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September 4, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — “Come on down!” was Bob Barker’s invitation to contestants on The Price is Right, the most popular game show ever to air on network TV, with an astounding 48 seasons. In many ways, the liberal left today resembles a giant rigged game show, with politicians and the mainstream media giving their cronies the “right price.” The Democrats’ 2020 National Convention was a giant pre-taped game show with no substance, no policy, no plans — just platitudes and gaslighting. When Joe Biden said on day one, “We are in a battle for the soul of this nation,” he was right. We are in a battle — with a party that supports killing unborn babies and selling their body parts, encourages mob action, vilifies and demands to defund the police, and labels many citizens “deplorables.”
The Democrat game show is decades long. In the 1970s, politicians and the mainstream media already played to Planned Parenthood and the liberal left. Trying to get a fair shake for the babies was harder than selling ice at the North Pole. The press promoted lying statistics and horror stories about coat-hanger abortions despite the fact that most “back alley” abortionists were doctors. Dr. Milan Vuitch, whose case led to legalizing abortion in Washington, D.C., simply moved his shingle from his basement to a D.C. office front in 1971. The press portrayed him as a savior of women. No one ever reported his quip to rescuers in 1977 (I was one of them, chained to a table in his chop shop) that he’d “abort black babies for free.” Not true, of course. He expected cash up front. No checks, no credit cards. We saved a black baby girl that day who was born on the fifth anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
While the press treated butchers like Vuitch with kid gloves, pro-lifers got the cold shoulder and invisible ink. In addition to a fawning media, the left also had rich liberal friends like Norman Lear and his People for the American Way. Lear offered cash incentives to Hollywood writers to promote abortion. So you had Maude (Lear’s spinoff series from the popular All in the Family) describing her positive pregnancy test with a big laugh line when she said, “The rabbit died.” There was more concern for the dead rabbit than Maude’s dead baby. The media glamorized abortion and dehumanized the little ones in the womb as “just fetuses,” from a Latin term meaning “young one.” Most people didn’t recognize they were being gamed by an industry hot for the Sexual Revolution. Abortion solved the “unwanted baby” complication. Today, aborted babies enrich the abortionists further by selling baby body parts to the highest bidder.
Let’s shift gears to the latest version of the game. We’ve gone from “When does life begin?” to “When does life end?” For years, pro-abortionists claimed that no one knows when life begins; now the gamesters have no problem deciding when life ends. Only the unsophisticated and ignorant disagree. Ask the average person, “How do you know if someone is dead?,” and he will probably say, “When a person stops breathing; his heart stops beating; and he turns cold, blue, and stiff.” Until recent years, that definition was the norm. Then came technology allowing vital organs to be “harvested.” One problem: Vital organs decompose within minutes of true death, making them useless for transplantation. So new criteria were needed to declare a person “dead” when he still had a beating heart, circulation, and respiration feeding oxygen to his cells. Voilà: “brain death.”
What exactly will you see if you go into the room of a “brain-dead” person? Someone hooked up to a monitor that measures heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. He’s on a ventilator to aid breathing. The ventilator is a tool to help the living, not the dead. Yes, it will keep the patient alive because without oxygen, you die. But if the body is already dead, there will be no respiration, a process that “takes oxygen out of the inhaled air in exchange for carbon dioxide exhaled out of the body.” You can hook a ventilator up to a cadaver and force air into the lungs, but it won’t exhale.
Next, if you sit down next to the patient and take his hand, it’s warm and flexible. You can feel the pulse as the blood circulates through the body. An IV keeps the body hydrated. There may be a nasogastric feeding tube to provide nutrition. The patient is probably catheterized, and urine is collecting in a bag. Bowel movements continue, so the patient wears a diaper. Does that sound like the description of a dead body? The patient is unconscious and may be severely brain-damaged, but he’s alive.” If you take him off the ventilator and he stops breathing, of course he will die unless he can breathe on his own — but given enough time and treatment, he may recover. Actor Christopher Reeve could never breathe on his own after his accident and was on a ventilator from 1995 until his death in 2004. His portable ventilator let him continue working and directing films. It was merely a medical tool.
