Priests for Life Statement re: Decision in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt

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The Supreme Court is now the Supreme Medical Board, setting its own standards for patient care in the United States.  This decision is an outrageous usurpation of legislative power and it only underscores the critical importance of electing a President who will nominate — and Senators who will confirm — justices to the Supreme Court who will adjudicate, not write the law.

http://www.priestsforlife.org/pressreleases/5752-priests-for-life-statement-re-decision-in-whole-womans-health-vs-hellerstedt

Today’s Pro-life Reflection: Healing Programs and Pro-Life Activism

healing comes

“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19)


Reflection:
Do post-abortion healing programs and pro-life activism mix? Countless women and men say yes. Many activists, of course, have had abortions. They speak up for the children they once killed — and that is part of the healing. Many of those in need of healing begin that journey because their conscience is stirred by those who expose the reality of abortion.

Prayer: Lord, you inspire those who have found your healing to carry out your mission. Give fruitfulness to their words and words! Amen.

 

Waiting For Obama On Religious Liberty – Priests for Life is ready to reach a solution, as the Supreme Court directed.

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The Supreme Court could have settled the question of whether federal bureaucrats may issue punishing, perhaps incapacitating, fines to faith-based organizations that refuse to participate in what we believe to be evil. Instead, the justices sent all of the cases in Zubik back to the four federal circuit courts that heard them first. The high court also asked those appeals courts to step away momentarily and give the two sides time to resolve the case on their own.

What will the administration do now? The White House’s latest “accommodation” proposal for religious nonprofit charities, schools and other organizations did not satisfy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The proposal and each of its previous versions required faith-based groups seeking an exemption from the mandate to submit a form to an authority. Without this initiating action, abortion-causing drugs would not be made available to our employees. The basic requirement that we be complicit in the provision of abortifacients and other life-denying drugs, devices and procedures was a part of every government proposal. When we responded that we are forbidden by our faith to take part in this scheme—the government effectively retorted, “So what?

But both sides in Zubik have told the Supreme Court that a solution is theoretically possible.

For instance, the administration could, for once, actually listen to the Zubik petitioners—and to the scores of other faith-based groups that have lawsuits pending in lower courts—and propose a solution that does not hijack our health-insurance plans. The administration could, for example, make abortifacient/contraceptive coverage available to religious nonprofit employees through the ObamaCare exchanges, Title X (the federal program devoted to family-planning services), or separate arrangements with our own or another insurance company. In other words, don’t involve us, or the health-insurance plan we offer our employees, in the effort to expand coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.

The administration might be tempted to come up with a proposal that satisfies only those groups that have third-party insurance coverage—and not those that self-insure. This wouldn’t be acceptable, because self-insurers underwrite their own health-insurance plans and are, practically speaking, their own insurance companies. A government “accommodation” that offered as its only option a requirement that insurers of religious nonprofit groups offer the employees of those groups separate plans for abortifacients and contraceptives would still force self-insured religious groups to violate their faith.

Read the entire article in The Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/waiting-for-obama-on-religious-liberty-1465163311

The Stigma Still Remains

In many states, abortionists come in from a different state in order to perform the procedure. One of the ways to reduce or eliminate abortion in a state, therefore, is for the legislature to pass a law that says abortions done in that state must be done by a doctor who resides within the state. Let’s make it as difficult as possible for them to do business.

The fact that so many have to travel across state lines is, of course, a good sign. It shows a turn-off in the medical community to doing this procedure. Whatever doctors may think about abortions, their view of abortionists is uniformly negative. Long live the stigma! It is a stigma that the pro-choice propaganda machine has never been able to erase.

We must protect life at every stage

The service that the Church carries out to humanity embraces life at every stage and in every circumstance. Our “ethic of life” is indeed consistent, because love is indivisible. To fail to respect a human life at any stage of its development is to break the principle that holds it sacred at every stage of its development.

That is why one may never use our duty to life at one stage as a justification for destroying it at another. Some have tried to do this in the health care debate, by their willingness to expand child killing in the process of helping adults get medical treatment. This approach is self defeating, because as soon as we tolerate the killing of children, we undercut every rationale to provide health care to both children and adults.

Must-have pro-life book: Ending Abortion; Not Just Fighting It is a collection of lifesaving and informative pro-life essays from Fr. Pavone. Click here to order your copy today.

Fr. Pavone Urges Congress to Approve the Protect Life Act; Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Pavone today called on Congress to pass H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, a bill that would bar abortion funding in the President’s health care law.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor has announced that the House will vote on the Protect Life Act next week. The bill would bar the President’s “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” from directly or indirectly funding abortions and would add right of conscience protections for health care workers unwilling to participate in abortions.

