Marion Williams sings Where You There When They Crucified My Lord.
NPR staff memo quoted by La Shawn Barber in NPR Drops ‘Pro-Life for'”Abortion Rights Opponents’:
NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate.
This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.
On the air, we should use “abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)” and “abortion rights opponent(s)” or derivations thereof (for example: “advocates of abortion rights”). It is acceptable to use the phrase “anti-abortion”, but do not use the term “pro-abortion rights”.
What’s in a name? Barber points us to: “How the Public is Manipulated” which gives us a heads up and out of the sand noting:
It Makes a Pro-Abortion Assumption that the Debate is About Abortion Rights, Not Abortion It Plays Word Games with the Word “Rights” It Ignores the Fact That Abortion Can Exist Without Abortion Rights It Assumes the Negative It Ignores the Concept of a Right to Life It Affirms the Concept of a Right to an Abortion
Barber makes some points of her own for the mainstream media:
- Refer to abortion supporters as “right to life opponents”
- Refer to gun control supporters as “gun rights opponents”
- Refer to “hate speech” backers as “speech rights opponents”
- Refer to racial preferences advocates as “constitutional rights opponents”
Write me if she missed any.
Terri Schiavo died on March 31st, a week from today. Next week will mark the 5 year anniversary of that murderous action/event, indicating a turning point . Next week also begins Holy Week leading to Easter. It also marks the beginning of Passover, starting Tuesday, March 30th. It is a good time to consider: Are we to value human life by its utility or because God has have placed His life in us? Passover is about God delivering His people from Slavery and setting them/us free for Life. Easter celebrates the victory of Life over Death, Christ’s victory. Terri’s death brings both into focus.
Writes Dr. Daniel Eisenberg, M.D. in The Death of Terri Schiavo: An Epilogue:
Blurring the line between life and death, and between medical data and morality, her death signifies a disturbing turning point for American society.
Terri Schiavo did not die of PVS; she died of starvation and dehydration
Terri Schiavo died on March 31, 2005, after lasting 13 days without food or water. Her life and death had a profound impact on the American psyche and brought to the forefront the unresolved debate regarding how we treat severely disabled people and who should be their surrogate decision-makers. There is reason to be disturbed by the role that physicians play in molding public opinion regarding end of life issues, because their expertise is generally in medicine and not ethics.
A letter from a neurologist in complete disagreement with Dr. Eisenberg prompted him to respond:
He (the neurologist) states:
…I find myself in sharp disagreement with Dr. Eisenberg. The article refers to PVS as a “cognitively impaired” condition. In fact, there is no cognition whatsoever in someone who is in a persistent vegetative state. Modern aggressive emergency care developed over the last several decades, has allowed us to resuscitate patients with what would have been terminal hypoxic brain injury (what happened to Terri Schiavo). Unfortunately, the entire brain cortex becomes nonfunctional in these people and we are left with a functioning brainstem that allows for reflex eye movements, facial movements etc. PVS patients can even track a moving object in their field of vision because collicular function of the intact brainstem reflexively guides these eye movements. It is all too easy to imagine sentience in the PVS patient because, as humans, so much of our communication is nonverbal and cued by facial and eye movements.
Dr. Eisenberg responds:
His assessment of the persistent vegetative state is succinct and it is accurate. To the best of our medical understanding, we presume that a person in a persistent vegetative state has no cognition whatsoever. I never gave much credence to those who argued about the rehabilitation potential of Terri Schiavo. Not because I did not believe it to be true (I have no way of knowing), but because it really does not make a difference to outsiders like myself. CT scan results, Glascow Coma Scales, and following balloons are really only of interest to neurologists and family members who need to arrange for the best possible care for the patient.
As a society, what we must concern ourselves with are two questions: What is the significance of being so terribly impaired that there is no cognition and how should such people be treated? It is here that the doctor falls woefully short in his analysis. While I am sure that his credentials are impeccable and his understanding of neurology is excellent, he completely misunderstands the role that physicians should play in society’s evaluation of end of life issues (as we will discuss) and he clearly does not appreciate where medical knowledge ends and morality begins.
Neurologist’s letter continued:
Nevertheless, the activity of our cerebral cortex is what distinguishes our very “humanness”. If the cortex is dead, then the human individual is dead. . . If the cortex is destroyed, personhood ceases. PVS is an abomination of life –in essence a human shaped colony of cells with no sentience — a glorified cell culture. . .Thankfully, I have not seen this irrational preservation of “life” at all costs in this situation since my training in the early 1970’s. . . Patients with PVS and end-stage Alzheimer’s disease routinely have IV’s and feeding tubes removed in the United States every day.
Dr. Eisenberg responds:
The opinions expressed above are very widespread in the medical community today. Variations of these views are espoused by many of the physicians with whom I have discussed this topic. For this reason, they cannot be lightly brushed aside. Please understand that the issue is not autonomy (which is an independent and important issue), but the definition of life. Is the cerebral cortex what makes us human and is it true that “if the cortex is dead, then the human individual is dead”?
