By Anne Fox
When we worked so hard against The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), we opposed it for four reasons. One of those reasons was its in-built rationing.
According to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an Obamacare provision penalized hospitals for readmitting Medicare patients within a month of being discharged and led to increased mortality rates among adults who experienced pneumonia and heart failure. The provision imposed financial penalties on hospitals with too-high readmission rates for patients with heart failure, heart attacks or pneumonia starting in 2012. It was supposed to encourage better care. But it has encouraged something else: Medicare has levied approximately $2 billion in penalties on hospitals since 2012.
by John Kelly
[ This piece has be reprinted by permission of the author from the article of the same name, published in the Worcester Telegraph, December 24, 2018 ]
In a recent Wicked Local Lexington commentary (“Medical aid in dying important for some with disabilities,” Sept. 28), Michael Martignetti argues for the legalization of assisted suicide from the perspective of someone with the progressive neurological disability, Friedrichs ataxia. I can relate to the author’s disability experience, as 35 years ago a spinal cord injury left me paralyzed from the neck down. Like Martignetti’s, my disability will present challenges as I age.
But whereas Martignetti frames assisted suicide as a personal choice in the face of “unbearable suffering,” I see a state-run program that will result in people losing their lives to misdiagnosis, treatment denial, and coercion/abuse, and depression. Not all families are united in loving and supporting us.
Doctors often make diagnostic mistakes: between 12 percent to 15 percent of people admitted to hospice as “terminally ill” outlive the six-month prediction. Many more who never enter hospice also outlive their diagnosis. For example, the late Senator Ted Kennedy lived a full year longer than his diagnosis of 2 to 4 months, while Florence resident John Norton credits 60 years of good life to the unavailability of assisted suicide after a mistaken prognosis.
Caroline was thirty years old when she found out she was pregnant for a second time. She had been in the military. She had done a lot of things that were risky, and made a lot of decisions she wouldn't have advised a daughter to make.
Yet she was shocked when she saw that she was pregnant again; and she was terrified . She had broken up with the father of her child, and her son at the time was only seven years old. Because she primarily raised Josh alone, she knew how difficult it was. She knew how much she could offer -- and she didn't think it was enough.
She knew her daughter deserved more than a single-parent home.
Caroline attended a Bible study at that time and there she met a woman who told her about open adoption. She learned very quickly that open adoption could be an empowering and life-affirming choice. Even though Caroline felt terrified, she felt better knowing she could give her daughter a better life than she could offer on her own.
The adoption center she was referred to was located not far away, in San Diego, CA.
With a leap of courage, Caroline contacted them. Soon she was meeting with the adoption director, with whom she shared her fears, concerns, and, most importantly, heard about the resources for her in her challenging situation. Finally, she heard one of the most amazing options--adoption, an open adoption, one where she could have contact with her child, while also letting her child grow up with the two parent home she couldn't give.
She couldn't understand exactly, but she left the adoption center feeling happier than she had in months.
Both she, and her tiny daughter, she realized, could be cared for.
At seven months pregnant, Caroline got to choose the couple who seemed best-suited to care for her daughter. In fact, it was less than five minutes after meeting them that Caroline knew they were the ones.
"Mark and Bethany are perfect; there are simply no other words to describe them," she has said again and again. And it's true.
Caroline has described Mark as being everything she ever wanted in a father herself. Caroline adored Bethany from the start, and for good reason. "She's like the sister I never had. Bethany was meant to be a mother. I'm so proud I was able to give [her] the gift motherhood."
We all want the best for our children. But we don't always feel we have the resource - or the options - to care for them the way we want to. We certainly don't always have the ideal situation. Yet Caroline can say with 100% certainty that she gave her daughter the absolute best when she placed her with Mark and Bethany. Caroline refers to the adoption like this: “Unlike abortion, I didn’t lose my baby: I gained a family through open adoption, and so can you.”
By Anne Fox, President, MCFL
Do you notice people are hysterical about the Court's refusal to take cases where lower courts overturned state bans on Planned Parenthood funding? Many recent headlines claim that the Court has given Planned Parenthood a Constitutional right to be funded.
Much as we would like the Court to have taken these cases, let us keep perspective. As Justice Thomas says in his balanced response, “But these cases are not about abortion rights. They are about private rights of action under the Medicaid Act. Resolving the question presented here would not even affect Planned Parenthood's ability to challenge the states' decisions; it concerns only the rights of individual Medicaid patients to bring their own suits.”
Rick Moran says at American Thinker:
"Thomas is clearly miffed...
Jim Lyons has been an outspoken pro-life warrior for many, many years. During the last eight years he has led the fight for life as a State Representative. His wife, Bernie, is a pregnancy resource center volunteer. On behalf of the babies and people at the end of life, we at Mass Citizens are extremely grateful for Jim and Bernie and all their great work.