“Congress needs to take the funding wiggle room out of health care and close the loopholes – it needs to pass the Protect Life Act so that the public doesn’t have to pay for abortion,” Fr. Pavone said. “Moreover, those who work in the health care industry and who live out their deeply held beliefs need more conscience protection and they need it in writing. This Act will strengthen their protection.”

Priests for Life today alerted every Catholic parish in the nation to have its people call their Congressional representative about this bill.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit priestsforlife.org.

Baby Joseph: A Life Worth Living

I learned with sadness tonight of the passing of Baby Joseph Maraachli, the boy from Canada who, earlier this year, made international headlines as his family fought to give him the basic care he needed in order to breathe. I extend my condolences and prayers to his family.

This young boy and his parents fulfilled a special mission from God. Amidst a Culture of Death where despair leads us to dispose of the vulnerable, they upheld a Culture of Life where hope leads us to welcome and care for the vulnerable.

From my first conversation with Baby Joseph’s parents, they expressed to me their trust in God. They had no demands of Him regarding how long their son would live. They just wanted to fulfill their calling to love their child unconditionally and to protect him from those who considered his life worthless.

And they fulfilled that calling. After encountering, to their astonishment, the unwillingness of the Canadian medical and legal establishment to give their son a simple tracheotomy, they turned to Priests for Life, and we arranged for the child to receive that treatment at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in Saint Louis. I’ll never forget the night I flew in the medical jet to pick up the baby and his dad. (Mom and their older child joined us shortly thereafter.) It was the middle of the night. It was cold, and yet new hope and joy were born on that Kalitta MedFlight. Joseph’s Dad Moe was literally pinching himself, saying he could hardly believe that his son was now free from the prison of a hospital where he had been, and able to receive a new evaluation and care.

And what a joy it was, after those weeks in Saint Louis, to celebrate Holy Thursday and, on that day, to see Joseph go home with his parents, breathing on his own without tubes or machines. Nobody denied that he had a serious, degenerative neurological condition, and nobody was unwilling to accept professional medical judgement. What we refused to accept, however, was the arrogance of medical and legal professionals who presumed to judge the value of his life, and to say he wasn’t worth treating. Yes, there is such a thing as a worthless treatment, but there is never such a thing as a worthless life.

That’s the line that needs to be drawn in the sand again and again. That’s the prophetic witness that needs to thunder from our pulpits and be lobbied in the halls of government.

I praise God tonight for the tens of thousands who stood with Priests for Life and other prolife groups to save Baby Joseph. We remain convinced that the value of life is not measured in months or years, but rather reflected in the love we share moment by moment. We all loved Joseph, because God entrusts us to the care of each other. In that conviction we will continue to counteract the culture of death and restore protection and equality to all, born and unborn.

Priests for Life calls for probe of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

STATEN ISLAND, NY — Priests for Life has joined a Louisiana pro-life advocate in calling for an independent investigation of that state’s Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).

Baton Rouge resident Richard Mahoney has uncovered evidence that Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge has, for decades, falsified medical records and under-reported the number of abortions that result in death or injury to pregnant women. DHH officials have been aware of the practice and have allowed it to continue, he alleges.

Father Peter West, associate director of Priests for Life, is working with Mahoney to expose abuses at DHH and Delta, which has ties to indicted Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Mahoney has documents that show Delta Clinic submits forms to DHH on which many of the boxes had been pre-filled. On two separate forms, the box for “Complication of Pregnancy Termination” have been pre-printed with an “x” next to the “None” response.

“This practice of falsifying legal documents to the DHH’s Office of Vital Records and the medical malpractice and fraud involved in sending forms to the DHH that were…completed prior to seeing any patients, is tantamount to the largest travesty of justice ever perpetrated by the medical establishment under the guise of women’s reproductive health care,” Mahoney said. “In no other branch of medical practice would this be tolerated. The ramifications of these perjuries to the health of women in the United States is staggering.”

Father West said it is within DHH’s power to close Delta Clinic immediately.

“Under a 2010 law, DHH has the authority to close abortion facilities that violate state standards,” said Father West. “In fact, the publicity surrounding Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge is at least partially responsible for the closure of a New Orleans abortion facility. We demand that DHH immediately use its power to close Delta. Failing that, Priests for Life demands an independent congressional investigation of DHH.”

In the past, Delta owner Leroy Brinkley employed Gosnell one day a week. Eileen White O’Neil, who has been charged in the Gosnell case with pretending to be a licensed physician, also has worked for Brinkley.

