, submitted by the Christian Legal Society, sought to counter a Massachusetts law that had attempted to ban peaceful pro-life speech on public sidewalks, by prohibiting many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.
“The fact that the government was bent on not only banning peaceful speech and assembly, but also penalizing its citizens with fines and jail, demonstrates the type of coercion that can happen when governments decide to enforce their own ideology,” stated Dr. Stevens.
This should have been obvious, but now it’s the ruling of the Court. Good news
Developing: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Massachusetts law banning abortion-clinic protests within a 35-foot buffer zone violates the First Amendment rights of protesters, SCOTUSblog reports.
The court was unanimous in its judgment. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the opinion (PDF) for the court.
An earlier Massachusetts law had established a six-foot “no approach” zone around abortion clinics that barred leaflets, signs and counseling of persons within the zone absent their consent. It was replaced in 2007 with the new law generally barring people from public sidewalks and public ways within 35 feet of abortion clinics. (People entering the clinics, employees, police and people who happened to be walking by were exempted.)
SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein has this analysis: “The upshot of today’s ruling is that an abortion clinic buffer zone is presumptively unconstitutional. Instead, a state has to more narrowly target clinic obstructions. For example, the police can tell protesters to move aside to let a woman through to the clinic. But it cannot prohibit protesters from being on the sidewalks in the first instance. If in practice protesters still are obstructing the entrance, then it can consider a broader restriction.”
From the majority opinion:
But petitioners do not claim a right to trespass on the clinics’ property. They instead claim a right to stand on the public sidewalks by the driveway as cars turn into the parking lot. Before the buffer zones, they could do so. Now they must stand a substantial distance away. The Act alone is responsible for that restriction on their ability to convey their message.
Updated to add the quote. BBN 6/26/2014 10:45 AM
Today is the one year anniversary of mob and chaos that Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis initiated and encouraged when the Texas Senate began to vote on a law to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks and require doctors who perform abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital and to use the FDA guidelines that they agree to use before becoming eligible to This was the response of one woman to prayer and a crucifix last year at the Texas Legislature.
The women were following the leader of a man who shouted, “Whose choice?” by chanting “My choice.”It strikes me as odd that every time I witnessed one of these chanting/response sessions, a man was leading the women. That’s not the version of feminism I expected.
This picture came from a video that I took on July 2, during House testimony on HB5, which later became law prohibiting abortion after 5 months and protecting women who chose to undergo abortion.
Remember: Senator Bob Duell was instrumental in convincing the medical community to adopt voluntary procedures to protect patients and families affected by the Texas Advance Directive Act, even though actual amendments to the law have been blocked by the very people attacking him.
How much “freedom” does a third party Political Action Committee have in their paid ads? Is it wrong to challenge them legally when the ads are blatantly false?
In this case, the ad opens by implying that Senator Duell is responsible for the too-short 10 day period allowed to find alternate care when the family or patient disagrees with the doctor at the end of life.
Senator Duell was not in the Senate when the Texas Advance Directive Act was passed in 1999. Members of the PAC, Texas Right to Life, were present and lobbied in favor of the Act.
In contrast, Senator Duell has for years been a strong advocate for amendments that would have increased the power of families to protect their loved ones in the case of disputes with the doctor. The amendments would have changed the waiting period to at least a month before any disputed decisions by the doctor would take effect.
As to the challenge, Senator Duell has excellent support for his case:
The Texas Catholic Conference and Catholic Bishops of Texas, who supported Deuell’s bill, have debunked the claims. They said that Texas Right to Life “has tried to stoke fear through ridiculous claims of non-existent death panels and assertions that doctors are secretly trying to kill patients. Both claims are absurd.” The Catholic Conference also ripped Texas Right to Life for spreading “fabrications” about the position of Catholics on the issue.
