Patrick Craine

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Quebec government will propose bill to legalize euthanasia by summer

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

QUEBEC, Jan. 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Quebec government says they will move to legalize “medical aid in dying” before the summer after a panel of legal experts issued a 400-page report showing how the province can circumvent the federal Criminal Code.

Though the plan’s advocates insist there will be strict safeguards, anti-euthanasia activists are warning that it will introduce the kind of “Belgian-style” euthanasia that resulted last month in deaf twins being euthanized because they feared going blind.

Véronique Hivon, Quebec’s minister responsible for the ‘dying with dignity’ file, says the legal experts’ report, released Tuesday, confirms that Quebec can move forward despite opposition from Ottawa.

"The constitutional basis is clear," Hivon told a press conference, according to CBC. "We are really in a field of regulating end-of-life care — and adding the possibility for somebody to have access to medical aid in dying."

Julie Di Mambro, spokeswoman for federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, told LifeSiteNews that “it is for the courts to determine if the province is acting within its jurisdiction.”

“This is a painful and divisive issue that has been thoroughly debated in Parliament. We respect Parliament’s decision,” she added.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said the protocols are so loose that “this is going to be wide open in the same way it is in Belgium.”

In the Flanders region in Belgium, one study found that 32% of euthanasia deaths were carried without the patients’ explicit request, and another found that 47% of euthanasia deaths are not reported as euthanasia.

Jean Charest’s Liberal government set up the panel of three legal experts, spearheaded by lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard, in June, in response to the Special Commission on Dying with Dignity’s call for the province to recognize “medical aid in dying” for adult residents of Quebec.

The panel said that while the federal government has authority over the Criminal Code, provinces have jurisdiction over health care. “The Quebec legislature has the constitutional power to organize the required legal framework for end-of-life care within the health-care system,” the report reads.

To circumvent the Criminal Code, the panel says the province should pass a law spelling out that when a physician hastens a patient’s death, it is not considered suicide.

Hivon says she plans to present a bill before the legislature adjourns for the summer.

The framework the panel proposes would require that the patient make a request in writing and that it be approved by two physicians. The request must be repeated again after 15 days, or five days if their health degenerates quickly.

Through the process, the doctor must maintain communication with the Quebec College of Physicians. After the patient dies, the file will be evaluated by three coroners who are to report problems to the police.

It would also require a committee to evaluate the patient’s mental capacity to ensure they are competent to make the request.

According to the Commission in its report last year, “aid in dying” should be freely requested by the patient, who must suffer from a “serious and incurable disease” with “no prospects of improvement.” The patient must be experiencing “physical or psychological suffering which is constant and unbearable.”

But Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Quebec-Vie, said experience has shown that “all of these safeguards tend to fall away very quickly.” He pointed as an example to the Netherlands, which has now authorized euthanasia even for disabled newborns through the Groningen Protocol.

Buscemi warned that Canadians should prepare for legalized euthanasia across the country in short order.

“I think it’s all going to happen really close together,” he said. “First Quebec, then two years later it will go the Supreme Court and it’s going to be a Morgentaler-type decision for euthanasia.”

“It’s a big train that’s been building up steam since 1967 and it’s going to blow right by,” he continued. “I don’t see any reversal in the short term on this. There’s massive momentum.”

In their report, the panel argues that while Canada’s Criminal Code was based on the principle of the sanctity of life when it passed in 1892, Canada’s laws have since evolved toward a recognition of the autonomy of the person.

The passage of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 was a major turning point, they say, particularly section 7, which recognizes the “right to life, liberty and security of the person.”

According to the panel, the adoption of the Charter meant the right to life became merely “one right among others.”

"It is no longer life for the sake of life that merits being maintained, but life with a certain dignity,” they write. “When that dignity no longer exists, there's no justification to maintain it."

The report highlights the importance of the 1988 R. v. Morgentaler decision, which, they write, “determined that the right to security gives the person a very broad protection of their physical integrity and protects them against all state interference that does not respect the rules of fundamental justice.”

“At the end of life, the state’s interest in the preservation of life is diminished in favor of the decision-making autonomy of the person,” they add.

Schadenberg says that while the mainstream media is using the term “assisted suicide,” the report from the Quebec Commission was clearly advocating for legalized euthanasia.

