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MfL

The Hartford Courant digital edition has thrown pro-lifers a bone — an itty, bitty chicken wing bone. A search using the terms “March for Life” yielded six relevant hits (initially 64, but on closer examination, most had nothing to do with it) within a four-day period. During the same time frame, there were 26 stories that mentioned Deflategate. Indeed, that made the front page on Friday.

I know this is some kind of blasphemy, but…pssst: It’s. A. Game.

Anyhow, six mentions. One photo, which wasn’t of the counterprotest for a change, but certainly didn’t give any real sense of the scope of the crowd. If only we were that easily impressed. You see, if you were one of the Courant’s 450,000+ exclusive print subscribers, you might get the impression that all was quiet on Constitution Avenue — not that one of the largest human rights demonstrations in American history had just occurred.

GrumpyCat

In fact, whereas I am told the Waterbury Republican-American ran a story specifically on the March for Life, and the New Haven Register had this stunning 26-image online pictorial of a local march the same day — pretty much unheard-of, as far as I know, so try to find a moment to leave a nice comment — the Courant print edition showed an extraordinary knack for finding the one abortion story, the one angle, that completely ignored the estimated half million people who were *cough* coincidentally in D.C. and managed to spin the ‘correct’ narrative:

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Don’t even bother looking for a vague reference buried in there. I double- and triple-checked; there is none.

John Boehner’s face appropriately sums up how I feel about this, as well as the whole House GOP fiasco, which I will write more about soon.

Bible

Hartford has landed near the bottom of American Bible Society’s latest ranking of most Bible-minded cities in the U.S.  New England is over-represented, in general. Anybody shocked?

One could easily make a number of trite observations about why we are in the shape we’re in.  I will just indulge in this one: American Bible Society has previously found a strong correlation between frequent Bible-reading and giving to charity, even when income was comparable (or less). Philanthropy.com ranks the generosity of over 300 U.S. cities and it’s fair to say New England gets totally smoked; among the 50 largest metro areas, three New England cities help make up the bottom five, with Hartford coming dead last.

If New Englanders were polled about their religious beliefs, I’d be willing to bet they would sound a lot like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. If you’ve never heard that term, trust me, it’s quickly going to become one of your new favorites. There’s a wonderful illustrated explanation here.

Nothing New Under the Sun

(Yo, Hartford, that’s from Ecclesiastes — one of the books of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, not a pancreatic condition! *wink*)

America has gone through several periods of relative interest and uninterest in religious faith. The former are what historians call “Great Awakenings.” From these we get the quintessential image of the revivalist preacher delivering a rousing sermon to a tent crowded full of average people. New England was swept once, by both homegrown (i.e. Jonathan Edwards) and traveling (i.e. George Whitefield) preachers, in the mid-1700s and again in the early 1800s. During this time millions of new members joined congregations. The social reverberations were significant, as these episodes are thought to have been precursors to the American Revolution and the movement to abolish slavery, respectively.

“Awake, O Sleeper! Rise Up”

(Hartford, you may need a turbo shot at Dunkin Donuts.)

Awakening doesn’t happen unless there has been a slumber. Ironic as it may seem that the region where the Pilgrims first sought refuge should become so secular, a little perspective is the difference between seeing in New England a barren wasteland, versus a fertile (though neglected) field awaiting sowing by the next Edwards or Whitefield. I don’t know who that will be; it could be someone reading this blog right now — don’t rule it out!

Scripture literacy, church attendance, and prayer are among important indicators of a healthy spiritual life. As I put it to a friend: few people become world-class musicians by skipping lessons and practice. However, it’s not enough to tell people this; they need to see the difference it makes in your life and mine in order to be convinced. Once they do, it’s only a matter of time before they start putting two and two together.

Don’t be afraid to let your light shine (and attend to any cobwebs you’ve been putting off dusting; we all have ‘em). Imagine a renewed Connecticut, striving in faith to reach its full potential. It could change the course of history.

Scrap the Hippocratic Oath?

Baby bath water

An op-ed in The Hartford Courant today calls the Hippocratic Oath “more archaic than a washboard” and “a roughly 2,000-year-old text with only marginal relevance to medicine today.” It peeves almost every pet I have, with its appeal to ‘modernity’ and too much other shoddy logic. Editorials like these do violence to the rational minds of both the writer and the reader, as well as potentially some actual bodies in the future.

