Monday, May 20, 2019

UPDATED: SB 2089 and SB 1033 Are Dead

Photo by Cristian Grecu on Unsplash

UPDATE: Charlie Johnston just posted on his blog a few short takes, one of which says the following:

I have commented boldly of late of my contempt for the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB) policy of supporting forced involuntary euthanasia in that state and mislabeling it pro-life. Insiders maintain that the Bishop who took the lead in doing the Texas Medical Assn. and the Texas Hospital Assn.’s bidding is Dallas Bishop Edward Burns. Yet while his activism against authentic Catholic doctrine has alienated the faithful in his Diocese, it did not immunize him from secular police raids. Now I find some prominent lay organizations have taken an interest in the mangling of Catholic Doctrine by the TCCB. There will be consequences for all of this.

Very interesting. I have no independent knowledge of this but am hardly shocked or surprised. The Texas Bishops cannot be counted on to do the right thing with regard to pro-life legislative efforts here in Texas. That is very well established.

Likewise, certain prominent lay groups - I am not certain if Charlie means the Usual Suspects or yet more and other groups that have lost their way and are doing the bidding of anti-life forces - but be very careful who you just trust.

Know that you'll always get the details and links to the original source documents as well as my analysis here for your independent verification and discernment especially when it comes to legislation and advocacy.

I found it interesting to read the threads for especially SB 1033 on Twitter and see how many pro-aborts were happy that bill died - at the hands of the Usual Suspects. How sad. How telling.

Charlie is absolutely correct when he says that there will be consequences for all of this.


Thanks for reading this update!



**********

ORIGINAL POST:

I'm going to keep this short. I'll be honest, I'm mad and that's not a good time to write a blog post, but I believe you all deserve to know what's going on since so many of you have been active in trying to get these bills set for a floor vote in the House and praying for these efforts here in Texas. And, I do try to be measured in what I write even if I am quite passionate about these issues and the obstacles we face to getting good pro-life legislation into law here in Texas. The bottom line is: 

SB 2089 and SB 1033 are dead.

My very politically astute and plugged in friend, Rich DeOtte had this to say about it:



There is a lot to the story as to why this happened. Suffice it to say that Texas House "leadership" killed all bills to which there was any opposition. 

Who were the opposition to SB 1033 and especially SB 2089? The Usual Suspects. Of course. You can read about all that here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Make no mistake about it, lives will be lost because of the opposition to these bills and the failure of Republican leadership to be pro-life and ignore those who do not have the best interest of vulnerable Texans at heart. Clearly, we need:

Robust primaries in 2020; new leadership in 2021.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers for learning about and following these bills and the overall issue of involuntary passive euthanasia in Texas; praying for the passage of these bills; prayers for all involved (including the Usual Suspects who continue to need prayers); your donations to help Mrs. Jones and Texas Right to Life; your calls and emails to the powers that be to move these bills forward; and for bringing about awareness of these issues and the special problems that not-so-pro-life-Texas has. Please keep praying.

And that's all I've got to say about this. For now.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

UPDATED AGAIN 5.26.19: Mrs. Jones Has Been Transferred; Lessons to Be Learned from This Incident

LATEST UPDATE OF 5.26.19: Mrs. Jones continues to do well and make progress. With this in mind, consider what we have learned from this incident. See highlight below.

*****

Prior post & updates:

See below for update & a call to action! 

From L-R: Mark Lee Dickson, Emily Cook, Mr. Jones, Kim Schwartz


Today is a great day!!!! Mrs. Jones was transported via private ambulance at Texas Right to Life's expense and will receive care at a long-term care facility.

Emily Cook, an excellent lawyer, someone I count as a friend, and who has been very much on the frontlines of this effort to save Mrs. Jones as the family's attorney posted this today on Facebook:


Praise Jesus. Thank you, Lord. God works in amazing ways. The rest of this post is worth the long read. It’s been a night & I’m glad to finally share this news.  
Carolyn Jones has left Memorial Hermann SW. and is receiving treatment at another Houston hospital! Really, in the middle of the night, she was taken by private ambulance to a different hospital’s ER. (I also have a new skill if you ever need a private ambulance ðŸ˜). It was our last hope, a Hail Mary. MH stood by their decision to refuse dialysis to Carolyn; dialysis treatment predating the stroke that landed Carolyn here in the first place. We have a long term facility in the works, but the paperwork had not been finished. Carolyn had been without dialysis since Saturday; she simply could not go one more day. No amount of money, no number of legislators calling the hospital had changed the hospital’s position. 
It was scary. And it was risky. But God showed up. I was worried about how would we know no funny business clinically would happen as we tried to move her? God brought a nurse practitioner as an ally, someone I had never met. I was worried about reception to our arrival at the ER. God brought the most sympathetic personnel to us.  
Amazingly, the ER agreed she should have dialysis. However, they were full. They instead found ANOTHER facility willing to accept her and give the dialysis. A legit transfer, not discharge and showing up to an ER. So that’s TWO facilities who disagreed that Carolyn’s life was not worth respecting. 
As I sat in her room, watching her move her head from family member to family member as they talked, to responding to commands, the urgency to save her only intensified.  
We still have the paperwork and funding to go through to get her to a long term facility pending Medicaid approval. But this picture on the left, that was the first page of my devotional this morning. How timely is our God?! ❤️ ❤️
Mark Lee Dickson and I have assisted each other in cases before, but it was always digital; phone calls, texts, messages. But he came to Houston and jumped into gear. And you all get to see the work Kim Schwartz does ðŸ˜„
This is why I defend Texas Right to Life so vehemently. From the intern who ran to bring very tired family members a round of coffee, to our fearless President having zero qualms about calling an elected official at midnight when we thought we might have a problem at the ER. THIS is why Texas Right To Life is such a great organization; it’s the people. We pray first, and then get to work.  
&& also our families. Poor baby Andrew hasn’t seen much of his momma for a full week and he’s really showing “mommy withdrawals.”  
Meanwhile, my ER RN sister is glad we no longer share the same last name ðŸ˜†ðŸ˜† 
Look, we are systemically encountering a culture that does not respect the intrinsic dignity of human Life. And as you see, such a deficit can impact areas of your life you never even considered. Folks should pass away when God calls us home; not by the hand of man.  
Please continue to support the Jones family by donating at the link below, demand lawmakers change the Ten Day Rule and pray for a successful transfer to the long term care facility.  
Xoxo,
EKC



