Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The 10-Day Law (aka TADA) is NOT a "Dispute Resolution Process"

"Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil;
that put darkness for light and light for darkness...!" Isaiah 5:20, KJV

I keep reading statements made by those who support Texas' draconian 10-Day Law - which I have often referred to here as TADA (it is Texas Health & Safety Code Sec. 166.046 of the Texas Advance Directives Act) - as a "dispute resolution process." They describe it as if it is a give-and-take, back-and-forth dialogue between a patient and their doctor with equal consideration given to all viewpoints and an agreed upon resolution. That is NOT how it is used; that is NOT what it is by the very language of the statute itself. 

I have described how the process works as well as the Constitutional due process violations inherent in the law most recently here. In this post, I also explained TADA in great detail including why it deprives patients of their rights to due process. You can see similar posts throughout this blog. 

Nothing defenders of this law say contradicts any of this. It simply cannot be contradicted because that is literally how the law is written. That is the effect of the law. It is both facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to patients. That there is a "procedure" in place does not mean that there is due process. Due process is a particular legal term with certain requirements, e.g., the right to be heard, to have counsel, to be heard before an impartial tribunal, to appeal, etc. Not a single one of those exists in TADA. You may attend the hearing, you may or may not be allowed to speak. You have no right to speak. You are not entitled to counsel, you may be allowed it, but you have no right to it. And so forth and so on as I described in the links above.

Important for you to know is that those that describe it this way do not in any way help patients navigate the system at all. They have little to no firsthand knowledge of how this law actually works in the real world and certainly not from the patient's point of view. They don't help place patients in a new facility. They do not understand the special challenges involved in trying to save lives under these extraordinary circumstances. They do not retain lawyers to help anyone attempt to get a Temporary Restraining Order to try to get more time to transfer a patient. Again, they do not know how the system works in this context. Texas Right to Life certainly does. To a much lesser, but growing extent, so do I. So do many of us that oppose it. In fact, no one that supports it is involved in how it actually works for the patient. Keep that in mind. 

With no hint of irony, they like to claim that any media entity or anyone criticizing this law is "uninformed" or "confused" about it. I've been watching this for years. People asking these questions  are not confused or uninformed. In fact, they are digging into it. I've been asked dozens of questions in the last two weeks about it. As intellectually honest people learn more about this little known risk to their lives, they are horrified. They cannot believe that their right to life could be taken so hastily and with no recourse. 

What they actually do is work to keep this law in place and continue to deprive patients and their families of their Constitutional rights to life and due process under the law. And they ally with pro-abortion entities to keep this law in place. 

The result of all of their efforts is a continuation of involuntary passive euthanasia. Here is a reminder of why some of us call it that: 

Let me begin with a note about terminology. I've discussed this before but let me recap. Why do I refer to TADA as "involuntary passive euthanasia"? First, TADA allows a hospital to withdraw your life-sustaining care against your will; it does not require anyone to consider your thoughts on the matter at all. Thus, if it is used against you against your will, you are subjected to something that is involuntary. Second, "passive euthanasia" is distinguished from "active euthanasia." "Passive euthanasia"is death brought about by the denial of something without which you will die. It can be air (ventilators), nutrition, hydration, etc. "Active euthanasia," on the other hand, is that which Jack Kevorkian promoted - a shot or pills, etc. are administered - to directly and quickly bring about your death. TADA allows for passive, but not active euthanasia. But allowing the one sets up a slippery slope. There have already been calls to allow active euthanasia in Texas. 

The primary pro-TADA faux life group releasing press statements - in which they admit that they have only second-hand information - also claims it does not support euthanasia. Interestingly enough, it does just that by supporting this law. Indeed, it's own staffers have written in support of euthanasia (although they did not actually call it by that name, what they described is the very definition of it).

They also like to say or heavily imply that the Courts have rejected a Constitutional challenge to TADA. That is inherently, demonstrably false. I explained that here. The Courts have never addressed the merits of the law. In other words, the Courts have not said it is Constitutional. They have just not ruled on that at all. The appeal was rejected because the Court decided that the entire case became moot upon the person's (Chris Dunn's) death. That is not a correct holding and it has been appealed. The Texas Supreme Court initially rejected the Petition for Review, but a Motion for Rehearing has been filed and it has not decided that at this time. As I mentioned in that post, I am one of the attorneys on the case and I will say no more about it right now other than that. But what I have said is all a matter of public record. You can easily pull the briefs and opinions and read them yourself.

One other thing the Usual Suspects like to claim is that this law is about protecting doctors' consciences and that to continue caring for a patient is to "force the hand of the doctor." I - and many others - have repeatedly said that different doctors have different consciences and the solution here is to transfer care to another doctor or facility, but with sufficient time to do so. I have never received an answer as to why the only solution they will contemplate is killing a patient by withdrawing their life-sustaining care against their will if a person cannot be transferred in 10 days. (See, e.g., here and here.) The amount of time here is not enough. Full sets of documents cannot even usually by acquired by then. Often, much of that 10 days falls on weekends, as in the case for Tinslee. Remember, also that the Usual Suspects  still inexplicably opposed an amendment to TADA that would extend the time to transfer to 45 days. 

One would think that after the Carolyn Jones debacle, and the amount of egg on so many faces, that these types would back off at least from publicly trying to glom onto a case to attempt damage control and try to gain their own publicity without firsthand information. They really never learn. 

So there you have it: a few clarifications of some of the things you may see floating around out there. Trust the information coming from those with firsthand information about Tinslee's case, how this law works in the real world, and those who are truly pro-life from conception to natural death with no exceptions. There is only one such group in Texas: Texas Right to Life. They will be putting out updates from time to time that I will try to link here just to keep the record up-to-date, so to speak. Often times it is useful to come back and review things. 

