Urgent: Senate and Assembly to Vote on Assisted Suicide Bill (A1504/S1072) on Monday, March 25, 2019

On Monday, March 25, 2019, Both Houses of the Legislature will vote on

the Assisted Suicide legislation (A1504/S1072) on Monday, March 25, 2019.

Please contact your State Senator and two Assembly Members and urge them to Vote No on A1504/S1072.  You can take action by clicking on “Legislation” in the section above.

NJ Abortion Clinic Dr Found Incompetent. What Happens to the Troubled Clinics?

A judge has recommended yanking the medical license of Vikram Kaji, the 82-year-old, stroke-impaired director of a chain of abortion clinics in New Jersey, concluding he is not competent to practice medicine.

But the ruling says nothing about the implications for those clinics, which the state attorney general alleges were illegally transferred to Kaji by discredited abortion provider Steven C. Brigham.

Brigham, 62, whose record of botched procedures goes back decades in multiple states, lost his New Jersey medical license more than four years ago and was ordered to sell his clinics there, which are part of his multistate, Voorhees-based abortion network, advertised as American Women’s Services.

The attorney general has alleged that Brigham sought to keep controlling and profiting from the clinics by transferring ownership, for no money, to Kaji, a Mumbai-trained obstetrician-gynecologist who was disciplined in the mid-1990s for sexually abusing patients. Hearings were ordered three years ago to sort out whether Kaji was in effect Brigham’s puppet.

The state’s Board of Medical Examiners, which licenses physicians, has 45 days to adopt, change, or reject the ruling, or it automatically goes into effect.

The law firm representing Kaji and Brigham did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson said the Attorney General’s Office — which has said the state would “address the matter of ownership” after Kaji’s competency case was concluded — had no comment.

It was Brigham’s unlicensed practice of medicine at a late-term, cash-only abortion clinic that he secretly set up in Elkton, Md., that led to the revocation of his New Jersey license, the last of six that he lost, let lapse, or gave up.

But lack of licensure has not necessarily been a barrier to Brigham’s business because most states allow doctors to own medical practices even if they are not licensed. In Pennsylvania, for example, Brigham relinquished his license in 1992, yet owned clinics until 2010, when his persistent flouting of health and safety laws led regulators to ban him. It took them two more years to actually shut him down because he transferred ownership to his mother in Ohio.

American Women’s Services’ website now lists 15 clinics in three states, but several are closed. The site does not list a clinic in Florida and another in Washington, D.C., that records and media reports tie to Brigham.

At Kaji’s competency hearing in September, the New Jersey network — which Brigham has a contract to manage — was variously described as seven or nine clinics. Kaji said he traveled to seven, but could not name all the locations. Other employees said clinics are in Elizabeth, Voorhees, Woodbridge, Phillipsburg, Galloway, Hamilton, Englewood, Bridgewater, and Livingston. Neither Bridgewater nor Livingston is listed on the American Women’s Services’ website — but it does list “now closed” offices in Toms River and Paramus.

Although the Englewood clinic is open, it filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2017.

Brigham has yet to pay any of the $561,000 in penalties and prosecution costs that New Jersey imposed following his 2014 license revocation, according to the Attorney General’s Office. At that time, Brigham owed almost $500,000 to the IRS for not paying employee taxes.

Brigham hired Kaji in the mid-1990s while the ob-gyn’s license was restricted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for improprieties including having sex with a patient in his office and improperly prescribing controlled substances for her.

Over the last five years, regulators have scrutinized Kaji’s medical performance and required him to undergo neurological evaluations in response to complaints. In 2017, he agreed to stop practicing medicine pending the competency hearing.

Betancourt wrote that he found Kaji “slow to answer and at times unsure” of his own medical history.

Both supporters and opponents of abortion rights reacted the same way to the ruling.

“We hope the decision will bring Mr. Brigham’s charade one step closer to being shut down permanently,” emailed the Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, interim CEO and president of the National Abortion Federation. “Brigham is a rogue doctor who operates outside recognized standards for quality abortion care.”

“The Brigham/Kaji charade has gone on long enough,” emailed Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life. New Jersey authorities “need to immediately shut down Brigham’s clinics.”

