Advocates Of Life Have a New Website
For several years this was the official website for the Advocates of Life which provide resources and action to defend life in all its stages.
Content is from the site's 2012 -2017 archived pages providing a brief glimpse of what this site offered it readership.
The current website for Advocates of Life is found at https://stannsyonkers.org/advocates-of-life which is run by one of Yonkers St Ann's Catholic Parish's own parishioners, Mr. Anthony Felicissimo.
The Advocates of LIfe is a non-sectarian organization dedicated to promoting respect for the inherent, inviolable, and inalienable dignity of all human beings from the moment of conception (fertilization) to the moment of natural death. We accomplish this through:
The act of making a choice. Sometimes the choice of inaction has consequences stronger than we could ever imagine. Throughout history, men have been faced with difficult choices in a world that makes it easy for them to conform. This film explores the hope that lies behind every decision made in the face of adversity; the hope that is buried in the heart of those that look beyond themselves and see something bigger worth fighting for.
Cenacle of Life
JOIN THE GROWING MOVEMENT TO INCREASE PRAYER AND FASTING TO OVERCOME THE CULTURE OF DEATH! LET US KNOW IF YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP IS PRAYING FOR LIFE ON A REGULAR BASIS.
In the United States many Catholic parishes have established a weekly Cenacle of Life to pray and fast for the culture of life. These cenacles consist of praying 10 decades of the Rosary every week in the Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. During one day of the week a person also fasts (or offers some other major sacrifice if fasting is not possible).
"This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting." --Mark 9:29
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
--2 Chronicles 7:14
― A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers." Sidlow Baxter
“There is no other activity in life so important as that of prayer. Every other activity depends upon prayer for its best efficiency.” M.E. Andross
"Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence." W. S. Bowd
"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
"No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it."
Guy H. King
"Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended upon man."
Cardinal Francis J. Spellman
"Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure."
D. L. Moody
"We need to be able to pray.We need prayer just like we need air.Without prayer, we can do nothing." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta
"Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart."
-St. Padre Pio
--EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS*age appropriate -
-Elementary - Junior High School - Senior High School - College -
-Civic Organizations - Religious Institutions
- Workshops for Medical & Education Professionals
Our Educational Presentations include:
-Development of the unborn baby
-Abortion in the United States
-Alternatives to abortion
-Why should I wait until marriage?
-Building healthy teen relationships
-Post Abortion Aftermath & Healing
-Abortion and Race
-Decisions regarding end of life issues
-Crisis Pregnancy Centers - Post Abortion Healing Ministries
- Fertility Treatments - OB-GYN Physicians
-Fairs - Conventions - Conferences - Schools - Houses of Worship
-PEACEFUL, LEGAL AND PRAYERFUL PRESENCE OUTSIDE ABORTION FACILITIES - We have a peaceful, prayerful presence outside the Yonkers Planned Parenthood (20 South Broadway) every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Join us when you can!
(pictured below: Advocates of Life Mike and Maria hold vigil outside the Yonkers Planned Parenthood. They are the coordinators for the Advocate of Life vigils on Saturday mornings!)
--LOBBYING ELECTED OFFICIALS IN FAVOR OF LEGISLATION PROTECTING THE LIVES OF THE UNBORN, DISABLED, AND THE ELDERLY.
--Promoting a consistent “prayer for life” within houses of worship and other prayer groups
(see Cenacles of Life page)
- "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others."
Martin Luther King Jr.-- Strength to Love (1963)
Advocates of Life
New York City Abortion Statistics:
56% of Abortions in New York City are Repeat Abortions in 2009 (2011) (from Physicians for Life)
New research from a organization that has spent considerable time unpacking new statistics showing the abortion rate in New York City is twice the national average shows Manhattan may have the highest abortion rate of any city in the U.S.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation examined the data surrounding New York City’s staggering 41% abortion ratio, breaking the figures down by zip code, and its new analysis shows the zip code with the highest abortion ratio in the city, 67%, is in Manhattan’s Chelsea-Clinton neighborhood.
“The data, which was provided by the New York City Department of Health at the Chiaroscuro Foundation’s request, show the abortion rate by the zip code of residence of women receiving abortions in New York City,” the organization noted.
“The zip code with the highest ratio, 10018, is in the Chelsea-Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan, with a ratio of 67%, followed by rates of 60% in two Jamaica, Queens zip codes and in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, 10012, and Central Harlem-Morningside Heights neighborhoods.”
“The five zip codes with the lowest abortion ratios are on the Upper East Side, in Lower Manhattan, on the Upper West Side, and in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The lowest ratio, 6.12%, is in 10162,” it continued.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation also asked for information from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene about the number of repeat abortions and it found that, in 2009, 48,627 of the 87,273 abortions in New York City, or 56%, were repeat abortions and 33,401, 38%, were paid for by Medicaid.
Greg Pfundstein Executive Director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, told LifeNews he is dismayed by the numbers but knows they are accurate... “The Chiaroscuro Foundation is grateful to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for providing this detailed data; no city in the nation keeps better, more current records. Even so, given the city’s extremely high abortion rate, we renew our call for Mayor Bloomberg to instruct the Department to release the data in an even more current fashion: preliminarily month by month throughout the year.
"Remember, we are still talking about 2009 data. By being able to measure where the highest rates of abortion are occurring in the city, we can determine over time what methods of outreach work best to lower those rates.”
...Sixty-four percent (64%) of New Yorkers believe the abortion rate is too high in New York City – including 57% of pro-choice women – according to a poll conducted by the polling firm McLaughlin & Associates for the Foundation earlier this year. Seventy four percent believe that the overall 60% abortion rate in the African American community is too high.
Find more information on the New York abortion figures at http://www.nyc41percent.com
ABORTION statistics United States Data and Trends
The Consequences of Roe v. Wade 53,310,843 Total abortions since 1973
Based on numbers reported by the Guttmacher Institute 1973-2008, with estimates of 1,212,400 for 2009-2010. GI estimates a possible 3% under reporting rate, which is factored into the total.