Has human nature changed so much in 2,000 years? Have arrogance, greed, and corruption disappeared? In any age, has the shaman, the healer, or the surgeon not possessed seemingly godlike powers? Did Hippocrates not wisely recognize that such powers need legitimate restriction to protect the doctors’ vulnerable charges? Case in point:

“Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men.” – G.K. Chesterton

That statement was made more than a century ago. “Le plus ça change, le plus que c’est la même chose.”

The authors continue:

The history of medicine is littered with examples of doctors inadvertently doing harm. …So do we revise our oath to say, “Do no intentional harm”?

Last time I checked, oaths apply to intentional behavior. Think how silly it would be to swear never to do anything by accident or without foreknowledge. The idea is not to try to show that the HO could stand revision, but that it is impossible to revise and should be ignored — baby and bath water.

The question of what constitutes harm has come to the fore recently in a number of ways. Can doctors ethically be involved in executions? Should they offer advice with regard to torture?

Here, they leave themselves no choice but to assume that these questions are impossibly difficult to answer. Maybe the answer is, in fact, no (or maybe it is yes, because of some sensible distinction). Maybe it would actually be fairly easy to answer them, if someone were interested in trying, which they apparently are not.

After having dithered, they finally get around to the real point, the focus of the rest of the article:

But what if that individual, like Brittany Maynard, has a terminal disease that doctors predict will result in a painful death? Which causes more harm: forcing the terminally ill to suffer and live, or allowing them to die without pain?

We’ve had numerous experts testify that this is a false choice; there is no particularly good reason it must be one scenario or the other. But to admit a middle ground is to lose the case for doctor-prescribed death.

As many doctors point out, since medicine has already discarded the vast majority of the Hippocratic oath, why adhere to the sentence about poisoning…

This rationale was probably behind the discard of other valuable parts too, like the one about not inducing an abortion. It creates what looks like a self-perpetuating cycle to anyone with a little perspective, not including our editorialists.

The most interesting, or perhaps the only interesting part of the piece is this provocative suggestion of creating a professional subclass that, while not doctors, would still be under the health/medicine umbrella and thus still subject to concerns about the degradation of the “healing arts”:

During childbirth, some women engage a doula to act as their advocate, ensuring that, as much as possible, the woman’s wishes are followed. Such a position could also be created to oversee the end of life for the terminally ill.

Most of us know how easy it is to lose one’s footing stepping in a hospital. Sometimes it’s because of unforeseen medical events. Other times it may be a disagreement on how to proceed in a complicated case. A death doula’s job would include ensuring, to the extent possible, that a patient’s stated desires are obeyed.

And if we are squeamish about doctors “violating” their ethics and prescribing lethal medication for the terminally ill who request it, we could shift this responsibility to licensed doulas, after physicians certify they can no longer help the patient.

…But the excitement of this original notion fades once one realizes it’s not that original. We already have people who ensure that patients’ wishes are followed, to the extent possible, if they aren’t able to do so themselves. They’re called the medical power of attorney or executor of an advance directive (death doula is admittedly more catchy, though it sounds too close to death panels). What we need is more of them. Besides, Compassion & Choices — formerly the Hemlock Society — wants to be your death doula. They’ll gladly put you in touch with one of their “counselors,” who you are expected to believe are objective, although their organization spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to pass single-issue legislation that leaves them needing a reason for their continued existence if they succeed. Either way, the position is filled.

The agenda becomes crystal clear in the concluding paragraph:

Clearly, we can no longer hide behind the flimsy shield of the Hippocratic oath. The drumbeat for change has begun. To pretend otherwise shows a lack of compassion and a disregard for not just for medicine but for the dignity of life.

In other words, forget the 800+ words we spent pretending to invite healthy debate about a possibly dated pledge. Just get out of the way or be steamrolled by the relentless march of Progress — toward assisted suicide and euthanasia.

I call baloney on the charade. To me, this piece resembles nothing as much as those anti-Christians or anti-theists who, thinking themselves clever, declare it all passé and invalid because I wear polyester blends. The Hippocratic Oath has become ‘irrelevant’ only to those who have long since lost the fortitude to uphold those principles within it that are timeless. Arguably, few things are more constant throughout human history than the temptation to sacrifice a sturdy principle for some shifting expediency. It is precisely such times for which the Oath was designed, and in such times when we need it the most.

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You just have to love the nation’s oldest continuously-published newspaper.

