BLOGThe Weekly Digest: 3-9-16

By James Arnold Posted on: | March 09, 2016
For an introduction to the Weekly Digest, read our first post here. To receive the Alliance Alert Daily Digest in your inbox every day, sign up here.

On to the news.


The Culture of Death and the Hippocratic Oath

A group in Canada recently recommended that euthanasia be available to "mature minors" and the mentally ill. This, understandably, left many people nearly speechless. Fortunately, some found their voices, and wrote an open letter to address some of the most pressing concerns. From the letter:

"In short, some are going to die who ought not to, and others in ways they ought not to. Palliative care, already woefully underfunded, will be viewed (Recommendation 19 notwithstanding) as an economic burden and an ideological aggravation. Medicine will be perverted, and the right of citizens to medical care based on the Hippocratic oath will disappear. The law itself will be perverted, along with the relations of trust on which the rule of law depends. While all this unfolds, many consciences will become casualties, as the weak give way under pressure and the young are tutored in the ways of death. This will put people at risk of eternal penalty – a situation much more to be detested than the decline and fall of Canada as a just society."
The paragraph above assumes that the law would be implemented. That is, if physician-assisted suicide becomes legal, particularly without extremely strict regulation, then all sorts of folks are opened up to harm.

Perhaps the thing most consistently harmed by physician-assisted suicide laws is the concept of the Hippocratic oath. Over at Public Discourse, Philip Haawley Jr. wrote all about the Hippocratic oath:

"When viewed through the prism of our modern-day sensibilities, perhaps the oath’s most off-putting aspect is [the Hippocratic oath's] overbearing, paternalistic tone. It implies that the physician—not the patient—is the final arbiter of treatment, thus ignoring the cornerstone of contemporary bioethics: patient autonomy."
Of course, I've argued in this digest that autonomy is rather significant. Here's the way I put it just a few days ago:

"In a society where personal autonomy is king (or queen, I suppose), it should be no surprise that arguments about abortion (and same-sex marriage, and transgenderism, and almost anything else sitting within the realm of cultural orthodoxy) center around trusting individuals to self-identify, to self-actualize, and to self-define."
As we move culturally towards a world that values autonomy above all else, it will prove more challenging than ever to suggest for any reason that we slow down or, more challenging, reverse course.


International Women's Day: The Importance of Supporting Women

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and in many parts of the world, organizations are fighting just to allow women to live. ADF International's partner organization, ADF India, is fighting for just that right:

"In our country, 50,000 babies are aborted every month for one reason: they are girls instead of boys," said Tehmina Arora, a representative of ADF India. "India’s skewed sex ratio shows that, as a nation, we have failed girls. They are either aborted or, once born, subject to various forms of violence. It’s time to address this issue, especially on International Women’s Day, March 8. Whoever believes that women share the same rights as men cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in India today."
In conjunction with the above statement, ADF India launched a campaign called #VanishingGirls, with the objective "to raise awareness against the practice of sex selection" in birth.

Over at Public Discourse, Marie Smith took a look at the global pro-life movement, particularly in contrast with the tweet fest which claims that "access to safe and legal abortion is a human right." Smith connects sex-selective abortions with gender-based violence later in life:

"There is no disputing the link between sex-selection abortion and the rise of violence against women and girls. Organizations that work to stop gender-based violence (GBV) need look no further than the tragedy of prenatal sex selection for the beginnings of GBV. But present-day pro-abortion politics stand in the way and prevent most from opposing this first act of violence based on gender."
The reality of abortion, even when it isn't sex-selective, is difficult to square with the "safe and legal" rhetoric from above. Just read this story, of a woman who had an abortion at 15 years old, only to learn later that the abortion "had damaged [her] so much that [she] was not able to have children." Nona Ellington told her story to The Daily Signal:

"As a result of that [abortion], I was never able to have children. I had five miscarriages, two were pregnancies that required emergency surgery, and [during] the last one in 2004, the only tube I had left ruptured, so I was bleeding internally, and they almost lost me."
In Virginia, the state Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, redirecting the money to other healthcare centers. The bill now will head to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has said that he would veto the bill.

In the rest of the Americas, folks are still debating abortion when it comes to microcephaly. Down in Brazil, a majority is opposed to abortion, even in this case.

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James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

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