Please keep praying for Baby Tinslee and all involved. Pray for the conversion to life of all people.

Thanks for reading! 

Update on Baby Tinslee: More Time Granted

Texas Right to Life has this update on Baby Tinslee:

Baby Tinslee Lewis, the 9-month-old at the center of a 10-day dispute with Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, will be protected until December 10, 2019. Texas Right to Life’s lawyers and Cook Children’s agreed to extend the temporary restraining order, allowing our patient advocacy team more time to secure a transfer.  
Originally, the TRO was set to expire this Friday, November 22. 
We praise God for this extension of time, which grants Tinslee more than a month of life after the hospital was initially set to pull the plug on the baby on November 10. 
We call on Governor Greg Abbott to convene a special session to end this deadly 10-Day Rule.

Please keep praying as this process continues...for everyone involved on all sides. And, do please call the Governor and ask for a Special Session to end this law.

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

More on Tinslee & the Law: CBS 11 DFW's Report (Wherein I'm Interviewed)

Baby Tinslee is being represented by the very best attorneys, Joseph M. Nixon and Emily Cook, who is with Texas Right to Life. But they are both in Houston. Today, the local DFW CBS affiliate called Joe and asked him for an on-camera interview. He was not able to, so I got the call to step in for him and also serve as a spokesperson for Texas Right to Life. 

The media is asking keen questions about this law and how in the world this situation can happen. That is great news! They were shocked that so few know of this law. They wanted answers as they continue to cover Tinslee's case - and to make people aware. This is the report that just aired and I think it was very well done.

The written article with video interviews are here. I was honored to be able to help explain this law and the effect it has on Texans and do my part to bring more awareness to it.

CBS 11 also interviewed Natalie Gregory of Protect Texas Fragile Kids, which has been advocating on behalf of Tinslee and children like her as well. Natalie's daughter has been on life-sustaining care to aid her breathing for many years; staring with a ventilator like Baby Tinslee. She is now five and thriving. That gives us such hope, doesn't it? All people deserve that chance.

I was grateful that in yet another context mention of a Special Session was made. Governor Abbott could help fix this by showing leadership and calling a Special Session to address this (and other issues that were not fixed during the Regular Session). The legislature could have if they had been willing. The Senate was and passed SB 2089. The House - at least certain key leadership - was not and killed the bill leaving Texans vulnerable to this law; the worst law of its kind in the nation. That wrong could be righted right now.

I pray that as people become more aware, they will demand change and that if the opposition to repealing this law cannot see the error of their ways, that at least politicians will realize that there are more voters than lobbyists. No one wants to have their life ended prematurely against their will. No reasonable person supports this.

I also pray that the law will be declared unconstitutional by the courts. However it happens, it needs to so that there are no more victims - or would-be victims - of this law!

Pray for Tinslee and all involved! Pray that a transfer can be secured.

Then please call your state representative, state senator, and Gov. Abbott and ask for a Special Session to pass the Lone Star Agenda!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

UPDATE on Baby Tinslee: More Time Granted by Court

Make no mistake about it - your calls and emails made all the difference! Thank you! 

Texas Right to Life is reporting a victory in the Baby Tinslee case: a judge signed a Temporary Restraining Order today - on a Sunday - which bars the hospital from withdrawing her life-sustaining care until November 22. At that point, things will have to be re-visited by the judge in the case. Hopefully, she can be transferred in the interim. How this will play out ultimately, only time will tell. But Tinslee has the very best representation. Continued prayers are very much needed for all involved. 

A press conference was held today where the family, Representatives Tony Tinderholt and Tan Parker, and Rich DeOtte, a board member of TRTL, spoke. Rich explained very clearly why this law is a problem and puts families in a crisis situation unnecessarily. All were very grateful for the reprieve and very complimentary of the care Tinslee has received at Cook Children's. There is no doubt, it is a very great hospital. 

That many may disagree with a decision to use TADA does not change that. It is very likely that only a few people made the decision to use it. Given some of the reporting, I sincerely doubt there is total unanimity among all doctors and staff with regard to involuntarily passively euthanizing Tinslee. Overall, it is a great hospital. But it should not be euthanizing children - and certainly not involuntarily. Texas law should not allow this. 

Cook Children's issued a statement today saying that the baby is suffering, care should be withdrawn, that they've tried to find other facilities, etc. We've seen this before. Of course, euthanizing someone to stop suffering is the very definition of mercy killing, which is prohibited under this statute, as I mentioned previously. Whether Tinslee is suffering is hard to know and her family does not seem to agree based on their interactions with her and their belief that she needs more time.

You should also note that many have lived very long lives on similar life-sustaining care as Tinslee; e.g., Steven Hawking. And, many defeat the odds. They just need some time. Tinslee is only 9 months old. Her family is just wanting more time and a chance to find another facility. Please pray for these efforts. 

The bottom line with all of these cases remains that this is a situation that no one should be in. Texas law allows a hospital (or a few people at a hospital) to choose to euthanize someone by way of withdrawing their life-sustaining care against that person or her family's will with no due process and a mere 10 days to find an alternative facility. 

Note that Tinslee's mother received the notice on Thursday, October 31. The 10th day was today, a Sunday. That means that 4 of the 10 days were weekend days; or 40% of the time she was given to find a new facility were weekends where administrative offices are closed. The final day was a Sunday. 

You should also know that there were many miracles that occurred along the way here that allowed this TRO to happen on a Sunday. Your prayers were answered. Please keep them coming. 

TRTL and others continue to ask Governor Abbott to call a special session to fix this, among other things, that didn't get done this past session. There is a call to action in TRTL's press release to that end. They are asking that your Senator be contacted for this effort. A link is provided where you can easily do so. 

