The Effect of Abortion on the Elderly & Disabled

"As an O.B. doctor of thirty years, and having delivered 4,000 babies, I can assure you life begins at conception. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.”

(regarding partial-birth abortion): "If the location of the fetus is the justification for legalized killing, the privacy of our homes would permit the killing of the newborn, the deformed, and the elderly, a direction, unfortunately, in which we find ourselves going. As government-financed medical care increases, we will hear more economic arguments for euthanasia, that is, mercy killing, for the benefit of the budget planners. Already we hear these economic arguments for killing the elderly and terminally ill."

"Whether a civilized society treats human life with dignity or contempt determines the outcome of that civilization. Reaffirming the importance of the sanctity of life is crucial for the continuation of a civilized society. There is already strong evidence that we are indeed on the slippery slope toward euthanasia and human experimentation. Although the real problem lies within the hearts and minds of the people, the legal problems of protecting life stem from the ill-advised Roe v. Wade ruling, a ruling that constitutionally should never have occurred. The belief that we as a society can decide which persons are "expendable," leads us directly down a slippery slope of violence and apathy toward humanity. Though many decry such ethicists as Peter Singer of Princeton, who advocates the "right" of parents to choose infanticide, as well as euthanasia, his reasoning is simply a logical extension of the ethic underlying Roe v. Wade, which is that if certain people are not "useful" or "convenient," they should be done away with."

-Ron Paul

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The deeper spiritual causes that lead to a positive viewpoint on euthanasia usually lie in extreme materialism; man's spiritual poverty; the consideration of pain and disease as a misfortune or injustice; the belief that life is not sacred and that it is only connected with external and physical beauty and financial prosperity; and the consideration of death as a fatal event and not as a intermediate stage in man's course. In such a society, concepts such as sacrifice, patience, perseverance and endurance are unknown, while those of mercy, compassion and sympathy are misinterpreted.

-The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

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“Bloodshed follows bloodshed” (Hosea 4:2)  

The abortion mentality never stops with abortion. After all, if a mother has the right to choose to kill her innocent, unwanted child, why doesn’t the child have the right to kill her innocent, unwanted mother?  Abortion leads to euthanasia.  The deadly “logic” of putting choice above life endangers everyone. That’s what the right to die movement is all about. It has nothing to do with people wanting to die. It has everything to do with people wanting to live, but other people not caring for them and claiming that they are better off if a doctor kills them. It’s an exact parallel with abortion, because women who get abortions don’t want them. Someone else does. It’s not about women’s rights, but about how we have failed to meet the needs of women.

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The process of dying, even if it is painful, is not wasted time.  For the man who is ill, it is a time of preparation for his entrance into the next life.  For the relatives and family, it is an opportunity to express their feelings of tenderness, love, and sympathy toward their loved one. Affection and love are destroyed by our very troubled and stressed social modern life.  The acceptance of euthanasia happens in societies where immorality, egotism, and lack of tenderness rule.  

-Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos

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Discrimination among people is increasing all the more. Everything shows how our society is on a path towards being clearly more eugenic and racist. The attempt to improve life, however, cannot be gained through the destruction of millions of human existences in the embryonic stage.

-The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece
in a letter to the President of Greece, October 2004

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The Euthanasia/Abortion Connection
Frederica Mathewes-Green

On June 4, 1990, Jack Kevorkian attached Alzheimer's patient Janet Adkins to a homemade contraption in his 1968 VW bus, then watched her push the activating button that made her die. Public reaction was swift and generally negative. Judge Alice Gilbert, in barring Kevorkian from ever again using the device, charged that he "flagrantly violated" all standards of medical practice. She added that through arrogant and self-promoting "bizarre behavior" Kevorkian revealed that "his real goal is self service rather than patient service." Kevorkian's lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, responded with an admirable non-sequitur: he claimed that Gilbert is "taking up the standard of fanatical anti-abortionists, people who wish to perpetuate suffering." As far as we know, the Kevorkian machine does not perform abortions.

