Discussion

Spain: Law on Citizenship for Sephardic Jews Ends in Failure

Gatestone Institute - Mon, 2019-08-19 11:00
The legislation's main barriers to Spanish citizenship have been obligatory exams on Spanish language and socio-cultural history, the need to travel to Spain and exorbitant fees and costs — all without any guarantee of success. "We want to express our
Categories: Discussion

After Epstein's Death, Time for Full Justice

Gatestone Institute - Mon, 2019-08-19 10:00
Let me be clear: I never met Virginia Giuffre, who is now 36 years old. There is documented evidence that until she met her lawyers in 2014, Giuffre never accused me.... In one email, a well-known journalist urged her to include my name because of my
Categories: Discussion

Still time for some late summer reading:  two books for holiday packing

Christian Medical Fellowship - Mon, 2019-08-19 08:22

A book on the impact of new ideologies on European culture and another on their impact on Africa and international development should be relevant for quite a few holiday destinations.

 

Two books that I have recently read have been hugely informative – and challenging.  I would love many others to read them too, so I have reviewed both briefly in this blog. The first book is a longer and more in-depth read, while the second is lighter and easier to read but no less challenging in its subject matter.

 

The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the name of freedom by Gabriele Kuby (Lifesite / Angelico Press, 2015, pp283, ISBN: 978-1621381549 )

The increasingly pervasive influence on Western society today from gender ideology, LGBT demands and now the transgender movement, is generating unprecedented threats to our freedom. Add to this the effects of pornography, much of current sex-education, combined with attacks on freedom of speech and religion, plus the advent of identity politics, and we have the central part of the culture wars we are facing today.

Kuby contends that the core of the global cultural revolution is the deliberate confusion of, and assault upon, sexual norms. In this excellent book, she sets out the background to all this and makes the case for why all those concerned about the deliberate sexualisation of our children, and about protecting conscience rights, free speech and liberty, must stand up to protect our freedoms in these areas.

It is not a light read and not an easy topic, but Kuby’s book is one of the most informative and eye-opening I have read on this issue. It is also thoroughly referenced throughout.

She ends on a more hopeful note, but not without challenges for the reader.

 

Target Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism in the twenty-first century by Obianuju Ekeocha & Dr Robert P George (Ignatius Press 2018, pp219, ISBN: 978-1621642152 )

Nigerian human rights activist, Obianuju Ekeocha, demonstrates in detail how Western Governments (which most certainly includes our own), billionaires and NGOs are systematically imposing a secular ‘morality’ on Africa that is completely alien to its culture of life and family values. She calls this a new ‘ideological colonialism’ of Africa by a cultural elite in the West.

Ekeocha sets out in detail how this new ‘colonialism’ is built on aid. While some donors have good intentions others deliberately seek to impose an ideology of sexual ‘liberation’, abortion rights, population control, radical feminism and anti-family policies, by tying aid to these ideologies. These are beliefs and practices which are antithetical to the inherent morals and beliefs of most Africans.

As well as the conditionality of various forms of aid, the book looks at how international legal situations are also being used to coerce countries into compliance.

Ekeocha provides plenty of references throughout. However, if more were needed on the export of Western values to Africa via ‘aid’, in April this year the UK Government pledged £42 million to the world’s two largest abortion providers, Marie Stopes International (MSI) and The International Planned Parenthood Federation to carry out abortions in developing countries. This is on top of the £163 million the UK already gave to MSI over the last five years.

This book is a relatively easy – albeit disturbing – read. Ekeocha has a driving passion to expose the new colonialism and her heart for her fellow Africans, perhaps most of all for unborn African children, shines through. For us Westerners, who believe our aid money is all being put to good use in Africa, this is a must-read.

Summer is not over yet – so still time to read these two books!

Categories: Discussion

How a palliative care bill negatively affected conscience rights in Vermont.