It troubles me greatly to see this law invoked so frequently. That paints doctors and hospitals in a bad light, when many (most) do not deserve that. But, the fact is, lives are on the line every time it is invoked and action must be taken. The fact is, this is involuntary passive euthanasia. The fact is, patients do not have due process rights under the law here. The fact is, this is a part of the Culture of Death that must be opposed. 

Keep the faith and keep fighting the good fight. This is not over. But today, there was a victory along the way. 

Thanks for reading! 

UPDATE on Baby Tinslee - Keep Calling, Emailing, & Praying

I posted an urgent call to action last night about Baby Tinslee - the latest intended victim of TADA. I have some updates for you and rather than update that post, I thought I'd just create a new post.

CBS11 had this news story about Tinslee last night:

About half an hour ago, Robert Montoya who is the Metroplex Bureau Correspondent for Empower Texans, reported as follows:

Not only that, Ross Kecseg, also with Empower Texans, reports in a comment to Robert's post, that Representative Tony Tinderholt, who has been at the hospital today:

That's just outrageous behavior on the part of the hospital. If the hospital has it's way, this is Tinsel's last day and they want to tell the mother whether or not she can photograph her child! I hope you're seeing a pattern emerge here.

But note this from my friend, Yvette DeOtte, who is quite plugged in here:

Let's go back to what I said last night about motivations:

NOTE: Anticipating what TADA supporters always say in defense of these things, let me nip that in the bud. There are no assertions that anyone's conscience is being pricked by continuing to care for this child. I have never heard that used in a hearing as a reason. That only ever comes up during legislative testimony by lobbyists for euthanasia and the occasional brief in court. Even were that the case, there are many, many doctors in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Other doctors who are pro-life and understand who makes what decisions would continue care for her, I am certain. 
Anticipating another thing they might say - she's suffering. Actually, that was not a given reason. Also, killing people because of suffering is the very definition of euthanasia. Yeah, it is. Mercy killing is also, ironically, prohibited by TADA. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Sec. 166.050.  
Anticipating and responding to what others have said or asked about the role of money here, let me address that as well. Doctors and hospitals always vehemently deny that money plays any role in any decision they make. In one place on social media, one lady said she called and mentioned money and the receptionist defensively said money had nothing to do with their decisions. I've been in cases where the intended TADA victim had insurance or would qualify for Medicare or Medicaid soon if given enough time. To be honest, I actually don't think money is the biggest motivator for these cases for the decision-makers. 

When I add 2 + 2 I get 4. What do you get?

If a doctor doesn't want to treat, there are clearly other doctors - at that facility - who would. More than that, if this facility wants this kid out - if she's costing them too much money or whatever - another facility will take her. With more time, additional facilities likely could be found. So, why be dead set on pulling the plug today? Why indeed.

It's not at all clear to me who is making the decision and pushing this. But it doesn't matter. The facility has made this decision. And a child's life hangs in the balance. 

Please keep calling and praying. If the voicemail is filled up - as I've been told it is - then leave messages at the main number.

Call Cook Children’s now!  Ask to speak to administrator Stan Davis and tell him to save Baby Tinslee Lewis! 682-885-4000 or stan.davis@cookchildrens.org

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

URGENT Call to Action: TADA Is Now Being Used to Kill a Baby & YOU Can Help!

Texans, we still have a problem. And, we need you to act very quickly right now! A child's life is in imminent danger of being ended tomorrow through the use of the insidious euthanasia law ("TADA" or the "10-Day Rule" or "10-Day Law") in Texas. Please read on and contact the hospital immediately and ask them to spare her life! 

Texas Right to Life, as usual, is leading the effort to save Baby Tinslee. TRTL describes her condition and provides the contact information that you need as follows:

Baby Tinslee is a 9-month-old girl with congenital heart disease and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. She is sedated but conscious. Cook Children’s Fort Worth Hospital informed Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, on October 31 that they would pull the plug on her daughter against her directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die tomorrow, November 10, under the Texas 10-Day Rule.  The hospital committee cited no physical health reason for their decision to seize Tinslee’s ventilator against her mother’s will but instead cited their own “quality of life” judgments. Now, Baby Tinslee’s mother is in a race against the clock to save her daughter. Texas Right to Life provided a lawyer to defend the patient after the family contacted us for help, but the Texas 10-Day Rule legally allows this form of euthanasia.  The hospital needs to hear from you! 
Call Cook Children’s now!  Ask to speak to administrator Stan Davis and tell him to save Baby Tinslee Lewis! 682-885-4000 or stan.davis@cookchildrens.org
(Emphasis added.)

As you know, the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA") is still law and it allows a hospital to withdraw life-sustaining care against your will with 10 days notice. There is no due process. No appeal. No review. It is very, very difficult to get more time from a court and very difficult - usually impossible - to get a transfer to another facility in this amount of time. I wish I could tell you this is unusual. It is not. Other babies have been killed by Texas hospitals using this law. This is euthanasia! These quality of life decisions belong to the family - and only the family. 

As you will recall, there was an excellent bill, SB 2089, that would have made great strides into righting much of what is wrong with this now 20 year old law. As you will recall, it passed the Senate, but the House leadership killed it. As I see it, those who made the decisions to kill that bill as well as those who lobbied them to do so and who opposed SB 2089 - the ones I refer to as the Usual Suspects which includes the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (all of whom flat out support euthanasia) - may soon have more blood on their hands. 

Because of these anti-life forces, right now in Fort Worth, nine month old Baby Tinslee is set to be killed tomorrow by having her life-sustaining treatment withdrawn by Cook Children's Hospital. She has congenital heart disease but is not brain dead. In fact, as you can see above in video taken just this morning she responsive even while sedated. (Again, even if she were brain dead, I could not countenance the imposition of involuntary passive euthanasia.) 