The appearance of pro-life activists in the movement against euthanasia has been confusing to many. Opposing euthanasia does not seem to give opportunity for outlawing contraceptives, frowning on sex, keeping women out of jobs, or forced child-bearing--goals assumed to be central to the pro-life movement. Yet there is a connection. Both abortion and euthanasia make helpless people die.

Dying is not, in itself, the activity that pro-lifers so strenuously oppose. Death naturally occurs along the entire spectrum of life, from the earliest miscarriages to the centenarian's last breath. The objectionable activity is making people die: people who may be small, weak, or disabled, but are not dying; people who cannot defend or speak for themselves. The objection is to creating a an ever-widening class of unpersons, persons unwanted or imperfect, and imposing on those persons a duty to die.

Consider the following cases. While Nancy Cruzan was dying, the staff at Missouri Rehabilitation Center continued to insist that she was no vegetable. They had seen her smile at funny stories, cry when a visitor left, and indicate pain with her menstrual periods. She was not living on machines: a feeding tube had been inserted years before only to replace spoon feeding and make her care easier. An activist present during those days of dying commented, "It was like one of those horror movies where everybody in the town knows something, but nobody can get word out to the outside world." Information about Nancy's true condition was persistently blacked out while the staff endured the nightmare of watching her die.

In a horrible deja vu, another disabled woman at the Center has been selected for the same fate. Twenty-year-old Christine Busalacchi's condition is improving: she waves, smiles, objects to having her teeth brushed, vocalizes to indicate TV preferences, and very much enjoys visits from young men. This is not enough for her father, who has visited her seldom in the past two years (and then sometimes accompanied by TV cameras) and, we are told, stands to inherit $51,000 from her estate. Pete Busalacchi does not have the "clear and convincing evidence" necessary to have her starved in Missouri, so he is trying to have her moved to Minnesota where the standard is less stringent.

Dr. Ronald Cranford, the euthanasia advocate who hopes to help Pete Busalacchi take care of Christine when she is brought to Minnesota, had a similar case in 1979. Sgt. David Mack was shot in the line of duty as a policeman, and Cranford diagnosed him as " a persistent vegetative state...never [to] regain cognitive, sapient functioning...never [to] be aware of his condition." Twenty months after the shooting Mack woke up, and eventually regained nearly all his mental ability. When asked by a reporter how he felt, he spelled out on his letterboard, "Speechless!"

Similar stories recur. Cancer patient Yolanda Blake was hospitalized last November 30 after experiencing severe bleeding. Despite the insistence of her sister and of the friend who held her power of attorney, the hospital refused to leave in a feeding tube or a catheter, and on December 14 the county judge ruled in the hospital's favor that Blake should be allowed to "die with dignity." On December 15 Blake woke up. When asked if she wanted to live, she responded, "Of course I do!"

Richard Routh, 42, was hospitalized with head injuries after a motorcycle accident. He had learned to signal "yes" and "no," could smile and laugh at jokes, when his parents and doctors decided to have him starved. A nurse's aide says that as they stood by the bedside discussing the starvation decision, Routh shook his head "no." Though the coroner's report says he dies of head injuries, he had lost thirty pounds during the hospitalization. The autopsy showed that he had not been given painkillers to ease the pain of starvation.

Washington State Senator Ray Moore represents more clearly than most the views of those who believe the disabled should want to die. He is supporting that state's Initiative 119, which would allow a doctor to give a poisonous injection to a terminally ill patient requesting it; he believes that his mother would have benefitted from such a service. He says that many people feel medical professionals profit "indecently" by caring for the dying, and we must grant that patience in the face of natural death can have a detrimental financial effect on the estate. But perhaps Moore is most honest when he says, "there is a growing aggravation with the sights and smells of hospitals and nursing homes."

It has been observed that sick and wounded animals do not commit suicide; when they are "put to sleep," it is to ease the pain of their owners. We may be horrified to contemplate life as a paraplegic, or brain-damaged, or unable to chew our own food. Yet once we are there, who is to say that the bits of life we still hold may not be incomparably sweet? The sound of the loved voice filtering through dim consciousness, the sweet breeze when windows are first opened in the spring, a long afternoon in the sun, may become precious tokens, eagerly held. A generation who once pondered the possibility of "alternate states of consciousness" should be especially sensitive here. Rita Greene has been in an unconscious state for forty years; Claire Norton, the nurse who has cared for her throughout those years, speaks of Rita as "a saint" whose life represents "a tremendous amount of mystery." Who can prove her wrong?