Let us rejoice and thank God for his great blessings and intervention. Many have given in response to the fundraisers and Texas Right to Life, especially Emily and Kim (another wonderful, dedicated  person) along with Mark Lee Dickson (who is also quite dedicated and who I must meet soon), have worked overtime to make this happen. Prayers have been answered - and I know many of us were praying! Thank you! 

Let's give thanks unto the Lord but let us learn from this. There are always lessons to be learned. 

In my prior post, I talked about why you cannot trust the Usual Suspects who advocate for TADA and against reform to it, including SB 2089, and gave some insight from the viewpoint of another author as to what makes them tick. These organizations ("the Usual Suspects") include Texas Alliance for Life ("TAL") and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops ("TCCB") (with the notable exception of Bishop Emeritus Gracida) among a few others. In addition, I've posted at great length about why any of their arguments or justifications for support of this law/opposition to reforms are without merit and/or can be addressed by some means short of killing off the patient against their will by withdrawing their life-sustaining treatment.

But today, we have yet more evidence - if you need it - as to why you cannot listen to those who advocate for involuntary passive euthanasia no matter what their organizations are named or what their mission statements claim. TAL and its allies (intended) have consistently been wrong about the Carolyn Jones case - the latest high profile victim of TADA - and their credibility and the credibility of all they speak for should be firmly in shambles. Ignore them and the TCCB who has claimed that TAL speaks for them. Supporters of TADA made up facts or used assumptions or wishful thinking as to what they wanted the case to be to justify this heinous - in my opinion, it should be criminal - conduct on the part of Memorial Hermann (read on, their disgusting conduct just got worse). They put this disinformation and misinformation out on social media to try to kill SB 2089 which would prevent situations like this from happening.  

There was absolutely no justification for subjecting this woman to involuntary passive euthanasia; not that there ever is; but even by the Usual Suspects' justifications, there was none. There was no assertion that the care was ineffective or harming her. The truth is, it was working, that's why they wanted to withdraw it. And, the truth is, this woman was not at death's door. She survived without her ventilator from Monday at 2 p.m. until the wee hours of this morning. She survived without dialysis from last Saturday. 

There was to my knowledge - as usual - no assertion that any doctor's conscience was pricked by continuing care. Even if it was, I've always said the solution is transferring the patient, not killing her. I've always said that there are other doctors who would feel differently because not all doctors have the same conscience formation (some commit abortions, after all.) At least three different facilities had agreed to take her but money was the obstacle, not conscience. The proponents of TADA and opponents of any reforms to it, including SB 2089, posit that no such doctors can be found with different consciences (if they answer this question directly; usually they ignore it). Oh, really? Well, that's not true here - and it's not been true in other cases where transfers have been successful. That's a false argument, which our writer in my last post took to task as well. 

Note also how the care at the other facilities was provided immediately and note the vastly different attitude of the medical professionals there. Yes, it is true that not all medical professionals have the same conscience formation. I've long said there are some in the medical profession who simply have a eugenicist and euthanasia mindset. They want to decide whose lives are worth of living and who should be put down like a dog because they have no quality of life in these "professionals'" judgment. What a horrendous, dehumanizing, elitist viewpoint. I'll not have it! You shouldn't either. But it's in our law and supported by those who claim to be medical professionals, pro-life leaders, and clergy from the Roman Catholic Church. It's simply mind-boggling. More than that, it's dangerous to every Texan. 

Note - and I think this is very important - that TRTL offered to private pay a dialysis treatment and Memorial Hermann refused. Yet two more facilities last night concluded immediately that this woman needed emergency dialysis. 