NOTE: Anticipating what TADA supporters always say in defense of these things, let me nip that in the bud. There are no assertions that anyone's conscience is being pricked by continuing to care for this child. I have never heard that used in a hearing as a reason. That only ever comes up during legislative testimony by lobbyists for euthanasia and the occasional brief in court. Even were that the case, there are many, many doctors in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Other doctors who are pro-life and understand who makes what decisions would continue care for her, I am certain.

Anticipating another thing they might say - she's suffering. Actually, that was not a given reason. Also, killing people because of suffering is the very definition of euthanasia. Yeah, it is. Mercy killing is also, ironically, prohibited by TADA. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Sec. 166.050

Anticipating and responding to what others have said or asked about the role of money here, let me address that as well. Doctors and hospitals always vehemently deny that money plays any role in any decision they make. In one place on social media, one lady said she called and mentioned money and the receptionist defensively said money had nothing to do with their decisions. I've been in cases where the intended TADA victim had insurance or would qualify for Medicare or Medicaid soon if given enough time. To be honest, I actually don't think money is the biggest motivator for these cases for the decision-makers. 

And, let me just say this - I don't care if money is the issue - you don't kill people. And let me go one step further: If you think that just because someone may be poor that they deserve to die sooner, you need to check yourself. That's a terribly elitist, eugenicist attitude to have. Only the well-to-do are deserving of life? Only the most healthy? The most educated? The most....? What other qualifications will you set? Will race or ethnicity play a role? Religion? Gender? Genetics? Where does it end? Read history. You're literally in Nazi territory there. God help you. You'd better step back and re-evaluate things. Like right now. And, yes, I've been seeing things like this on social media, including by those who love to say, "I'm 100% pro-life but...." No, honey, you're not.  

In my opinion, people decided that this child does not deserve to live because she is ill. I think it likely is a "quality of life" decision, just as they said. It's philosophical. It's eugenics plain and simple. And it's diabolical. I've heard doctors and hospital administrator-types say things like this myself in other cases. I've heard and read advocates of TADA and proponents of it say just that. And, their actions and advocacy scream it louder than any blog post or tweet could. This little baby who is ill should be put down like a dog according to them. No! No! No!

Surely, you can see how wrong this is and the long-term consequences of it. I don't care who supports it, if they were a cardinal's hat, have a Ph.D. or an M.D. or whatever else. It's just wrong. In Europe we see the next phase of this already - a duty to die. But more on that another day. 

But wrong as it may be, this is now well-established law and medical practice in Texas and beyond. You think you're safe? Think again. You're one heart attack, car accident, brain aneurism, or God only knows what away from being in this situation yourself. Or your spouse. Or your children. 

Our so-called "pro-life" Republican legislature and governor could have done something about this months ago and it would have been effective law by now. But they didn't. What does that say about them? By their fruits... 

Frankly, I think this last session made it pretty darn clear that the majority of those in the House who claim they are pro-life - and I'm being generous here - really have only a nodding acquaintance with the term. (It took quite a lot of effort to get the Senate to do the right thing, but they finally did.) By their actions and inaction, the House leadership and others deliberately killed not only SB 2089, but SB 1033, which would have stopped discriminatory abortion of the preborn (another form of eugenics). Very, very few who were not in leadership, as far as I can tell, were even working behind the scenes to try to get anything done. They've certainly been hiding from not just the pro-life organization, but other conservative orgs and the grassroots. It's all quite telling. 

And while I'm at it, I'll just say this, too. While the Texas governorship is a weak position relative to the legislature and compared to how other state governments are structured, there is room for executive leadership here. Sadly, we've seen time and again that Governor Abbott is no Governor Perry when it comes to pro-life leadership. When pro-life legislation didn't get passed in the regular session in 2012, Perry called a Special Session where it did. When a bill was moving in the session in 2012 that would have made TADA worse, he made sure that once it was dead, it was dead. Whatever other problems there may have been with Perry, he did the right thing on these life issues. I cannot say the same about his predecessor (who gave us TADA) and his successor (who won't do anything to help get rid of it). As I mentioned in my last post, I never had much confidence in Abbott. I would love for him to prove me wrong. 

But right now, Baby Tinslee and her family need your voice. Be a voice for those who cannot advocate for themselves or by themselves. Fill up the voicemail and email inbox of Stan Davis. Leave messages with the staff. Then, spend as much time in prayer tonight and tomorrow as you can for this family, the hospital staff, our "leaders", those at Texas Right to Life and who are working to advocate for this family, and for the overall state of things. That ought to keep us all busy and out of trouble.  

Follow Texas Right to Life on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date and please spread the word! 

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Texas Right to Life's 4th Annual North Texas Celebration of Life in Dallas (UPDATED 10.22.2019)

UPDATE: Listen to this little preview of what Rep. Stickland has in store for us at the dinner Saturday night. You can still get tickets, so run over the the Texas Right to Life website and do so right this second!


In my last post I mentioned my family was going to the 22nd Annual Celebration of Life in Houston. We went and it was truly a fantastic experience! I make a few comments about it below, but my friend, Charlie Johnston, posted a nice write-up about the evening and also some additional information about his visit with the great people of TRTL. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I recommend you head over there and read it for yourself and acquaint yourself with his most excellent blog. Toby and I were pleased that we were seated with Charlie and enjoyed all those at our table very much. We were also able to visit with and get to know many other TRTL supporters from all over the state. It's amazing the loyalty people have to this organization and it is clearly because those in the know know who can be trusted - who is really working to save all Texas lives - and who are charlatans undermining the cause...and worse! They understand the urgency of the mission and are clear on all the issues. It was refreshing to me to talk to so many who just "get it." After a session like we saw, one needs such soothing balm for one's soul. Things in the Capitol are not representative of what goes on IRL ("in real life" as the kids say). 