Thanks to the AP, over 100 news outlets covered the highly successful, first-ever East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide which we co-sponsored. The Hartford Courant was not among them although the event was within 10 minutes of Broad Street headquarters.

What is newsworthy, pray tell? A screening of a now six-year-old film in a diner.

Read the announcement and see that they can’t even decide which of three terms to use for the act of killing oneself with a massive barbiturate overdose — or, rather, they’ve decided not to decide.

A search of The Courant’s website using the words “Brittany Maynard” yields 19 hits, including 3 videos. A search using the words “Maggie Karner” yields 4 hits, including a piece that devotes majority space to assisted suicide promoters, and no videos.

Maggie Karner has an actual presence in Connecticut and has reached more than 400,000 people with her video message. One would think a major local publication would take more interest in meeting her ‘in the flesh.’

This is reminiscent of the 2012 HHS Mandate protests when 615 trees (people) fell in the forest (downtown Hartford) and, if you believe CT media, made no sound. It’s ridiculous and shameful but unfortunately not surprising.

Should We Send A Search Party?

We’re concerned that Dennis House may have gone missing. At least, that’s what we’re assuming since he has not responded to a request from Cathy Ludlum of Second Thoughts CT for equal time after one of C&C’s favorite martyrs, Barbara Mancini, was a guest on Face the State. That request has gone unanswered for over a month. In Cathy’s own words:

Dear Dennis,

Thank you for devoting a portion of your show today to the topic of physician-assisted suicide. This is an often-misunderstood issue, and discussion is healthy in order to create the best possible social policies.

I was disappointed, however, that only one side of the story was presented. Barbara Mancini should never have been arrested, yet this miscarriage of justice has given her a sounding board all over the country, including on 60 Minutes.

Your report perpetuated the stereotype that the primary opponents of physician-assisted suicide are religious people, and especially the Catholic Church. People with disabilities are a large and vocal constituency who are generally overlooked by the media even though we consistently talk with legislators, show up at hearings, submit testimony, and write letters to newspapers and blogs about how physician-assisted suicide poses a direct threat to us.

I am one of the leaders of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a grassroots disability advocacy organization opposed to the legalization of physician assisted-suicide. I am requesting that I or one of my colleagues be invited onto your show to provide equal time for an opposing perspective. Attached you will find a few documents you might find interesting.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dennis, if you’re reading this, please get back to her and don’t keep her waiting. Oversights happen, especially when holidays are involved, but this is of no small importance to her and to all of us.

Cathy Ludlum

(Waiting to hear from you, Dennis: Cathy Ludlum of Second Thoughts Connecticut)

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The Connecticut Catholic Conference released its annual report on abortion in Connecticut on December 31. I encourage all our readers to spend a few minutes familiarizing themselves with it, but here are some highlights:

Good news: Abortion numbers are on a down-trend, overall.

Room for improvement: In 2013 (the last year included) there were still 10,000+ too many abortions!
Also, drug-induced abortions are up as a percentage of the total.

Good news: There are now 4 plans on Connecticut’s health insurance exchange that don’t cover elective abortion.
None of these enrollees will pay a separate abortion surcharge.

Room for improvement: There is no plan that completely excludes all abortion.
We agree with the Catholic Conference, there should be at least one. We wish the insurance companies had listened to us when we first testified against elevating abortion to “essential health benefit” status in 2012. The first company to offer such a plan would have a competitive edge among people who are in the market for a different plan but don’t equate killing with quality medical care (imagine that!).

Good news: Compliance with legal reporting requirements has “significantly” improved.

Room for improvement: Some abortionists are still failing to provide the Department of Public Health important information, such as the age of women undergoing abortions and gestational ages of the unborn children.

Good news: Since 2008, 4 abortion clinics have closed. (Hooray!)

Room for improvement: Connecticut still has an abortion tourism problem.
Without a parental consent or notification law, Connecticut has become a destination for circumventing the laws of neighboring states. Over a 10-year period, 90% of abortions — over 700 — involving an out-of-state minor were done on girls from nearby states with parental consent/notification laws, primarily Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This remains a high priority for us.

The full report is here.

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The 2015 legislative session began last week. This means “game on” for us, particularly since we anticipate another battle on assisted suicide. Now is a good time to remind Connecticut citizens — and those who would serve them in our Assembly — what tactics we could expect from opponents in the coming months.

The assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society), as we know well, has aggressively astroturfed our state with sometimes laughable results, like 30 or so form letters addressed “Dear Testimony”; mysteriously knows hearing dates before anyone else; and has a record of playing fast and loose with facts if it makes good advertising.

This, however, is a real doozy: right on the heels of a very successful, first-ever East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide, Iowa pro-lifer Katie Buck revealed that her name was added without her knowledge to a petition to legalize assisted suicide when she signed an online “sympathy card” for Brittany Maynard — and she could prove it. See her video here.

I recall, when I first read Time Magazine’s interview of Brittany, I also clicked a link that presented me with a pop-up option of signing this card. Given my experience, I had my guard up already, so perhaps it’s easy for me to forget that many people have never heard of C&C. Had I been in the position of one of those people I would quickly have realized that, as the screenshots clearly show, there was no statement of disclosure.

It was, as Ms. Buck says, “a nationwide thing.” How many caring Connecticut residents may have been duped into signing away protection for vulnerable people?

Whether or not this is technically legal, it certainly is a shady practice. I wonder how it would make AG Jepsen feel now (watch him testify in favor of H.B. 5326 starting at 7:21).

The deceptive petition may also have affected New Jersey, where calls and e-mails are still needed. Find more information about how you can help our friends here or visit New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide. They have their own petition, but they tell you what you are signing, because honesty and transparency matter!

Brittany Maynard is the young woman with glioblastoma who’s video announcing her decision to take her life on November 1st has gone viral, becoming a cause célèbre for advocates for the legalization of assisted suicide. More recently, Brittany says she may not end her life on Nov. 1st.

Working with an ideologically diverse coalition, Family Institute of Connecticut and our allies have defeated the assisted suicide bill at our state Capitol for the last two years and we expect to fight it again in 2015. Brittany Maynard is, as she says, “a strong woman,” but laws against assisted suicide exist to protect the weak and vulnerable among us. That is why we have to maintain them.

FIC has been in contact with Maggie Karner, a Connecticut woman who also has glioblastoma, since her response to Brittany also went viral. In this FIC video, Maggie reads an open letter she has written to Brittany, pleading with her never to take her life. Please click on the photo below to see the video and please share the video with everyone you can.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 7.07.19 AM

 

 

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FIC PAC 2014 Endorsements: Second Round

[New names are being added to this list as those endorsements are made. Check back regularly. ~ NS]

[In an Oct. 29th email, FIC Action Committee listed these as our “Hot Picks”: Len Suzio, Art Linares, Michael Molgano, Rob Sampson, Philip Tripp, Dennis Mahoney and Paul Formica. In targeted emails the day before the election, Linares and Formica were upgraded to “hottest of our hot picks.” ~ NS]

Below is Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee’s second round of endorsements in the 2014 Connecticut elections. We encourage you to disseminate this list as widely as possible. There are thousands of voters wanting to know who the pro-family candidates for our state offices are.

This second list includes seventeen new endorsements. If you do not see your candidate’s name on this list, either your candidate has been determined by FIC PAC to be anti-family or he or she has not yet contacted us to clear up some ambiguities.

More endorsements may be made. If you think your candidate should be endorsed by us, have your candidate email Nicole Stacy at nms_ctfamily@live.com. (There is an underscore (” _”) after “nms” that may not be visible on some computer screens.) Please email Nicole if you are available to volunteer for our endorsed candidates.

For now, we ask Connecticut’s pro-family voters to focus their energy on FIC PAC’s endorsed candidates. You will receive another email from us soon: FIC PAC Hot Picks. These are the handful of races where pro-family volunteers can make the most difference in electing a pro-family legislature.

FIC ACTION COMMITTEE

The following is the second round of endorsements made by the FIC Action Committee. More endorsements may be made. Many factors went into our endorsements, including candidate questionnaires, voting record, viability, and leadership on key pro-family issues. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE DISTRIBUTE THIS LIST TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4TH!