So what are we to conclude; what have we learned here? 
That the doctor(s) who went to the medical ethics committed at MH were wrong that Mrs. Jones was futile or someone who should not be treated? Yes. That the medical ethics committee was also wrong in rubber stamping that decision? Yes. That this procedure does not yield infallible results? Absolutely. That maybe there's a bit of an outcome based decision-making process? That's fair. That once they make a decision, that even when it appears that they are wrong, we can't count on them to reverse course and do the right thing even when a life hangs in the balance? I think the facts here speak for themselves. That maybe there should be a longer timeframe so that mistakes like this are not made with more Texans? No doubt about it. That maybe if there was some due process in the law, a check and balance, that hospitals might be more careful and mistakes would not happen? Of course, that's why we have due process in the law when it comes to criminals. It should be here for the ill and disabled as well. 
I want to clarify a few things that have been flying around out there as well. Some were said by supporters of the Usual Suspects, some by people clearly in support of offing the ill or disabled prematurely, some...I can't even speculate as to their motives. 

It was claimed before by a pro-TADA individual last Sunday, a former board member of TAL, that the hospital was not going to withdraw care at all, despite the letter having already been given to the Jones family. Where this person got that I'll never know because MH said they were and then they did. And, when it became clear that she was not going to die, MH removed more care. And when Mrs. Jones continued to live, they continued to refuse to provide care. When more time went by without her receiving dialysis and TRTL offered to private pay a session, MH refused. This is how this law works. It simply cannot be justified or supported. 

It was also not true that the Jones family was refusing to transfer as had been speculated in particular by the same pro-TADA/pro-euthanasia active who spouted this all over the internet, again a former board member of TAL, which then promoted these inaccurate (I'll be charitable in a way that she was not to the Jones') writings on its Facebook page (and alleges it was to push an anti-life agenda).



From that blog post I don't find fit to link to:



That same person was claiming that Mrs. Jones was weaned off her vent based on her husband's testimony in favor of SB 2089 back in April. But, as you know, medical conditions can and do change. It was not accurate to insinuate that it was a lie to say that she was on a ventilator or to insinuate she had been permanently weaned and never needed the ventilator at all. MH said they were going to remove her vent as part of the withdrawal of her life-sustaining care. That's what they did. Obviously, if it was to be removed, she had not been weaned off of it permanently and needed it, right? 

It was also speculated by some that maybe this story was made up, a political ploy to serve TRTL's purposes, because doesn't Medicare have unlimited money for cases like this? Well, as it turns out Medicare is not covering this (those funds can run out, you know). Obviously, if there had been funding, she'd have been transferred already! Anyway, it should go without saying that each case has different facts and if you don't have all the information, it is dangerous to draw your own politically motivated conclusions as if you have some expertise in this case even if you did manage to get an MD. Again, beware of such people. Their politics and euthanasia promotion make them un-credible. The Jones' have not been approved for Medicaid, as the news has reported, and as their attorney has stated above. I think it is common knowledge that that takes time, but that has also been in the news.

I want you all to notice also that there is yet more proof that Mrs. Jones is responding to her family. I will not agree that even an unconscious patient should have their life-sustaining care withdrawn against their or their family's will, but I have now twice in the last few years seen highly publicized cases where the intent was to use TADA on a conscious patient asking for care to be continued and the pro-TADA forces justified the usage of the law (and in this case, went so far as to blame the family and accuse them of refusing to transfer their patient!), including the Usual Suspects. Surely, when the patient is conscious and the care is not doing them harm, but actually working, that would make even some sympathetic to euthanasia pause. Apparently not. That should tell you all you need to know. 

The bottom line is that Texas Right to Life - the only real pro-life organization in this state and the only one that helps families navigate this process as you can see from above - worked overtime to get this woman to safety and proper care and even provided funding! Remember, under the statute, families are responsible for covering the cost of transferring their patient. (See Sec. 166.052(a)(4) of the Texas Health & Safety Code, where TADA is found.)

TAL, the TCCB, and others, opposed SB 2089 which would prevent this from happening to other families. Did you see them raise funds for Mrs. Jones? I did not. Did the Usual Suspects put aside their differences with TRTL and work together to help TRTL help this family? But TAL is pro-life. The TCCB is a Catholic organization and the RCC has taught that we are to help the poor and the least among us. What gives? What gives indeedBy their fruits, you will know them. All of them.

Remember, the Usual Suspects are always going on about how they are trying to fix the law they support and don't want weakened (you see the inconsistency don't you?) and it's the unreasonable people at TRTL that get in the way. That's absurd! Don't believe them. 

By the way, have you seen them supporting SB 2089 which has been amended to 45 days - remember they claimed their biggest issue was "indefinite" treatment in SB 2089? Yeah, I didn't think so. Neither have I.  

I think we know who is really pushing the anti-life agenda

We can't split the baby when it comes to abortion legislation and we can't split the ill, disabled, and elderly when it comes to TADA legislation. There is only so far compromise can go before too many lives are still lost and then what's the point? It's fine to say "Can't we all get along?" in an accusatory way. But when the rubber meets the road, who's really putting their time, money, and talents where their mouths are to help those who are victimized? You can see that here clearly. By their fruits, you will know them. All of them.

Thanks to everyone who donated, prayed, and helped spread the word. This is what real pro-life activism and Christianity is all about...helping the least among us. Remember, Texas Right to Life depends on donations - that's where this money comes from. So, please, consider directing regular donations to them so they have what they need to keep saving lives.  

Let's be grateful for today but the work here is not done. There are others who will be subjected to this law if it is not changed. The time is now. SB 2089 has still not been scheduled for a floor vote in the House. Let us continue to pray and please do contact your State Representatives and ask them to support SB 2089 and SB 1033 (the PreBorn Non-Discrimination Act). It's easy if you use this form

Thanks for reading!