We are beginning to hear how great for the State of Texas it is that Leticia San Miguel Van De Putte will be the Democrat nominee for Lieutenant Governor in November. The story is that she will cause more Latinos to register to vote in the hopes that she will represent the 38% of Texas voters better than the Anglo man who will be nominated by the Republican Party.
Think so? I don’t.
Democrat Senator Judith Zaphirini nominated Senator Leticia Van de Putte for Senate President Pro Tempore on the opening day of the Texas 83rd Legislature on January 8, 2013:
Move the cursor to 45 minutes in, when Senator Zaphirini introduces Leticia Van de Putte’s children and grandchildren. Listen to the words, watch the faces around her.
“Six children, six grandchildren! What blessings! I’m not sure at what point in time Senator Van De Putte became such an advocate for Planned Parenthood, but her children are so glad that it wasn’t earlier than it actually was.”
Libertarians within the Republican Party and Republicans who are called “moderate” because they aren’t social Conservatives claim that we will win over more voters and that it’s hypocritical of small-government Conservatives to use government to define or license marriage.
Radio talk show host and commentator Dennis Prager destroyed the claim that Republicans could win elections by dropping our social conservative platform planks in his recent essay :
“To respond to the first argument, it is hard to believe that most people who call themselves fiscal conservatives and vote Democrat would abandon the Democratic Party if the Republican Party embraced same-sex marriage and abortion.
“The left and its political party will always create social issues that make Republicans and conservatives look “reactionary” on social issues. Today it is same-sex marriage, the next day it is the Republican “war on women,” and tomorrow it will be ending the objective male-female designation of Americans (Children should have the right to determine their gender and not have their parents and their genitalia determine it, even at birth). Or it will be animal rights, race-based affirmative action or an environmentalist issue.”
Contrary to the claims of those libertarians, traditional marriage of one man and one woman encourages smaller, not larger, government. State marriage licenses prevent the need for a formal legal contract (and a lawyer) before marriage in order to clarify the mutual duties and rights of spouses, inheritance, and a myriad of paternity/maternity rights within intact marriages, at death, and on dissolution of the marriage. Recognizing that not all marriages result in children, the laws do recognize the State’s “compelling interest” in defending the child’s right to life, liberty and property.
While some (on the Right, as well as the Left) might favor laws making entering into a marriage as burdensome and expensive as divorce, many people would simply cohabit. When they go their separate ways – or if one dies – without a marriage license, the Courts will still determine the separation of property and child custody. At best, the new burden will be added to the old. Or, more likely, whole new layers of court rulings and State or Federal legislation would have to be added to replace current law.
There are strong historic, biologic and societal reasons behind the support for defending the Conservative definition of marriage. The new definition is not clear-cut and has very little history. However, the proponents of gay marriage are seeking not only all of the legal – government – benefits and protections afforded traditional marriage, as well as special protection from those same governments to coerce everyone with a business license into participating in their nuptials. There’s nothing “small government” about “getting the State out of the marriage.”
The Fifth Circuit pointed out that Planned Parenthood offered no real evidence to support its challenge to the Texas provision. On the other hand, the State provided ample medical evidence to support the regulation. Citing the State’s expert Dr. Donna Harrison, the court noted that the FDA approved the RU-486 regimen with restrictions, including a patient agreement that requires the woman (and the physician) to confirm that she is no more than 49 days pregnant.
Further, the court rejected Planned Parenthood’s claim that chemical abortion is necessary for some women who cannot undergo surgical abortion—noting that the abortion giant provided no real evidence for that claim. To the contrary, Dr. Harrison testified that 6 percent of chemical abortions fail and eventually require surgery, meaning that it would be medically irresponsible for a physician to administer a chemical abortion to a woman for whom a later surgical abortion might be contraindicated.