Alex Schadenberg - Mon, 2019-08-19 01:37
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In 2012, Vermont passed bill § 1871 Patient's bill of rights for palliative care and pain management bill. This bill seemed straight forward and it was seen as  seen as helping to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in Vermont. This bill stated:(a) A patient has the right to be informed of all evidence-based options for care and treatment, including palliative care, in order to make a fully informed patient choice. (b) A patient with a terminal illness has the right to be informed by a clinician of all available options related to terminal care; to be able to request any, all, or none of these options; and to expect and receive supportive care for the specific option or options available. (c) A patient suffering from pain has the right to request or reject the use of any or all treatments in order to relieve his or her pain. (d) A patient suffering from a chronic condition has the right to competent and compassionate medical assistance in managing his or her physical and emotional symptoms. (e) A pediatric patient suffering from a serious or life-limiting illness or condition has the right to receive palliative care while seeking and undergoing potentially curative treatment. (Added 2009, No. 25, § 3.)In May 2013 Vermont legalized assisted suicide. The assisted suicide statute (Act 39) states: The rights of a patient under section 1871 of this title to be informed of all available options related to terminal care and under 12 V.S.A. § 1909(d) to receive answers to any specific question about the foreseeable risks and benefits of medication without the physician’s withholding any requested information exist regardless of the purpose of the inquiry or the nature of the information. A physician who engages in discussions with a patient related to such risks and benefits in the circumstances described in this chapter shall not be construed to be assisting in or contributing to a patient’s independent decision to self-administer a lethal dose of medication, and such discussions shall not be used to establish civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action.Notice how the Patient bill of rights for palliative care and pain management and the assisted suicide act require physicians to provide all information and answers to any questions. Both statutes obligate physicians to provide information, even when the physician opposes one of the options.

Does requiring a physician to provide information also require the physician to prove a referral?

On May 23, 2017, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reported a victory, stating that Vermont physicians who object to assisted suicide are not required to provide information or refer for assisted suicide. 
The ADF signed an agreement with Vermont's Attorney General ensuring that physicians were not required to provide information or refer for assisted suicide.

According to Patient Choices Vermont, on December 18, 2017 US District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford decided that:“The agreement does not represent the views of the court on the merits of the parties' dispute … The consent agreement is a purely private agreement-not a judicial ruling-and not subject to review on appeal. But it is far from inconsequential and maintaining it on the court's docket has value in informing the public of the terms of the settlement struck by the parties.”Patient Choices Vermont argues that the language of the Patients bill of rights for palliative care and pain management statute, the assisted suicide statute and the decision by Judge Crawford requires Vermont physicians to provide assisted suicide information.
It is not completely clear whether the agreement between ADF and Vermont's Attorney General stands and it is not clear whether the language of both statutes require Vermont physicians to refer for assisted suicide.

Nonetheless, the concern about being forced to provide information about assisted suicide began with the language in the Patients bill of rights for palliative care and pain management act. 
In this case, a good intention resulted in a problematic outcome.
Categories: Discussion

The Extinction of Christians in the Middle East

Gatestone Institute - Sun, 2019-08-18 11:00
"I don't believe in these two words [human rights], there are no human rights. But in Western countries, there are animal rights. In Australia they take care of frogs.... Look upon us as frogs, we'll accept that — just protect us so we can stay in our
Categories: Discussion

Could this Be the Year of Persian Poetry?

Gatestone Institute - Sun, 2019-08-18 10:00
Iran is one of few countries in the world where the list of celebrities at any given time includes a number of poets and where poetry recitals draw crowds that compete with those of pop-music concerts. One of the first acts of Khomeini's regime was to
Categories: Discussion

America Can Stop China from Dominating Artificial Intelligence--And Should

Gatestone Institute - Sat, 2019-08-17 11:00
The People's Republic of China, nonetheless, is already an AI powerhouse, and for America to maintain its edge—and to prevent U.S. tech from being used for exceedingly disturbing purposes —Washington should force U.S. companies to end cooperative AI
Categories: Discussion

Is the Palestinian Authority Preparing for a New Intifada?

Gatestone Institute - Fri, 2019-08-16 11:00
Needless to say, none of the Jews visiting the Temple Mount was involved in violence or any kind of "provocation." The only violence that took place at the holy site came from Palestinians, who attacked the policemen with stones and chairs and hurled
Categories: Discussion

Australia's Dr Death is watching his clients die by suicide.

Alex Schadenberg - Thu, 2019-08-15 21:18
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
 
Nadia KajoujiIn September 2014, a former Minnesota nurse, William Melchert-Dinkel, was convicted of assisted suicide in the death of Mark Drybrough from England and attempting to assist the suicide of Canadian teenager Nadia Kajouji. Melchert-Dinkel was a suicide voyeur who preyed upon suicidal members of a chat-room and counselled them to die by suicide on front of a web-cam.

William Melchert-DinkelNow, an Australian euthanasia leader, Philip Nitschke, known as Dr Death, has created a private live streaming service to enable him to watch his suicidal clients die by lethal drugs.