UPDATE: Texas Alliance for Life has now officially come out against SB 2089 as it exists in the House, that is, the amended version that gives patients 45 days to find a new facility before a hospital may legally withdraw their life-sustaining care against their will. This is not surpassing or shocking to me, but you need to see that even in light of the Jones debacle - which should, if nothing else has - show you how horrendous this law is in practice, they cannot change positions to a truly pro-life one. 



TAL is not a pro-life organization. It supports euthanasia - involuntary euthanasia. Do not listen to it or its leader or anyone associated with it. Oppose them. 

The only harm that was coming to Mrs. Jones was the utilization of this law by Memorial Hermann. It is unconscionable that an organization that proclaims itself pro-life would justify what was going on there and oppose the bill that would prevent it from happening to others. 

Let me be clear about something: 

YOU HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO OPPOSE ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS THAT DO NOT VALUE LIFE. YOU HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT DOES VALUE AND PROTECT LIFE.

I'd ask you to call the members of the Calendars Committee who are the ones who decide what gets a floor vote. Call the following and ask them to set SB 2089 (and SB 1033) for a vote on the House floor immediately. Be truly pro-life. 



Thanks for reading this update!

The Rare RePost: UnHoly Alliances

As you may have noticed, I do not repost articles and blogs that often. Until now, I've only done it twice. I do often link to other posts, articles, research, and resources in the course of my articles here, but I do not usually have a repost as a standalone piece. As I said in my first post, when I have something to say, I'll say it, but there will be lulls here. All that said, this morning's post on Bishop Gracida's very excellent blog, is worth doing so here for a few of reasons. 

First, this blog is not just a collection of my thoughts about what is going on, but a library of information and resources kept contemporaneously with when these events are going on. I refer to it frequently when I am working on a pro-life issue, talk, presentation, testimony, etc., because I know I've got just about everything that I was reading, doing, thinking, and researching at a certain point in time on a particular issue, bill, or case in one place. I want this piece in my library. 

Second, I do it for others. As I advocate for things, sometimes the forum where that is taking place in is not conducive to a long discourse on matters. Sometimes there is a large history of events that needs to be explained. I can refer people here for all of that and access to the supporting materials. The people that are sent to this blog by others or who I refer to this blog need the piece there as well. 

Third, I often criticize the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops ("TCCB"), Texas Alliance for Life ("TAL"), and some other organizations that should know better and should be truly pro-life but fail in that and end up advocating for things that are anything but pro-life, such as euthanasia, and do so by allying (intended) with organizations that are actually pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia. I want you to know that this is not just me. Many have noticed this over the course of the years. I only joined the fight against the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA") in 2013. Others, like Bishop Gracida, have been in the fight from the beginning. The law passed in 1999, but the TCCB  and other Catholic bishops became lost on the issue well before that. Bishop Gracida has written about that on his blog and in his autobiography

Fourth, I have been asked numerous times why the TCCB and TAL do this. Since I cannot get into their heads, I can't speak with any certainty. While I am the kind that wonders what makes people tick, I am curious. But I am far more concerned about the effects of what they do. And those effects are deadly. Literally. But for those who wonder and want some background and how these organizations all interact, and perhaps some additional insight into why things are the way they are, here you go.

Fifth, given all of this and the fact that TAL and its allies (intended) have consistently been wrong about the Carolyn Jones case - the latest high profile victim of TADA - their credibility should be firmly in shambles. I'll update more in the next post, but Mrs. Jones was transported via private ambulance at Texas Right to Life's expense and will receive care at a long-term care facility. In short, you will see that TAL and those who support TADA/oppose reforms to it are wrong on every point as the facts of the Jones case point out. But that's just the most recent example proving they are wrong about everything. Read on and learn more about why they cannot be trusted and they are not working for you or real pro-life legislation, especially when it comes to euthanasia. 

***************************************************************************************************************************


THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE OF THE TEXAS CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS HAS FINALLY SUFFERED A DEFEAT IN THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE, ONE CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY THAT IT HAS FATAL RESULTS FOR WHAT HAS BEEN AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE IN THE BATTLE IN DEFENSE OF HUMAN LIFE FOR YEARS

Texas Alliance for Life Dives onto its Own Sword, Should Die on It 

by Peter Amos Cohen 

Recently, Texas Alliance for Life (TAL) lobbied hard to defeat Senate Bill 2089 in Texas, a bill sponsored by Texas Right to Life (TRL). Senate Bill 2089 was to repeal the 10 day rule in current law, which is named Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA). 

The leader of TAL, Dr. Joe Pojman, is a disgruntled former member of Texas Right to Life. He broke away from Texas Right to Life to found a new “pro-life” group which was to be the anti-conservative “pro-life” group, or Texas Alliance for Life (TAL). The problem is that its anti-conservatism has compromised its pro-life stance from its inception. TAL has defined itself in opposition to or in competition (not cooperation) with TRL. It has made a mission out of opposing TRL initiatives, usually on the basis of an alleged “legal imprudrence” (e.g. “this will get struck down by a higher court”), sometimes even going so far as to testify in the Texas Congress side by side with the likes of Planned Parenthood against TRL legal initiatives. Since Texas Right to Life is the oldest, most well established pro-life group, one would think that opposition to it by a newer pro-life movement would entail cutting-off the branch that it sits on, since members of the pro-life movement must be concerned with unity and unity necessarily requires that the newer and future growth in the movement would be in harmony with the former, past foundations. Yet TAL has successfully thrown out lifelines to the likes of the Texas Hospital Association (THA), the Texas Medical Association (TMA), and the Office of the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB), with big promises of being able to deliver them into the hands of each other, thereby providing a service to each. 