It’s important to note that the decision marks one of the most straightforward applications of the Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart decision. Citing Gonzales, the Fifth Circuit concluded that the Texas chemical-abortion regulation does not require an exception for the life and health of the woman because the group of women who allegedly “need” chemical abortions (those for whom Planned Parenthood claimed surgical abortion is contraindicated) was vague and undefined, because Planned Parenthood failed to provide any evidence that such a group of women even exists, and because, as highlighted by Dr. Harrison’s testimony, there is disagreement regarding whether chemical abortions are “safer” for these women when subsequent surgical abortion—alleged to be dangerous for such women—may be necessary.
Great news. If there must be abortion, and it’s “between a woman and her doctor,” shouldn’t the doctor have hospital privileges to care for complications? Or does he cease being “her doctor” when she needs him most?
A federal appeals panel on Thursday overturned a lower court decision that had deemed a portion of Texas’ controversial sweeping abortion restrictions as unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had already temporarily lifted a district court injunction that blocked a state provision requiring abortion doctors to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from going into effect.
Thursday’s ruling gives Texas the green light to continue enforcing the provision on a permanent basis.
More of the oligarchy that passes for Courts these days: un-elected judges acting as though the Constitution gives the big questions to the appointed members of the Judicial branch, leaving only the small, inconsequential decisions to the People and our duly elected representatives.
A Federal judge has ruled that “non-viable” human beings – healthy babies in healthy mothers who are exactly what they should be at that stage of life – are not endowed with the inalienable right to life.
Wright left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.
Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill, citing the viability standard. But Republicans, controlling the Statehouse for the first time since Reconstruction, overrode him with a simple majority vote.
Adryana Boyne is one of the most courageous, outspoken and well-spoken women I know – not only in Texas politics, but quite possibly in the world! What a blessing that she speaks for life, marriage and family and personal opportunity and responsibility! If you are in Texas House of Representatives District 102, you are blessed to have the opportunity to vote for Adryana to speak for you in Austin.
I’ll admit that I have longed for someone who can stand toe to toe with the minority women Democrats when they pull out the minority women victims’ card. Adryana, who is a naturalized citizen born in Mexico, educated at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, and former missionary, founding member of VocesAction, and a speaker for True The Vote and many other conservative organizations, can certainly do that.
However, she won’t ever play the victim card. There’s no need.
It wouldn’t matter if Adryana had been born in her district and, like me, could only speak a few words of Spanish. This wife of an engineer (a minister who has served the Lord as a missionary) and mother of two young men is a stalwart, steadfast and absolutely fearless defender of Conservative values. She and I have walked the halls of the Texas Capitol in the defense of the right to life and traditional marriage and I’ve witnessed her powerful voice and presence across our Nation as a speaker and advocate and as a moderator and participant on panels exploring current events and politics.
Please watch Adryana speaking on immigration and the 10th Amendment on Fox news (and watch Adryana overcome the effort of the Dem who tried to introduce a red herring), here. Take the time to read Adryana’s qualifications and blog posts at TexasGOPVote.Org and visit her campaign website to read the endorsements of other Texas leaders and her explanation about why her values moved her to run for office.
I hope everyone is looking carefully at the anti-incumbent candidates in the upcoming Republican Primary. Not all of them are as conservative as they would have you believe.
For instance, there’s the candidate running against conservative, prolife, pro-family Congressman Pete Sessions of the Texas Congressional District 32.
Katrina Pierson, who last achieved notoriety when she called an honorable man “deformed” due to his injuries as a Marine in Iraq.
However, few heard about Pierson’s anti-Conservative tweets on “social issues” and “homosexuality” which were the subject of a Wingright.org post a month later, just before the run-off in July, 2012.
(These Tweets are evidently still on her Twitter account, as I downloaded them anew, today, February 16, 2014. I wonder how long she’ll leave them up?)
It’s important that those voting know about how the candidates really feel about the “social issues,” don’t you think?
I’ve asked some supporters of Pierson to speak to her and get her on record as pro-life and pro-marriage, but haven’t heard back from them. I hope before you vote for her, you will ask her yourself.