“Assisted Suicide is similar to euthanasia but not the same,” he explains on his blog. “Assisted Suicide is when one person directly and intentionally aids, encourages or counsels a person to commit suicide, but the death is technically done by the person who dies, whereas euthanasia involves the direct and intentional causing of death of another person, usually by lethal injection.”

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A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Colorado judge tosses suit alleging Planned Parenthood used state funds to pay for abortions

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Alliance Defending Freedom "will likely appeal" a Monday court decision dismissing their suit alleging Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains illegally used state funds to pay for abortions, an ADF lawyer told LifeSiteNews.

The ADF lawsuit claims that $1.4 million went from state government agencies to a Planned Parenthood abortion affiliate through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver County District Court Judge Andrew McCallin dismissed the case on the basis that ADF could not prove the funds paid for abortions. But ADF maintains that funding an abortion facility is indirectly paying for abortions, which violates state law.

ADF senior counsel Michael Norton -- whose wife, former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, filed the lawsuit – told LifeSiteNews that "no one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business with state taxpayer dollars."

"The State of Colorado even acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The Denver court seems to have agreed with that fact and yet granted motions to dismiss based on a technicality," said Norton.

According to Colorado law, "no public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion." There is a stipulation that allows for "the General Assembly, by specific bill, [to] authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each."

According to court documents, the Colorado law was affirmed by state voters in 1984, with an appeal attempt rejected two years later. In 2001, an outside legal firm hired by Jane Norton -- who was lieutenant governor at the time -- found that Planned Parenthood was "subsidizing rent" and otherwise providing financial assistance to Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, an abortion affiliate. After the report came out, and Planned Parenthood refused to disassociate itself from the abortion affiliate, the state government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.

Since 2009, however, that has changed, which is why the lawsuit is filed against Planned Parenthood, and multiple government officials, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

According to ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker, the fact that Planned Parenthood sent funds to the abortion affiliate should have convinced McCallin of the merits of the case. "The State of Colorado and the Denver court acknowledged that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars, in addition to millions of 'federal' tax dollars, flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate," said Decker.

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"Without even having the facts of the case developed, the Denver court seems to have granted motions to dismiss filed by the State of Colorado and Planned Parenthood on grounds the term 'indirectly' could not mean what Ms. Norton and Governor Owens said it meant in 2002 when they defunded Planned Parenthood."

"That, of course, is the plain meaning of Colo. Const., Art. V, § 50 which was implemented by the citizens of Colorado, and the reason for Ms. Norton’s lawsuit."

Decker told LifeSiteNews that "Colorado law is very clear," and that the state law "prohibits Colorado tax dollars from being used to directly or indirectly pay for induced abortions."

She says her client "has been denied the opportunity to fully develop the facts of the case and demonstrate exactly what the Colorado tax dollars have been used for." Similarly, says Decker, it is not known "exactly what those funds were used for. At this time, there is simply no way to conclude that tax dollars have not been used to directly pay for abortions or abortion inducing drugs and devices."

"What we do know is that millions of Colorado tax dollars have flowed through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that those tax dollars are being used to indirectly pay for abortions."

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did not return multiple requests for comment about the lawsuit.

The dismissal comes as Planned Parenthood fights an investigation by the state's Republican attorney general over a video by Live Action, as well as a lawsuit by a mother whose 13-year old daughter had an abortion in 2012 that she alleges was covered up by Planned Parenthood. The girl, who was being abused by her stepfather, was abused for months after the abortion.

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Courtesy of Online for Life
Steve Weatherbe

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Fledgling high-tech pro-life group marks 2,000 babies saved: 2-3 saved per day

Steve Weatherbe
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Online for Life, the Dallas-based pro-life marketing agency, saved its two-thousandth unborn baby earlier this year and is well on its way to saving its three thousandth by 2015.

“We are getting better all the time at what we do,” says founder Brian Fisher. “It used to be one baby saved every four to six weeks and now its two or three a day.”

But the most significant save? “It was the very first one,” he says, recalling the phone call from a crisis centre a month after OFL’s 2012 startup.  “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point … because [of] all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”

Though increasing market savvy has led Online for Life to expand offline, the core of the non-profit, donor-financed operation remains SEO -- search engine optimization -- targeting young women who have just discovered they are pregnant and gone onto the Web to find the nearest abortion clinic.