What does the TCCB get? The TCCB gets remotely included in some of the policy deliberations of the THA ad TMA through the brokerage of Pojman and members of the office of the TCCB get to maintain their socialist/paternalistic/patriarchal leanings (failing to make the proper distinction between ecclesiastical and political governance). While I am all in favor of secular authority bending to give ecclesiastical institutions a voice in the guidance of moral matters, I am not in favor of Churches compromising themselves in order to gain that voice. That is pharisaism, plain and simple.     

What does the THA and TMA get? To these big secular powers, by having the name of the TCCB on their initiatives, they can nullify much of the pro-life opposition when they act against life and on behalf of their monetary interests.

Thus does Joe Pojman call the TCCB and the THA/TMA into a dirty bed for a disgusting mé·nage à trois. And thus does Joe Pojman survive by appealing to certain standing powers, while fracturing the unity and political force of the pro-life movement. Hence, his nickname, “Dirty Joe.”

While Dirty Joe has usually opposed TRL on the basis of legal imprudence, he recently claimed that their initiative, SB 2089, was anti-life. He supported the 10 day TADA law, against SB 2089. In doing so, Dirty Joe was true to his dirty form. What was his argument? 

It was a compound of two things. First, TAL’s argument from doctors conscience rights is the most ridiculous argument. It’s a terrible misunderstanding of conscience rights. As Bishop Mulvey of Corpus Christi taught (at a conference in Houston), the “holy trinity” of medical decision making is 1) the patient, 2) the doctor, and 3) the hospital. All three must work together cooperatively. Current TADA law fails to protect the balance of patient autonomy and physician conscience protection (traditional to Church teaching) by giving, after 10 days, sweeping permission for doctors and hospitals to act without patient consent in end-of-life care, once the doctors and hospitals agree among themselves that certain circumstances are present, making medical care “unnecessary” or “inappropriate.” Informed consent of the patient is the final moral principle in medicine that is somewhat universally in place. It is also the patient’s conscience rights. TAL’s recent push will contribute to even its loss. 

Nobody wants doctors and hospitals to provide whimsical treatment, and if his conscience dictates the doctor should leave the medical relationship. But medical decision making power should not be placed solely in the hands of the doctors and hospitals. Where to place medical decision making power is a different proposition from doctor’s conscience rights. Contrary to TAL, the doctor and hospital should not have sweeping power to eliminate the patient’s conscience rights (informed consent), but they should persuade the patient/family/surrogate of the appropriate medical course of action. In short, educate. Do not act unilaterally. This part of TAL’s argument plays into the socialist tendencies of TAL’s base, since it treats people as incapable of being educated for self-governance. Rather than rule themselves, people instead must be ruled by “experts.”    

The second part of TAL’s argument is that if patient consent is included in end-of-life medical decision making, that families will unintentionally harm their loved one’s by opting for unnecessary medical procedures. I grant that this may happen, in theory.  But it is asinine to make a law to prevent it. As the old saying goes, “hard cases make bad laws.” One should not take an extreme case, where the family truly cannot be properly educated to allow a natural death, and make policy based on it as if it is normative. The hospitals and doctors also can abuse end-of-life medical care as is evident from the recent case of Carolyn Jones (https://thetexan.news/update-woman-taken-off-life-sustaining-treatment-revision-to-law-passed-in-senate/) .    

In reality, the 10 day rule is not an expression of respect for the conscience rights of doctors or of care for the patient. That is a made up argument coming from the prostitution of Catholic thought by a TAL, a pro-life group that is happy to be used to mop the floor by the pro-death powers that be — as if they really care beyond the use. If we were in the Middle Ages, where the Church really had some control and coud oversee the actual use of this authority, then I might grant such paternalistic authority. At that time, maybe medical professionals might actually be formed properly to make the right decision. Proper formation is no longer the norm, however. While it is not perfect and may be abused, self-governance (informed consent in medical matters) is a last safeguard. The 10 day rule is about doctor’s consciences and patient care only in the minds of a very small group of people trying to be both socialist (which is by definition secular) and Catholic, who are only included in certain groups because their support of the 10 day rule will confuse the pro-life lobby. 

Let’s be serious: the 10 day rule is a straight expression of the care rationing, death panel, medical utilitarian, bureaucratic mentality of Obamacare. By arguing for it, TAL offered a pro-life facade to pro-death legislation. It also lured the TCCB into prostituting itself to shill for the secular powers against life. TAL thereby dove onto its own sword. Having revealed yet again that it lacks a principled commitment to life, TAL should remain on its sword and die off. By all accounts, Joe Pojman is schmoozer. It would be good for his soul and for the pro-life movement if he would subject himself and use the talents he does have in the service of someone with principles. As Clint Eastwood in the character of Harry Callahan said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”


*****************************************************************************************

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

EVEN MORE UPDATES: SB 2089 as Amended PASSES Senate!