It takes a long time to write the hard posts, so I’ve been putting this one off for a while. But with Primary season off and running, conservative groups are turning on conservative legislators and using political “score cards” to attack.
Let’s start with the most manipulated “scorecard” of all, especially now that someone else has stepped up to explain so much better than I ever could.
Texas Right to Life, the organization which was criticized by the Texas Catholic Conference for their “misstatements and fabrications” concerning HB303 and HB 1444, continues to make up whatever they wish, this time with their arbitrary “Legislative Scores.” Their scorecard is so “Unconventional” and “perplexing” that it prompted the following letter, signed by all the Texas Catholic Bishops:
December 9, 2013
The Honorable Dan Huberty Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78768
Dear Representative Huberty:
I am writing at the behest of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas to share their concerns about a recent “pro-life scorecard” released by Texas Right to Life (TRTL). This “scorecard” purports to declare which Texas legislators are “pro-life” based on a selective number of votes during the 83rd Legislative Session.
Unfortunately, the unconventional methodology and subjective scoring of the TRTL scorecard produced a number of perplexing results–including assigning low scores to pro-life lawmakers who have worked long and hard to protect and preserve life.
As you know, the Texas Catholic Conference does not use scorecards. Instead, our bishops encourage parishioners to fully form their consciences through prayer and education about issues. Scorecards are a poor substitute for that level of thoughtful policy engagement. Perhaps the most faulty implication of the scorecard is that, in its current form, it casts the tradition of Catholic teaching as being insufficiently pro-life–which is a patently absurd notion. TRTL does not have license to publicly define who is sufficiently pro-life or not.
Some legislative scorecards, when created objectively and appropriately, can be informative. If not, they stop being about informing the public and become more about advancing political agendas, with the unfortunate result that some citizens end up being misled about the issues and misinformed about the voting records of their legislators.
The recent TRTL scorecard selected only three bills (and assorted amendments) to calculate the scores out of the thousands of bills considered during the 83 rd Legislative Session. Several pro-life bills were excluded from consideration. For example, the TRTL scorecard did not include or minimized support for bills that would have prohibited abortion coverage from insurance plans provided in the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchanges (HB 997); prohibited sex selection abortions (HB 309); strengthened parental rights to reduce judicial bypass for teen abortions (HB 3243); or criminalized coerced abortions (HB 3247). All these proposals were unquestionably pro-life, yet were not scored equitably on the TRTL scorecard.
As a result of this selective vote counting, several legislators, who have spent their careerscommitted to pro-life issues, were said to “reject opportunities to protect the sanctity of innocent human life” when that is clearly not the case. For example, Senator Bob Deuell was responsible for requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (SB 537)—a key provision of the landmark prolife legislation that ultimately passed during the Special Session. However, the TRTL political action committee gave him no credit for authoring this pro-life bill. In another instance, State Rep. Bill Callegari was given no credit for his authorship of the parental rights bill (HB 3243).
The method by which the scores were assigned was haphazard and confusing. Some legislators were awarded more points than others for the same legislative action, while other legislators’ contributions were completely ignored. For example, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Rep. John Smithee both authored pro-life bills during the session, but Laubenberg was awarded 25 points for authorship of HB 2, while, Smithee was awarded only six points for authoring another pro-life bill that sought to remove abortion coverage in the insurance exchanges. In another example, Rep. Tracey King, who voted against both pro-life omnibus bills (HB 2 and SB 5) received a higher pro-life score than Rep. J. D. Sheffield, who voted FOR both HB 2 and SB 5.
Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. was not scored as pro-life, despite his co-sponsoring and voting for HB 2 and SB 5 and twice crossing party lines to be the final necessary vote to suspend Senate rules and debate on these bills.
