NJ Supreme Court refuses to reinstate restraining order against NJ Assisted Suicide law-case will move forward

N.J.’s highest court upholds law giving terminally ill patients the option to end their lives

The state’s controversial “Aid in Dying” law won the support of the state Supreme Court Tuesday afternoon, upholding a decision from earlier in the day dismissing a restraining order that prevented patients from pursuing their own death.

The “Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” Gov. Phil Murphysigned in April took effect Aug. 1, but the law was put on hold due to the legal challenge.
Tuesday’s rulings means the law is in effect again.
A doctor in Englewood, Yosef Glassman, sued to overturn the law because he said it violates his religious beliefs and his oath as a physician to preserve life. Glassman won a restraining order on Aug. 14 preventing any doctors or pharmacists from dispensing lethal medication.
“We are, of course, disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling but nevertheless respect it,” Glassman’s attorney Richard Grohmann said.
Corinne Carey, state senior campaign director for Compassion & Choices, which helps pass death with dignity laws, praised the appeals court’s decision for putting patients’ wishes first.
“On balance, the harm to patients who relied on the law duly authorized by the Legislature far outweighed the hypothetic harm” cited by the doctor, Carey said. “This doctor had no relationship to a patient who made a request. This was a theoretical harm. The court wisely noted he has a right to refrain from participating.”

The state Attorney General’s Office, which is defending the law against the challenge, did not respond to requests for comment.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com

NJ Democrat Leaders Plan Vote to Replace Title X Funds to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz. Take Action Now!

Update: 8/27/19

Note to our viewers:

The Murphy administration has already allocated $10.5 million of our state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood in this year’s budget.

Now his administration and leaders in both houses of the legislature are planning to schedule votes in September to give them $9.5 M Million more – all because Planned Parenthood will not agree to comply with Federal Title X rules which require that they physically separate their “family planning” services from their abortion business in order to continue to receive federal funds.

Read the Senate Democrats’ Press Release HERE

Read the Assembly Democrats’ Press Release HERE

If you disagree with giving your tax dollars to Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, call Governor Murphy and tell him how you feel: 609 292 6000. You can also email him at this link: EMAIL THE GOVERNOR

Call and write your three State Legislators: HERE

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Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

August 19, 2019

Planned Parenthood’s New Jersey affiliates said Monday that they were withdrawing from the federal government’s family planning program because President Donald Trump won’t let them tell their patients where they can get a legal abortion.

The decision will cost the women’s health care provider and affect 77,000 New Jersey patients. State officials are looking at whether they will step in.

“Our patients come to us because they expect the best information and health care available – and we have a commitment to give that to them,” said Roslyn Rogers Collins, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “This gag rule would make it impossible to do that.”

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, said Planned Parenthood’s announcement “demonstrates how committed they are to their abortion business.”

Upon taking office in 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation restoring $7.5 million in state funding for Planned Parenthood and other health clinics.

Murphy spokeswoman Alyana Alfaro said the administration was working with the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates, the Ne Jersey Family Planning League and others “to assess the need of the program and how the state might step in.”

The Trump administration gave recipients of federal funds under the Title X family planning program until Monday to agree to follow the new rule that prevents them from referring patients for abortions.

It was one of several steps taken by the administration to restrict access to abortion, a top priority of the Christian conservatives who were strong supporters of his 2016 presidential campaign.

While federal law already prevents using Title X grants for abortions, the Trump administration went further in declaring that groups receiving the federal funds could not “promote, refer for or support abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.”

While the federal dollars didn’t fund abortions, Tasy contended they were being used indirectly.

“All money is fungible,” Tasy said. “The funds they were getting were clearly being used to pay administrative expenses, salaries, electricity that their abortion business needed to be able to operate.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Jersey and 19 other states have challenged the rule in federal court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the rule to take effect while the court case proceed, overturning two nationwide injunctions that had blocked the new regulations.

The Garden State receives $8.8 million in federal funds through Title X, according to the state Health Department. The program serves 100,000 residents in the state, with 77 percent of them seeking services at a Planned Parenthood facility in 2018. In 13 of the state’s 21 counties, it was the only clinic operating under Title X in 2018.

“The gag rule is unethical and dangerous, and we will not subject our patients to it – because every person deserves to make their own decisions about their health care,” said Triste Brooks, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey.

All clinics are keeping their regular operating hours, said Casey Olesko, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.

“Right now, we don’t know for certain what this will look like – but it’s unrealistic to think there won’t be changes,” Olesko said. The future is uncertain as we are relying on limited emergency funds. Right now NJ has no plans to close any health centers, but as this fight stretches on we don’t know what the future will hold.”