According to Tom Place, writing for the Australian Associated Press and Daily Mail Australia, Nitschke used the private live streaming to watch two clients die in May by his new suicide method. He claims that other clients have also agreed to let him watch their suicide deaths.

Nitscke says that his motivation is to ensure that his new suicide method will provide a "good and timely" death.

Protest of Philip Nitschke.Nitschke, who has been involved with many controversial suicide deaths, lost his medical license in 2015 for his involvement in several controversial suicide deaths. At that time he was being investigated for his role in 20 deaths.
 
Recently Nitschke was challenged by a woman whose father died after receiving suicide advice from him.

In 2010, I wrote an article asking the question: Is Philip Nitschke different than Melchert-Dinkel? It seems more clear than ever that Nitschke has a suicide fetish that he is feeding with his new life streaming death service.
Categories: Discussion

Father with ALS Euthanized after being denied sufficient care in Canada

Alex Schadenberg - Thu, 2019-08-15 16:32
This article was published by National Review online on August 14, 2019.

Wesley J SmithBy Wesley J. Smith

A Canadian man disabled by ALS didn’t want to die now. He wanted to be cared for at home so he could be with his son.

Nope. The government’s socialized health-care system refused to pay for all the care he needed. But it sure paid to kill him by euthanasia. From the story:
Sean Tagert with his son.Relocation was not an option as that would have taken him away from his son, of whom he had partial custody. . . .

“Ensuring consistent care was a constant struggle and source of stress for Sean as a patient,” read the Facebook post in his honour.

“The few institutional options on hand, Sean pointed out, would have offered vastly inferior care while separating him from his family, and likely would have hastened his death,” the post read.

Tagert pieced together a suitable care facility in his own home, which included an expensive saliva-suction machine that was needed to prevent him from choking, according to the post.“We would ask, on Sean’s behalf, that the government recognize the serious problems in its treatment of ALS patients and their families, and find real solutions for those already suffering unimaginably,” read the post.
Because euthanasia is about “choice.”
Those with eyes to see, let them see.
Categories: Discussion

The Longest-Lasting Conspiracy Theory

Gatestone Institute - Thu, 2019-08-15 11:00
"To try to defeat an irrational supposition – especially when it is firmly held by its proponents – with a rational explanation is virtually impossible. Any information that does not correspond with the conspiracy theorists' preferred social, political,
Categories: Discussion

Iran: Using Torture, Execution to Defy Human Rights

Gatestone Institute - Thu, 2019-08-15 10:00
"[T]orture is widely used against suspects after their arrest and in the pre-trial phase in order to extract a confession," in spite of the fact that "Article 38 of the Iranian Constitution bans all forms of torture and forced confessions." — Latest
Categories: Discussion

Court order temporarily stops assisted suicide in New Jersey.

Alex Schadenberg - Wed, 2019-08-14 21:44
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have amazing news.

Smith and Associates, a New Jersey law firm, obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the New Jersey assisted suicide act from going into effect. 

The New Jersey assisted suicide law passed on March 25 and was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on April 12.

The assisted suicide law went into effect on August 1, but due to the 15 day waiting period, no one could legally die by assisted suicide until Friday August 16. Smith and Associates stated:
The Act (which should be more properly called the “New Jersey Physician-Assisted Suicide Act”), provides for, among other things, the self-infliction of death by way of fatal “medication”, i.e. pharmaceutical poisons; compelling even non-participating physicians to transfer patients’ medical records for the purpose of furthering the Statute’s aims against many of such physicians’ beliefs and duties; allowing for the disparate treatment of patients; allowing for the transfer of unused fatal pharmaceuticals to persons not otherwise authorized; and amending the statutory duty to otherwise warn of harm to others. Moreover, the Act provides that in advance of the effective date of August 1, 2019, no fewer than six (6) regulatory bodies were to have issued required rules and regulations. However, no such required regulations or rules have been issued, rendering the entire death process wholly unregulated. If the Act is not immediately enjoined, New Jersey citizens can actually begin dying pursuant to its provisions as early as August 16, 2019.The Superior Court of New Jersey, Justice Paul Innes, signed the temporary restraining order this morning. The New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Singh Grewel will have until September 13th to respond to the order.
Categories: Discussion

U.S. Government Report Shows Hospice Abuse and Sacrificing Patient Care for Profit

Alex Schadenberg - Wed, 2019-08-14 17:12
By Mark Hodges.