UPDATE 1: I said I'd keep you posted on what to do next: here it is. You need to start contacting your Texas Representative who is in the House.

And, I have even more good news. Both SB 2089 and SB 1033 have passed in the Senate and need to be passed in the House. Texas Right to Life reports that, "Additionally, the House Committee on State Affairs passed the #1 abortion-related Pro-Life priority bill, the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA) [SB 1033], to the Calendars Committee today."

This one form in this link will help you contact your Representative and ask them to support both bills in the House. (Remember, this is your State Representative, not your U.S. Representative. Sometimes that's a bit confusing to people.)

As time goes on, however, you may need to contact them more than once and by more than one means - maybe email and phone. YOU - the grassroots, the voters, the constituents, the persons directly affected by these laws - are what were able to combat the very, very monied opponents not just of these bills, but opponents of life.

As Texas Right to Life stated:


Thousands of Texans like you asked the Texas Legislature to make LIFE a priority.  Because of you, two crucial Pro-Life priority bills advanced today, but the battle is not finished yet!

Let's rejoice today, but the work is not over yet. Session is not over yet, but time is really running out. Nevertheless, much good can be done in a short period of time if everyone does their part.

UPDATE 2: My friend Yvette DeOtte, who along with her husband, Rich, is 1/2 of a major pro-life and conservative power couple in this state (they do things that help every single one of us and I am so grateful for them), ripped this video from the Senate proceedings today for me. (She's a master at it; I can't figure it out.) It's the entirety of the debate and vote on SB 2089. Please watch it all. I think it will be very enlightening to you as to where people stand and what their objections still are with a 45 day extension. You need to understand where everyone is coming from and what the responses are.



It's probably a bit (great deal?) of foreshadowing as to what we should expect from the Usual Suspects as things heat up in the House. Speaking of foreshadowing, here's what one of them tweeted today:



I told you. I can only read that as they are upset about the 45 days - even with their amendment - they don't like the 45 days. Where they go from here will tell you a great deal. I think it'll be proof-positive of what a lot of us have known for many years. But I am always prayerful and hopeful for genuine conversions here. I'd be happy to be wrong and have them jump on board and leave SB 2089 as it is with 45 days and work with us. (I'd also like world peace and an end to hunger.) Stay tuned...

Also, I'll look into that amendment which was confusing to a number of us, including, it seems, some Senators. But from what I understand from others, it may be ripped largely from SB 2129 which they opposed. I'll report back when I have more time to analyze and compare it to SB 2129. I suspect this was a face-saving maneuver. The big deal here is extending the deadline for transfer. So far as I am aware, they have always opposed anything much over 10 days. Remember that has been the law since 1999 and remember also that they constantly go on about what was done in 1999 as if that was the doing of God himself and perfect. (I'm personally aware that once in 2013 they amended SB 303 to 21 days, but then back to 14.)

UPDATE 3: I have an late-breaking update on Mrs. Jones as well. They are attempting a transfer but there are difficulties. There is also now a GoFundMe for her that is linked from that article. She has been off the vent since 2 p.m. yesterday. The hospital is refusing to allow her dialysis which she should have had today. She's not out of the woods yet and this is certainly demonstrating how monstrous the current law is as it is applied to human beings. It's really an outrage.

Mark Lee Dickson, a wonderful compassionate pro-life warrior, who I do not yet know in person, is currently with the Jones' and is posting live updates on his Facebook page. They are all public so I suggest you check there from time to time.

Please keep praying for Mrs. Jones and her family. What a terrible thing to go through. Senator Hughes addressed this sort of thing when he said that when we are dealing will illnesses like this, families are rushing trying to find a transfer for their patient rather than cherishing their last days with them (in some cases). He is right. For others, they are fighting to save someone who will live. It's not something anyone should have to go through.

And, as a relevant aside, my own Senator Nathan Johnson is a disappointment of the greatest magnitude. (I am neither shocked nor surprised.) When I saw him oppose SB 1033 and NARAL Texas rejoiced and praised him on Twitter I was unimpressed. But he went even beyond that in this context. He quotes Dr. Robert Fine and the talking points of the Usual Suspects. In time I may be posting about that. In the interim, see for yourself by watching the video above. Clearly, he needs to be replaced by a solid pro-life person. Unfortunately, he's in office until 2022. But I think efforts need to be underway soon to start searching for a viable candidate to oppose and replace him. It's never too soon to start planning.

UPDATE 4: Texas Right to Life has just started a fundraiser to help Mrs. Jones be transferred but time is really short for it. Please read about it and give if you can!

Thanks for reading these updates!

ORIGINAL POSTThis is probably going to be my shortest post ever and I'll provide more details about moving forward soon, but 

SB 2089, as amended, just PASSED the Senate 
by a vote of 22-8! 

What is the amendment? It extends the 10-day limit to 45 days and compromised on the treatment until transfer that was in the original bill. Experience shows that this helps most, but not all patients in this situation. I can, however, support this as significant improvement, not just incremental. Understand the time limit has been the most troubling aspect of this law and it is something that was just a tremendous political wall. (Donald  Trump would be envious of how impenetrable this wall has been.) Until now. This is a great day!  