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., whose panel has jurisdiction over health care, said Planned Parenthood had no choice but to withdraw from Title X.

“This is yet another step in the Trump administration’s relentless campaign to undermine Americans’ health care,” said Pallone, D-6th Dist. “Make no mistake, this callous rule concocted by President Trump’s ideological henchmen jeopardizes access to health care for millions across the country.”

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

 

 

Planned Parenthood Director Fired for Exposing How Its Abortions Hurt Women Awarded $3 Million

 

Planned Parenthood Director Fired for Exposing How Its Abortions Hurt Women Wins $3 Million

STEVEN ERTELT   AUG 19, 2019   |   11:24AM    PHOENIX, ARIZONA

An Arizona court on Friday awarded $3 million to a former Planned Parenthood director of 17 years after she sued them for wrongful termination. The abortion giant fired Mayra Rodriguez after she exposed how the abortions Planned Parenthood does hurt women.

In a stunning victory for a former Planned Parenthood director in Arizona who was wrongfully terminated after reporting high complication rates for one abortionist. Rodriguez also exposed the abortionist’s illegal conduct falsification of affidavits and patient records, incomplete abortions, and failure to report a minor who had an adult partner and was a victim of statutory rape.

A jury unanimously awarded Mayra Rodriguez $3 million in damages this past Friday after a two-week trial.

Mayra Rodriguez, who ran three Planned Parenthood clinics in Arizona and worked for the organization for 17 years, sued the non-profit after being wrongfully terminated from her position in October 2017 after repeatedly making claims that Planned Parenthood was endangering the health and safety of their patients.

Abby Johnson, another former PP director whose ministry And Then There Were None has been assisting Mayra, told LifeNews she is encopuraged by the decision.

“When Mayra came to And Then There Were None with her incredible story, I felt solidarity with her, having gone through a similar situation when I worked for Planned Parenthood. Standing with her through the trial and rejoicing in the ultimate victory has been amazing,” said Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director herself and founder and director of And Then There Were None, a ministry that has helped over 525 abortion workers leave their jobs.

Abby’s and Mayra’s stories have striking similarities. They were both awarded Employee of the Year awards from Planned Parenthood the year before they left. They both were directors of clinics. And they both started working for Planned Parenthood for the same reasons: to help women.

“I hope my case is a lesson to other workers that shows them that the truth will prevail. I also hope my case is a lesson to employers who abuse their power: sometimes the underdog wins and justice will be done,” said Mayra Rodriguez.

Mayra’s attorney, Tim Casey, based in Phoenix, never asked for any dollar amount during the trial. The damages awarded came directly from the jury, who took three hours to reach their verdict.

“I’ve stared down Planned Parenthood in court. I know how hard it is watching your friends lie about you,” said Abby Johnson. “It’s always good to take down Planned Parenthood but it’s not without hurt.”

Mayra said the most hurtful things said in court were the deception by women she had considered friends and by Planned Parenthood executives themselves, who frequently referred to her as a ‘liar’ due to her undocumented status the entire time she worked at Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood publicly states they want to help and stand up for immigrants, that they care about these women, but it’s not true. They shamed me for my immigration status,” said Mayra. “But here we are, the jury heard the truth.”

Source: Lifenews.com

 

Judge Halts NJ Assisted Suicide Law

Judge halts N.J.’s Aid in Dying law

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the "Aid in Dying" law in April allowing terminally ill people to obtain a prescription to end their lives.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the “Aid in Dying” law in April allowing terminally ill people to obtain a prescription to end their lives.

A state judge has granted a request to stop New Jersey’s “aid in dying” law from taking effect, preventing any physician from writing a lethal prescription for terminally ill patients to end their lives.

State Superior Court Judge Paul Innes, sitting in Mercer County, granted the temporary restraining order Wednesday at the request of a physician from Bergen County who opposes the law for religious and professional reasons, said E. David Smith of Bloomfield, the physician’s attorney.

The law took effect on August 1, but required a two-week waiting period before a physician could fill a patient’s prescription. That two-week period would have come due Friday, Smith said.

“We wanted to put a stop to it,” Smith said.

The law passed after eight years of legislative hearings, and aggressively fought by religious leaders and disability advocates who said elderly and sick people would feel compelled to end their lives so as not to burden their families. But the right-to-die movement gained momentum after Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with terminal brain cancer, publicized her decision to relocate to Oregon for its aid-in-dying law and avoid the the final and most painful stage of her disease in 2014.