Groups opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide have been advocates of good hospice care. Stories about hospice abuse have created great concerns as we recognize that good care will reduce the demand for assisted dying while hospice abusive feeds the demand to legalize assisted suicide. Promoters of assisted suicide will often compare hospice care to assisted suicide and refer to hospice abuse to advocate for "more options" at the end of life.

The Trump Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General has released two scathing reports concerning the Hospice end-of-life-care industry, with the hope of cleaning up hospice abuse. These reports include stories of maggots in stomach feeding tubes; failing to clean wounds which ultimately became gangrened requiring leg amputations; ignoring pelvic injuries from sexual assault and giving wrong treatment that put patients in the hospital.

The reports specify “significant vulnerabilities” and “deficiencies” which put patients at risk and “jeopardize safety.” Patients were seriously harmed when hospices showed gross negligence or failed to report patient abuse.

Eighty-seven percent of hospices had at least one deficiency. One-third of hospices had complaints filed against them. Over 300 hospices (18%) had at least one “serious” deficiency or at least one “substantiated severe complaint” in 2016 alone. Most of those had a history of deficiencies or substantiated complaints.

Medicare, which pays for almost all hospice treatment, looks to state agencies and accrediting organizations to make sure hospices maintain quality of care for patients. Inspectors review clinical records, visit patients, investigate complaints, and report any deficiencies discovered.

The new government report includes both state and accrediting agencies’ findings. Nearly all hospices were surveyed.

Deficiencies included mismanagement, lack of quality control, improper vetting of staff, inadequate assessments, and poor care planning. As a result, patients suffered.

Horror stories abound. One woman was repeatedly abused by her caregiver/daughter, who literally chained her to her bed, and would “leave her mother in a wheelchair in the bathroom with the lights off and would spray her with water when she called out for help,” according to the government report. Hospice was told of the abuse, but did nothing --not even visit the patient for several weeks.

Another patient had an abusive neighbor, who frequently burst into his apartment “naked, high, and drunk” stealing the patient’s prescriptions. Hospice knew this was going on, yet did nothing to protect the patient, the government reported.

“These hospices did not face serious consequences,” the report says, because Medicare “cannot impose penalties, other than termination, to hold hospices accountable for harming beneficiaries.” Medicare’s only enforcement power is to take the offending hospice out of the Medicare program. It cannot levy fines, or issue sanctions, or close a facility.

One of the report’s recommendations is for Congress to give Medicare “enforcement tools” and “statutory authority...to effectively protect beneficiaries from harm.”

Medicare began dispersing tax dollars for hospice in 1982. As medicine advanced, hospice promised tax savings, with terminal patients cared for at home rather than in hospitals under ever-more-expensive and almost-always-futile medical procedures.

“At the first meetings of our national hospice organization, we were nearly all women, mostly volunteers working on making our communities better,’’ Dr. Joanne Lynn told the Washington Post.

As soon as government money for hospice was unleashed, for-profit companies began invading the industry. For-profit hospices have exploded twice as fast as non-profits.

The industry has quadrupled since 2000. That year, 70 percent of hospices were run by nonprofit organizations or government agencies; by 2012, the percentages were nearly reversed.

Today, hospice cares for more than 1.5 million patients.

“Once Medicare started paying for hospice, it was more men in suits, and the focus shifted to administration and sustainable financing,” Dr. Lynn lamented.

In other words, Big Business horned in, and with it came bottom-line-only concern and its inevitable corruption.

A Washington Post analysis found per-patient profit rose from $353 in 2002 to $1,975 in 2012. A Huffington Post investigation found for-profit hospices charged Medicare nearly 30 percent more per patient than nonprofits.

Medicare doled out $18 billion to hospices in 2017. A company’s profit is capped, on average, at $25,000 a patient.

With that kind of money at stake, sales became a top priority. Hospice salesmen, dubbed “Outreach Specialists,” aggressively sought customers from doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and Meals on Wheels groups. “Community Education Representatives” went to “health fairs” at senior centers with blood pressure testers and pitched families caring for an elderly loved one.

Whistleblowers from leading hospices testified that recruiters were told to stress the urgency of committing to hospice. Bonuses were given to reps who met new patient goals.

It gets worse. Ben Hallman’s 2014 exposé, “How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry,” found for-profit hospices pressured staff to illegally enroll unqualified patients, and falsified health records to get more tax dollars. Hospices also illegally-obtained hospital records, submitted insufficient documentation and did not adequately train caregivers.