Now, let's see if the Usual Suspects can support this. There were indications based on some of the speeches the few opposing this gave that the "stakeholders" that include the TCCB, TMA, TAL, etc. (on this blog, referred to as "the Usual Suspects"), were not happy, but it's hard to tell just yet. They have all misrepresented what the original SB 2089 would do as well as what the existing law does to patients, and so forth as this blog has covered repeatedly. But one thing they all complained about this time was "indefinite" provision of life-sustaining care. I addressed how this was not true in my last post

But now there is a cutoff and even by their own faulty terminology and logic there is a limit; it is not "indefinite." Will they still oppose this? If they do, it will tell you plenty about their true motivations. 

Now, to be clear, this will not help Mrs. Jones. It is not law and laws don't generally apply retroactively. Mrs. Jones is still breathing on her own, last I heard. Senator Hughes mentioned her. He mentioned that the hospital would be withdrawing her dialysis. I fear that her care will continue to be withdrawn and that the effort to hastened her death by involuntary passive euthanasia will be successful. Memorial Hermann could always reverse course and reinstate her life-sustaining care, but I've seen no indications it is willing to do so even after so much media attention. But her suffering at the hands of existing law will not have been in vain. It was her case that brought awareness to this law in a timely fashion. Senator Hughes mentioned that they were considering this now in an expedited way, in the 11th hour no less, because they heard from you! It makes a difference!  

Thanks are due to the unwavering pro-life leadership and commitment of Sen. Hughes who authored the bill, but also co-authors Senators Hall, Perry, and Creighton. And, thanks to Texas Right to Life who, while working to help Mrs. Jones, also worked so hard to get this passed and lobbied for it and dealt with a lot of BS, too, from the haters as they too often have to. 

Please continue to pray for this bill, but offer prayers of thanksgiving for this success along the path. It has to be passed in the House now. I will keep you updated and we will need your help again as this proceeds to the next step. 

Thanks for reading!


Monday, May 13, 2019

UPDATE: Mrs. Jones Is Dying Right Now via TADA; SB 2089 Is More Important than Ever

Many of us have talked and written about Mrs. Jones, the conscious woman who Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston decided they just did not want to treat anymore; not that her care was ineffective or harming her more than benefitting her. Well, today is the 10th day and as they said they would, they withdrew her ventilator. Not only that, if she is not dead by tomorrow, they will withdraw her dialysis. 

Emily Kebodeaux Cook, of Texas Right to Life, has been trying to help the family. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jones could not be transferred in time and there were financial hurdles. The new news outlet, The Texan, covered the story again today in more detail. 

Just a bit ago, Emily posted this update:


This would not be legal if SB 2089 was passed. It will not save Mrs. Jones, but it could stop this in the future. There is very little time left in this session. I've heard that today might be the last day the Senate can vote on the bill, but I've also seen indications that we might have another day or two, but I'd not count on that. I do know that time is of the essence. 

If the Senate does not pass it immediately, then the House cannot take it up. SB 2089 will die. Opponents are wanting this bill as dead as Mrs. Jones is going to be when Memorial Hermann is finished withdrawing her life-sustaining treatment. This must end. This session. 

I also know that very few people actually call their Congressmen to voice their opinions about things. So when people do, they assume that there are even more of that viewpoint. The net result is that your one call or email count vastly more than your one vote come election time. 

The phones and inboxes of our Texas Senators need to be flooded with calls and emails right this second. You can send an email easily using this form and it will go to your proper senator.

The forces that oppose SB 2089 are in full swing and, frankly, more disgusting than ever in their support of involuntary passive euthanasia. They are claiming that patients will actually lose rights under SB 2089. 




What rights would those be that are lost by SB 2089 which just patients them more than 10 days to find a facility and requires treatment until they can be transferred? That is the only interpretation of this that makes sense - if you have to oppose SB 2089 to "protect patient" rights - then logically, they are claiming rights are lost. That is not true. That is a lie. 

Patients have no due process rights now under current law! I've talked about this many times. 

Some are claiming that this bill will harm patients at the end of life:



I ask that you do the opposite of what TAL says - that you to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at that number and tell him to do the pro-life thing, stop euthanasia, and SUPPORT SB 2089.

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops are claiming: 



Remember, these are patients who want their care continued, such as Chris Dunn and Mrs. Jones. Some are unable to speak for themselves but their families are in the best position to know what they would want. (TAL is run by a Catholic and the TCCB and Catholic Health Association (another opponent of SB 2089 as I've written before) are presumably Catholic or run by or advised by Catholics. Read up on the Principle of Subsidiarity. I've written about it herehere, and here.) Remember, Sec. 166.046 overrides your Advance Directive and any Medical Power of Attorney you may have given someone. They don't have to listen to you. If you're in an 046 situation, they are not intending to or you'd not be in this quagmire. There is no one better able to decide what is in your best interest and what you would want than your family. And, no, contrary to what many of these opponents to SB 2089/proponents of the current involuntary passive euthanasia law say, these patients are not all in the situation where the patient is being harmed by the continued care. I discussed those scenarios before (see the footnote and the link in the footnote). That's not what we're talking about. But in the majority of these cases, the care is not being withdrawn because it is not working or harmful, but because it is working and those in authority don't think the life is worth living; they've made a quality of life determination for you or your loved one. That's not their job.  