Reported Annual Abortions
1973 - 2008
1973 744,600 615,831
1974 898,600 763,476
1975 1,034,200 854,853
1976 1,179,300 988,267
1977 1,316,700 1,079,430
1978 1,409,600 1,157,776
1979 1,497,700 1,251,921
1980 1,553,900 1,297,606
1981 1,577,300 1,300,760
1982 1,573,900 1,303,980
1983 1,575,000 1,268,987
1984 1,577,200 1,333,521
1985 1,588,600 1,328,570
1986 1,574,000 1,328,112
1987 1,559,100 1,353,671
1988 1,590,800 1,371,285
1989 1,566,900 1,396,658
1990 1,608,600 1,429,247
1991 1,556,500 1,388,937
1992 1,528,900 1,359,146
1993 1,495,000 1,330,414
1994 1,423,000 1,267,415
1995 1,359,400 1,210,883
1996 1,360,200 1,225,937
1997 1,335,000 1,186,039
1998 1,319,000 884,273*
1999 1,314,800 861,789*
2000 1,313,000 857,475*
2001 1,291,000 853,485*
2002 1,269,000 854,122*
2003 1,250,000 848,163*
2004 1,222,100 839,226*
2005 1,206,200 820,151*
2006 1,242,200 846,181*
2007 1,209,600 827,609*
2009-10 1,212,400 §
§ NRLC base figure *excludes NH, CA, and at least one other state Abortions Level Off After Decline
After dropping 25% from a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions performed annually in the U.S. has leveled off at about 1.2 million a year.
Two independent sources confirm this latest trend: the government’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute (GI), which was once a special research affiliate of abortion chain Planned Parenthood.
The CDC ordinarily develops its annual report on the basis of data received from 52 central health agencies (50 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia).GI gets its numbers from direct surveys of abortionists conducted every few years.
Because of these different methods of data collection, GI has consistently obtained higher counts than the CDC. CDC researchers have admitted it probably undercounts the total number of abortions because reporting laws vary from state to state and some abortionists probably do not report or under-report the abortions they perform.
Nevertheless, because increases and decreases in CDC and GI numbers have usually roughly tracked each other, both sources are thought to provide useful information on abortion trends and statistics. The CDC stopped reporting estimates for some states in
1998, though, making the discrepancy larger.
Abortions from CA and NH have not been counted by the CDC since 1998, and other states have been missing from the totals during that time frame: OK in 1998, AK from 1998 to 2002, WV in 2003 and 2004, LA in 2005 and 2006, MD in 2007.
For areas that did report, overall declines were seen from 1998 through 2007, though totals ticked up again in 2006.
GI’s latest survey found slightly higher numbers in 2008, but these may be due to the addition of abortionists missed in previous surveys. Increasing numbers of chemical abortions have also helped arrest previous declines.
Using GI figures through 2008, estimating 1,212,400 abortions for 2009 and 2010, and factoring in the possible 3% undercount GI estimates for its own figures, the total number of abortions performed in the U.S. since 1973 equals 53,310,843.
Why Do Women Have Abortions?
- a statistical breakdown* (from National Right to Life)
|Responses listed as primary reason||%|
Social Reasons (given as primary reason)
|- Feels unready for child/responsibility||25%|
|- Feels she can't afford baby||23%|
|- Has all the children she wants/Other family responsibilities||19%|
|- Relationship problem/Single motherhood||8%|
|- Feels she isn't mature enough||7%|
|- Interference with education/career plans||4%|
|- Parents/Partner wants abortion||<1%|
|- Other reasons||<6.5%|
"Hard Cases" (given as primary reason)
|- Mother's Health||4%|
|- Baby may have health problem||3%|
|- Rape or Incest||<0.5%|
Poll Fact: An April 2004 Zogby poll found that 56% of Americans support legal abortion in only three or fewer circumstances: when the pregnancy results from rape or incest or when it threatens the life of the mother.
*Source: Lawrence Finer, et. al, "Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives" Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Vol. 37 No. 3 (Sept., 2005) p. 110.
Answering those who say they are only personally "pro-life" but can't tell others what to do:
5 Myths About “Back Alley” Abortions (2011) (from Physicians for Life)
The Truth About “Back Alley” Abortions
With the arrest of Dr. Kermit Gossnell and his associates for running an abortion “house of horrors” in Philadelphia in January 2011, and legislative proposals to strip Planned Parenthood of government funding at the state and federal levels, abortion advocates are falling back on the claim that any effort to regulate the abortion industry will lead to the closing of abortion businesses and a rise in dangerous “back alley” abortions.
But these claims are based on myths.
The truth is that legal abortion has increased, rather than prevented, the pain, suffering and exploitation of women.1
5 Myths About “Back Alley” Abortions
Myth #1. Illegal abortions were performed by unlicensed, unskilled hacks.
Prior to legalization, 90 percent of illegal abortions were done by physicians.2 Most of the remainder were done by nurses, midwives or others with at least some medical training.
The term “back alley” referred not to where abortions were performed, but to how women were instructed to enter the doctor’s office after hours, through the back alley, to avoid arousing neighbors’ suspicions.
Myth #2. Tens of thousands of women died from illegal abortions every year.
This pseudo-fact was much repeated by the media. The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the co-founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League [NARAL] and the obstetrician/ gynecologist who directed what was in the 1970s the world’s largest abortion business, later revealed that leading abortion proponents knew this figure was false but considered it to be “useful” in their public relations campaign.3
Even Planned Parenthood’s own leading statisticians admitted that the official statistics on deaths resulting from illegal abortion were very accurately reported prior to 1973.
In 1972, there were 39 maternal deaths related to illegal abortion, not the thousands proclaimed by pro-abortionists.
In fact, deaths from illegal abortions were already declining or leveling off prior to 1973. After legalization, this trend remained unchanged. Deaths eliminated from the illegal abortion column were replaced by deaths resulting from legal abortion.
The number of women dying from legal abortions is probably several times what it was when abortion was illegal. For many compelling reasons, deaths resulting from illegal abortion were accurately reported on death certificates. Independent studies have confirmed this.
However, since 1973, whenever a legal abortion results in a maternal death the underlying cause is often, and perhaps usually, ignored or disguised on death certificates.
This occurs for many reasons: to spare the surviving family members embarrassment, to limit liability exposure, to avoid tarnishing public perceptions of abortion, and simply because the death is no longer related to a criminal activity.5
Independent studies have confirmed the fact that the official statistics on maternal mortality following legal abortions are woefully inaccurate.