Now it's time for the North Texas Celebration of Life which is already in its 4th year. Here are the details and you can click the orange words just before this to sign up.

Toby and I have gone every year and will be there again this year. I'm still so excited that TRTL is having these celebrations in a growing number of locations so more and more truly committed pro-life Texans can get together and celebrate victories, but also plan for the future. TRTL has some big plans for the future and has gone all in for life - all life. No other organization in Texas can say that. 

As you can see, Rep. Jonathan Stickland will be the Keynote Speaker. I am eager to hear his take on this disastrous past session. It is inexcusable that nothing of significance was passed. The House was the holdup, of course; despite his best efforts. We will miss him. Many have called for a Special Session to pass some pro-life (and other freedom and Constitution affirming) legislation but Gov. Abbott has so far said no. I never had much confidence in him. He has proven me right. Time and again. 

I am also eager for North Texas attendees to hear about TRTL's plans and recent changes they've made. I am certain that we are living in a time of special tribulation. It's palpable and it's not just American politics or dysfunction in the Roman Catholic Church and some of the other major Christian denominations. Its everywhere and everything. This is not a time for timidity, cowardice, and for making deals with the devil. The lukewarm will be spit out; as well they should be. 

Rafael Cruz was the Keynote Speaker for the Houston Celebration of Life. He is not lukewarm, nor is he timid, cowardly, or confused on any issue - least of all life issues. The part of his speech that got to me the most was when he spoke from Ezekiel 22, specifically verse 30. But here is more of that chapter to give you context:

23 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

24 Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.

25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken.

29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.
King James Version (emphasis added).

It was the second or third time in as many days I'd heard that verse referenced though the contexts were varied. How interesting. When there is that sort of synchronicity, I suspect God is trying to tell me something. I try to pay attention and figure it out. 

Among other things, Rev. Cruz observed that there are very few "standing in the gap" particularly on life issues. He rebuked pastors and others for not doing more. And, he praised Jim and Elizabeth Graham for standing in the gap for all of us. It is a heavy burden that they and their tireless staff wear well. But it is a heavier burden for them and the rest of the true pro-lifers because of the wolves in sheep's clothing that lurk about not just undermining their efforts, but calling evil good and good evil who sow confusion among the grassroots and politicians and even certain religious "leaders." Truthfully, however, I suspect that with regard to the latter two there is less confusion among them and it is really more a matter of just believing in and promoting evil as I am increasingly certain is the case with the faux life groups given their public advocacy and written statements about things. Perhaps some are simply behave cowardly, but I don't think that explains everything - nor is it an excuse. The net result is that lives have been and continue to be lost that do not have to be - and would be - if there was honesty and commitment to the claimed mission. They are not standing in the gap. They are even trying to prevent others from doing so. God help them. 

TRTL has decided that it is now a Christian organization and not one just governed by Natural Law as it had been in the past. This is big. Much bigger than it might appear. TRTL has taken on a serious, focused, ambitious mission to protect more lives in Texas. They need every grace they can receive to do so. They are just as grateful for those praying for their mission as those giving financially and of their time. Not everyone can do everything all the time. Prayer is as much a part of this as anything. The spiritual attacks come for all of us - but perhaps none more so than clergy and those in the pro-life battlefield. 

TRTL understands - as it always has - the need for God's help in this fight even as they are more than happy to work with pro-lifers of all faiths or none at all. I pray for their protection, success, and God's graces for them personally, their families, and in what they do that helps each and every one of us. Likewise, I pray for those lost on pro-life issues, especially those running other organizations that claim the mantle of pro-life as they work to dismantle good legislation and fight against protection for people at all ages and stages of life. 

Make no mistake about this either: There are demonic elements to the Culture of Death - from abortion to euthanasia - including the legal involuntary passive euthanasia in Texas that is found within the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA"). No one can support these things without promoting and inviting a certain evil into their life. They may not even realize it. If they do and don't fight it, well, God help them even more. But it is evil and it must be fought on every level - religious, legislative, judicial, and in our day-to-day interactions with other people. As one fights evil, the evil fights back. It is a serious battle on many levels. Pick a side, but know what side you're really on and know the consequences. 

But on October 26 the seriousness of the mission will be accompanied by an exuberant celebratory atmosphere. There is much to celebrate! Come join us! Come meet other like-minded and committed people. I guarantee you, you will meet people who will end up being your friends for life. These are very special people that gather like this. Come learn more about the only organization in Texas working with clear focus to save all lives in Texas from the ever-creeping, insidious Culture of Death. Come learn about the programs they offer from helping pregnant mothers and ill patients in hospitals who are denied care to giving teens and college students (and even law and medical students) the tools they need to be pro-life leaders where they are (and earn some fellowship money as well). Come learn how you can help out. Come get motivated and energized!

I'll see you there! 

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Texas Right to Life's 22nd Annual Celebration of Life in Houston

I'll be there! Please come out and join this fantastic organization and meet some truly inspirational and the most dedicated pro-life warriors in this entire state. Rafael Cruz is the keynote speaker. I've never heard him in person, but I think he's an outstanding speaker. I'm eager to hear what he has to say to us. 

Now more than ever, Texas has problems. The "pro-life Republicans" keep letting us down and our pro-life status is slipping away, along with untold lives. This has to end. There is no excuse for it. We need as many people on board with the true pro-life mission in Texas as possible. Come hear the plans, meet your like-minded comrades, and get energized for the battles ahead. Lives depend on it! 

