Archive for the ‘Euthanasia’ Category

For the second time within a year, England has a high-profile case of court-mandated murder of a desperately ill child. The first was Charlie Gard, and now comes Alfie Evans.

Alfie missed several developmental milestones in his first seven months of life, which did not alarm physicians at the time. It’s not known precisely what his neurodegenerative disorder is, and some say it may be something akin to Charlie Gard’s Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome (MDS). That’s key to understanding the full horror and depravity of the English judiciary in this case, as well as that of the National Health Service (NHS).

While the English physicians are quite certain that Alfie cannot recover, they do not know what they are facing. They are so possessed of medical certitude that they have not only sought to end life-sustaining treatment, but have argued against the boy being brought abroad for treatment.


And why the complicity of the courts?

And since when are parental rights to seek treatment for their desperately ill children abrogated by the physicians who can’t even identify the disease, and the courts with no evidence of incompetence on the part of the parents?

What’s worse is that the global narrative has shifted from arguing over whether a patient is still alive, cardiac vs. brain death, to arguing that they have no hope of recovering their former functionality and quality of life. In other words we are now squarely within Eugenics and Euthanasia.

This particular expression of euthanasia is actually First Degree Murder. When Alfie’s ventilator was removed, along with oxygen, food, and hydration, Alfie breathed on his own, and continues to breathe on his own. After several hours of fighting with staff, Alfie was given oxygen and hydration. At this writing,more than 48 hours later, he continues to live, and the courts have determined that he may not be taken abroad.

Alfie. MUST. Die.

The police ringing the building are a frightening testimony to this malignant judicial resolve.

The courts have stated that parents understandably want to hang on after hope has been lost. Tragically, there are far too many physicians, nurses, and judges who have never understood that hope is the irrational driving force behind many medical and scientific breakthroughs.

Take cancer for example. Hope drives cancer research, and the trillions of dollars and hundreds of millions of researcher hours over the past half-century. Looking at the daunting challenge in the 1950’s, before we knew anything about DNA and its role in cancer, how irrational would it have sounded if trillions of dollars, and millions of collective years of research would be required to cure this umbrella group of diseases? Yet, here we are, with many cancers either curable, or with outstanding five-year remission rates. A similar story could be told of HIV/AIDS, and the fact that it is a very manageable disease today.

Imagine if the pessimists were in the driver’s seat at the outset. As the AIDS quilt tells the tale, a frightening number of people died on the way to today’s manageability. The same for cancer.

As any cancer or HIV researcher will attest, even in cases of seeming futility, experimental protocols yield vital data for future treatment designs. They also will attest that surprises happen when we least expect them to. Alfie has already surprised everyone by his continued breathing. Imagine if he were given a fair chance.

Fair chances point toward a central reality in biomedical research: You can’t advance the therapeutic ball if you kill all the hard cases.

There is a war on for the soul of humanity. The Culture of Death has been holding high carnival for decades with abortion, and now the slippery slope from physician-assisted suicide, to euthanasia, to outright court-sanctioned murder rooted in a pervasive eugenics. There is no room in this worldview for faith, hope, or love. There is only expedience, and expedience in the place of faith, hope, and love, never solved a biomedical riddle. None of us who has ever labored in a lab was ever driven by expedience sans hope. The work of healing research requires a soul, the kind of soul missing in action in the Gard and Evans decisions. Faith, hope, and love are the forces that sustain our greatest minds in science and medicine. They inspire and sustain in the face of repeated failure and setback.

So what’s it all about, Alfie? It’s about faith, hope, and love, Alfie.



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News today that Belgium has approved euthanasia for any age. From BBC:

Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions.

When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.

It may be requested by terminally ill children who are in great pain and also have parental consent.

Opponents argue children cannot make such a difficult decision.

It is 12 years since Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults.

In the Netherlands, Belgium’s northern neighbour, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.

Under the Dutch conditions, a patient’s request for euthanasia can be fulfilled by a doctor if the request is “voluntary and well-considered” and the patient is suffering unbearably, with no prospect of improvement.

Today the Belgian people have ratified civilizational suicide. There is no turning back now, absent a national awakening through evangelization. There is so much wrong with this law that it hardly bears discussion. It is simply malevolent, and it brings me back to an experience of when Regina and I were engaged to be married.

It was 1990-1991 and Regina was still a new Pediatric Nurse at Cornell Medical Center in NYC. One of her patients (We’ll change his name and call him Daniel) was a young boy who was six years old and being treated for leukemia. This little charmer stole my fiancé’s affections, along with those of the entire nursing staff. The stories of Daniel’s antics were hilarious and non-stop. Against the backdrop of the hilarity was the constant encroachment of a disease that had a short-lived remission.

There came a point when “the trip” was brought up in regards to the timing of the leukemia’s progression; the trip to Disney for this little prince. Off went the family and an excited little boy who had never been to Disney World.

It was magical for him.

Pure joy.

For mom and dad, it was the unique blend of joy and dread experienced by so many parents of critically ill children. Back home, Regina steadied her young girl’s heart for the switch from heroic last-ditch efforts in oncology to palliative care not only for Daniel, but for his parents, who by now seemed like extended relatives. When the end came, it came hard and fast.