Most recently, a single researcher examining public records was able to document 50 percent more deaths related to legal abortion than had been reported in the “official” government reports.6
The researcher, Kevin Sherlock, insisted that even his efforts have uncovered only a small fraction of these misclassified abortion related deaths.
Further, researchers in Finland who linked women’s death certificates to their medical records found that 94 percent of maternal deaths associated with abortion are not identifiable as such when looking at the the death certificates alone.
Myth #3. There were a million illegal abortions performed each year.
This was another made-up number intended to shock the public with the “overwhelming” dimensions of this unstoppable problem. Scientific estimates based on known deaths and complications related to illegal abortion show that the actual rate of illegal abortions was in the range of 60,000 to 200,000 per year.
Surveys of women who sought illegal abortions at that time confirm this much lower estimate for the overall rate of illegal abortion. These surveys also showed that less than half of women who sought an illegal abortion actually persisted in obtaining one.
In addition, among those women who did procure an illegal abortion, the reported rate of physical complications was almost identical to the complication rate related to legal abortions. This last fact is not surprising since most illegal abortions were already performed by physicians.7
[ED. There are now at least 1.2 million legal abortions performed in the USA every year. Does that make the devastation any better?]
Myth #4. If abortion becomes illegal, women will seek out illegal abortions.
Surveys of women undergoing legal abortions confirm that only 6 to 20 percent would have considered seeking an illegal abortion if it was not legally available.
This finding also confirms that legalization of abortion has replaced every illegal abortion that we sought to avoid with between ten and fifteen legal abortions.8
[ED. Laws are educative. If something is legal, the general public assumes it is morally acceptable.]
Further, research and anecdotal evidence finds that most women having abortions are pressured or coerced to do so by someone else — and that most abortions are likely unwanted.
Before 1973, women could refuse an unwanted abortion on the grounds that it was illegal, unsafe and immoral.
Legalization has made it easier for those around her to insist that because abortion is legal it must be “safe,” and because it is “socially approved,” it must be moral. It makes it easier for them to refuse to support her desire to continue the pregnancy and insist that she abort anyway.
For example, when actress Hunter Tylo was fired from the TV show Melrose Place after she became pregnant, her pregnancy discrimination suit quoted a producer as saying, “Why doesn’t she just go out and have an abortion? Then she can work.” 9
Myth #5. Legal abortions are safer than illegal abortions.
Any marginal improvements in the safety of legal abortions, as compared to illegal abortions, are more than offset by the astronomical increase in the number of women exposed to the inherent risks of induced abortion, legal or illegal.
While the percentage of women dying from abortion is lower, the actual number of women dying has increased.
The actual number of women suffering physical complications has increased.
The actual number of women suffering psychological complications has increased.
The suffering of women, men, and families has not been reduced by legalization; it has been increased.
There are also many deaths which are indirectly caused by abortion.
Women with a history of abortion are 3.5 times more likely to die following abortion and six times more likely to commit suicide than are women who give birth. They are also more prone to substance abuse and other forms of risky behavior that may lead to death.
Indeed, more than 30 studies published in the last five years alone have linked abortion to higher rates of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and anxiety disorders — including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
More abortions, not safer abortions
As these basic facts illustrate, the claim that legalized abortion will save women from “unsafe abortions” is without merit.
The basic flaw in this argument is the false assumption that a change in legal status can make safe a medical act that is inherently unsafe.
It is also absurd to believe that legalizing abortion will not increase the abortion rate or expose a whole new group of women to the danger of being pressured into unwanted abortions.
Society has overlooked the fact that not a single study has ever been published which shows that abortion, for any given reason, actually benefits the physical, emotional, economic, or social health of women.
Indeed, the available evidence shows that abortion is instead associated with a worsening of the physical, emotional, economic, and social well-being of women.
Legalized abortion has contributed to the feminization of poverty and increased dependency on welfare.10
Easy access to abortion has made it easier, not harder, for men to abandon their wives and girlfriends.
In addition, women with a history of abortion are more likely to experience breast cancer, substance abuse, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, suicidal impulses, psychiatric hospitalization, and other problems.
The only ones receiving any tangible benefit from legalized abortion are not women, but rather, the elitist population controllers.
Through the legalization of abortion, they have succeeded in reducing the birth rates among the “lower classes” and racial minorities, which was exactly their goal. But the cost to women has been tremendous.
The exploitation of women is made worse by the fact that abortion business counselors routinely withhold information about risks and alternatives from their patients.
Deceptive business practices, negligence, and even sexual abuse of patients are well documented throughout the abortion industry.11
Kevin Sherlock, author of Victims of Choice, has accurately described the present situation with this memorable comment: “While abortion is legal, it is still practiced with the ethics of the back alley.”
The truth is that legal abortion still hurts, traumatizes and even kills women and girls.
In a letter posted at Fredricksburg.com, Eileen Roberts, president of Mothers and Advocates for Mothers Alone, and the mother of a teen girl injured by abortion, wrote:
How can we be so naive to think that every surgical procedure of abortion is safe and use the argument that women would resort to back-alley abortions? Legalizing abortion simply gave the back-alley physician permission to put his shingle on the front door.
… Abortion may be currently legal, but it is anything but safe for either mother or child. In every abortion someone dies.
My 14-year-old was told she was going to the best abortion facility in Virginia. Her boyfriend and a so-called adult friend, who transported her 45 miles from our home, did not know her as her parents did.
She suffered emotional and physical consequences from a so-called safe, legal abortion.
To add insult to injury, my husband and I were responsible for more than $27,000 in medical costs to repair the damage done by the abortionist.
In my opinion, this was an example of a legal back-alley abortion.
1. Much of this information is taken from David C. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002) 281-310. Reference the book for any sources not cited in this article.
2. Germain Grisez, Abortion: the Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments (New York: Corpus Books, 1972) 49.
3. Bernard Nathanson, M.D., with Richard Ostling, Aborting America (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1979) 193.