This event is the BIG ONE they have in the state and I've been trying to get down there for it for years. I'm excited to say that I'll also be at the one here in Dallas in October, which I'll post more about then as well. 

For more information, go here.* 

I hope to see you there! 

Thanks for reading! 

*Do not go to texasrighttolife.org as that redirects you to Texas Alliance for Life ("TAL") and its annual dinner. (Isn't that funny? You're trying to go to the real pro-life org's site and your efforts are co-opted and misdirected to the wrong place. It's exactly what they do in the legislature. It's really incredible, actually; a metaphor for all they are and do.) Texas Right to Life and TAL are not the same organization. I noticed this URL thing probably a year or more ago, but said nothing. Sometimes it's best not to draw attention to such things and individuals. But I now think people need to be warned. I've always tried to bring clarity and truth to these situations, often times by letting others' conduct and words inform you about themselves which is almost always more effective and telling than anything I might say. 

TAL is anything but an authentic pro-life organization. It sows confusion among well-meaning and intentioned pro-life grassroots and continues the misdirection of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops ("TCCB"), some misguided (I'm being generous) politicians, and the pro-abortion Texas medical lobby (the Texas Medical Association, "TMA") to promote legislation that is not pro-life: the unholy alliance, as it has been called by some. I refer to them as The Usual Suspects. This is especially true of end-of-life / denial-of-care matters. But TAL works to water down legislation that would save more preborn babies as well. If you've been reading this blog for 5 minutes or less, you know that a big reason we continue to have euthanasia in Texas - involuntary passive euthanasia - is because of TAL and the TCCB as well as the TMA and weak, anti-life Republican leadership. In my most recent post, I reminded you that if you give one red cent to TAL (and the TCCB for that matter) you are promoting euthanasia, harming families, and supporting an organization that unnecessarily weakens and undermines the pro-life legislation that it doesn't outright oppose. 

Given what it does to misdirect, misguide, and mislead on legislation, it's no surprise at all that TAL co-opted a URL with Texas Right to Life in it to misdirect, misguide, and mislead supporters of Texas Right to Life to TAL's own site and dinner. Unable to stand on its own merits, it must lie, cheat, and attempt to steal from another. How sad. How telling. Remember: If people will do this about small, relatively petty things, they will do it about bigger things. We've seen that consistently already. As we all know, sin begets more sin. Now you know even more. Resist them and their ilk. 

I'll see you in Houston, and again in Dallas, at the authentic Texas Right to Life dinners. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

"Brain Death" & the Texas Advance Directives Act

Read about this Orthodox Monk's incredible story and commitment to life and opposition to euthanasia.
(*For those without Facebook, I post the full story below.)

The legislative session is over, but anti-life forces do not rest. Right now patients all across Texas are at risk of having their lives prematurely ended against their - or their surrogates' - will. I've long-written and talked about the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA") and how it unconstitutionally works against patients. Nearly this entire blog has been dedicated to this law, its effects, and efforts to amend or repeal it. But what you may not know is that even TADA does not have to be invoked if the hospital declares a patient "brain dead." It can withdraw care from a patient without even going through that nominal farcical procedure devoid of due process rights. 

Recent case in point: Taylor Campos. Fortunately, her father called Texas Right to Life and Taylor's life was saved from euthanasia. Read about it for yourself.

What they are able to do with a quick declaration of brain death - which does not require tests - is actually worse than TADA. Read the statute yourself - it is easy and quick. It has two sections. The first section includes subsection (b) which allows the doctor to walk in and "announce" death. The second section makes sure he is immune from liability for doing so and all those who act according to his pronouncement are immune as well. 

So, if the person is receiving life-sustaining care, under subsection (b), the doctor just has to go in and "announce[ his] opinion" that they are dead. Note, that "[d]eath must be pronounced before" life-sustaining care is removed.

Then there is the second subsection, protecting a doctor from liability for this "announcement." 

Note that the statute does not require certain tests or any level of "reasonable probability" in making this "announcement" or "pronouncement." The "ordinary standards of medical practice" simply means "whatever they usually do." It's that simple. It's like that in medical malpractice law. A doctor's potential negligence is measured against the "accepted standards of medical  care" used in that situation. If everyone else is doing it, that's pretty good cover for a doctor, even if it's not actually the best medicine. In essence, this "announced opinion" is based on what we'd call in the law, the ipse dixit of the "expert." This means, "he himself said it" and is defined as "something asserted but not proved." In civil law cases where expert testimony is required, that is not good enough. You have to have a reliable foundation for an opinion by an expert qualified in the field in which he is offering an opinion where there are not great "analytical gaps" between the facts and the opinions. This high standard of evidentiary reliability among expert opinions applies in all cases - including, ironically - medical malpractice cases. But here, that same standard does not apply despite the fact that we are dealing with decisions concerning life and actual death of people. Interesting, no?

Understand, too, that the term "brain death" is very controversial among doctors and even among Catholic philosophers. There is no definitive test for it or criteria that makes it absolutely certain. In fact, the definition of brain death is not established. It depends on who you ask and where you are at the time. It's often a medical or legal fiction used to serve other purposes. (Among those purposes is organ donation. At some point, we are going to have to confront that inconvenient truth and all the moral and ethical considerations it raises. Many will be surprised. Many are studiously avoiding addressing this. They don't even want it brought up.) 

There are tests that call such an "announcement" into question and may make a hospital back off, such as blood flow tests to see if blood is flowing to the brain, but those are problematic for a variety of reasons. They are not necessarily definitive either. Often a hospital will want to do an "apnea" test to determine brain death which can (and often) does more damage to the ill person. It requires withdrawing a ventilator for 10 minutes and seeing if they breathe on their own. If they can't, that is considered "proof" they are brain dead. But if they need the ventilator, they can't breathe entirely on their own, can they? But that does not mean that their brains have ceased to function either. Other areas of the brain may be functioning fine and they may yet breathe again on their own or with less support given more time to heal and recover. However, being without any or sufficient oxygen for 10 minutes can certainly cause further brain damage. These tests have also been shown to have the greatest possibility for inaccuracies as well.

