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Britain Already Has a “Government Policy of Silent Euthanasia”: Anti-Euthanasia Activists

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White

LONDON, September 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Evidence is mounting that Britain may already have not only de facto legalised assisted suicide thanks to new prosecution guidelines issued this week, but also involuntary euthanasia by means of a tangled combination of rationing of government-funded medical care, end of life medical practice protocols that allow the withdrawal of hydration and the existing Mental Capacity Act.

British and international anti-euthanasia and disability rights groups are expressing their alarm at the publication of prosecution guidelines earlier this week by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for England and Wales. These guidelines make clear that those who assist someone commit suicide, but who do not have anything personal to gain by doing so, will not be prosecuted, even though assisted suicide technically remains a crime.

Alison Davis, head of the disability rights group No Less Human, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), "If the guidelines remain in force, we will see that those who assist suicide, whether for misguided 'merciful' or for merciless reasons, will be able to do so with impunity. Like many other disabled people I am alarmed by the DPP's guidelines."

But these same anti-euthanasia groups are also warning of a legal situation that already exists in Britain, in which patients and residents in hospitals and nursing homes are increasingly under threat of involuntary euthanasia, usually by a combination of deep sedation and dehydration.

While bills intended to weaken the legal prohibition on assisted suicide continue to be defeated at Westminster, existing guidelines for end of life care called the Liverpool Care Pathway, guidelines on healthcare rationing from the government's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, have combined to create de facto legal euthanasia, which activists say is already being widely practiced.

John Smeaton, Director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), Europe's leading pro-life organisation, told LSN, "We have a government policy of silent euthanasia right now in this country.

"This is being brought about through a number of different factors, but significantly the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, that formally defined the provision of food and fluids as medical treatment."

Under the Act, such "medical treatment" can be withdrawn as "futile" - even from patients who are not terminally ill and can benefit from it - on the advice of a physician, until the patient dies. Anti-euthanasia activists have said that the determination that food and water constitute "futile treatment" in a patient who is not terminally ill really means only that it is the patient's life that is considered "futile."

According to an increasing number of reports, food and hydration is being removed from patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway in many cases where patients are not terminally ill but are merely elderly or suffering from dementia or stroke and would benefit from normal medical care. Under the protocol, the patient can be sedated or given pain medication; food and water are then withdrawn until death by dehydration.

A recent national audit by researchers with the Royal College of Physicians and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute found that, of 4,000 patients put on the Liverpool Care Pathway last year, 28 per cent of their relatives were not told that the patient was being cared for under the protocol. The report found that about 20,000 patients die this way each year in Britain. Only thirty-nine per cent of patients on the Pathway suffered from cancer, while others had conditions such as pneumonia, stroke, organ failure and dementia. The average age of patients was 81 and they were typically on the pathway for 33 hours before death. 76 per cent of families were told that their loved one "had entered the dying phase." The report also said that hospitals and care homes that routinely put patients under deep sedation should review their practices. 

The Pathway is now in use in 300 hospitals and 560 care homes across the country. Peter Millard, emeritus professor of geriatrics at the University of London, told media, "The risk as this is rolled out across the country is that elderly people with chronic conditions like Parkinson's or respiratory disorders may be dismissed as dying when they could still live for some time."

Millard blamed government downsizing of the British socialised medical system. "Governments have got rid of respite care and geriatric wards, so we're left with a crisis," he said.

"The Government has said let's develop a service to help people die at home - what they should be doing is helping them live. Only when death is unavoidable should you start withdrawing treatment."

SPUC's Anthony Ozimic said that euthanasia opponents had warned all along that the Labour government's 2005 Mental Capacity Act had "massive potential scope for euthanasia combining denial of food & fluids with sedation."

Ozimic said that although "assisted suicides usually involve mentally competent and ostensibly consenting persons, a significantly larger number of intentional killings may well emerge under government-endorsed end-of-life policies."

Referring to the guidelines on end of life care already in use in hundreds of hospitals and care homes, Ozimic said, "The Liverpool Care Pathway and the Mental Capacity Act involve the far larger number of patients who are not intent on suicide and whose diminished mental and physical powers leave them very vulnerable."


Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Britain Won't Prosecute Assisted Suicide: Chief Prosecutor
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09092109.html

Britain's Pathway to Euthanasia - NHS Protocols for Dehydrating Disabled Patients to Death
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08070303.html

British Doctors Practising "Slow" Euthanasia through Deep Sedation: BBC Report.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/aug/09081803.html

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

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By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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