4. See Grisez, Abortion: Myths, Realities, and Arguments, 70-71 and Nathanson, Aborting America, 193.
5. For further discussion and details, see Aborted Women, Silent No More, 282-286.
6. Kevin Sherlock, Victims of Choice (Akron, OH: Brennyman Books, 1996). See also Mark Crutcher, Lime 5 (Denton, TX: Life Dynamics, 1996) and David C. Reardon, “The Cover-Up: Why U.S. Abortion Statistics Are Meaningless,” The Post-Abortion Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, April-June 2000.
7. See see Aborted Women, Silent No More, 287-289.
8. see Aborted Women, Silent No More, 289-291.
9. Amanda Covarrubias, “7.7m for actor fired over pregnancy,” The Age, Dec. 24, 1997, p. A7. For more examples, see the special report, Forced Abortion in America.
10. David C. Reardon, “Abortion and the Feminization of Poverty” The Post-Abortion Review 1(3), Fall 1993.
11. See http://www.theunchoice.com/coerced.htm. See also, Melinda Tankard Reist, Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2007); Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More; Crutcher, Lime 5; and Sherlock, Victims of Choice; for hundreds of well documented examples.
[http://afterabortion.org/2011/the-truth-about-back-alley-abortions/ posted 9 March 2011, Elliot Institute]
Defending the Pro-Life Position,
& Framing the Issue by the
Language We Use
By Olivia Gans and
Mary Spaulding Balch
(from National Right to Life)
It is incumbent upon each of us in the pro-life movement to learn (and it most definitely can be learned) how to persuasively talk about life issues – and never, never miss the opportunity to speak on behalf of those who have no voice. It literally can be the difference between who will live and who will die.
Ryan Scott Bomberger: A Rape Victim's Child Speaks Up for Right to Life
"I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born."
10 Responses to Pro-Abortion Politicians
If you've ever written to a pro-abortion politician about the right to life, you've probably received a form letter that utilizes one of several worn-out arguments. Let's review how we answer them:
1. "I respect your views, but I have to represent all the people."
pro-life response: That's what we're trying to say to you. If you neglect the unborn, you are not representing all the people. Roe vs. Wade excludes them from protection; we demand that they be included. A public servant cannot legitimately ignore an entire segment of the public that is being destroyed.
2. "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but can't impose my views on others."
pro-life response: This is not a matter of views, but of violence. The law is supposed to protect human life despite the views of those who would destroy it.
3. "The government should not be involved in such a personal decision as abortion."
pro-life response: The government got "too involved" in abortion when it claimed to have the authority to deprive some human beings of their right to life [Roe vs. Wade, Doe vs. Bolton -- In 7-2 decisions, the US Supreme Court "legislated" in 1973]. The Declaration of Independence asserts that government exists to secure the rights already bestowed by the Creator. Moreover, when somebody's "choice" destroys somebody else's life, that choice is no longer merely a personal, private matter.
4. "Legislators should not be practicing medicine."
pro-life response: We're not asking you to practice medicine, but to prevent the abuse of medicine. The practice of medicine is regulated by all kinds of laws that protect the lives of patients -- Do No Harm. All we ask is that the unborn be included in that protection.
5. "Abortion is the law of the land."
pro-life response: [Abortion was not the "law of the land" until 1973, because 7 Supreme Court Justices legislated it so.] The "law of the land" can be changed, just as it was changed regarding slavery and segregation. Leadership means seeing the injustices that others miss, and inspiring people to utilize the methods the law permits to make necessary changes.
6. "I support women's rights and health."
pro-life response: That is precisely why you should examine the evidence, which is more plentiful than ever, that abortion is destructive of women's health, and listen to the growing voices of those who have been harmed by abortion. That is also why you should examine how the abortion industry, through unregulated and dangerous [abortion centers], continues to deceive and exploit women.
7."Abortion is just one of many issues; I embrace a consistent ethic of life."
pro-life response: The foundation of a house is only one of many parts of the house; but it is essential in order to build the other parts...[Without the Right to Life, all other "rights" are moot...]
8. "My office does not involve any decision-making about abortion."
pro-life response: Your position on abortion says a lot about your character and worldview. If you cannot stand up for the smallest of children, how will you stand up for the rest of us?
9. "Let's just agree to disagree."
pro-life response: We have the greatest respect for those who disagree with us. Bur when victims are oppressed, we don't sit back and "agree to disagree" with the oppressor. Rather, we intervene to save the victim. Abortion is not about beliefs; it's about bloodshed. Those who need protection need it despite the disagreement of others.
10. Finally, always use the best response to all the arguments: I vote!
[source: Priests for Life]
"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." --Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founder of the Women's Movement
Two physicians are talking shop. "Doctor," says one, "I'd like your professional opinion. The question is, should the pregnancy have been terminated or not? The father was syphilitic. The mother was tuberculous. They had already had four children: the first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf and dumb, and the fourth was tuberculous. The woman was pregnant for the fifth time. As the attending physician, what would you have done?"
"I would have terminated the pregnancy."
"Then you would have murdered Beethoven."
THE LORD GAVE ME LIFE
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace
HAPPINESS AND DISABILITY...
Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who worked for years with severely deformed infants as a pediatric surgeon at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital, commented that...
It has been my constant experience that disability and unhappiness do not necessarily go together.
Some of the most unhappy children whom I have known have all of their physical and mental faculties, and on the other hand some of the happiest youngsters have borne burdens which I myself would find very difficult to bear. Our obligation in such circumstances is to find alternatives for the problems our patients face. I don't consider death an acceptable alternative. With our technology and creativity, we are merely at the beginning of what we can do educationally and in the field of leisure activities for such youngsters. And who knows what happiness is for another person?
Abortion Perpetuates a Mentality Which Treats Children Like Commodities
"Right now, the statistics for the unborn disabled are disturbing: over 90% of those children who are identified as having Down's Syndrome while they're still in the womb will be aborted, and the statistics aren't much better for a number of other mental or physical disabilities. What message, exactly, does this send (on behalf of both parents and society) to those children who are born with Down's Syndrome, or to those physically- and emotionally-healthy children who suffer some sort of childhood accident, and become disabled? If you're aware that your sibling was killed by abortion for being disabled, and then you become disabled, who wouldn't feel like an 'unwanted child'?