“Women in Louisiana need to know the danger they are in once they step inside Delta Clinic,” Father West said. “DHH has the authority to shut it down today, and yet officials refuse to act. It’s time – it’s way past time – to find out why.”

Mahoney said: “The public needs to know the truth about abortion, the atrocities that have been committed by the abortion industry, and the government’s complicity in the skewing of the number of abortions performed and the injuries and complications associated with these procedures. All records that were falsified to the DHH Vital Records Registry need to be corrected and the appropriate information needs to be reported for each patient. We believe that only a Congressional hearing and an Independent Council investigation on these false reporting practices will reveal the truth about these abominable practices.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Baby Joseph Back Home

In the early hours of Holy Thursday, 2011, as Churches were preparing – and in some parts of the world already celebrating – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the washing of the feet, “Baby Joseph” was flown from St. Louis, where he had been treated since I brought him there in mid-March, to his home in Windsor, Canada. As the Church prepared to celebrate the day when the Lord gave us the command to “love one another,” Baby Joseph’s parents and older brother were enjoying the fruit of the hard fight that their love inspired. They fought to help their baby breathe and bring him home. Canadian medical and government authorities had resisted, trying to impose their own value judgment on his life.

Now, however, he is home, and the Priests for Life Family, including tens of thousands of people who sent emails to the Canadian authorities, is delighted to have helped.

Our mission to save Baby Joseph and help his family was never based on any prediction of the future, but rather on the value of his life here and now. Our critics, on the other hand, looking into the crystal ball that ‘right to die’ advocates seem to always think they have, claimed our intervention was futile because Joseph would only end up having a machine do his breathing for him.

We don’t have to answer their criticism; Joseph is doing that for us, with every breath he takes. He has gained benefit from his tracheotomy, is breathing on his own, and is free from the need to use any tubes or machines.

Doctors have not given a time estimate as to how long they think he will live. Nobody knows. What we do know is that there are several key lessons to draw from this story:

a) Doctors do not always know best. Day by day, situations turn out better than many doctors predict. The desires of the patient and the family who seek care need to be honored.

b) Families need to fight to care for their loved ones. Moe Maraachli and his wife Sana did just that. They did not let the death of a previous child bring them to despair about this one. Rather, they fought hard for Joseph to get the care that has now helped him. Their love reminded me of the love that Terri Schiavo’s parents and siblings showed for her, a love willing to persevere despite the public spotlight and pressure that they never sought.

c) The meaning and value of life does not come from medical tribunals or courts, and it is not measured in years, months, or days. It is measured by giving and receiving love, first from God and then from each other.

d) When people band together for the cause of life, victories can be won. So many people sent emails, prayed, and are helping pay for Baby Joseph’s care (see BabyJosephCentral.com). We need to stay engaged in the pro-life cause, because there are many more victories to win.

Baby Joseph Defies His Critics and Ours

Child, free from tubes and machines, is able to return home with family.

New York, NY — Baby Joseph Maraachli, the Canadian child whom Priests for Life brought to the United States for medical treatment, is going back home. His tracheotomy and subsequent medical care have made it possible for him to breathe on his own, without the assistance of machines. Fr. Pavone issued the following statement:

“Our mission to save Baby Joseph and help his family was never based on any prediction of the future, but rather on the value of his life here and now.

Our critics, on the other hand, looking into the crystal ball that ‘right to die’ advocates seem to always think they have, claimed our intervention was futile because Joseph would only end up having a machine do his breathing for him.

“We don’t have to answer their criticism; Joseph is doing that for us, with every breath he takes. He has gained benefit from his tracheotomy, is breathing on his own, and is going home to live with his parents, who will love and care for him for as much time as God gives them together.

“Baby Joseph’s victory over the culture of death is especially powerful now, as we prepare for Easter, a time when Christians everywhere celebrate Jesus’ victory over death.

“I want to commend the fine, caring staff at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center for their professional excellence and their faith. Likewise I want to thank the team at Kalitta MedFlight in Michigan, who donated the air ambulance and crew to fly Baby Joseph from Ontario to St. Louis last month, and who are flying him home today. Thanks also to the many groups and countless individuals who stepped forward, spoke up, donated, and helped to intervene for this child.

“Priests for Life is happy and humbled to have played a small part in making this joyous day possible. We ask everyone to join us as we continue to pray for Baby Joseph and his family.”

Priests for Life is covering Baby Joseph’s medical expenses, and has set up a fund for that purpose. Go to BabyJosephCentral.com to donate and to stay updated on related stories.