What was most troubling to the Texas Catholic Bishops was that the scorecard appears to attack those legislators who supported perhaps one of the most pro-life bills during the 83rd session: protecting individuals and families at the end of life by reforming the Texas Advance Directives Act. Advance directives reform not only would have given families more tools to protect their loved ones at the end of life, but would have provided conscience protections to medical providers to refuse inflicting burdensome and unnecessary procedures on patients. The advance directives law would have changed current law to:
prohibit the involuntary denial of care to critically ill patients, including food and water;
prevent doctors from making unilateral “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders without consulting families; and,
require treating all patients “equally without regard to permanent physical or mental disabilities, age, gender, ethnic background, or financial or insurance status.”
The advance directives reform bill was a moral and compassionate approach to end-of-life care that was opposed by TRTL, but supported by a broad coalition of groups, including the Texas Catholic Conference, the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, the Texas Alliance for Life, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, the AARP, the Texas Pro-Life Action Team, the Texas Conservative Coalition, and the Catholic Hospital Association of Texas. Advance directives reform was important to the Catholic Church–and to many legislators–because we recognize human life as a gift from God that is innately sacred–from conception to natural death. We have taken this position after much reflection to ensure that the law respects the natural dying process.
The implication to be drawn from this scorecard is that TRTL opposed the advance directives reform bill, and appears to have taken to punishing those pro-life legislators who disagreed with them by inaccurately casting them as not being sufficiently pro-life. That is plainly inaccurate.
In the case of the advance directives reform bill, legislators who supported the law were strongly pro-life; they merely opposed the TRTL’s position. These are not necessarily the same thing. It is unfortunate that so many members who continue to fully stand for life are being attacked for doing just that. We hope that this letter has clarified what would otherwise have remained an unfair and confusing characterization.
Jeffery R. Patterson Executive Director
This is great news!
Government, as a tool of and with the consent of the governed, has one job: to protect the inalienable rights of humans. If some – the powerful, the ones with the most votes or most guns – can decide that some humans aren’t human enough to have the right not to be killed, then no one is safe. Our state has determined that we will license doctors and medical technology — therefore, we must restrict the single instance where one human being may decide that another is not human enough and enlist the aide of our licensed doctors and technology to end a life.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas abortion restrictions to remain in effect:
“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state.”
\”Upon the completion of the transfer of all assets to Generation Healthcare, Planned Parenthood will no longer exist in Lubbock Texas.\”
Victory on two levels! Many of Texas’ abortion facilities are closed today because they don’t have doctors with hospital privileges and today, the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of religious conscience rights, even for people who own businesses!
From The Hill, a blog out of Washington, DC:
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.
Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.
“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.
Court of Appeals says HB 2 abortion restrictions go forward
By Michael King, 7:53PM, Thu. Oct. 31
Fifth Circuit Stays Yeakel Ruling
In a decision released late Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, overturning the ruling of federal District Judge Lee Yeakel and allowing enforcement of the restrictions that will likely leave thousands of Texas women without access to abortion care.
Specifically, the three-judge panel stayed Yeakel\’s injunction against the law — specifically the provision that will require doctors administering abortions to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital – pending an appeal to the whole Fifth Circuit that will not be heard until at least January. That means many clinics will close, because most doctors will not be able to get admitting privileges to hospitals where they do not normally practice. The ruling left in place, in part, the judge\’s ruling that medication abortions could be performed in certain circumstances, when the mother\’s life or health is in danger.
It appears that Planned Parenthood doesn’t change teen pregnancy rates – it’s neither necessary nor effective:
The study uses pregnancy rates reported by the Texas Department of Health State Services.
In 1996, a year before opposition to Planned Parenthood began, the teen pregnancy rates across the panhandle was more than 43.6 per 1,000 girls.
Two years after all facilities had closed, teen pregnancy was at 24.1 per 1,000 girls. Researchers are claiming that this is a significant confirmation that Planned Parenthood\’s presence and its sex education programs are not a necessary tool in reducing teen pregnancy.
But that doesn\’t seem to be the case everywhere across the state.
NewsChannel 10 has done some more research of it\’s own. In other areas of Texas where Planned Parenthood is a part of sex education and teen pregnancy rates have also dropped.