That said, Texas Right to Life has been successful in a number of cases in challenging brain death declarations where tests did contradict the "announcement" / "pronouncement" of brain death by a doctor. Thanks be to God! 

It cannot be emphasized enough that we continue to learn more and more about how brain death is simply not as it has been and is presented. Science actually knows very little about the brain. Much has been based on assumptions that continue to be disproven. People recover from injuries that were said just a few years ago to be impossible to recover from. Follow the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network; Bobby Schindler covers these stories and the latest medical research all the time. Follow Wesley Smith who covers the ethical side of this and the ever-expanding euthanasia side of the Culture of Death. 

I have a growing library of books written by people who were in "comas" and "brain dead" or in "persistent vegetative states" who recovered eventually. It is stunning what they have to say. (At some point, I may start writing book reviews as I work through all of these.) Less than a month ago, yet another person "woke up" who was never supposed to. Read the stats in this article and where things are (note the attitudes of some of the health care providers as well; what a shame). Then ask yourself if doctors should be making diagnoses that kill people prematurely, even preemptively, especially when that "diagnosis" comes down to "because I said so."

Nevertheless, in Texas, all it takes is for the doctor to "announce" / "pronounce" the person "brain dead" and a death certificate can be issued with what is apparently intended to be complete immunity for the doctor and those acting under this "he's dead because I said so" determination. Further, once that declaration has been made, the person is considered "dead" and they do not fall within TADA anymore. Do you see how insidious this is? How the cards are stacked against the patient? They always were even with TADA, but now even the one-sided due process-less "protocol" or "procedure" under TADA is not even required. There is no "hearing" with the "bioethics committee" and no 10 days. 

However, if the brain death declaration can be challenged successfully, if the hospital will do the requested tests (I've seen nothing that requires them to do them), the very real risk is then that the hospital will invoke TADA to try to withdraw care that way and receive the immunity found under that statute. Remember, when Texas Health & Safety Code Section 166.046 is invoked - and used per the statute (which has no substantive or procedural due process rights for the patient or surrogate) - doctors and hospitals have total immunity from lawsuits under Section 166.044. 

Some lawyers have interpreted this to include immunity from lawsuits for medical malpractice that may have occurred prior to the invocation of TADA. To my knowledge, this has yet to be challenged. I hope it is one day. Soon. (But medical malpractice lawsuits, in general, are exceedingly difficult to bring in Texas anyway given the "tort reform" that was put into place which further eroded rights from patients and took away an important means of holding negligent (and sometimes grossly negligent) doctors accountable. It is not true that lawyers sue over everything. We can't. Lawsuits are expensive (a med mal can easily get to six figures to prosecute) and we foot the bills for many of them until and unless a favorable settlement or judgment is reached, if any. Someday, as an attorney who works on medical malpractice lawsuits and products liability cases on behalf of plaintiffs, I may write a post explaining how lawsuits work and how tort reform - far from helping you - actually hurt you both in financial terms and in terms of your overall safety.)

One can also imagine a scenario in which a quick declaration of brain death and then acting to stop the life-sustaining care of that person could cover up many a mistake or even the investigation to see what might have gone wrong, whether there was negligence or not. People, even doctors, can panic and act in fear. Without further testing or ability to examine the person, it would be very hard to prove a case unless someone actually wrote down what happened in a medical record or was willing to testify. (If you think the blue wall of silence among police can be impenetrable; try finding someone in a hospital that will testify about the negligence of a doctor even where it can be objectively proven). In my world, when evidence is destroyed to cover things up - be it a defective part or some other such thing - it's called spoliation and you can get into big trouble for it. Here, there are procedures in place to protect one who might spoliate (yes, that's how it's spelled) the most important evidence of all - the very patient himself! 

This is not to make any specific comment on Taylor's case, which to my knowledge did not involve invoking TADA, but was the declaration of brain death (presumably to avoid even that) which was successfully challenged. Then she was transferred to another facility for further care. I have not read her medical records and know very little more about it than what I post here. 

It is to say, however, that doctors and hospitals can be very quick to invoke either brain death or TADA and that always makes me wonder why. Remember, these are not always cases of people who are terminal or even unconscious or "suffering" (mercy killing is prohibited under TADA, by the way, see Section 166.050). Neither Carolyn Jones nor Chris Dunn were unconscious, but hospitals invoked TADA to withdraw their life-sustaining care to hasten their deaths in both cases. In both cases, Texas Right to Life and their allies worked to stop it and give these people more time. In other cases, TRTL and their allies work to stop the effects of TADA or a brain death declaration to give patients more time for their bodies to heal, for their true situations to be assessed, and, in many cases, for them to be moved to safety. 

Pro-TADA forces say this stuff rarely happens in Texas. That is untrue. At the time that Taylor's case was ongoing, I know of at least three others that were happening at the same time. And, today, I read about another that was going on about this time as well. Joe is a 12-year old who was declared "brain dead." That decision was challenged and found to be incorrect. His family, as others have, moved him out of state - to New Jersey for Heaven's sake - to be safe from Texas' law. 

To say I am ashamed of Texas and all those who claim the mantle of "pro-life" and support this is to put it mildly. What they advocate and support should be criminal, is immoral, unethical, and nothing less than a full embrace of the Culture of Death. Those that did not have the courage and strength to amend this law this past session have this on their consciences. They will be judged for what they did and did not do. I'm looking at you, Republicans. 