The fact is, abortion perpetuates a mentality which treats children like commodities. If you don't like the hand you've been dealt, get an abortion and try again. It's this mentality which creates a culture increasingly hostile to children, and it's no mystery why, even as society has become more economically enriched and technologically advanced, we've become increasingly barbaric towards the vulnerable. If we could just eliminate the undesirable members of our society, every citizen would be a wanted citizen, right?"
"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
~ Thomas Jefferson ~
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Roe Ruling: More Than Its Author Intended
By David G. Savage
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 14, 2005
WASHINGTON - In mid-1971, the Supreme Court agreed for the first time to hear a constitutional challenge to the long-standing state laws limiting abortion. Its decision to do so reverberates today.
At that time, Texas and 30 other states had laws, dating from the 19th century, that made an abortion a crime unless it was performed to save the mother's life.
Georgia, like California, had revised its laws in the late 1960s to permit abortion in specific circumstances: if the mother's health was endangered, if the pregnancy was caused by rape or if the fetus had a severe defect.
The newest member of the Supreme Court, Justice Harry A. Blackmun, saw much to like in the revised abortion laws. A lawyer who greatly admired doctors, he had been general counsel for the Mayo Clinic in his home state of Minnesota before becoming a federal appellate judge.
He believed that doctors needed to have leeway to do medically necessary abortions. In the court's first private conference on the issue, he described Georgia's law as "a fine statute [that] strikes a balance that is fair."
Yet, a year later, Blackmun wrote an opinion for the court that struck down all of the nation's abortion laws. Equally important, his opinion made virtually all abortions legal as a matter of a constitutional right.
That opinion, in the case of Roe vs. Wade, remains the court's most disputed decision of recent decades. By abruptly voiding all laws against abortion, it galvanized a powerful antiabortion movement that has transformed American politics.
It also dominates public debate over the court and its future. The Senate confirmation hearing for Judge John G. Roberts Jr., like those of all recent nominees, is focusing on one question: Will he vote to uphold or to reverse Roe vs. Wade?
Last year, on the fifth anniversary of Blackmun's death, the Library of Congress opened his papers to the public. His thick files on the abortion cases tell the little-known story of how Roe vs. Wade came to be. It is the story of a rookie justice, unsure of himself and his abilities, who set out to write a narrow ruling that would reform abortion laws, not repeal them.
It is also the story of a sometimes rudderless court led by Chief Justice Warren Burger. On the day the ruling was announced, Burger said, "Plainly, the court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortion on demand."
Blackmun proposed to issue a news release to accompany the decision, issued Jan. 22, 1973. "I fear what the headlines may be," he wrote in a memo. His statement, never issued, emphasized that the court was not giving women "an absolute right to abortion," nor was it saying that the "Constitution compels abortion on demand."
In reality, the court did just that.
Blackmun had said that abortion "must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician." So long as doctors were willing to perform abortions - and clinics soon opened solely to do so - the court's ruling said they could not be restricted from doing so, at least through the first six months of pregnancy.
But the most important sentence appears not in the Texas case of Roe vs. Wade, but in the Georgia case of Doe vs. Bolton, decided the same day. In deciding whether an abortion is necessary, Blackmun wrote, doctors may consider "all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient."
It soon became clear that if a patient's "emotional well-being" was reason enough to justify an abortion, then any abortion could be justified.
Legal scholars have long pointed to the shaky constitutional basis for a right to abortion. Blackmun referred to the 14th Amendment, which says that a state may not "deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law."
In earlier opinions, the court had said that liberty included the concept of personal privacy. "This right to privacy ... is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy," Blackmun declared.
Earlier this year, 11 legal scholars, led by Yale's Jack Balkin, tried to write a better opinion. Their book of essays, "What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said," proposed several alternatives, such as saying sexual equality for women required a right to abortion.
Far less attention has focused on the all-or-nothing nature of the Roe vs. Wade ruling.
Today, as in the early 1970s, the American public appears to have decidedly mixed views on abortion. In a Gallup poll in May, for instance, only 23% of those surveyed said abortion should be "legal under any circumstances," the rule set by Roe vs. Wade.
Only 22% said abortion should be "illegal in all circumstances," the rule that could take effect in many states if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
The largest group - 53% - said abortion should be "legal only under certain circumstances."
But Roe vs. Wade foreclosed this middle course - for the states as well as for the court. It does not give states the room to adopt what might be a popular compromise: permitting abortions during the first three months of a pregnancy, but not afterward. Nor does it permit states to authorize only "medically necessary" abortions, a reform idea of the late 1960s.
How did Blackmun and the Supreme Court produce such a broad ruling on abortion, while professing to do no such thing?
Court scholars and law clerks from the Roe era say there is no single explanation. Some say Blackmun naively thought that doctors would perform abortions only for medical reasons.
"He was thinking of this in the medical framework of Rochester, Minn. He imagined abortions would be performed by a family physician or in a hospital," said historian David J. Garrow, the author of a scholarly history of the abortion-rights movement.
The justices did not foresee the full impact of the ruling or the backlash it would set off, said Georgetown University law professor Mark V. Tushnet, who was a clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall when Roe was decided. They focused on striking down the Texas-type laws that outlawed all abortions, he said.
"All they wanted was to get those laws off the books," Tushnet said. "They were not thinking long-term with an overall vision."
In Burger's Footsteps
Blackmun made it to the Supreme Court because of his boyhood friend, Burger.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon chose Burger to be chief justice of the United States. A year later, after Nixon tried and failed to get two Southern judges confirmed, Burger suggested his old friend. Burger and Blackmun were soon dubbed the "Minnesota Twins."
In June 1971, five justices (but neither Burger nor Blackmun) voted to hear abortion cases from Texas and Georgia.
When those cases came before the court in December 1971, only seven justices were seated. Justices Hugo Black and John Marshall Harlan, both ailing and near death, had suddenly retired. Their Nixon-appointed successors - Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William H. Rehnquist - would not join the court until January and thus would not participate in abortion deliberations that term.
At the court's private conference, the seven justices agreed that the Texas law was extreme and unconstitutional, according to the notes of several justices. Even Byron R. White, a critic of abortion, said doctors must be permitted to act when there were "health problems."
