Friday, February 2, 2018


 "It lets doctors 'play God' by making predictions about how long patients will live and then fulfilling their own prophecies by seeing to it that death occurs."
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Delaware lawmakers are considering legislation that would legalize physician-assisted suicide, including that of “intellectually disabled” patients who may not be able to provide meaningful consent.
The Delaware End of Life Options Act was introduced by Representative Paul Baumbach, a Democrat. The bill was voted out of committee last year, so the full House of Representatives could bring it up for a vote as early as March, when the legislature’s next session begins.
Baumbach insists his bill concerns “not a life or death decision” but a “death or death decision” because it authorizes doctors to administer lethal drugs only to patients who have “an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within 6 months.”
Critics have pointed out one major loophole in this definition: What about someone, such as a diabetic, whose illness is “incurable and irreversible” but nevertheless treatable? If the patient were not treated, his illness could kill him within six months. Would he therefore qualify as having a terminal disease under the bill’s terms?
If the legislation only went this far, it would be bad enough. But an amendment Baumbach proposed recently makes it even worse by enabling physicians to kill intellectually disabled patients with supposedly terminal illnesses.
The bill defines “intellectual disability” as “a disability, that originated before the age of 18, characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills.” And it authorizes a doctor to terminate that person’s life if “a licensed clinical social worker” certifies that the patient understands what assisted suicide entails.
This is truly alarming. As National Review’s Wesley Smith observed, “These are people who can’t legally enter contracts! They can’t control where they live! They can’t make their own medical decisions! They also can’t vote, pursuant to the Delaware Constitution! … Yet, if they have a terminal illness, they are going to be able to commit assisted suicide if a social worker — who may be ideologically predisposed in favor — confirms that they ‘understand’ that they are receiving a poison prescription?”
“It doesn’t even require approval of a guardian, as would corrective surgery or treatment to cure or palliate,” he added.
The interesting thing about the inclusion of the amendment is that, as Alexandra Snyder of Life Legal Defense Foundation told The Stream, advocates of assisted suicide usually “start by legalizing suicide for people with a 6-month physical diagnosis, and then expand that in every direction.” In this case, though, they’re tipping their hand before the initial law has even been passed.
Even without the amendment, the bill would be a terrible idea. It lets doctors “play God” by making predictions about how long patients will live and then fulfilling their own prophecies by seeing to it that death occurs. Moreover, argued Delaware physician Michael DePietro, assisted suicide is rarely requested to end pain and suffering but “to relieve various kinds of emotional and societal problems” patients are experiencing — problems that “can also be effectively addressed using tools available to psychiatrists, palliative care professionals and, not least of all, the love and support of those close to the patient.”
DePietro continued:
If we choose to alleviate emotional distress by helping patients die by suicide, we open the door to very disturbing practices. Once we start seeing some people as better off dead, it is a very short step to start to tell those in emotional distress that require care and love that it is really caring and loving to help them die.
I would also note that patients who kill themselves are no longer around to make expensive demands on the health care system, and one wonders when the right to die will become for such people a duty to die.
The American Medical Association’s code of ethics prohibits both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, noting, among other things, that “euthanasia could readily be extended to incompetent patients and other vulnerable populations,” as, indeed, Baumbach’s amendment would do.
With any luck, Baumbach’s inadvertent honesty in proposing the killing of the intellectually disabled will enable Delaware lawmakers to see his bill for what it is — and then to swiftly assist in its demise.


republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
HOUSTON, Texas — A ruling elder at a Presbyterian PCA church in Texas who is running for the governor of Texas is raising concern after he recently advised during an interview with Texas Public Radio that while he and his wife personally would not obtain an abortion, he believes in upholding the so-called “right to choose” for others.
Andrew White is an elder at Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Houston, and is also running as a Democrat in the race for governor. On Jan. 26, White was interviewed by David Martin Davies about his position on various issues affecting the state of Texas, including abortion.
“There is a kerfuffle happening in the race about you and your position on Roe v. Wade,” Davies noted. “Some people have accused you of being soft on keeping abortion legal.”
“I disagree,” White replied. “I support Roe v. Wade 100 percent, and it’s the law of the land. We just celebrated the 45-year anniversary of that.”

