Peter Baklinski

Canada’s new ‘brain death’ criteria slammed as scheme to increase organ donations

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski

OTTAWA, Ontario, 4 September, 12 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Ontario’s organ donation agency aggressively campaigns to grow a list of registered organ donors, a legal scholar has slammed the updated national guidelines for establishing the moment of death, arguing that the guidelines were deliberately loosened to “increase the proportion of donors eligible for organ harvesting”.

Jacquelyn Shaw, BSc, MSc, LLB, LLM, writing in the McGill Journal of Law and Health, wrote that the updated 2008 Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation (CCDT) guidelines, “dramatically altered the criteria for brain death declaration with the goal of increasing organ supplies.”

In Canada the whole-brain criteria for death has been practiced since 1968, but the new “brainstem” criteria enables doctors to declare a patient brain dead “potentially weeks, or more, sooner than under a whole-brain criterion,” observes Shaw.

This enables the CCDT to hit donor increase targets by “making many more organs available sooner, and in a more transplantable state” – but this begs the question, is someone declared dead under the brainstem criterion really dead?

While organ and tissue donation agencies which operate on the CCDT guidelines, such as Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network, stress that brain death is death itself, underscoring that neurological death is “permanent and irreversible and there can be no hope whatsoever of recovery”, Shaw argues that there are both medical and legal problems with this criteria.

The updated CCDT criterion of death requires that only the lower part of the brain which is responsible for breathing, wakefulness, and certain other reflexes be shown to be permanently non-functional. “Significantly, the CCDT’s criterion contains no requirement for non-functionality of the brain’s cortex, responsible for conscious awareness, voluntary movement, sensation (e.g. pain), and communication,” wrote Shaw.

“A brainstem criterion could declare dead some patients who are only super locked-in. With damaged brainstems, but intact cortices, such patients might retain pain-awareness, but could be declared brain-dead under CCDT standards, making them eligible for (unanaesthetised) organ harvesting.”

Because not all patients may be actually dead when their organs are harvested, Shaw argued that the CCDT’s brainstem criterion may “infringe patients’ rights to life and to physical and psychological security of the person.”

Shaw said that the USA and other nations have rejected the brainstem criterion of death due to a high risk of error.

Dr. John Shea, MD FRCP(C), who has written extensively about the highly controversial theory of brain death, told LifeSiteNews that respect for life means that “it’s important to determine that a person is actually dead before harvesting organs because if they are not dead, and you harvest the organs, you are essentially killing them.”

“With brain death criteria, there is no absolute certainty that the person is dead,” he said. “Criteria for establishing brain death have been deliberately developed in such a way so that even though a person is not biologically dead, they are declared dead so that their organs can be harvested and no one can be prosecuted.”

“The fact is that people have to be alive when their organs are harvested because their organs are harmed when death actually occurs,” he said.

The gruesome fact that organ donors are often alive when their organs are harvested — a necessary condition to produce healthy, living organs — prompted three leading experts last year to advise the medical community to adopt a more “honest” moral criteria that allowed for the harvesting of organs from “dying” or “severely injured” patients, with proper consent.

The experts argued that this approach would avoid the “pseudo-objective” claim that a donor is “really dead,” which is often based upon purely ideological definitions of death designed to expand the organ donor pool. They argued this would allow organ harvesters to be more honest with the public, as well as ensure that donors don’t feel pain during the harvesting process.

Dr. Paul Byrne, an experienced neonatologist, clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo, and president of Life Guardian Foundation told LifeSiteNews at the time that “all of the participants in organ transplantation know that the donors are not truly dead.”

“How can you get healthy organs from a cadaver? You can’t,” he said.

Shaw called the CCDT’s updated guidelines for brain death determination in Canada “significant, dangerous, [and] under-the-radar” adding that they are “virtually unknown” and that they warrant “greater public attention.”

Meanwhile, numerous stories have emerged of awakenings following medical declarations of brain death. In one particularly chilling case, 21-year-old Zack Dunlap, who was in a locked-in state following an ATV accident, recounted hearing doctors discuss harvesting his organs in his presence. Zack showed signs of life mere moments before he was scheduled to be wheeled into the operating theater to have his organs removed, when one of his relatives tried to get him to react by digging a pocketknife under one of his fingernails. 

These stories provide weight to the arguments of doctors, like Shea and Byrne who say that the declaration of brain death is not sufficient to arrive at a moral certitude of actual death and that the recovery of organs based on that declaration is immoral.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Hillary Clinton: ‘I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Seven days after calling videos of Planned Parenthood officials harvesting fetal parts "disturbing," leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is throwing her support behind the embattled abortion giant.

In an ad released on Monday, just hours before the U.S. Senate failed to defund Planned Parenthood, Clinton called such legislative efforts "a full-on assault on women's health."

She also described Planned Parenthood as "the nation's leader in providing reproductive health care."

“Unfortunately, these attacks aren’t new," Clinton said. "They’re more of the same. We have seen them in Wisconsin, where Governor Walker defunded Planned Parenthood and left women across the state stranded with nowhere else to turn. We have seen them in Florida, where Jeb Bush funneled millions of dollars into abstinence-only programs while gutting funds for crucial family planning programs. And we have seen them in Texas, where Governor [Rick] Perry drastically cut funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings."