Blackmun voiced disdain for feminists who said women deserved control over their bodies. "There is no absolute right to do with one's body what you like," he said. But he agreed that the Texas law was extreme and said it did "not go far enough to protect doctors."
The Georgia law was much better, the justices said, except for a requirement that three doctors approve an abortion.
Days later, the liberal justices were irked to receive a memo from Burger saying he had chosen Blackmun to write both opinions. With little guidance from colleagues, Blackmun and his clerks began research.
Meanwhile, the court turned its attention to the death penalty. Capital punishment had been under attack, and in January 1972 the full court voted 5 to 4 to strike it down.
The ruling, handed down in June, described the states' death penalty laws as arbitrary; they sometimes treated rapists the same way they treated mass murderers. But it left room for states to try again. Most states rewrote laws to focus on those thought most deserving of execution. By 1976, the high court had upheld the revised laws and restored capital punishment.
Had abortion cases followed a similar course, the court would have required states to reform their laws to give more leeway to doctors and to pregnant women. But it would have also left states the power to prohibit abortions in some circumstances.
Blackmun's final opinion left no room for prohibitions on abortion. That was not apparent in the spring of 1972, however.
In mid-May, Blackmun wrote "a first and tentative draft" for Roe vs. Wade that stopped well short of declaring a constitutional right to abortion. Instead, it said the Texas law did not give doctors enough guidance.
Criminal laws must be clear, the court had emphasized, so people don't unwittingly commit a crime. Blackmun said Texas physicians could not be sure whether they were committing a crime by performing an abortion on a patient whose troubled pregnancy might risk her life.
"I come out on the theory that the Texas statute ... is unconstitutionally vague," he said in a memo to his colleagues on May 18, 1972. "I think that this [finding] would be all that is necessary for the disposition of the case, and that we need not get into the more complex" issues.
In retrospect, this proved to be a crucial time in the court's handling of the abortion issue. Blackmun had proposed issuing a short opinion that would have struck down the Texas law and the 30 others like it. However, it would have also left the states ample room to revise their laws.
His proposal set off a flurry of memos on what to do next.
Justices William O. Douglas and William J. Brennan, mindful that Nixon's new appointees would join the deliberations if the cases were reargued in the fall, wanted quick action and a stronger opinion.
Burger, however, wanted to go slowly. He knew the Brennan-led majority was about to announce the striking down of the death penalty on a 5-4 vote. Burger and Blackmun had dissented, as had the new Nixon appointees, Powell and Rehnquist. Burger expected the votes on abortion to line up the same way.
If the abortion cases were carried over until the fall, Powell and Rehnquist would cast their votes, and the chief justice - with Blackmun and White also on board - could envision a new 5-4 majority that would uphold most of the state abortion laws.
"This is as sensitive and difficult an issue as any in this court in my time," Burger wrote. "Hence, I vote to reargue early in the next term."
But Burger miscalculated by seeking a delay. Had Blackmun's draft opinion been adopted, it would have left states free to prohibit abortions for nonmedical reasons. However, Blackmun reluctantly joined Burger in seeking a delay, and the majority voted to put off a decision on the abortion cases until the fall.
Blackmun spent the summer working in the Mayo Clinic's library in Minnesota. He researched the history of abortion in Persian, Greek and Roman times. He also studied abortion laws adopted in 19th century America and concluded that the bans were driven not by moral imperatives but by the reality that, before antibiotics, abortion - like other medical procedures - was dangerous.
When Blackmun returned to Washington, he had a long draft. It was a thorough work of medical history, but short on constitutional law. It also was hazy on just when abortion would be permitted or prohibited.
In October, the nine justices sat through the arguments again. When they met to discuss the cases, there was a surprise. Powell, the soft-spoken Virginian who was new to the court, firmly supported a woman's right to abortion. He urged Blackmun to say it directly rather than attack the laws as vague.
For Powell, the issue was personal: When he was a lawyer in Richmond, Va., a young man came to him in despair. His pregnant girlfriend had tried to abort her fetus with his help, and she had bled to death. Powell went to the authorities to explain what happened. Thereafter, he was determined to see abortion made safe and legal.
Suddenly, there were six solid votes to strike down the Texas and Georgia laws, and Blackmun had the backing to write a broader opinion in favor of a right to abortion. The liberals, who had worried about the delay, found they had a stronger hand, and Burger found himself with no room to maneuver.
On Nov. 21, two weeks after Nixon's reelection, Blackmun sent around revised drafts of the majority opinions. The Roe opinion said that for the first three months of a pregnancy, states must "leave the abortion decision to the best medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician."
In a memo to his colleagues, however, he voiced uncertainty.
"This has proved for me to be both difficult and elusive.... You will observe that I have concluded that the end of the first trimester is critical," he wrote, referring to a cutoff date for permitting abortions. "This is arbitrary, but perhaps any other selected point, such as quickening or viability, is equally arbitrary." The first trimester is the first three months of a pregnancy.
Brennan, Marshall and Powell wrote back to say that allowing abortions until "viability" - when a fetus has developed enough to live outside the womb - at six months made more sense.
Douglas disagreed. "I favor the first trimester, rather than viability," he said. He was outvoted, however, and Blackmun said he would revise the opinion over the Christmas holidays. In his final draft, states were told they could not restrict abortions through the second trimester.
That change would become the focus of today's legal and political battles. Opponents have especially condemned a procedure they call partial-birth abortion, which usually takes place in the fifth or sixth month of a pregnancy.
Blackmun's opinion ends by saying: "The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment.... The abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision.... If an individual practitioner abuses the privilege of exercising proper medical judgment, the usual remedies, judicial and intra-professional, are available."
As some scholars later said, his opinion treated the pregnant woman as a bit player in a doctor's drama.
White and Rehnquist filed dissents, but Burger delayed casting his vote. His colleagues suspected that he did not want the opinion released before Nixon's second inauguration, set for Jan. 20.
As that day approached, Burger filed a short concurrence and predicted the ruling would not have "sweeping consequences."
Blackmun's proposed press release also downplayed the potential effects of the ruling, stressing that it would not mean "abortion on demand." His court colleagues convinced him that it would be inappropriate to issue a statement that commented on a ruling.