NJ Senate Health Committee Replaces two Senators to get votes to release Assisted Suicide Bill

On February 7, 2019,  the Senate Health and Human Services Committee released S1072, the NJ Assisted Suicide bill from Committee.  The bill can now be voted on at any time in the full Senate.

The Assembly bill (A1504) is cirrently awaiting a vote by the full Assembly

Please contact your State Senator and two assembly members now and urge them to Vote No on A1504/S1072.

Please sign up for our Action emails to keep updated on this important issue.  Thank you.

You can read the article reporting on the February 7 Senate hearing here:   https://www.nj.com/news/2019/02/nj-just-moved-a-step-closer-to-letting-terminally-ill-people-end-their-lives.html

 

NY Governor Signs Extreme Pro-Abortion Bill Allowing Abortions Up Until Birth

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Legalizing Abortions Up to Birth

 STATE   MICAIAH BILGER   JAN 23, 2019   |   10:22AM    ALBANY, NEW YORK
www.lifenews.com

Just hours after the state Senate and Assembly passed it, Cuomo signed the bill, legalizing abortion for basically any reason up to birth in New York state, Rochester City Newspaper reports.

The pro-abortion governor gave Sarah Weddington, the attorney in the Roe v. Wade case, a special seat next to him Tuesday evening, as abortion activists around them cheered, the AP reports.

Cuomo said he hopes other states will follow in New York’s footsteps and pass similar pro-abortion laws.

“With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The so-called Reproductive Health Act goes beyond Roe v. Wade, allowing unborn babies to be aborted even when the U.S. Supreme Court has said states may restrict abortions. Late-term abortions, which currently are illegal in New York, would be allowed, and non-doctors would be allowed to perform them.

New York pro-lifers fought successfully for more than a decade to defeat the radical pro-abortion bill. But the November election put pro-abortion Democrats in control of both state houses, and the politicians made abortion on demand a priority for the new year.

New York State Right to Life mourned what the new law will mean for babies and mothers, but promised to continue fighting to protect them.

“RHA is an extreme bill sold to the public saying it merely ‘updates’ New York’s law, which is far from true,” the pro-life organization said in a statement. “RHA will expand abortion past 24 weeks through birth, make abortion a ‘fundamental right,’ and prohibit all limits, which Roe vs. Wade did not do.

“[We] will continue to work to expose the misinformation put forth about RHA, protect children and their mothers, protect the rights of pro-life persons to engage in life-saving activities and express their views, and to build a culture of Life in New York,” the group continued.

The law appears to restrict late-term abortions, but it adds a broad “health” exception for abortions after 24 weeks. The exception would allow women to abort unborn babies up to nine months of pregnancy for basically any reason, including “age, economic, social and emotional factors,” according to New York Right to Life.

It also redefines a “person” as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” and describes abortion as a “fundamental right.”

The legislation poses serious dangers to women’s lives and rights as well. By removing protections from illegal abortions, the law will open the door for abuses. According to New York RTL, back alley abortionists, abusive partners or parents and others no longer will face charges for illegally killing an unborn baby – even if the mother wants her child.

“In early December, a resident of Saratoga County was arrested for punching the stomach of a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. The man was charged with abortion in the second degree, but under the RHA, the attacker would not have been charged with a felony,” according to the Catholic News Service.

Protections for babies born alive after botched abortions also would end under the new bill. Additionally, the bill says the state cannot “deny, regulate or restrict” abortion, not even for common-sense reasons such as parental consent for minors, informed consent or limits on taxpayer-funded abortions.

New York State Right to Life predicted that the bill will lead to the suppression of pro-lifers’ freedom of speech and conscience as well. Doctors and nurses who refuse to help abort unborn babies could lose their jobs, and pro-life advocates could be persecuted for just speaking out for life.

Already one of the most pro-abortion states in America, New York would become even more pro-abortion if the law passes. In 2016, 82,189 unborn babies were aborted in New York, with about half being taxpayer-funded, according to the local news. Of those babies, 1,763 were at least 20 weeks, meaning they may have been viable outside the womb.