The legislation stalled while Gov. Chris Christie was in office, but Gov. Phil Murphy, who was sworn-in in January 2018, signed the law four months ago.

“This was a really hard one for me, particularly given growing up as a Catholic,” the governor added. “This was not an easy one to get to. But I got convinced that it shouldn’t be the law that dictates how things end. That it should be you and your loved ones.”

The restraining order is in effect until at least the next court date, scheduled for Oct. 23, according to court documents.

Smith predicted that would not be enough time for the state to write and seek public comment on the regulations required to carry out the law.

Doctors are not mandated to participate, but they are required if they refuse to aid a patient’s death to refer patients to another physician. As a physician and orthodox Jew, Grossman said he could not condone any participation, even if it involved transferring a patient’s file, Smith said.

Grossman believes “the right to human life is sacred and should not be taken under any circumstances,” Smith said.

The law applies to adults who have received a terminal diagnosis — defined as an incurable, irreversible and medically confirmed disease that will end the person’s life within six months.

The written declaration must be witnessed by two people who attest that the patient is acting voluntarily. One of the two witnesses cannot be a person who stands to financially gain from the patient’s death or the patient’s doctor or nursing home employee.

State Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, the law’s prime sponsor, said he was “surprised” by the challenge. “The work we did was carefully structured with guidance from others,” he said.

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, issued a statement thanking the doctor for “challenging this terribly misguided law which is both incompatible with a physician’s role as healer and clearly a danger to our most vulnerable citizens.”

Tasy noted the legislation would never have passed the Senate health committee had Democratic leaders not substituted members that daywho opposed the bill.

NJ Advance Media staff writers Brent Johnson and S.P. Sullivancontributed to this report.

This is a breaking story. More information will be reported later in the day.

The state Health Department has created this webpage explaining the 

NJ Assisted Suicide law goes into effect 8/1/19 – A Truly Sad Day for the Garden State

Note to our website visitors:

Below is an article on NJ’s Assisted Suicide law which goes into effect on 8/1/19.  At the urging of the pro-death lobbying group, Compassion & Choices, sponsors of the legislation agreed to change the title of  the legislation to the “NJ Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” to make it more palatable and marketable to the public. In reality, the Act legalizes Assisted Suicide and does not  “Aid”  in anyone’s “Dying,” rather, it hastens a person’s death and is intended to do so.

In addition, the NJ Assisted Suicide law’s “so-called” safeguards are hollow. The Act is riddled with loopholes which are a recipe for abuse.  Contrary to media reports, this law does not give patients complete autonomy and is especially dangerous for our most vulnerable populations.  The legislation passed by the narrowest of margins (by only one vote) in each of the Houses of the NJ Legislature.

Shortly after the bill narrowly passed both Houses of the Legislature by the slimmest of margins, Asm. Robert Auth (R-39)  introduced A5525, a bill to Repeal the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act and A5469, a bill which makes it a crime of the first degree to coerce a patient to request medication pursuant to the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, or to forge a patient’s request for such medication.

Action Needed: We are grateful to Assemblyman Auth and the legislators who co-sponsored these bills and ask that you contact your State Senator and two Assembly Members to urge them to support and co-sponsor A5525 and A5469.  Thank you.

How did your Two State Assembly Members Vote? Click on the red hyperlink below to find out

A1504/S1072 Assembly Vote

How did your State Senator vote?  Click on red hyperlink below to find out 

A1504/S1072 Senate Vote

 

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NJ doctors can help terminally ill patients die beginning today

Stacey Barchenger, North Jersey RecordPublished 5:06 a.m. ET Aug. 1, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill making New Jersey the eighth state to allow terminally ill residents to end their lives with medical help. Michael V. Pettigano and Nicholas Pugliese, North Jersey Record

Janet Colbert made talking about death, a taboo topic, a normal part of her life.

When the retired oncology nurse received her own diagnosis — it was a rare form of liver cancer — in 2013, she began advocating that doctors should be allowed to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients.

It was an option she wanted for herself.

“I feel that it would just give me so much more peace of mind,” Colbert said in 2015, just months before her death.

Today, four years later, it becomes legal for New Jersey doctors to prescribe lethal medication to patients with less than six months to live. New Jersey is one of eight states that allow what is called medically assisted suicide or medical aid in dying, depending on what side of the controversial issue you are on.

Even as advocates welcome the law for which they’ve fought for years, and declare victory for patients’ rights, there remains uncertainty within the medical profession about carrying it out.

The state boards that license doctors, pharmacists, mental health professionals and others have yet to implement regulations called for in the law. It wasn’t until late Wednesday afternoon that the New Jersey Department of Health published requirements for doctors, who must report information such as when prescriptions are issued and when patients die from them.

