Thursday, May 16, 2019

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. 



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 ( .    

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!