So, on Jan. 22, 1973, Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton were handed down as 7-2 rulings in favor of a new right to abortion. That afternoon, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died, pushing aside the abortion decisions as the biggest news story of the day.
Roe, and the road after
Major U.S. Supreme Court decisions and other milestones related to Roe vs. Wade:
Jan. 22, 1973: In Roe vs. Wade, the court for the first time ensures nationwide access to abortion. In Doe vs. Bolton, decided the same day, the court strikes down restrictions on performing abortions only in hospitals. The decision gives rise to a new kind of medical facility, the abortion clinic.
1976: In Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri vs. Danforth, the court limits the rights of husbands and of parents of minors to veto a woman's or girl's decision to end her pregnancy.
1979: In Colautti vs. Franklin, the court reaffirms its intention to give doctors broad discretion in determining "fetal viability" - when a fetus can live outside the mother's womb.
1979: In Bellotti vs. Baird, the court implies that states may be able to require a pregnant, unmarried minor to obtain parental consent to an abortion so long as state law provides an alternative, such as letting the minor seek a state judge's approval.
1981: In H.L. vs. Matheson, the court rules that states may require doctors to try to inform parents before performing an abortion.
1983: In three decisions, the court rules that states and communities may not require that all abortions for women in their second trimester be performed in hospitals. The court also strikes down regulations that impose a 24-hour waiting period between the signing of an abortion consent form and the medical procedure and that require doctors to tell women seeking abortions that a fetus is a "human life."
1986: In Thornburgh vs. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the court strikes down Pennsylvania abortion laws similar to those rejected in 1983. It also strikes down requirements that doctors performing third-trimester abortions use procedures least risky to a fetus capable of surviving outside the womb, and that two doctors attend abortions performed in the third trimester. It invalidates a regulation requiring doctors to make a record, which could become available to the public, of every abortion they perform.
1989: The court upholds a Missouri law requiring doctors to determine, when possible, whether a fetus at least 20 weeks old is "viable," or capable of surviving outside the womb. Missouri law bans abortions of viable fetuses.
1992: In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey, the Supreme Court upholds the core of its Roe vs. Wade ruling and bans states from outlawing most abortions. But it abandons the trimester plan and adopts a new test - abortion regulations that present an "undue burden" on women's constitutional rights will be prohibited.
2000: In Stenberg vs. Carhart, the court strikes down a Nebraska ban on what opponents call "partial-birth abortion," finding it an unconstitutional violation of Roe vs. Wade.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, NPR, CNN, Center for Reproductive Rights. Graphics reporting by Joel Greenberg
YOUNG PEOPLE REBEL AGAINST ROE V WADE DECISION - MARCH FOR LIFE 2012
"The terminally ill are a class of persons who need protection from family, social, and economic pressures, and who are often particularly vulnerable to such pressures because of chronic pain, depression, and the effects of medication."... From the State of Alaska's arguments that assisted suicide is dangerous. Subsequently (Sampson et al. v State of Alaska, 09/21/2001), the Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously that state laws punishing assisted suicide as manslaughter are to be upheld.
Facts About Euthanasia
1. Definitions of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide
The term Euthanasia originated from the Greek word for "good death." It is the act or practice of ending the life of a person either by lethal injection or the suspension of medical treatment. Because of this, many view euthanasia as simply bringing relief by alleviating pain and suffering. The word has also been applied to situations when a decision is made to refrain from exercising "heroic" measures in an end-of-life situation.
Voluntary Euthanasia - When a competent person makes a voluntary and enduring request to be helped to die.
Involuntary Euthanasia - To end a person's life without their knowledge or consent.
Active Euthanasia - To end a person's life by use of drugs, whether by oneself or with the aid of a physician.
Passive Euthanasia - To end a person life by not taking the necessary and ordinary action to maintain life. This can be done by withdrawing water, food, drugs, medical or surgical procedures.
Physician-Assisted Suicide - Suicide accomplished with the aid of a medical doctor intentionally providing a person with an overdose of prescription medication.
Assisted Suicide - Suicide accomplished with the aid of another person.
2. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal and widely practiced in the Netherlands where:About 9% of all deaths were a result of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia in 1990.
§ Dutch doctors practice active euthanasia by lethal injections (96.6% of all deaths actively caused by physicians in 1990). Physician-assisted suicide is very infrequent (no more than 3.4% of all cases in Holland of active termination of life in 1990).
§ For patients who die of a lethal overdose of painkillers, the decision to administer the lethal dose of drugs was not discussed with 61% of those receiving it, even though 27% were fully competent.
§ The Board of the Royal Dutch Medical Association endorsed euthanasia on newborns and infants with extreme disabilities.
§ Well over 10,000 citizens now carry "Do Not Euthanize Me" cards in case they are admitted to a hospital unexpectedly.
§ Cases exist where doctors administer assisted suicide for people determined to be "chronically" depressed.
3. Oregon has legalized physician-assisted suicide where:
§ A recent Health Division report of assisted suicides reveals that not one patient had documented uncontrollable pain. All of the patients who requested assisted suicide cited psychological and social concerns as their primary reasons.
§ "Although numerous studies in the Netherlands and elsewhere report an assisted-suicide failure rate up to 25%, Oregon has yet to report even one complication in over four years. This failure to report complications has led even euthanasia advocates themselves to call the credibility of Oregon reporting on assisted suicide into question.
(Note: The state of Washington and Montana have recently legalized physician-assisted suicide)
4. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 in Washington v. Glucksberg that there is no federal constitutional substantive right to assisted suicide. In a 1997 companion case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Vacco v. Quill that there is no federal constitutional equal protection right to assisted suicide.
5. Virtually every established medical and nursing organization in the United States declares physician-assisted suicide is unethical.
6. There are no laws, medical associations, church denominations, or right-to-life groups who insist that unnecessary, heroic, or truly futile treatments be provided to prolong life and all recognize the right of competent patients to refuse medical treatment.
7. 95% of cancer pain is controllable and the remaining 5% can be reduced to a tolerable level.
8. The states of California, Washington, Michigan and Maine rejected ballot referenda questions to legalize physician-assisted suicide in their respective states. The Supreme Court of Alaska in Alaska v. Sampson declared there is no state constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide, as did the Florida State Supreme Court in McIver v. Kirscher. The Hawaii State Senate voted down a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
Some Arguments Against Euthanasis
1. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are "terminally ill."