Hospices even admitted patients who were not dying. The whole idea of hospice is to comfort the terminally ill --rules are two doctors have to certify the patient has only six months to live.

But healthier patients require fewer visits and stay longer, making for-profit companies more money.

“A longer length of stay is going to be more lucrative,” one hospice marketer explained. “If they come in very sick and die right away, it’s difficult to run a business that way.”

Medicare pays by the day, not the visit. Hospice companies can charge the government nearly $200 a day per patient ($6000 a month) for the first 60 days, then about $150 a day --regardless of how much care the patient needs, or how often hospice visits.

“They’re paying for a day of hospice with no accountability for what was done on that day,’’ Icahn School of Medicine Professor Melissa D. Aldridge said, “with a payment mechanism that is completely opaque as to what is being done.’’

Not surprisingly, average length of stay at for-profits is far longer than at non-profits (105 days/69 days).

The number of patients who didn’t die in California hospices jumped 50 percent from 2002 to 2012. At one Mobile AL hospice, 78 percent of “terminal” patients left alive.

A 2014 study found one woman who refused to take her cancer medicine, yet she kept getting better. After a year of hospice, she was finally tested. It turns out she never had cancer.

Multiple allegations from former employees charge hospices with enrolling patients who weren’t terminal --wasting well over $1 billion in tax dollars. Lawsuits also allege that patients received expensive care they didn’t need. The Trump Justice Department has joined several of those lawsuits.

According to the rules as they are now, hospices help determine whether a patient is terminal. At the start, two doctors certify a patient’s diagnosis. But re-approvals are routinely done by hospice physicians.

And corruption is made easy by Medicare’s acceptance of overly vague diagnoses, such as “debility” and “failure to thrive.” Next year, Medicare will prohibit such generalization in primary diagnoses.

“It is important that an initial step toward payment reform be taken as soon as possible,” industry watchdog MedPAC understated to Congress.

Hallman’s six month investigation also revealed over a thousand hospices hadn’t been inspected for more than seven years. The legal minimum was six years, until Congress under the Trump administration increased inspections to every three years.

Additional problems include “rogue” and false front hospices stealing tax dollars. Over billing, patient referral kickbacks, unneeded treatment, charging for therapies never administered, underqualified (lower paid) staff, and other methods of theft plague the industry.

From 2006 to 2014, the U.S. government charged that nearly every major for-profit hospice company committed billing fraud.

And there are even more serious charges.

Deaths from lethal doses of morphine and sedatives while under hospice care were brought to light by Peter Whoriskey in the Washington Post. Patients who were not dying when they started hospice, died from excessive doses of painkillers.

In 2009, the New York Times ran a story about “terminal sedation.” The article explained that a strong sedative, typically lorazepam, and a strong pain killer, typically morphine, are administered by an IV drip until heart rate and breathing are slowed until the patient can no longer eat or drink.

Patient overdosing “can intentionally hasten death,” the NYT article stated. A national survey found 83 percent of doctors said this is ethically permissible.

It is not known how often slow murder under the guise of palliative care is perpetrated. No data is collected about such lethal abuses.
 
Sandra writes, about the death of her father:
“I am absolutely certain that my father died because of the medication he was administered by hospice ...particularly the various forms of morphine he was given... These opioids caused the respiratory failure he went into as soon as hospice administered them to him. He was eligible for hospice with the diagnosis, ‘Failure To Thrive’ and ‘Debility’ after breaking his hip... He was just as alert (after the hip injury) as he had always been until hospice ‘snowed’ him... I didn’t hire hospice to push along my father’s demise.” The new government report concluded with recommendations to begin righting the hospice industry. The Trump Inspector General urges 
  • tighter, more extensive oversight of hospices, 
  • changing laws to allow Medicare to enforce violations, and 
  • public posting of reports finding deficiencies and violations on Medicare’s website, “Hospice Compare.”  
President Trump’s 2020 budget includes a proposal to allow disclosure of survey reports from accrediting organizations.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition believes good hospice care eliminates the falsely-perceived “need” for “mercy killing” (an oxymoron). “The principles and practice of good palliative hospice care already developed and utilized, makes it abundantly clear that there is no need to die in pain, loneliness and anxiety.”