Meanwhile, a new poll indicates this radical pro-abortion legislation is not what Americans want. According to a national poll conducted by Marist University, three in four Americans (75 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. This includes most of those who identify as Republicans (92 percent), Independents (78 percent) and a majority of Democrats (60 percent). It also includes more than six in 10 (61 percent) who identify as “pro-choice” on abortion.

The Marist Poll follows on the heels of a May 2018 Gallup poll which found that 53 percent of Americans oppose all or most abortions.

 

Canadian Doctors Get Ready for Child Euthanasia

Canadian Doctors Get Ready for Child Euthanasia

In the United States’ most culturally aligned nation, a race toward the once-unthinkable accelerates.It never made any sense. The assurance that active euthanasia would always be limited to terminally ill, competent adults just never made any sense. Here’s the problem: Once a society widely supports eliminating suffering by eliminating the sufferer and redefines as a “medical treatment” the act whereby doctors kill seriously ill patients, there is no logical argument for limiting euthanasia to adults with legal decision-making capacity. After all, children suffer too, so how can they be logically refused “medical aid in dying” — or MAID, the current euphemism for euthanasia and assisted suicide — only because of their age?

Euthanasia has popular support in the Netherlands as well. There children down to age twelve are permitted to be euthanized, with parental permission required until age 17. Infanticide is also practiced openly by Dutch doctors, even though it is technically illegal. Indeed, the “Groningen Protocol,” a bureaucratic checklist published by Dutch pediatricians, describes which terminally ill and seriously disabled babies can be put down.

The Canadian Supreme Court in 2015 created a right to be euthanized, followed by enabling legislation in the national and provincial parliaments. The law basically guarantees the availability of euthanasia to adults experiencing intractable suffering — as defined by the patient — in circumstances where death is reasonably foreseeable. Serious discussions are now underway to expand that license to children. That development is especially alarming for the United States, given that Canada is our closest cultural cousin.

Member pediatricians were polled about the question. Only one-third of respondents opposed expanding Canada’s euthanasia law to children in all circumstances. Almost half (46 percent) were in favor of extending the MAID option to “mature minors experiencing progressive illness or intractable pain.” (According to the report, “the mature minor doctrine recognizes that a patient’s comprehension of the nature and consequences of a treatment has determinants beyond age, and that children’s wishes should be granted degrees of deference that reflect their evolving maturity.”) There’s more: Twenty-nine percent of answering respondents believe in making euthanasia available to mature minors experiencing “intolerable disability,” while 8 percent would even extend the killing to mature minors with “intolerable mental illness as the sole indication”!

Some parents are already open to having their sick children killed. A startling 40 percent of those responding to questionnaires reported having already held “exploratory discussions” with parents about killing their seriously ill mature children — and that’s while child euthanasia remains illegal in Canada.

While the paper did not take an explicit position on legalizing child euthanasia, it is not reticent about forcing doctors’ participation once it becomes legal. Even though only 19 percent — still a startling figure — of responding doctors stated they would personally euthanize children, the society argued that, on legalization, dissenting doctors would have the ethical obligation to “inform” patients about the euthanasia option and to “refer requesting patients or families appropriately” to doctors known to be willing to do the deed. (In Canada, this is known as an “effective referral.” An Ontario judge has even ruled that Catholic and other dissenting doctors morally and religiously opposed to euthanasia must so participate in adult euthanasia or get out of medicine. One presumes that the same coercion would apply to pediatricians should pediatric euthanasia become legal.)

The authors assume that pediatric euthanasia will be soon legalized in Canada, at least for mature minors — a good bet, as the government has planned legalization as a two-step process, starting with competent adults and then potentially expanding to the legally incompetent. Accordingly, the paper describes the bureaucratic process the hospital plans to implement once minors can be given lethal jabs.

I found this point particularly startling: Doctors will be allowed to euthanize “capable minors” — akin to a “mature minor,” as previously described — without parental consent or even their notification (my italics):

If . . . a capable [legally underage] patient explicitly indicates that they do not want their family members involved in their decision-making, although healthcare providers may encourage the patient to reconsider and involve their family, ultimately the wishes of capable patients with respect to confidentiality must be respected. If we regard MAID as practically and ethically equivalent to other medical decisions that result in the end of life, then confidentiality regarding MAID should be managed in this same way.