“It is a life-or-death issue,” said Larry Downs, chief executive officer of the Medical Society of New Jersey, which opposed the law on ethical grounds. “Physicians would probably be wise to wait for that regulatory guidance before deciding to engage in it.”

Supporters say the law is detailed enough to allow doctors to proceed, and there are doctors who are on board, but that doesn’t mean prescriptions will be written today. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the regulatory boards, says rule-making isn’t required before the law goes into effect. Meanwhile, multiple hospital and medical associations have published extensive guidance for health care professionals.

“There are going to be doctors ready to practice on Day One, and there are going to be doctors who — it may take a patient who they’ve treated for along time to present a compelling case for them to use this law,” said Corinne Carey, who led advocacy for the New Jersey law and works for Compassion & Choices.

Other doctors, she said, may wait for additional guidance from state agencies.

What the law says

Janet Colbert has been diagnosed with a form of liver cancer sure to kill her. She’d like to see the Aid in Dying bill passed so she could end her life if her condition became unbearable. (Photo: Andrew Ford)

Formally called the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, the law comes with extensive rules and a waiting period meant to ensure that patients make informed, voluntary decisions about ending their lives.

The law stalled at least twice before in the Legislature. Supporters say sick people should have a right to end their suffering on their own terms, while opponents worry over what they say is a lack of safeguards to protect vulnerable residents. There is debate within the medical community over ethical implications of helping patients die, and religious leaders have also opposed the law.

“I think some leaders in religious communities want to paint this as patients are giving up hope,” said Susan Boyce, a 56-year-old Rumson resident and supporter of the law. Boyce suffers from an auto-immune disease that reduces her lung function.

“We are all fighting and living our lives as full as we can,” she said. “This isn’t hopelessness; this is just the desire to not suffer that last little bit that we don’t want to suffer through.

“It’s a very narrow bill. It has tight rails on it to keep it from being abused.”

Which patients qualify

Susan Boyce of Rumson, who suffers from Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, talks about what it means to her that the legislature has passed the Medical Aid in Dying bill Danielle Parhizkaran, NorthJersey

Patients with less than six months to live can request the medication. According to the law, two doctors must confirm the diagnosis of a terminal illness and that patients are capable of making a sound decision to end their lives.

Patients must be residents of New Jersey. They have to make two requests for life-ending medication at least 15 days apart, and also submit a written request that includes witness signatures.

Behind-the-scenes preparation

When Gov. Phil Murphy put pen to paper and signed the law, he also cued state agencies and health care associations and companies to roll out guidance on how to implement it.

“We knew there was a relatively short window until the enactment date,” said Theresa Edelstein, vice president of post-acute care policy and special initiatives for the New Jersey Hospital Association. “It’s been a process where we started with some basics, the explanation of the law, the summary of the law, and just started to build upon it.”

Now the hospital association has extensive resources online, including sample forms for doctors and patients and draft policies for health care professionals who opt out. The new law does not obligate doctors to prescribe lethal medication.

It’s uncertain how many doctors will act on the law — no prescriptions can be issued for at least 15 days — and it’s up to the Department of Health to collect reports from doctors about prescriptions that are issued and the number of deaths that result.

Doctors themselves are divided. A group of more than two dozen wrote in support of the law in a post on NJ.com earlier this year. Other doctors are vocal opponents.

“Assisted suicide deeply undermines the physician/patient relationship and runs counter to the physician’s oath as a healer,” Dr. Matthew Suh, a general surgery specialist in Newton, said in a statement.

Following others’ lead

New Jersey joins seven other states and Washington, D.C., in allowing doctors to write deadly prescriptions. Maine is the most recent state to approve a law, and Oregon was first, according to the Death with Dignity National Center, an Oregon-based advocacy group.

In July, the Oregon law was amended and the 15-day waiting period was removed over concern that it caused patients in deteriorating condition to suffer for longer. Over time, states have seen increasing participation, but the number of people who take lethal medication remains minuscule. Check out the chart below to learn more.

Enduring controversy

Oregon’s law has been challenged twice before the U.S. Supreme Court since it was enacted in 1994.

While other states have seen court action, none has been taken in New Jersey. Instead, opposition is coming from inside the Statehouse, where lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly eked out — by one vote — enough support to pass the bill in March.

Four Republican assemblymen are backing a bill that would repeal the law.

Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Bergen, introduced the bill in June alongside co-sponsors Parker Space, R-Sussex; Ronald Dancer, R-Ocean; and John DiMaio, R-Warren. Auth expressed concern that nefarious individuals would exploit the law and encourage patients to take the medication for their own gain, even though the new law includes rules to prevent that.

Garden State lawmakers, however, are off for the summer, and with Democratic majorities in the Legislature, it is unlikely the effort to repeal will go anywhere soon.

Auth raised concern that oversight bodies such as the Board of Medical Examiners haven’t yet issued guidance on complying with the law.

“There’s no protocol in place by the state,” Auth said. “It’s kind of like the wild wild west.”

Stacey Barchenger: @sbarchenger; 732-427-0114; sbarchenger@gannettnj.com

 

 

72nd Newborn Saved Through NJ Safe Haven Law Renews Push for Education Legislation

Update: Bill A1380/S1126 was finally signed into law on 8/23/19. It is not certain whether the law was signed in enough time to be implemented in time for the 2019-2020 school year.

 

Bill A1380/S1126 passed both Houses of the Legislature and has been sitting on Governor Murphy’s desk awaiting his signature since June.  Please urge the Governor to sign this bill into law so more babies can be saved through the NJ Save Haven Infant Protection program.  Learn more about the NJ Save Haven Infant Protection Act    HERE

Newborn saved through Safe Haven law renews push for education legislation

Protect the Religious Employer Exemption in NJ Health Insurance Plans. Take Action!

S3804/A5508 is part of a package of bills that the Governor and the legislature are supporting to create a New Jersey version of the federal Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act of 2010.

Unfortunately, the bills would expand insurance coverage for abortion inducing drugs. The bill also removes the exemption in current law for religious employers to provide coverage for female contraceptives if the required coverage conflicts with the religious employer’s bona fide religious beliefs and practices.

Please go to our Legislative Action Tab and take the directed action to prevent this bill from becoming law.  Thank you.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Title X Rule, Planned Parenthood has to separate facilities from those that do abortions

 

By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Family planning and women’s health clinics across the country that accept a federal grant to serve low-income people are forbidden from discussing abortion with their patients, according to a federal court decision Thursday that upheld a controversial rule proposed by the Trump administration.

Planned Parenthood, which led the fight against what it is calling a gag rule, intends to challenge the decision.

The rule takes effect immediately, but none of the 77,000 low-income New Jerseyans who use Planned Parenthood’s clinics will see any change, said Casey Olesko, spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.
Planned Parenthood will not take the Title X funding while the rule is in effect, Olesko said.

“For patients here in New Jersey, nothing will be changing,” she said. “We are using some limited some emergency funds so we are not using any of the tainted money. That would be medically unethical and we would never fall in line with the gag rule.”

Clinics already are prohibited from using Title X grants to pay for abortions. But the proposed rule would go further, promising to yank funding for clinics which “promote, refer for or support abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday sided with the Trump administration and set aside two nationwide injunctions that had blocked the new rule from taking effect in May.

“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit has recognized that there is no need to hold up the new family planning rules that enforce laws on the books and revert substantially to rules that the Supreme Court upheld decades ago,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Thursday night. “We are also pleased that the Ninth Circuit agreed that the three preliminary injunctions against the new rules, including two nationwide injunctions, were inappropriate.”

“This decision is a major step toward the Trump Administration being able to ensure that all Title X projects comply with the Title X statute and do not support abortion as a method of family planning,” Azar’s statement said.

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, praised the ruling because it exposes Planned Parenthood’s “abortion funding scheme.”
“The new Title X Rule upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will require that family planning providers like Planned Parenthood who receive millions of taxpayer dollars must now physically separate their family planning services from their abortion business,” Tasy said. “Everyone knows that all funds are fungible and when there is not physical separation of these type of services, taxpayer money is being used to fund their abortion business.”

New Jersey was among 20 states and Washington D.C. that joined a court action against the rule’s adoption, led by Oregon, Planned Parenthood affiliates and the American Medical Association.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement, vowed to continue the challenge.
“Planned Parenthood will not stand for this attack on millions of people across the country. We will be immediately seeking emergency relief from the Court of Appeals,” according to the statement. “Planned Parenthood will not let the government censor our doctors and nurses from informing patients where and how they can access health care.”

Created in 1970, Title X says: “No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” The program costs the federal government $260 million, and is used to help 4 million low-income people pay for contraception, gynecology exams, cancer and sexually-transmitted disease screenings.

New Jersey receives $8.8 million in Title X funds, according to the state Health Department.
Last year, 100,000 people were seen at family planning clinics, including 77,000 at Planned Parenthood’s 22 clinics in the state, Olesko said.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.