Author, attorney, and ethicist Wesley J. Smith recently penned a column outlining a serious problem in European countries like Belgium: Doctors and nurses are quitting because of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
You become a doctor or nurse to be a healer palliator of people in serious pain and distress. You have a special place in your heart for the dying, and so you enter the specialized field of palliative care and hospice medicine.
But then, your country decides you should also become killers of the patients you want to succor. If you refuse, you face public criticism, the prospect of being sued, and perhaps one day, professional censure.
What do you do? If you are an ethical professional, rather than be complicit in homicide, you leave the field.
Doctors who specialize in end of life care and pain management — such as palliative care doctors in hospices and long term care facilities — are being forced to choose between their convictions and their careers.
One Belgian doctor said, “palliative care units are . . . at risk of becoming ‘houses of euthanasia’, which is the opposite of what they were meant to be.”
This is a disturbing trend. Palliative care offers terminally-ill people relief from pain and the opportunity to spend quality time with family as they near the end of life. These doctors and nurses provide vital services to people who are dying and to their families. Unlike euthanasia and assisted suicide, palliative care offers actual relief from suffering — without poisoning or killing any patients.
As we have said time and time again, being pro-life is about much more than opposing abortion. We do not eliminate suffering by eliminating people who are suffering. We must respect the sanctity of human life at the end of life as well as at the beginning.
Yesterday Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the U.S. Senate will vote on the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act next week.
This bill prohibits most abortions in the United States after the twentieth week of pregnancy. A similar measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives last fall.
Sen. McConnell told his colleagues,
Congress has an opportunity to take a step forward. The United States is currently one of just seven countries — just seven, including China and North Korea — that permit elective abortions after twenty weeks. It is time we begin to remedy this obvious and tragic moral wrong.
Arkansas Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) are listed as co-sponsors on this good, pro-life bill.
This is a landmark piece of pro-life legislation. As we have written recently, the federal government has passed very few laws significantly protecting unborn children from abortion. By some estimates, this measure could save as many as 18,000 children each year. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a law the United States desperately needs.
According to news sources, on Friday Planned Parenthood filed a motion in federal court to force the State of Arkansas to resume giving the abortion provider Medicaid money.
In 2015 Governor Hutchinson ordered the state to quit providing Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood clinics after a series of undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of organs and tissue harvested from aborted babies.
As a result, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in U.S. district Judge Kristine Baker’s court.
In 2015 and 2016, Judge Baker told the state it had to give Medicaid money to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
We expected Planned Parenthood to appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. After all, that is the next logical step in the appeal process. Instead Planned Parenthood filed a new brief with U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker last Friday.
Apparently Planned Parenthood is trying to use a few new arguments to force the state to hand over Medicaid money.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker has given Planned Parenthood virtually everything the group has ever asked for. Time and time again we have seen Judge Baker issue bad rulings only to have them thrown out by much more reasonable judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Given that history, I would not be surprised if Judge Baker once again rules the state must give Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood. I also would not be surprised if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals once again overturns that bad decision.
Arkansans have made it clear they oppose abortion in some or all circumstances, and they don’t want their tax money going to abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood needs to move on and quit trying to force the government to subsidize its abortion business.
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.