Kevorkian's lawyer misunderstands. Pro-lifers so not wish to perpetuate suffering. We do not wish to prolong dying--when they are only disabled or recovering or even merely old--we want to offer them loving support until the end. It may not make for a neat, tidy society where everyone is productive and attractive. But it does make for the only kind of humane and just society that we can imagine.

-Frederica Mathewes-Green
Frederica Mathewes-Green is an Eastern Orthodox author and speaker on the subjects of religion and abortion.

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Mother Wins Case to Kill Her 12-year-old Disabled Daughter

October 27, 2014

Two and a half years ago, Dr. Phil advocated for the mercy killing of people with disabilities. Well, Dr. Phil would be happy to know that his dream has now become a reality — one mother successfully petitioned the court to kill her severely disabled daughter. 

Nancy Fitzmaurice, born blind with hydrocephalus, meningitis and septicaemia, could not walk, talk, eat or drink, the Mirror reported. Her health was so poor she required 24-hour care and was fed, watered and medicated by tube at London’s Great Ormand Street Hospital. Her health deteriorated and as she grew she would scream in agony for hours despite being given morphine and ketamine.

Her mother, Charlotte Fitzmaurice Wise, knew the pain her daughter was suffering was too much for the 12-year-old to bear. She deserved to be at peace and had the right to die, knew her heartbroken mother, who had given up work as a nurse to be with her. …“The light from her eyes is now gone and is replaced with fear and a longing to be at peace. Today I am appealing to you for Nancy as I truly believe she has endured enough. For me to say that breaks my heart"... Her application was granted immediately, setting a precedent. It is the first time a child breathing on her own, not on life support and not suffering a terminal illness has been allowed to die in the UK.

The judge praised Wise for her “love and devotion” towards her daughter… which was shown by her fight to kill Nancy. The judge ruled that she had no quality of life anymore, and therefore, she should be killed by refusing to give her any food or water until she died. It took her 14 days to die. Wise claimed that she wanted to end her daughter’s suffering and give her death with dignity, but she chose to do that by making her daughter suffer a slow, agonizing, painful death. How does that make any sense?

Dehydration is horrible for a person to endure.

The body is about 60 percent water, and under normal conditions, he said, an average person will lose about a quart of water each day by sweating and breathing and another one to three quarts by urinating, he said. In the heat and under more difficult physical conditions, that amount increases, he said. If it’s not replaced over time and dehydration becomes severe, cells throughout the body will begin to shrink as water moves out of them and into the blood stream, part of the body’s efforts to keep the organs perfused in fluid. “All the cells will shrink,” Berns said, “but the ones that count are the brain cells. They don’t operate normally when they’re shrinking.” Changes in mental status will follow, including confusion and ultimately coma, he said. As the brain becomes smaller, it takes up less room in the skull and blood vessels connecting it to the inside of the cranium can pull away and rupture.… Victims’ kidneys may shut down first, Berns said, as they continue to lack access to both water and salt. The kidneys cleanse the blood of waste products which, under normal conditions, are excreted in urine. Without water, blood volume will decline and all the organs will start to fail, he said. Kidney failure will soon lead to disastrous consequences and ultimately death as blood volume continues to fall and waste products that should be eliminated from the body remain.

Dying of starvation is also agonizingly painful.

Various effects from lack of hydration and nutrition, lead ultimately to death — mouth would dry out and become caked or coated with thick material . . . lips would become parched and cracked . . . tongue would swell and might crack . . . eyes would recede back into their orbits and cheeks would become hollow . . . lining of the nose might crack and cause the nose to bleed . . . skin would hang loose on his body and become dry and scaly . . . urine would become highly concentrated; leading to burning of the bladder . . . lining of his stomach would dry out, causing convulsions . . . respiratory tract would dry out into thick secretions that would result in plugging his lungs . . . at some point within 5 days 103 weeks his major organs, including lungs, heart, and brain would give out and he would die . . . extremely painful and uncomfortable . . . cruel and violent. 