The paper was not as explicit about doctors euthanizing children who do not have the perceived mental capacity to decide for themselves. But the paper does state that lethal jabs should be considered “practically and ethically equivalent to other medical practices that result in the end of life.” That means parents would be able to request pediatric euthanasia in the same way they can now order the removal of life support in an ICU.

The members of the working group are also intent on doing what they can to normalize pediatric euthanasia as a standard part of medical practice, stating, “We will . . . as an institution, publicly discuss the provision of MAID in an effort to normalise this procedure and reduce social stigma for everyone involved.” Good grief. Sometimes “social stigma” serves a positive social purpose by preventing immoral acts regardless of legality.

Here’s the bottom line: Countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and now our most culturally aligned nation, Canada, demonstrate that once a society popularly accepts euthanasia, there are no brakes to prevent the steady expansion of the killing license, to include eventually even children and babies — acts that, until very recently, were universally condemned in the civilized world. Those with eyes to see, let them see.

WESLEY J. SMITH — Wesley J. Smith is an author and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

I Depend on Life-Support To Stay Alive. Why I Oppose Assisted Suicide Laws by Diane Coleman, CEO of Not Dead Yet

"People who need home care shouldn't be treated as disposable," says Diane Coleman, CEO of Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group, founded to oppose legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. (Courtesy of Diane Coleman)
“People who need home care shouldn’t be treated as disposable,” says Diane Coleman, CEO of Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group, founded to oppose legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. (Courtesy of Diane Coleman)

By Diane Coleman 

I have an advanced neuromuscular condition and must use breathing support with a mask 18 hours a day. As a severely disabled person who depends on life-sustaining treatment, I would be able to qualify for assisted suicide at any time where it is legal.

If I became despondent, for example if I lost my husband or my job, and decided that I wanted to die, I would not be treated the same as a nondisabled, healthy person who despaired over divorce or job loss.

If anyone doubted that someone like me would qualify for assisted suicide in a state like Oregon, those doubts were laid to rest in December 2017 when an Oregon Public Health Department official clarified in writing:

“Patients suffering from any disease (not just those that typically qualify one for the DWDA [Death With Dignity Act]) may not be able to afford some treatments or medication, and may choose not to pursue some treatments or take some medication for personal reasons. . . . If the patient does not receive treatment or medication (for whatever reason) and is left with a terminal illness, then s/he would qualify for the DWDA.”

In the decade leading up to the passage of Oregon’s assisted suicide referendum in 1997, proponents often revealed their view that people with disabilities should be eligible. Two thirds of “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian’s body count were people with non-terminal conditions like multiple sclerosis.

The Hemlock Society contributed to his legal defense fund.

When the Hemlock Society morphed into “Compassion and Choices,” the messaging shifted, partly in an effort to exclude disability rights organizations from the public debate. Assisted suicide is only for people expected to die within six months, they said. The person must self-administer the lethal drugs, so no one else could kill them, they said.

Any reasonably trained lawyer should be able to see the absence of meaningful patient protections in assisted suicide bills. It took a decade to pass the Washington State statute that came next.

All along, disability groups have pointed out the inherent discrimination and empty pretense of safeguards in these bills. Why does everyone else get suicide prevention, while old, ill and disabled people get suicide assistance? How could a doctor who’s known a person for an average of 13 weeks know if they are being pressured to ask for assisted suicide?

Reported reasons for requesting assisted suicide pertain to disability, chronic or acquired due to illness.

Three of these reasons (feeling a loss of autonomy, loss of dignity, feelings of being a burden) could be addressed by consumer-directed in-home care services. However no disclosure or provision of such services is required. Basically, the law operates as though the reasons don’t matter, and nothing need be done to address them.

Assisted suicide proponents are fond of saying that many people don’t go through with it, but the lethal drugs give them peace of mind. What if some of the many who change their mind have family members who are not happy about it?

If the only other person present at the end is a greedy heir or tired caregiver, there are no safeguards to determine whether they self-administered the lethal drug or were cajoled, tricked or forced.