White said that he holds to the same mindset as former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, that while he and his wife personally would not obtain an abortion, he wishes to ensure that the option remains open for others.
“That’s my personal choice and I’m happy to give that choice to anyone else to make. It’s not something that I’m going to enforce on others,” he stated.
White, the son of former governor Mark White, also advised that if elected, he would veto any bills that impede abortion access.

“I’ll go one step further and say that when I’m governor, I’ll veto any of this legislation that’s been coming out that limits a woman’s right to choose,” he stated.
He also explained that he believes contraceptives should be more readily available as a means to lower the abortion rate, and that sex education ought to be taught to children.
“There are a large number of schools in Texas that don’t even offer sex education; to me, it’s bizarre,” White opined. “If you really are serious about reducing the demand for abortion, there’s some really simple ways to do that: sex education and access to contraceptives.”
Listen to the interview here. White’s comments about abortion begin approximately eight minutes into the broadcast.
White’s remarks have drawn concern among Christians, especially in light of his position as an elder at a PCA church. On Monday, Todd Pruitt, the lead pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia published an open letter to White to outline his dismay over White’s approach of separating his faith from his politics.
“How is it desirable for a Christian to believe that his or her faith convictions have no place in the public square? And how is it even possible? If you are indeed a Christian, how is it possible for you to govern a state as though you were not?” Pruitt asked.
“I was deeply troubled to hear of your position on abortion. You have pledged to give full support to abortion. Indeed your position on abortion seems to be one of celebration,” he lamented.
Pruitt posed a series of questions for White, appealing both to Scripture and Christian history to show the contrast between biblical Christianity and what White had stated during the interview.
“My question is: On what basis do you personally oppose abortion?” he asked. “The only reason to oppose abortion is if it is indeed the taking of an innocent human life. And since abortion is indeed the taking of an innocent human life (the only reason for your personal opposition) then how can you support its continued legality? That sort of position collapses under the weight of its own moral contradictions.”
“Perhaps you have read about the Christian practice in the first few centuries of the church of rescuing babies left abandoned to die under the cruelty of the elements. So common were these rescues that they captured the attention of the upper echelons of Roman government,” Pruitt outlined. “This practice of rescuing the weak and vulnerable was based on those Christian’s biblical convictions. They learned from God’s word that they must try to rescue those who were being led away to destruction.”
He also pointed to the notorious Nuremberg Laws in Germany, which dehumanized Jews and considered them to be lesser persons—just like abortion laws do to the unborn today.
“In light of all this, how do you justify your current position on the slaughter of the unborn? How is it that you join in celebrating the anniversary of Roe V. Wade?” Pruitt asked. “How can you promise to use all your powers as governor to uphold and defend the practice of abortion?”
The Presbyterian pastor said that he prays that White will repent, and that if he does not, he believes that White should be removed from his position as elder.
“I am praying for you Mr. White,” he wrote. “I am praying that the Lord will open your eyes and grant you repentance from you current views. I am praying that, should you harden your heart and maintain your current position, your church and presbytery will do the right thing and exercise proper discipline in your life. It is not too late. So long as you have breath there is time to repudiate your current views. I pray you do.”
Christian News Network reached out to John Allison, the executive director of ministry operations for Christ the King Presbyterian Church, to inquire about the church’s position on abortion, but a response was not received by press time.
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) opposes abortion, as outlined in a 1978 position statement, “The Word of God affirms throughout the continuity of personhood both before and after birth. Abortion, the intentional killing of an unborn child, is to destroy that continuity. Abortion would terminate the life of an individual, a bearer of
God’s image, who is being divinely formed and prepared for a God-given role in the world.”