Texans paid for this study by the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts, Texas Policy Evaluation Project, founded to “evaluate” the effect of the 2011 State budget cuts on Family Planning, ignoring the deep cuts on everything else the State funded. (Speaking of ignoring: the website hasn’t updated the information on Family Planning since the 2013 Legislature added over $200 Million dollars to the program.)
Tx-PEP, as they call themselves, got some publicity on a San Antonio radio station, WOAI, today, complaining that women will have to “go without” elective abortions.
A pro choice activist group says the strict new abortion restrictions which were approved by the Texas Legislature in July will result in more than 22,000 Texas women per year being unable to undergo an abortion, 1200 WOAI news reports.
“Women particularly in rural areas and outside of cities who want to terminate a pregnancy, will have no recourse because there will be no late term providers left,” Jody Jacobsen of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, told 1200 WOAI news.
Elective abortions are “elective.” These are not abortions to save the life of the mother. They are abortions due to “choice.”
Of course, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project doesn’t admit that none of the current abortionists are in rural areas. In other words, anyone seeking an elective abortion today must go to a big city and may be inconvenienced.
Forget any pretense at impartiality:
The laws do not cover women who are less than twenty weeks gestation, and abortions will still be available to them.
But Jacobsen says it’s all a matter of personal freedom.
“Who is Rick Perry to tell me what decisions I should or should not have made, or what any other woman should or should not have made,” she said.
Peggy Fikac once again proves that she’s not a reporter, and most certainly not anything like a fair and balanced media representative.
From the Houston Chronicle’s coverage of events in Austin, today:
“Obamacare is the wrong prescription for American health care, and I will never stop fighting against it,” Abbott said, joined by small business people and a doctor who also oppose the law at a company, the Texas Mailhouse.
One reason that Abbott gave for fighting the law came in response to a doctor who asked him from the audience about what Texas could do to keep the federal law from interfering with doctors’ judgment about the best way to treat their patients.
“You’re raising one of the more challenging components of Obamacare, and a hidden component in a way, and that is government is stepping in between the doctor-patient relationship and trying to tell you what you can and cannot do, interfering with both your conscience and your medical oath to take care of your patient,” said Abbott, who is campaigning to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.
That is similar to arguments raised against tighter abortion restrictions approved in special session, including a ban on the procedure at 20 weeks, along with stricter regulations on clinics and abortion-inducing drugs.
I am that doctor from the audience. Ms. Fikac is correct that I voiced concern over the Federal interference between the patient and the doctor. She’s flat wrong about Texas regulation of medicine by bring abortionists up to standards being equivalent to the
I prefaced the question by noting that it is the State of Texas that properly regulates Texas Doctors and medicine. At the State level, patients and doctors have more influence on our elected officials and the people they appoint to write regulations and enforce the law than we do on the Federal level.
I also noted that because of the increasing interference over the years by Medicare, I am concerned about the reach that this new set of regulations will have, including ever-invasive micro-reporting of patient’s private medical conditions. (I named the upcoming move to the ICD-10, which will be a nightmare, requiring doctors to make distinctions between medical conditions, out to five (5) decimal places.
As bad as the bureaucracy of the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been in the past, I don’t look forward to the additional layer of IRS income verification, audits and enforcement.
We could stick closer to home, with the Texas Health and Human Services, the Texas Medical Board, and the Texas Insurance Commission!
Conscience? More “Trust me, I’ll violate my conscience” news:
Tolerance. Diversity. Broad-mindedness. Those are the words.
Bullying. Discriminating. Compelling. Those are the deeds.
The contradictory words and deeds often come from one and the same individuals–and in a case I learned about today, companies. Turns out the words of tolerance, diversity and broad-mindedness only apply to those who comply with the dogma and submit to the will of the speakers.
Here’s an email I received this morning from a pharmacist member of the Christian Medical Association:
“Subject: Forced to resign over mandate to sell the morning after pill.