As we all know, Jim is ending his service on Beacon Hill; but we know he will always work for those on the marginalized, the vulnerable, and those on the fringes of life.
We'd like to quote Jim's formal farewell here. He gave his speech to his fellow state representatives on December 4th. Always a gentleman, he proceeded to thank those he served with, name by name, and then went on to state his commitment to the unborn.
"[An] issue, folks, that I’ve stood for every day in office is the pro-life principle. I fully understand that pro-life is not a popular position here on Beacon Hill, nor is it politically [an] advantage in the state at large. Despite knowing the political price that might be paid, I engaged consistently and steadfastly on working to advance — or at least make public — the pro-life agenda."
We love Jim, and his attitude. In his remarks, he kept a hearty sense of humor regarding himself, and an admirable seriousness about his work. If you want to peruse his entire speech, you can find it covered by The New Boston Post here
May we be this kind of advocate! and may we get many more like Jim on Beacon Hill in years to come.
by C.J.Williams, Director of Community Engagement
"I don't think my baby is the miracle baby," she said. "I think they all are miracle babies. There is just no way around it. She is just Lyla."
If I could put it any more succinctly than Lyla's mother, I would. But the mom of barely 21-week old Lyla Stensrud has summed up the reality of a single human life's value in the way only a mother can.
Every child is a miracle. What is shocking is that we have laws that allow abortionists to murder miracles daily in our nation. What is shocking is that we have based our respect for these vulnerable lives on the arbitrary line of post-birth ability to survive.
Re: Abortion myths by Laura Hollis
by Linda Thayer
My thanks to the Herald for having the courage to print Laura Hollis’ excellent piece exposing the many false arguments about abortion and the mischaracterizations of pro-life people. (“Planned Parenthood peddles abortion untruths,” Nov. 26). It is hard to understand in an age of ultrasound how anyone can deny our common humanity with the child in the womb. The unfair characterizations of pro-life people frequently found in the media make me wonder if any fair-minded journalists have ever had a conversation with the many volunteers who give their time to come to the aid of women with untimely pregnancies. The hallmark of a great society is the compassion it shows toward its most vulnerable members. Kudos again to the Herald.
Responsible For All
By J. David Franks, Ph.D
[This is part of a blog series, entitled ReVitalize, and is a project of the MCFL Lincoln Forum's Certificate Program in Human Dignity. Curious about our next reads? Look out for the next post, or consider joining us in December, or January. More details on registration can be found here. This reflection is specifically Christian, but its reflection on the question of human dignity and solidarity as rooted in love is universal. ]
The moral danger in serving a noble cause is that we are tempted to become self-righteous. None of us who thirst for justice puts this danger behind us. Dostoevsky with supreme art shows us this predicament in those incomparable chapters from The Brothers Karamazov
, "Rebellion" and "The Grand Inquisitor," both of which we will be exploring on December 1st, for the third session of the Social Ethics and Solidarity Certificate at Massachusetts Citizens for Life
, which will also approach the question of the American experiment through the writings of John and Abigail Adams. What are the conditions for justice, for an ordered whole? Is not love always the ground? We will also meditate upon W. H. Auden's Horae Canonicae
Dostoevsky shows through the Elder Zosima the humane (because divine) path to justice and universal reconciliation: love and joy and substitutionary suffering. If we see the suffering of children (so graphically recounted by Ivan Karamazov in "Rebellion"), if we pro-lifers see it, what is the true response: righteous fury, or an ever-greater love?
"Brothers, have no fear of men's sin. Love a man even in his sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals; love the plants; love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love."
To see the sense in this darkling realm, we must love. And love means encompassing that darkling realm, absorbing its ponderousness within ourselves, swallowing the darkness in the morning star that has dropped from heaven into our hearts. Only in the Cross of love do we attain to the wonder of cosmic harmony, so crucifixion and joy are inseparable.
"My friends, pray to God for gladness. Be glad as children, as the birds of heaven. And let not the sin of men confound you in your doings. Fear not that it will wear away your work and hinder its being accomplished. Do not say, 'Sin is mighty, wickedness is mighty, evil environment is mighty, and we are lonely and helpless, and evil environment is wearing us away and hindering our good work from being done.' Fly from that dejection, children! There is only one means of salvation, then: take yourself and make yourself responsible for all men's sins; that is the truth, you know, friends, for as soon as you sincerely make yourself responsible for everything and for all men, you will see at once that it is really so, and that you are to blame for everyone and for all things. But throwing your own indolence and impotence on others, you will end by sharing the pride of Satan and murmuring against God."
Total, radical solidarity is knowing that our responsibility for others is endless.
Come join in the discussion! #Revitalize our world with the tools of great literature, and the human relationships and respect they engender. We invite you to respond, or post your own reflections on social media, with the hashtag #Revitalize and #MassProLife.