Instead, they find the nearest crisis pregnancy center at the top of their results page. Since OFL went online it has linked with a network of 41 such centers, including two of its own it started this year, in a positive feedback loop that reinforces effective messaging first at the level of the Web, then at the first telephone call between the clinic and the pregnant woman, and finally at the first face-to-face meeting.

“Testing is crucial,” says Fisher. “We test everything we do.” Early on, Online for Life insisted the clinics it served have an ultrasound machine, because the prevailing wisdom in the prolife movement was that “once they saw their baby on ultrasound, they would drop the idea of having an abortion.” While the organization still insists on the ultrasound, its own testing and feedback from the CPCs indicates that three quarters of the women they see already have children. “They’ve already seen their own children on ultrasound and are still planning to abort.” So ultrasound images have lost their punch.

OFL has had to move offline to reach a significant minority who have neither computers, tablets, or cell phones.  Traditional electronic media spots as well as bus ads and billboards carry the message to them.

As well, says Fisher, “unwanted pregnancy used to be a high-school age problem; now that’s gone down in numbers and the average age of women seeking abortion has gone up to 24.” By that age, he says, they are “thoroughly conditioned by the abortion culture. Even before they got pregnant, they have already decided they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant.”

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What they need—and fast, in the first two minutes of the first phone call—is sympathy, support, and a complete absence of judgement. Online for Life is always gathering information from its network on what responses are most effective—and this can vary city to city. The organization offers training to clinic volunteers and staff that stresses a thorough knowledge of the services on tap. “Any major city has all sorts of services—housing, education, health—available,” says Fisher.

The problem that OFL was designed to address was the crisis pregnancy centers’ market penetration. Three percent of women with unwanted pregnancies were reaching out to the CPCs, and seven per cent of those who did reach out were having their babies. “So about 2.1 children were being saved for every 1,000 unwanted pregnancies,” says Fisher. “That’s not nearly enough.”

So Fisher and two fellow volunteers dreamed of applying online marketing techniques to the problem in 2009. Three years later Fisher was ready to leave his executive position at an online marketing agency to go full-time with the life-saving agency. Now they have 63 employees, most of them devoted to optimizing the penetration in each of the markets served by their participating crisis centers.

The results speak for themselves. Where OFL has applied its techniques, especially with its own clinics, as many as 15-18 percent of the targeted population of women seeking abortions get directed to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. “It depends on the centres’ budgets and on how many volunteers they have to be on the phones through the day and night,” he says. “But we are going to push it higher. We hope to save our 2,500th child by the end of the year.”

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

Shock: UK mom abandons disabled daughter, keeps healthy son after twin surrogacy

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By Pete Baklinski

A UK woman who is the biological mother of twins born from a surrogate mom, has allegedly abandoned one of the children because she was born with a severe muscular condition, while taking the girl's healthy sibling home with her.

The surrogate mother, also from the UK — referred to as "Jenny" to protect her identity — revealed to The Sun the phone conversation that took place between herself and the biological mother over the fate of the disabled girl.

“I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a f****** dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child,’” she said.

Jenny, who has children of her own, said she decided to become a surrogate to “help a mother who couldn’t have children.” She agreed to have two embryos implanted in her womb and to give birth for £12,000 ($20,000 USD).

With just six weeks to the due date, doctors told Jenny she needed an emergency caesarean to save the babies. It was not until a few weeks after the premature births that the twin girl was diagnosed with congenital myotonic dystrophy.

When Jenny phoned the biological mother to tell her of the girl’s condition, the mother rejected the girl.

Jenny has decided along with her partner to raise the girl. They have called her Amy.

“I was stunned when I heard her reject Amy,” Jenny said. “She had basically told me that she didn’t want a disabled child.”

Jenny said she felt “very angry” towards the girl’s biological parents. "I hate them for what they did.”

The twins are now legally separated. A Children and Family Court has awarded the healthy boy to the biological mother and the disabled girl to her surrogate.

The story comes about two weeks after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their surrogate son in Thailand after he was born with Down syndrome, while taking the healthy twin girl back with them to Australia.

Rickard Newman, director of Family Life, Pro-Life & Child and Youth Protection in the Diocese of Lake Charles, called the Australian story a “tragedy” that “results from a marketplace that buys and sells children.”

“Third-party reproduction is a prism for violations against humanity. IVF and the sperm trade launched a wicked industry that now includes abortion, eugenics, human trafficking, and deliberate family fragmentation,” he said. 

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