“Just to let you know that Rite-Aid corporation came out with a stricter policy on July 5, 2013 that requires all employees to accommodate the sale of the morning-after pill to all comers, of either gender and of any age.”
While I don’t believe that Plan B is an abortifacient, I do believe it’s a powerful drug and that adolescents shouldn’t be able to buy it over the counter. I also find it hard to trust someone who will agree to go against their conscience!
“They put the three of us up front like a “panel” discussion, and the reporters started asking us questions about our presentation, allowing us an opportunity to talk about what we came to present. About 20 minutes into the interview, the Secretary General of MIWA, a Canadian woman, burst into the room (I kid you not. …and all of this is on camera), and came up to the table and said “What presentation is this? Donna Harrison said “it’s not a presentation”. So she snarled “Why are you being interviewed? At that point, the answers were left to Anna, our host. Anna said that this was a requested interview by the press.
“The SecGen then said “Who gave you permission to interview these people?” And the reporters said “We are the press, we don’t need anyone’s permission. We have freedom of the press” And the Sec Gen snarled at Anna and said “Did you arrange this? Did you talk to the organizing committee?” And Anna said “I am on the organizing committee. I don’t need to talk to anyone.” And the Sec Gen stood in front of the camera, and refused to move, and said “The interview is over.” Then the reporters said “You can’t do this. We have the freedom of the press. You are interfering with the freedom of the press.” But the Sec Gen would not move and said “The interview is over.””
The $1.4 Million previously reported was the part that Texas will receive, not the total. Can you guess how the (very few) media reports (if you can find them) are playing the story?
From the July 30, Houston Chronicle:
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Tuesday settled a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleged the Houston nonprofit engaged in fraudulent Medicaid billing for $4.3 million – nearly $3 million more than was announced last week by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Yes, Planned Parenthood is quoted as claiming that the settlement for the AG’s finding that they are guilty of over $30M in fraud is “baseless” and simply a way to end harassment and to avoid turning over the (altered) medical records of patients. But the spin on the story is that Texas’ Attorney General, Greg Abbott, didn’t report the total and sent out his announcement before the settlement was signed by all parties.
My news search yields some op-eds and stories by Texas’ newspapers and a few more on pro-life sites.
I wrote this to the San Antonio Express News, in response to an “Other Views” Commentary a couple of weeks ago that claimed our pro-life HB2 violated the “separation of church and state.” It was rife with errors, easily corrected:
1. Abortion isn’t “private.” It is performed by licensed doctors in licensed abortion facilities, under laws regulating the practice of medicine passed by the elected Legislature of the state of Texas.
2. Women’s health and family planning clinics that offer federal and state funded health and cancer screenings and contraception are prohibited by both state and federal law from performing elective abortion. These clinics aren’t licensed abortion facilities and aren’t affected by HB2.
3. After Pennsylvania, Virginia and Missouri passed laws requiring safety standards similar to those in HB2, most abortion facilities in those states remained open.
4. Abortion facilities are allowed 16 months to come up to standard. If abortion facilities close, it will be because business owners decide not to invest in their facilities.
5. HB2, like earlier Texas laws, protects the mother if her life is endangered by continuing the pregnancy.
6. HB2 doesn’t create any criminal charges for the mother, only for physicians who perform illegal abortions after five months.
HB2 does require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in case their patients have complications requiring hospitalization and abortion facilities to meet building standards known to improve patient safety.
More, including some philosophy, via Protect the right to life – San Antonio Express-News.
#Stand4Life: As only a woman with first-hand experience can tell us:
If a woman tells her doctor she wants to have a double mastectomy, the doctor won’t assume she’s made a sound decision. He or she will want to review her health history, get a detailed family history, find out if the woman has tested positive for the gene that will put her at increased risk, and so forth.