We believe in caring, not killing.
But we are deeply concerned about the abuses and fraud that the U.S. government’s new report reveals. “Hospice abuse leads to a greater demand for the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide,” EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg explained.

We applaud the Trump administration’s Inspector General for a thorough investigation, support its recommendations as a start, and urge the strictest compliance to ethical standards throughout the hospice industry.
Categories: Discussion

Killing Free Speech in Canada

Gatestone Institute - Wed, 2019-08-14 11:00
As has become standard in such cases, the charter contains no definition of what constitutes "hate", making it a catchall for whatever the Canadian government deems politically inopportune. This is all exhaustingly familiar by now: Germany already has
Categories: Discussion

UK and US: Toxic Politics

Gatestone Institute - Wed, 2019-08-14 10:00
What neither side of this transatlantic tag-team seems to realise is that by putting into words their apparent hatred of the West and its allies, they are exposing themselves as antagonists of the very freedoms that enable them to speak or have economic
Categories: Discussion

Defending freedom of conscience on emergency contraception

Christian Medical Fellowship - Wed, 2019-08-14 08:31

The UK’s biggest abortion provider, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), has attacked pharmacists who do not sell the ‘morning after pill’ for conscience reasons.

After one incident where a pharmacist would not dispense emergency contraception to a woman for ‘personal’ reasons, BPAS condemned both the pharmacist and the conscience protections provided to pharmacists. A petition was also set up to prevent pharmacists from claiming freedom of conscience rights.

Under the current law, covered by guidance from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), pharmacists with a genuine conscientious objection to selling the pill can refer the customer to another pharmacist.

However, BPAS complained that it is ‘impossible to overstate the significance of even one pharmacist conscientiously objecting to selling the morning-after pill’.

Fortunately, the General Pharmaceutical Council, in this case, upheld their guidelines and the consequent media coverage has now died down, temporarily at least.

This may seem like a one-off minor incident, but it is an illustration of increasing pressures on freedom of conscience protections. It is often assumed that the role of the conscience in medicine is relevant only to a few specialised and limited areas such as contraception or abortion, but in fact, the concept of the conscience goes right to the heart of what it means to act in a moral way, to act with integrity.

If we do not stand by those who are under pressure, the problems will only get worse and will spread. A well-known quote often attributed to Burke, which may have actually come originally from JS Mill warns:

He should not be lulled to repose by the delusion that he does no harm who takes no part in public affairs. He should know that bad men need no better opportunity than when good men look on and do nothing.’

CMF has therefore written to the GPhC to ensure they are aware of our concerns and to thank them for holding to their guidance. The text of our letter is as follows, with their response after it:

‘I am writing to you following the recent news coverage of a Lloyds pharmacy worker who, according to news reports, conscientiously objected to selling the morning after pill and directed a customer to another pharmacy instead.

 I note that a petition has since been set up to prevent pharmacists from claiming conscientious objection rights.

 The Christian Medical Fellowship is the UK’s largest faith-based group of health professionals and we contributed with both written and oral evidence to your review of your Guidance on Religion, Personal Values and Beliefs. We publicly welcomed the new Guidance and the statement accompanying it, in which the Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council highlighted the positive contribution that pharmacists’ faith can make in their provision of care. We also welcomed the clear statement that: Pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs’.

We all aspire to person-centred care. In any care scenario, there are (at least) two parties – the carer and the one receiving care – each of whom has rights. The General Pharmaceutical Council guidance helpfully achieves a balance between the patient’s right to service access and the pharmacist’s right to freedom of conscience. 

Respect for the sincerely held religious and moral beliefs of employees is essential and we are concerned that some of the demands being made, based on this one recent case, would marginalise the beliefs, values and religion of pharmacists disproportionately and unnecessarily, and trivialise their right to freedom of conscience under the law. Despite widespread coverage of this case, we have yet to see evidence of recurring complaints under the present provisions. 

While we strongly support the right to freedom of conscience for pharmacists, we do also emphasise the importance of openness and sensitive communication with colleagues and employers; any refusal to supply should be made courteously and sensitively.

On behalf of CMF, I want to thank the Council for protecting the right of pharmacists to refuse to engage in certain procedures that violate their most profound moral convictions. 

I also encourage the Council to continue to make it clear, publicly, that all pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs.

Yours faithfully

 Dr Mark Pickering
Chief Executive, CMF

In response, the GPhC replied with the following two sentences:

‘Our existing guidance ‘In practice: Guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs’ (to which you refer) remains in place. We have no current plans to review it.