"And then [Perry] signed legislation that forced health centers across the state to close their doors in an attempt to wipe out access to safe and legal abortion all together,” Clinton said.

Walker boasted of defunding Planned Parenthood at a Republican presidential candidate in New Hampshire last night.

As governor of Florida, Bush put millions of dollars towards pro-life pregnancy care clinics, which are pro-life alternatives to abortion clinics.

The measures Perry signed in 2013 banned most abortions after 20 weeks' gestation, forced abortion centers to upgrade to the same level as ambulatory surgical centers, and required abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

However, according to Clinton, defunding America's largest abortion company is "cutting people off from the health care provider they know and trust."

“When they attack women’s health, they attack America’s health," Clinton said. "And it’s wrong. And we are not going to let them get away with it."

"We are not going back. We are going to fight back," she vowed.

She concluded, "I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood."

Her video came between the releases of undercover video footage revealing Planned Parenthood's work in harvesting the organs of aborted babies and turning them over to research firms for a fee.

Clinton has long supported abortion-on-demand, saying earlier this year that religious beliefs opposed to abortion "must be changed."

Last year, she said it was "a bedrock truth" that "you cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development, without safeguarding women’s reproductive health and rights."

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Bobby Jindal cancels Planned Parenthood funding in wake of body parts scandal

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By Dustin Siggins

BATON ROUGE, LA, August 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The state of Louisiana has canceled its contract with the state's two Planned Parenthood centers.

Louisiana governor and 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal said that the decision came because of new videos showing illegal activity by top Planned Parenthood officials.

“In recent weeks, it has been shocking to see reports of the alleged activities taking place at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country. Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life,” he said. “It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.”

Jindal, who had ordered the state to investigate Planned Parenthood for potential felony violations following the release of the first video, canceled the contract because of its "at will" provision. That means that "either party can choose to cancel the contract at will after providing written notice,” according to a press release from the governor's office. “Governor Jindal and DHH decided to give the required 30-day notice to terminate the Planned Parenthood Medicaid provider contract because Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the State of Louisiana in regards to respecting human life."

"Pending the ongoing investigation, DHH [the Dept. of Health and Hospitals] reserves the right to amend the cancellation notice and terminate the provider agreement immediately should cause be determined," it states.

This action is just the latest by the pro-life governor, who last year signed a law requiring all abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Louisiana has been named the number one pro-life state by Americans United for Life for six years in a row.

A Planned Parenthood official told the left-wing blog Talking Points Memo that no Planned Parenthood facilities provide abortions, although the abortion provider hopes to build a facility to do so.

Gov. Jindal also halted the building that 8,000-square foot abortion megaplex, scheduled to be built in New Orleans, following the release of the first video.

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John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John

This one shot from the latest PP sting video might be the most disturbing thing you see all year

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By John Jalsevac
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I’m about to show you something that, if you're alive and have a heartbeat, will deeply disturb you, and then make you hopping mad.

I warn you, it’s graphic. But everybody needs to see this. Because this is the truth. And even if the truth is difficult, and gruesome, and challenging, it must be known.

This morning the Center for Medical Progress released the latest in their series of undercover sting videos exposing the fact that Planned Parenthood is harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted babies.

The first part is plenty disturbing, as director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, discusses how she “diversifies” Planned Parenthood's “revenue stream” by selling aborted baby parts, and how their abortionists can modify the abortion procedure (Note: totally illegal) to obtain “intact” fetuses.

But then the camera moves into the lab, where workers are actually involved in dissecting and dismembering aborted babies to get the useful body parts.

Describing their “last case” of the day, one of the workers tells an actor posing as someone interested in purchasing fetal body parts, that “it was a twin” at about 20 weeks gestation.

The camera then pans over to a dish, filled with what Planned Parenthood describes as “tissue.” One of the workers uses tweezers to pick up the intestines, and boasts about how sometimes “the organs come out really, really well.”

And that’s when I saw it. A little, beautiful, perfectly formed hand, gently clenched in a fist – a hand attached to an arm that had been torn from its owner's body, and thrown in a dish swimming with body parts.

...And then I saw the foot. And the other foot.

I wish I could say I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. But I could, because I know what Planned Parenthood does. But there’s a difference between believing, and seeing.

And that’s why these photos must be shared as far and wide as possible.

After that, it gets even worse, as the man behind the camera uses his tweezers to pick up and inspect an arm and hand...and then the leg...and then another leg.

Yes, it is horrifying that Planned Parenthood is apparently lying about the fact that it makes a tidy profit off trafficking in the body parts of aborted babies.

But the worst thing of all is that Planned Parenthood has body parts to sell in the first place. That Planned Parenthood is daily, constantly, aborting babies that have hands, and feet, and hearts, and lungs.

The worst part is that every time Planned Parenthood sells a body part, it is because they have killed a baby, a human being like you and me – a human being that had the right to live, and love, and be, a baby whose life was summarily snuffed out, and turned into a “revenue stream.”

The worst part is that year after year, decade after decade, we let Planned Parenthood get away with the canard that they are only aborting "blobs of tissue," or "products of pregnancy" - as if we don't all know perfectly well what the product of a pregnancy is: a baby. 

I say, enough is enough. Shut Planned Parenthood down, now!

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