As Catholics, we know that the soul animates the body. A dead body can’t be confused with a living body and looks nothing like the “brain-dead” patient I just described. If the heart is beating and the patient is breathing, even with assistance, the soul is present. The correct ethical position is “When in doubt, don’t.” In other words, give life the benefit of the doubt. There is a reason that, when organs are harvested, the beating heart is taken last. The heart is needed to circulate the blood to the kidneys, liver, intestines, etc. to keep these organs oxygenated and healthy until they are excised. Taking the heart finally kills the patient.
In 2015, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned a lower court that ruled that St. Mary Regional Medical Center in Reno could remove life support from Aden Hailu. In April, Aden, a college student, went into a coma following laparoscopic surgery to remove her appendix. She was declared “brain-dead” by doctors at St. Mary’s despite having brain activity. After the lower court ruled for the hospital, the family appealed. The State Supreme Court heard evidence from other doctors including Dr. Brian Callister, who, according to the transcript, “explained that typically, someone kept alive by a ventilator shows other signs of deterioration, such as organ failures or necrosis of the hands and feet, that Hailu does not exhibit.” Aden wasn’t dead, but alive with ventilator support.
The Nevada Supreme Court highlighted the inconsistent guidelines for determining “brain death.” There is no uniform definition and much disagreement in the medical community. Most legislation on “brain death” includes a land mine phrase reading “in accordance with accepted medical standards” or words to that effect. But what exactly are “accepted medical standards”? The judges in Nevada clearly recognized that there is no consensus about “brain death,” and they rightly overturned the lower court decision. The challenge for Aden’s family was to find a doctor and hospital that would accept and treat her appropriately. St. Mary’s neglect (they refused a tracheostomy, a feeding tube, and thyroid hormone, which are mandatory for a brain-damaged individual) undoubtedly made her situation more precarious at the time, and she died about a year after the initial surgery.
In another case, 13-year-old Jahi McMath was declared dead by a California coroner on January 3, 2014 after a botched tonsillectomy and diagnosis of brain death. A neurologist with triple board certifications “in Pediatrics, Neurology (with special competence in Child Neurology), and Electroencephalography… [and] a sub-specialty in brain death … [who] has published and lectured extensively on the topic, both nationally and internationally” took issue with the coroner’s decision and testified on Jahi’s behalf. She was not, in fact, brain dead. The parents removed Jahi from California to a facility that cared for her until her true death in 2018, four years later. Many months after being declared “dead” in California, Jahi began her menstrual cycle. As the doctor affirmed in the complaint, “There is no precedent in the medical literature of a brain dead body developing the onset of menarche and thelarche.”
Many patients declared “brain-dead” continue to live, and a number fully recover. Some “wake up” on the verge of being dissected like 19-year-old Carina Melchior of Denmark. In 2011, she suffered a catastrophic auto accident that left her brain injured. The doctors rushed to judgment of brain death after only three days, and her parents signed organ donation papers. Fortunately, Carina “woke up” in time to prevent her medical murder.
“Brain death” is a fraud. A ventilator cannot keep a dead or dying body from deteriorating. A ventilator is to the lungs what a pacemaker is to the heart — a medical aid. Both can preserve the life of the living person. If the person is truly dying, they will ultimately be useless.
Today, the culture of life and the culture of death are in continuous hand-to-hand combat. The two presidential conventions made that clear. The Democrats championed their commitment to killing, while speaker after speaker at the Republican convention testified that Donald Trump is the most pro-life president in history.
Dr. William Brennan in his book, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable, portrays how language is used against disfavored groups. He calls it the “semantics of oppression” and writes, “The extreme lies and deceptions emanating from this deadly serious game of verbal engineering and manipulation take on enhanced credibility when its most influential players are highly regarded individuals[.] … Contrary to popular belief, although despicable language is often primarily associated with crazed individuals or mobs in the streets, it is far more likely to emanate from highly educated respectable circles.”
That’s the Game of Life and Death in a nutshell. We saw the gamesters big time at the Democrats’ video convention. We watched them carry water for the death industry that funds them so heavily. There are, indeed, big rewards for game-players who shill for the abortion and organ transplant industries. They hide behind the language of compassion, but a compassion that involves deliberately killing one person for the supposed benefit of another. It’s a lie and a deadly game indeed, as Sr. Deidre Byrne pointed out when she addressed the Republican convention. The retired military surgeon turned nun who works extensively with the poor said, “I’m not just pro-life; I’m pro–eternal life.” Eternal life represents the “end game,” and the moment of death marks the final move. Smart “players” focus on that and pray for the grace of final perseverance. Vote for life in November.