So to end a person’s supposed suffering — a person who is not terminally ill, is not on any life support, and can breathe on their own — we must make them suffer a slow, painful, horrific death. But only if they’re disabled, apparently. We don’t treat dogs this way. We don’t execute murderers in such a cruel manner. If a serial killer on death row was executed by forcing them to undergo starvation and dehydration, there would be widespread outrage. But because this girl, a child, is severely disabled, it’s considered acceptable. Putting a bullet in her head would have been kinder, because it at least would have been immediate. But then we can’t tap dance around the fact that what this mother did is murder.

Wise assumes, as many people do, that a person wouldn’t want to live in such a way. But no one knows how her daughter felt about her quality of life and whether or not she wanted to live. No one knows how her daughter felt in those 14 days that she was being starved and dehydrated. And no one cares. Nancy Fitzmaurice was disabled and could not speak, so she was brutally, cruelly murdered, with the permission of her government. And notice that the suffering Wise spoke of repeatedly was her own, not her daughter’s. She couldn’t bear seeing her daughter like that. She was going through “torture” watching her daughter in pain. So she petitioned the court to get permission to force her daughter to die a slow, painful death instead of seeing palliative care.

It’s become appropriate in the United Kingdom to kill a person now because it’s too much of a hassle to keep them alive. It’s legal for parents to murder their children because they’re disabled, because they can’t speak for themselves, because the parent has decided that their lives are not worth living anymore. And we call it death with dignity.

Cassy Fiano,  October 27, 2014

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ASAN Statement On The Killing Of Nancy Fitzmaurice

October 28, 2014
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network issued the following statement on Tuesday, October 28th, regarding the killing of Nancy Fitzmaurice. 

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is profoundly concerned by the recent decision from the United Kingdom allowing Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to kill Nancy Fitzmaurice, a disabled 12-year old, through the withholding of fluids at the request of her mother. The decision constitutes an extremely troubling legal precedent, representing the first time the British legal system has allowed a child breathing on her own, not on life support and not diagnosed with any terminal illness, to be killed by the medical system.

Euthanasia of people with disabilities is an extremely dangerous and wholly inappropriate solution to inadequate pain management. In cases where painkillers are insufficient, a number of alternatives for pain management exist. A policy of euthanasia targets vulnerable people, particularly when it is applied to children. People with disabilities who experience chronic pain should have same access as others to life-sustaining medical treatment.

When parents and physicians have the ability to authorize the killing of disabled children, we see serious abuses. Recently, ASAN and twelve other disability rights groups filed an amicus brief in a case challenging the University of Wisconsin Hospital’s practice of counseling parents to withhold care from children with disabilities for treatable but life-threatening medical conditions. In one such instance, a child with developmental disabilities died after a hospital doctor advised his parents that they could withdraw his feeding tube – which provided fluids and nutrition – based on his supposedly low “quality of life.” The medical condition supposedly justifying this measure was treatable pneumonia. The child died the next day, after administration of morphine. Such actions demonstrate the results of a policy that allows families and clinicians to discriminate on the basis of disability in the application of life-sustaining treatment.

The media coverage surrounding this case has been extraordinarily irresponsible, implying that the child’s disability should justify a decision that her life was unworthy of living. ASAN is concerned that the voices of people with disabilities with similar support needs were not heard in this discussion. Many people with disabilities who utilize feeding tubes or experience other conditions similar to those Nancy Fitzmaurice face live in the community and do not feel that their lives are not worth living. The absence of the voices of people with disabilities who could shed light on the lived experiences of children like Nancy is troubling in the extreme.

We urge advocates and policymakers to stand against legal and legislative decisions enabling the killing or withholding of life-sustaining care from disabled children and adults. As ASAN’s previous work has indicated, people with disabilities continue to face systemic and ongoing discrimination in accessing the medical system. Inaccurate and dangerous assumptions that our lives are not worth living have claimed too many lives. People with disabilities deserve better.