Of course not. My physician critic clearly has stepped beyond the bounds of medicine into the realm of philosophy, and that is the problem. As any physician knows, there is neither a state in America nor any sane physician in the world who would declare that someone who is in a persistent vegetative state is dead. If PVS really equals death then why bother pulling the feeding tube? Just bury the patient with the feeding tube still in place! The doctor’s comments are clearly hyperbole, and represent a very insidious type of bias that leads people to equate PVS with death.
People want to feel “good” about the killing they allow whether by deeming a fetus ‘not a real living person’ or a person in a persistent vegetative state ‘as good as dead.’ In matters of morality, the doctor steps beyond the data and expertise of his training to play God. Dr. Eisenberg asks “why the medical knowledge of the physician seem to translate into skill in evaluating the value of life?”
Dr. Eisenberg reminds us:
“The belief that medicine can determine which lives are worth preserving was an intrinsic part of the pre-Nazi German medical establishment (see “Why Medical Ethics“). In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s:
“a number of prominent German academics and medical professionals were espousing the theory of “unworthy life,” a theory which advanced the notion that some lives were simply not worthy of living. . . If Mengele himself (an infamous physician who performed murderous experiments on live concentration camp inmates) became a cold-blooded monster at the height of his Nazi career, he certainly learned at the feet of some of Germany’s most diabolical minds. As a student Mengele attended the lectures of Dr. Ernst Rudin, who posited not only that there were some lives not worth living, but that doctors had a responsibility to destroy such life and remove it from the general population. His prominent views gained the attention of Hitler himself, and Rudin was drafted to assist in composing the Law for the Protection of Heredity Health, which passed in 1933, the same year that the Nazis took complete control of the German government. This unapologetic Social Darwinist contributed to the Nazi decree that called for the sterilization of those demonstrating the following flaws, lest they reproduce and further contaminate the German gene pool: feeblemindedness; schizophrenia; manic depression; epilepsy; hereditary blindness; deafness; physical deformities; Huntington’s disease; and alcoholism.
I ask again: Are we to value human life by its utility or because God has have placed His life in us?
Read more here.
Good news in my e-mail from Catholics Come Home – Thousands are coming home this Easter!
During a time when the secular press is infiltrating the media with negative, anti-Catholic news, Catholics Come Home (CCH) makes headlines for its courageous media effort to invite thousands home to the Church in dioceses around the country. The astounding success of the CCH Advent and Lent television campaigns have been noticed by the National Catholic Register, who will feature CCH on the front page of its upcoming holy week edition to be released Monday, March 28. You can read the article online here.
By THOMAS SOWELL
With the passage of the legislation letting the federal government take control of the country’s medical care system, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of America’s values and institutions. Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels — as momentous as that is — does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation. If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an executive order of the president to do that.
Our New Masters
With politicians now having access to our most confidential records and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters? Despite whatever “firewalls” or “lockboxes” there may be to shield our medical records from prying political eyes, nothing is as inevitable as leaks in Washington. Does anyone still remember the hundreds of confidential FBI files that were “accidentally” delivered to the White House during Bill Clinton’s administration? Even before that, J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive confidential FBI files on numerous Washington power holders made him someone who could not be fired by any president of the U.S., much less by any attorney general, who was nominally his boss. The corrupt manner in which this massive legislation was rammed through Congress, without any of the committee hearings or extended debates that most landmark legislation has had, has provided a road map for pushing through more such sweeping legislation in utter defiance of what the public wants. Too many critics of the Obama administration have assumed that its arrogant disregard of the voting public will spell political suicide for congressional Democrats and for the president himself. But that is far from certain. True, President Obama’s approval numbers in the polls have fallen below 50%, and that of Congress is down around 10%. But nobody votes for Congress as a whole, and the president will not be on the ballot until 2012. They say that, in politics, overnight is a lifetime. Just last month, it was said that the election of Scott Brown to the Senate from Massachusetts doomed the health care bill. Now some of the same people are saying that passing the health care bill will doom the administration and the Democrats’ control of Congress. As an old song said, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
The voters will have had no experience with the actual, concrete effect of the government takeover of medical care at the time of the 2010 congressional elections or the 2012 presidential election. All they will have will be conflicting rhetoric — and you can depend on the mainstream media to go along with the rhetoric of those who passed this medical care bill. The ruthless and corrupt way this bill was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, and in defiance of public opinion, provides a road map for how other “historic” changes can be imposed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid. What will it matter if Obama’s current approval rating is below 50% among the current voting public, if he can ram through new legislation to create millions of new voters by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants? That can be enough to make him a two-term president, who can appoint enough Supreme Court justices to rubber-stamp further extensions of his power. When all these newly minted citizens are rounded up on election night by ethnic organization activists and labor union supporters of the administration, there might be enough votes to salvage the Democratic Party’s control of Congress as well. The last opportunity that current American citizens may have to determine who will control Congress may well be the election in November of this year. Off-year elections don’t usually bring out as many voters as presidential election years. But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return.