As you are aware, the guidance sits under our standards for pharmacy professionals and relates to standard 1, Pharmacy professionals must provide person-centred care.

 

The point here is simple but vital; if we care about liberty and personal integrity, we must make a reasoned defence of it in the public square, from the smallest incident to the biggest.

 

 

Categories: Discussion

Disturbing trends revealed in latest Washington State assisted suicide stats.

Alex Schadenberg - Tue, 2019-08-13 21:33
This article was published by HOPE Australia on August 9, 2019.
The most recent statistics for Washington State’s assisted suicide laws demonstrate what we have seen in jurisdiction after jurisdiction that have passed these laws: a dramatic increase in assisted suicide deaths, the emergence of “specialist” assisted suicide doctors, the lack of psychological care… it’s an all-too-familiar story.

An increase in assisted suicide deaths


In the ten years since the law has passed, the number of assisted suicides has increased by 300 per cent. It is a similar trend to what we have seen in other jurisdictions where assisted suicide has been legalised. What begins as promised “limited use” expands to become a much more common cause of death.Inadequate pain control or concern about it does not motivate requests

As we see consistently in the statistics from Oregon, inadequate pain control or concern about it is not in the top 5 reasons patients requested assisted suicide. In Washington in 2018, the top five reasons that a patient requested assisted suicide were:
  • A loss of autonomy;
  • Being less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable;
  • A loss of dignity;
  • Being a burden on family, friends and caregivers; and
  • Losing control of bodily functions.
Assisted suicide advocates often claim that these laws are needed to avoid pain that cannot be relieved, but consistently, pain is not a motivating concern for patients.

Financial considerations play into the decision

Almost one in ten patients cite the financial implications of treatment as a reason for requesting assisted suicide. If governments were committed to providing genuine end-of-life choices, then we would not be seeing a significant number of patients asking for lethal drugs because they cannot afford treatment.

Almost no psychological treatment is provided

According to the data, only 4 per cent of patients were referred for psychological or psychiatric evaluation before being given lethal drugs. Despite the significant psychological impact of being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the evidence which shows the positive impact that treatment for depression can have on a patient’s acceptance of treatment options, it is alarming that only a tiny percentage of patients are referred for psychological or psychiatric assessment.

The rise of “specialist” assisted suicide doctors

In 2018, in 50 per cent of deaths, the doctor who prescribed the lethal drugs had known the patient for less than six months. The majority of cases, it seems, do not involve a long-term relationship between the doctor and patient.

Even more alarming, in some cases (the number of which was not reported), the length of the doctor-patient relationship was less than one week. Less than one week. This is evidence that there are doctors available who are willing to sign off on lethal drugs without having any meaningful relationship of care with the patient involved.

The latest data from Washington State is a reminder that assisted suicide laws follow a similar theme… expansion of use, lack of psychological and even medical care, and a true lack of end-of-life “choices.”
Categories: Discussion

Australian euthanasia promoter, Philip Nitschke, challenged by woman, whose father died after receiving suicide assistance.

Alex Schadenberg - Tue, 2019-08-13 19:53
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

As reported by Gary Adshead with News9.com.au, a woman, whose father died by suicide after being assisted Dr Philip Nitschke, challenged Nitschke at a pro-euthanasia Exit meeting.

Adshead reported that a woman named Candice confronted Nitschke, during the pro-euthanasia meeting stating:
Candice challenging Nitschke"There are young people who have died, people with depression," she argued back. "It's wrong, it's totally irresponsible, he's a doctor, it's wrong." Candice continued:
"Apologise for what happened to my father,"

"The information you put out kills people who are not in a rational state of mind to make that decision."Candice then spoke to the media afterwards and stated:
her father was in his 60s when he took his life two years ago, after seeking advice from Mr Nitschke's Exit International group that advocates legalising voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. She said her father was suffering from depression, but he had no terminal illness.Nitschke has been involved with many controversial suicide deaths. Nitschke lost his medical license in 2015 for his involvement in several controversial suicide deaths.
Categories: Discussion

Can Palestinians in Gaza Revolt Against Hamas?

Gatestone Institute - Tue, 2019-08-13 11:00
"Fifteen years ago, Hamas raised the slogan of 'Islam is the solution'.... Now, there is rampant corruption [under Hamas]. The corruption is in all institutions, including the judiciary and the police. Today, the corruption is organized and managed by
Categories: Discussion

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