There is only one organization that is fighting against this law, against the political and other forces supporting the Culture of Death - and - just as importantly, if not more so, is helping families get out of harm's way as best they can - and that is Texas Right to Life. They are the lone organization fighting this in Texas. They take some hits and abuse, as you might imagine, from the forces that make sure this law stays in place and more are victimized by it. But TRTL has many supporters and allies, including many who travel from out of state to help out like Bobby Schindler and Wesley Smith. Their biggest allies, however, may be the families they've helped; the families who found out the hard way what Texas law can do to you. But know that those other organizations claiming to be pro-life and support this law as well as the entities that push this law down your throat (and are in an unholy alliance with these faux life groups) do nothing to help out. Of course, they don't. If you give one penny to them, you're promoting a Culture of Death. Know that. 

If you oppose TADA and want to help families victimized by it, you should be a regular donor to TRTL. You should also consider going to their Houston Celebration of Life, on September 28, or the one that will be held up here in Dallas on October 26. They are excellent events that are inspirational, fun, informative, and an opportunity to meet some really good people who work very hard in ways seen and unseen in this urgent, necessary, but exhausting and difficult battle. 

I'll be at the one here in Dallas and I hope to see you as well. More on all that later.

Thanks for reading! 

* For those who do not have Facebook, I copy and paste the story about the Orthodox Monk, here:

A monk from the monastery in Chania, Crete: " agree with everything except euthanasia. My strength is weakened by sicknes.": Sophronios, who suffers from Terminal Motor Neurone disease, has recently given a sensational interview to Crete TV with the help of a keystroke system.
Q: They say that pain completes existence. Do you experience this and how?
A: Pain is a big school and teaches self-knowledge that leads to brotherhood and ultimately to godhood. Pain humiliates you with humiliation, our heart softens and opens to God and our fellow man. I communicate with people all over the world suffering from physical or mental illnesses.
With the help of God, with my experience in bed of pain, I understand them, even a little to say a comforting word, a word of our Christ. Today, there is so much loneliness in the world and riot and fear. We Christians who have the gift of God to know Christ must share with our fellowman the joy, the peace and the love that is Christ. Is not this the goal of our existence, to save all?
Q: What would you say to someone who wants to make euthanasia?
Q: Life is a gift of God to all of us. I understand this better than ever now that I'm in bed. No one came to life with his will. So how can you put an end to your life, since it really does not belong to you? This, in my opinion, is the problem of our time, it cultivates in the modern man an egocentric way of life, cut off from the community, from the family, the neighborhood, the homeland, etc. so we think we are independent, self-propelled in this world.
I think it is the wrong view of life that leads the man of our time from "self-confinement" to suicide. I understand that he does not want the patient to become a burden on others or does not want his loved ones to see him suffer. It's very humiliating - I know it very well. But the humble has the Kingdom of God, not the selfish.
Q: Do you think that if you had no faith, would you have the same attitude towards pain?
A: Without Christ I would be nothing. There is another pain that is more painful than the pain we are talking about. And this is the pain that the soul feels when it is lacking in the presence of God, which enlivens everything and gives meaning to this human pain. The absence of God from man's life today is the most painful pain.
Q: In the bed of pain come moments that make you question God and your faith?
A: On the contrary, it joins me with God and I feel Love and His presence more intense. But it does not mean that the moments of human weakness do not come. The Christian needs faith, bravery, and courage. God never abandons us.
Q: How can pain be blessed? What can "life" mean when you are stuck in the bed of pain?
A: Pain and difficulties are sometimes unbearable for humans. In these moments I feel the presence and consolation of God more intense. I think in both these questions the answer can be given by Him who I also receive in my difficult moments when I look at the crucified Christ. He first turned His own pain into blessing. And His own life on the Cross was glorified and remained in history as the King of Glory. It is the standard and at the same time the rest of every pain.
Q: What are the difficulties of your illness?
A: I have ALS / MND - Stephen Hawking's disease. It has no cure. I am paralyzed, I only can move my eyelids and lips. I do not swallow, I'm eating through a feeding tube. I do not breathe on my own, except with the support of a ventilator. I can tell you details, but it suffices to say that I can not do anything without the help of someone taking care of me.

As a layman I was very independent to a degree very selfish. Now that I can not do anything without someone else, I understand why Christ taught us to be united in one body. We need each other to be in a society with our fellow humans.
Q: How many years have you been in bed and how does communication work?
A: I have been permanently bedridden for 6 years. I communicate with a computer system that allows me to write with my eyes. Thank God ! You see what the good God is doing!
Q: What do you think you have gained as the most positive of your illness?
A: Without a doubt, the most positive is my union with God, that I feel His love filling my heart.
Q: How is your relationship with your brothers in the Gouverneto monastery now with your illness?
A: I am very blessed in the Gouverneto monastery. It is a holy place under the abode of the Virgin Mary. With the intense presence of St. John the Hermit and the place of martyrs, it has a great deal of grace. In the Divine Economy I have a very blessed abbot, Elder Iromeo, a man of God, full of love. The brotherhood is very beloved with humble fathers who make their struggle.

They take care of me with sacrificial love. An example of the love that exists here: At the time I was a novice my illness was occurred. I was diagnosed with ALS, an incurable disease. When I learned what it all involved, I told my elder that I do not want to be a burden on the brotherhood and I will not stay. But the elder and all the brothers said that they want me as I am. This is the love of Christ.
Q: What would you like to say to the viewers who are watching you now, sick or not?
A: Life without Christ is not life. With Christ at the center of your life you have love, peace and life has another meaning. As St. Porphyrios said: "Christ is everything".
Source ekklisianonline.gr