Here's one more point I'm not sure I've made on this blog but I had this discussion on Facebook with the below-mentioned particularly vocal proponent of current law and a doctor's right to decide whether you live or die and when. She made the same claim that the TCCB is - that the care will go on indefinitely. That's just not true as a matter of logic and science...and common sense. What I said then was:

Sometimes transfer takes time and is difficult. Many of these patients are going to die with their life-sustaining treatment in place as their underlying conditions overtake them. The families understand that and just don’t want the deaths hastened by imposing involuntary passive euthanasia on them. Thus, the care is not indefinite. Many will eventually be transferred especially if obstacles are cleared. Some will actually recover to a point where it’s not needed. 

Currently, this very reasonable bill is trying to be killed by those who simply think they should decide when you live or die. They support euthanasia and have supported existing law in legal briefs before court. Don’t buy what they say now.

One particularly vocal involuntary passive euthanasia activist who claims the mantle of pro-life asserts that getting two days' notice, being able to attend the hearing, and being about "to go to court" are rights under current law. That there are a few things provided in the procedure do not make them due process rights. A family gets to sit there and be told what's going to happen to their loved one against their will that ultimately is the withdrawal of their life-sustaining care which will thereby hasten their death. Those aren't rights. That is certainly not due process which requires sufficient notice, the right tot be heard (attending is not being heard), the right to representation (I know for a fact that attorneys and patient advocates have been prevented from attending medical ethics hearings), the right to a tribunal free of conflicts of interest (that cannot occur as a matter of fact when all the board members are employees of the hospital or otherwise connected with it), the right to appeal (the right to go to court is to beg for a few more days within that limited 10 days requiring evidence you may not yet have; that's not really going to court to address the merits and receive a review of what happened), etc. Due process is a specifically defined term under the law as I mentioned in the post linked above. 

This is serious. Every one of us will end up in the hospital one day or have a loved one there with some serious illness or injury. How can anyone not relate to this and not want someone with this mentality calling the shots about pulling their plugs? I just still can't understand it. 

Remember, all of the alleged concerns of the opponents of SB 2089 and those who justify TADA - including the conscience rights for doctors - can be addressed in ways other than killing the patient that someone no longer wants to treat. They refuse to see this. They are dangerous. This law is dangerous. It is not pro-life, it is euthanasia in Texas. And once euthanasia begins, it expands. Remember what I talked about last time

There is simply no way to justify this or characterize it as anything other than involuntary passive euthanasia. 

Please pray for the Jones Family. Pray for Texas Right to Life and everyone there working to get SB 2089 passed, including its author Sen. Bryan Hughes. Please pray that those who oppose SB 2089, support TADA, and thereby support involuntary passive euthanasia are converted. Pray for the Senate including your Senator by name, even if you think they will not pass this. Pray anyway. Pray for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that he will assert his influence as the leader of the Senate to move this legislation. Pray for its passage. Pray for the House to take it up and pass it. Pray for Gov. Abbott to sign it into law. Pray for the Culture of Life and its success. Pray that the Culture of Death be beaten back and defeated. Pray without ceasing. 

Thanks for reading!

❤️

P.S. Incidentally, at least one well-positioned Catholic has taken to criticizing me for calling out the TCCB now that I'm not a Catholic anymore. (I've chosen not to post the screenshots here.) As you know, I publicly announced my conversion to Russian Orthodoxy in December. What I did not write then was that I did so in part because I anticipated just such a "response" to my advocacy. In fact, this person at least at one point was a board member of the organization I expected such an "attack" to come from. The response was a poor attempt at an ad hominem (a logical fallacy) and an example of the error of clericalism and the bandwagon fallacy, which, as you know, I've written about before in this context. 

To state the obvious: I do not have to be a Catholic to call out Catholic clerics for creating yet another scandal for faithful Catholics to endure as they promote euthanasia. (I have many Catholic friends. Not a single one of them supports TADA or the Bishops on this. A number of them aren't certain they will remain Catholic as they've had more than anyone should have to endure of scandals, including this one. They do not like this either. They are just not all called to say so publicly. But the idea that everyone does as the Bishops say on this matter is completely incorrect. The Catholics I know are fully aware of their moral obligation to understand what the RCC teaches and apply it correctly to each context. They have done the proper analysis and reached the same conclusion I did - SIX YEARS AGO - when I was still a Catholic who thought that the Bishops might right the ship on this (among other things).) 

To put it another way: Do we have to be abortionists to oppose abortion and call out other abortion proponents and abortionists? Do you see how illogical this is? 

A Christian or pro-life justification for TADA cannot be found. (And, by the way, none was offered here, except that the Bishops are right.) We simply don't involuntarily passively euthanize people. We just don't. We don't treat humans like animals. It's dehumanizing. It's immoral. It's unethical. It's unconstitutional. And, as I said in December, I'll call out any person or group that does this. My religion has nothing to do with it except that it has taught me right from wrong and a consistent life ethic that I have chosen to take into the Public Square. But I know others who argue from a secular position, as I do from time to time as well, and we are just as correct from that standpoint. All life has value. All life should be protected. 

We err, if we are to err at all, on the side of life. Always.