Governor
Tom Foley (R)

Attorney General
Kie Westby (R)

Secretary of State
Peter Lumaj (R)
State Senate
Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-35) – Ashford, Chaplin, Coventry, Eastford, Ellington, Hampton, Pomfret, Stafford, Tolland, Union, Vernon, Willington, Woodstock
Sen. Rob Kane (R-32) Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury, Oxford, Seymour, Southbury, Thomaston, Roxbury, Watertown, Woodbury
Sen. John Kissel (R-7) – East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks
Sen. Art Linares (R-33) – Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, Westbrook
Eva Maldonado (R-27) – Darien, Stamford
Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) – Cheshire, Southington, Waterbury, Wolcott
Sen. Michael McLachlan – (R-24) Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman
Len Suzio (R-13) – Cheshire, Middlefield, Middletown, Meriden
Philip Tripp (R-17) – Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck, Woodbridge
Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) – Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury, Torrington

State House of Representatives
Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8) – Columbia, Coventry, Vernon
Rep. Al Adinolfi (R-103) – Cheshire, Southington, Wallingford
Ethan Book (R-128) – Bridgeport
Elbert Burr (R-37) – Salem, East Lyme
Rep. Fred Camillo (R-151) – Greenwich
Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86) – East Haven, North Branford, Wallingford
Rep. Dan Carter (R-2) – Bethel, Danbury, Redding
Matthew Corcoran (R-88) – Hamden
Rep. Anthony D’Amelio (R-71) – Middlebury, Waterbury
Rep. John Frey (R-111) – Ridgefield.
Rep. Mary Fritz (D-90) – Cheshire, Wallingford

Rep. Janice Giegler (R-138) – Danbury, New Fairfield, Ridgefield
Rep. Minnie Gonzalez (D-3) – Hartford
Rob Kwasnicki (R-59, I-59) – Enfield, East Windsor
Rep. David Labriola (R-58) – Naugatuck, Oxford, Southbury

Dennis Mahoney (R-147) – Stamford

Kathleen McCarty (R-38) – Montville, Waterford
James McGovern (R-15) – Bloomfield, Windsor
Rep. Michael Molgano (R-144) – Stamford

Steven Mullins (R-116) – West Haven, New Haven
Rep. Selim Noujaim (R-74) – Waterbury
Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113) – Shelton
Rep. John Piscopo (R-76) – Burlington, Harwinton, Litchfield, Thomaston
Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) – Naugatuck
Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) – Trumbull
Rep. Rob Sampson (R-80) – Southington, Wolcott
Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) – Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland, New Hartford
Pablo Soto (R-83) ­- Berlin, Meriden
Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) – Prospect
JP Sredzinski (R-112) – Monroe, Newtown
Robert Willis (R-105) – Beacon Falls, Derby, Seymour

Paid for and approved by FIC Action Committee, Lawrence Taffner, Treasurer

Mendelsohn

Family Institute of Connecticut is pleased to announce that Stephen Mendelsohn, of Second Thoughts Connecticut, will be FIC’s 2014 Charles Stetson Awardee at our October 2nd 25th Anniversary Banquet. The award is given each year at our annual banquet to whomever has shown the most courage in pro-family battles over the previous 12 months.

It was Second Thoughts Connecticut, the disability rights group, that played a key role in the defeat of bills that would have legalized assisted suicide in Connecticut in 2013 and again in 2014. In honoring Stephen Mendelsohn, FIC intends to honor all people with disabilities who helped us defeat assisted suicide.

It was Stephen Mendelsohn who made such a powerful speech at the Second Thoughts press conference that FIC promoted last Spring. Click here to see Stephen’s speech, here to see highlights of the press conference and, most of all, here to see Stephen’s face-off with pro-assisted suicide Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield. Stephen is pictured in the photograph above, testifying against the 2014 assisted suicide bill.

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From our friends at Impact Connecticut:

Greetings in Jesus’ Name,

The 10 Days of Prayer! begins at Wellspring Church tonight at 7pm. A total of 19 gatherings will be happening all across Connecticut from Thursday, September 25th through Saturday, October 4th. A complete schedule of gatherings is available here. Plan to attend as many gatherings as you can!

The Connecticut United Night of Worship (CTUNOW) will be our final gathering of the 10 Days of Prayer! It will be held at 7pm on Saturday, October 4th, at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield. Over 100 worship leaders from across Connecticut are linking arms for an evening of extravagant worship. The agenda is simple: unite across cultural, denominational, and social lines to worship Jesus and declare his Lordship over our state.

A Special Appeal: We are asking for pastors and ministry leaders throughout Connecticut to help spread the word about the CTUNOW statewide gathering on October 4th. Please announce this gathering to your congregations this Sunday. Click here for a CTUNOW promotional slide that you can show during your weekend services.

Thanks so much for spreading the word and for attending these important gatherings throughout Connecticut!

Blessings,
Rick McKinniss

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