Similarly, when a woman expresses her desire to have an abortion, the health care provider should not assume she’s making a sound decision. It is their duty to make sure she understands her Carbaby’s development, including a way for her to see an image of her baby. And if that’s not possible, at least an image of a baby at the same developmental stage. Pregnant women deserve exposure to as much information as possible. I would argue that there is no more serious matter than the creation of a new life, save the destruction of it. This is no time to withhold vital information and resources.
As a point of comparison, several years ago my routine screening mammogram showed something abnormal. The immediate follow up diagnostic mammogram confirmed an abnormal mass. The radiologist brought me into her office to discuss the images with me. She showed me the area of concern. Explained the difference in color and shadow and what that meant. She also discussed why the image suggested a mass that was hard, and why that added to her concern. She recommended we move forward with an ultrasound and a fine needle aspiration. Throughout the entire discussion she checked in to make sure I understood everything. She invited questions. During the fine needle aspiration, she showed me the image on the monitor as she was guided with the needle to the area in question. When she withdrew the contents of the mass, she showed it to me and explained, to our great relief, that it appeared that I had nothing more than a benign cyst.
Looking back, I now realize that I knew more about the cyst in my breast than the 3-month old baby who once grew inside me. And that is dreadfully wrong. Not because I knew too much about the cyst. But because I knew too little about my baby.
Edited – title for typo – 8/1/13 at 7:45 AM — BBN
Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune only sees the political debate behind both HB2’s restrictions on abortion and Medicaid expansion.
The state didn’t expand its Medicaid program, and you’ll still find legislators across the spectrum thinking about the consequences, good or bad.
This summer’s debate on abortion restrictions turned entirely on politics. It wasn’t about the money.
Lay aside the silliness that any Conservative considers abortion simply about the money or politics. Let’s look at the Medicaid debate. Rather than the TT’s simplistic view of “9 Federal dollars for every 1 dollar the State spends,” remember that the operative word in “Medicaid expansion” is “expansion.”
Under the expansion, the only criteria would be income. Any asset test or obligation to look for work would be forbidden by Federal law.
Healthy men and women who choose not to work, not those on disability – and even those whose employers offer some sort of health insurance would have come under the State’s Medicaid. Many more would find it “cheaper” to quit work or avoid work and go under Medicaid and other benefits.(Back when I was delivering babies, I had several two-income families who found it better for mom to quit work after she became pregnant, since Medicaid picked up the cost of insurance and co-pays for her and the kids.)
I remember a tall, healthy-appearing (I’m qualified to judge, BTW) 30-year-old man who testified against HB2 and all its precursors. He not only showed up for repeated Committee meetings, he was there every time there for the House and Senate hearings. He loudly claimed to be a Texas law school graduate who is (STILL!) unemployed – and criticized and ranted at our Legislators for not “giving” him a job and benefits. Who wants to pay his Medicaid?
The expansion wouldn’t significantly cut the oft-quoted high rate of uninsured in Texas, even according to TT’s own numbers. Over 1/2 of Texas’ uninsured make too much money for Medicaid, and 1/3 make more than $50,000 a year. Lawbreaking immigrants (someone’s bound to be insulted if I use the term “illegal immigrants”) make up 1/4 of the uninsured, but they wouldn’t be covered without breaking a few more laws. The disabled, low-income mothers and children and the elderly in nursing homes would have continued to be covered under current programs – at least as long as the money holds out.
A question for @GregAbbott_Tx: When will charges be filed?
Planned Parenthood has been found to be guilty of Medicaid fraud including altering medical records and even making taxpayers pay for abortions! History from California in 2004, New York in 2008, others in New Jersey and Washington state. And now, a settlement for $1.4 Million in 2013 in Texas.
“[W]hat are we to make of a consistent pattern of overbilling and fraud across several states, involving millions upon millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money? Given the impenitent attitude of the Texas affiliates and the Planned Parenthood central command, perhaps it is time to inform Cecile Richards & Co. that orange is the new black.”