There are two problems here -- the definition of "terminal" and the changes that have already taken place to extend euthanasia to those who aren't "terminally ill." There are many definitions for the word "terminal." For example, when he spoke to the National Press Club in 1992, Jack Kevorkian said that a terminal illness was "any disease that curtails life even for a day." The co-founder of the Hemlock Society often refers to "terminal old age." Some laws define "terminal" condition as one from which death will occur in a "relatively short time." Others state that "terminal" means that death is expected within six months or less.
Even where a specific life expectancy (like six months) is referred to, medical experts acknowledge that it is virtually impossible to predict the life expectancy of a particular patient. Some people diagnosed as terminally ill don't die for years, if at all, from the diagnosed condition. Increasingly, however, euthanasia activists have dropped references to terminal illness, replacing them with such phrases as "hopelessly ill," "desperately ill," "incurably ill," "hopeless condition," and "meaningless life."
An article in the journal, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, described assisted suicide guidelines for those with a hopeless condition. "Hopeless condition" was defined to include terminal illness, severe physical or psychological pain, physical or mental debilitation or deterioration, or a quality of life that is no longer acceptable to the individual. That means just about anybody who has a suicidal impulse .
2. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
"...drugs used in assisted suicide cost only about $40, but that it could take $40,000 to treat a patient properly so that they don't want the "choice" of assisted suicide..." ... Wesley J. Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.
Perhaps one of the most important developments in recent years is the increasing emphasis placed on health care providers to contain costs. In such a climate, euthanasia certainly could become a means of cost containment.
In the United States, thousands of people have no medical insurance; studies have shown that the poor and minorities generally are not given access to available pain control, and managed-care facilities are offering physicians cash bonuses if they don't provide care for patients. With greater and greater emphasis being placed on managed care, many doctors are at financial risk when they provide treatment for their patients. Legalized euthanasia raises the potential for a profoundly dangerous situation in which doctors could find themselves far better off financially if a seriously ill or disabled person "chooses" to die rather than receive long-term care.
Savings to the government may also become a consideration. This could take place if governments cut back on paying for treatment and care and replace them with the "treatment" of death. For example, immediately after the passage of Measure 16, Oregon's law permitting assisted suicide, Jean Thorne, the state's Medicaid Director, announced that physician-assisted suicide would be paid for as "comfort care" under the Oregon Health Plan which provides medical coverage for about 345,000 poor Oregonians. Within eighteen months of Measure 16's passage, the State of Oregon announced plans to cut back on health care coverage for poor state residents. In Canada, hospital stays are being shortened while, at the same time, funds have not been made available for home care for the sick and elderly. Registered nurses are being replaced with less expensive practical nurses. Patients are forced to endure long waits for many types of needed surgery. 1
3. Euthanasia will only be voluntary, they say Emotional and psychological pressures could become overpowering for depressed or dependent people. If the choice of euthanasia is considered as good as a decision to receive care, many people will feel guilty for not choosing death. Financial considerations, added to the concern about "being a burden," could serve as powerful forces that would lead a person to "choose" euthanasia or assisted suicide.
People for euthanasia say that voluntary euthanasia will not lead to involuntary euthanasia. They look at things as simply black and white. In real life there would be millions of situations each year where cases would not fall clearly into either category. Here are two:
Example 1: an elderly person in a nursing home, who can barely understand a breakfast menu, is asked to sign a form consenting to be killed. Is this voluntary or involuntary? Will they be protected by the law? How? Right now the overall prohibition on killing stands in the way. Once one signature can sign away a person's life, what can be as strong a protection as the current absolute prohibition on direct killing? Answer: nothing.
Example 2: a woman is suffering from depresssion and asks to be helped to commit suicide. One doctor sets up a practice to "help" such people. She and anyone who wants to die knows he will approve any such request. He does thousands a year for $200 each. How does the law protect people from him? Does it specify that a doctor can only approve 50 requests a year? 100? 150? If you don't think there are such doctors, just look at recent stories of doctors and nurses who are charged with murder for killing dozens or hundreds of patients.
Legalized euthanasia would most likely progress to the stage where people, at a certain point, would be expected to volunteer to be killed. Think about this: What if your veternarian said that your ill dog would be better of "put out of her misery" by being "put to sleep" and you refused to consent. What would the vet and his assistants think? What would your friends think? Ten years from now, if a doctor told you your mother's "quality of life" was not worth living for and asked you, as the closest family member, to approve a "quick, painless ending of her life" and you refused how would doctors, nurses and others, conditioned to accept euthanasia as normal and right, treat you and your mother. Or, what if the approval was sought from your mother, who was depressed by her illness? Would she have the strength to refuse what everyone in the nursing home "expected" from seriously ill elderly people?
The movement from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia would be like the movement of abortion from "only for the life or health of the mother" as was proclaimed by advocates 30 years ago to today's "abortion on demand even if the baby is half born". Euthanasia people state that abortion is something people choose - it is not forced on them and that voluntary euthanasia will not be forced on them either. They are missing the main point - it is not an issue of force - it is an issue of the way laws against an action can be broadened and expanded once something is declared legal. You don't need to be against abortion to appreciate the way the laws on abortion have changed and to see how it could well happen the same way with euthanasia/assisted suicide as soon as the door is opened to make it legal.
4. Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life. People who support euthanasia often say that it is already considered permissable to take human life under some circumstances such as self defense - but they miss the point that when one kills for self defense they are saving innocent life - either their own or someone else's. With euthanasia no one's life is being saved - life is only taken.
History has taught us the dangers of euthanasia and that is why there are only two countries in the world today where it is legal. That is why almost all societies - even non-religious ones - for thousands of years have made euthanasia a crime. It is remarkable that euthanasia advocates today think they know better than the billions of people throughout history who have outlawed euthanasia - what makes the 50 year old euthanasia supporters in 2005 so wise that they think they can discard the accumulated wisdom of almost all societies of all time and open the door to the killing of innocent people? Have things changed? If they have, they are changes that should logically reduce the call for euthanasia - pain control medicines and procedure are far better than they have ever been any time in history.