Although these and other obvious weaknesses persist in New Jersey’s assisted suicide bill (AB1504), the New Jersey Law Journal not only endorses it, but openly advocates expanding it to include active euthanasia and eligibility for people who are not expected to die in six months. No more incremental strategy, no need to hide the broader agenda.

Throughout last summer, people in wheelchairs with the group ADAPT were dragged out of Congressional hearings and arrested, leading successful efforts to save healthcare for millions of Americans. This same group asserts that Assisted suicide is not about relieving the suffering of the dying: it is an expression of the most toxic and deadly form of ableism.”

We urge New Jersey lawmakers to reject ableism, to look behind the public relations images of assisted suicide and consider the dangers to the many elders, ill and disabled people who are not safe from mistake, coercion and abuse.

Diane Coleman is the president and CEO of Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group which she founded in 1996 to give voice to disability rights opposition to legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
www.nj.com

See How Your 2 State Assembly Members and State Senator voted on Radical Pro-Abortion Resolution, AR181/SR96

 

On September 27, 2018, the NJ State Assembly Scheduled a Vote on AR 181, a totally political Resolution that exemplified abortion extremism at its worst.

On October 29, 2018,  the NJ State Senate voted on SR96, the companion Resolution to AR181.

Click below to see how your 2 State Assembly Members and State Senator Voted.  Please thank your State Assembly Members and State Senator if they voted No.  If they Voted yes, please express your disappointment and outrage and inform them that you will take their vote into consideration when they are up for re-election next November.

Assembly Roll Call on AR181

Senate Roll Call on SR96 Sa

NJ Should Reject Assisted Suicide bill

Currently the New Jersey Legislature is considering assisted suicide legislation known as A1504. Proponents claim this is a compassionate law that is limited in scope and has a number of safeguards. That characterization is not only inaccurate; it fails to recognize some very serious problems in both its language and implementation. The New Jersey bill is modeled after the law enacted in Oregon in 1997 and, since then, a generation of disability rights advocates have been trying to sound the alarm over this horribly dangerous and discriminatory law.

 In Oregon last year, the three most frequently reported end-of-life concerns were decreasing ability to participate in activities that made life enjoyable (88.1%), loss of autonomy (87.4%), and loss of dignity (67.1%). As proponents of Oregon’s law admit, and as Oregon’s physician reporting form states, it is psycho-social pressures like these that drive the movement for legalized assisted suicide. Doctors also report people requesting assisted suicide because of loss of control of bodily functions. Over 55% of persons who took their lives last year in Oregon reportedly felt like “a burden to their family friends or caregivers.” Certainly these are issues for a wide variety of people who face life changing illnesses and disabilities, but these issues are socially driven and while many of these conditions, such as incontinence, can be tiring, frustrating and at times humiliating, people have a natural capacity to adapt. Our society has made tremendous strides in the ways we can manage these issues; one doctor or even several may not be aware of all the treatment and support options available to a patient.

The current legislation also has no real requirement for mental health or depression screening or treatment, even where depression or suicidal thoughts are considered normal side effects for certain medications. Some disabilities, such as epilepsy, have a high rate of suicidal thoughts that come with the diagnosis. If we are a society that shudders in horror as teen suicide rates spike compared to decades past, especially teen youth who are sexual minorities, and where teen youth dealing with mental illnesses or bullying are at the forefront of our efforts to prevent suicide, why are we even considering a law that proposes suicide as a solution for some adults?

Finally, the Oregon “model” law has no safeguards to protect a patient who may be in an abusive situation. The vast majority of people in Oregon who have used the law are elderly. The wording of the law is so flawed that people who have a direct conflict of interest not only can be a witness to sign a patient’s written request, but also, after the lethal prescription, there is absolutely no oversight in the law, significantly raising the potential for elder abuse or abuse of a medically fragile disabled adult as a result of this law. The patient is supposed to self-administer the drug, but there are no safeguards or procedures in the law to ensure this happens, while the minimal “reporting” requirements virtually ensure that wrongdoing will never be uncovered.

 Certainly, with the many flaws in this legislation, it would be a tragedy for the state legislature to endanger the people of New Jersey with its passage.

 Kate Blisard is a board member of Not Dead Yet, a disability rights advocacy group.