There was never an issue of unbearable suffering for little Daniel. His pain was adequately managed. I was at Regina’s apartment in hospital housing on that Sunday afternoon when the day-shift nurse called with the news. Daniel had slipped away peacefully and Regina needed to come over. Regina had a good cry and asked me to go with her. When we arrived, Daniel was there in his bed, surrounded by grieving family, nurses, and physicians. His father sat next to his dead son, encapsulated in a bubble of grief that was impenetrable. It was there that I finally met this extended family.

Daniel’s mother hugged Regina and the two just cried. She thanked her over and over for all of her kindness as his night nurse, for the loving way in which she cared for Daniel, and for all of the emotional and logistical support that Regina gave that went way over and above the requirements of her job.

I stood there in support but mostly a spectator to this beautiful, if heartrending, scene. There before me were some of the finest minds in medicine and nursing in the world, in an Ivy-League teaching hospital, in fast-paced and cynical New York City, and they cried, laughed, and loved unashamedly. To the very last moment of Daniel’s brief life among us, they lavished their finest clinical ministrations upon him, and supplemented that with generous amounts of love.

Children such as Daniel simply do not think about suicide. They are hard-wired for hope in the future. In Regina’s quarter of a century as a pediatric nurse, never once has she come across a terminally ill child who ever wanted to end it all, who ever thought in those categories. That is a category introduced by the adults in their lives. The permanence of death simply escapes children.

There is only one antidote for the Belgian experience, and it revealed itself to me through my young fiancé and her colleagues a long time ago. At the wake and funeral it was a celebration of love, and the entire staff turned out in force for the family and for each other. A month later, Regina received a video from Daniel’s family asking that she remember him. His prayer card remains on Regina’s dresser to this day. A few times through the years, I have taken out that video and watched, and remembered, and learned.

It’s all about the courage that comes from love. That courage propels us to advance the field of palliative medicine, while allowing families to work through their bitter sorrow without succumbing to despair.

In that private room so long ago, it was evident that death came like a silent thief amidst an enormity of love. Daniel didn’t die at the hands of Regina and her colleagues. He lived at their hands, and more fully and beautifully because of their love and the love of his family. And when it was all said and done, his parents took up the rest of their lives having been lovingly supported and affirmed by a staff of professionals who honored the love that begat the little prince who stole my fiancé’s heart.

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Recently, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dropped her guard and gave the American people a good insight into how it is that Obamacare will ultimately stay solvent: The nonexistence of patients who, not being alive, cannot make claims upon the system.

From CNSNews.com

During the subcommittee hearing, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said that contraception provided by insurance companies to people employed by religious organizations under the future form of the rule Sebelius described would not be was not free.

“Who pays for it? There’s no such thing as a free service,” Murphy asked.

Sebelius responded that that is not the case with insurance.

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for cost of contraception,” Sebelius answered.

Murphy expressed surprise by the answer.

“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” Murphy asked.

Sebelius replied, “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children.”

Murphy again sought clarification.

“Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me. I yield back,” he said.

Sebelius responded, “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine.”

See and hear Sebelius in her own words:

Now this week comes word that the Congessional Budget Office estimates Obamacare will cost twice its originally promised cost. News also comes of the return of what Sarah Palin dubbed, “Death Panels” for healthcare rationing. Far from right wing flights of fancy, these realities already exist in chilling bureaucratic routine across the nation in hospital committees who decide when patients have used too many resources, and in Oregon’s health care system where the government decides when a patient’s remaining quality of life justifies the expense of keeping them alive.

Here is the ABC News article about one such patient, Barbara Wagner. It is a portal into the national future.

Adding fuel to the fire is the issue of states increasingly strained by the growing number of civil service pensioners who do their 20 years and retire on full pensions.

Add to that the Social Security insolvency.

It becomes clear that Sebelius has not so much committed a gaffe as she has revealed the solution her fellow travelers see to our insolvency issues: decreasing the number of claimants on the system decreases the system’s expenditures. Nonexistence of humans on the front end of the life spectrum will fund the cost of the HHS contraception mandate through the offsetting of the non-conceived human’s non-claims on the system. Applying the same thinking on the other end of the life spectrum will realize a bumper crop of savings for local, state, and the federal government when civil service pensioners are denied life-saving services, or have them delayed long enough in rationing lines in the hopes that the patient will be overtaken by the disease while waiting.

Being a Pacific Northwestern Governor, Sarah Palin looked to one of her closest neighbors, Oregon, and saw clearly the future of the pro-abortion, anti-life, rabidly eugenic left wing. It is far easier to cull the herd than grow the economy, especially in a political party that is opposed to all known and practical sources of energy; to a political party that has made a central plank of their platform the reduction of the world’s population.

We are a nation in serious, serious trouble.

To only blame the Obama administration or the Democrat Party is to miss the fact that sufficient numbers of Americans agree with these people. Far too many uphold the right for someone else to slaughter their child, even though they are personally opposed to doing so.

So many uphold he right of others to force doctors to perform manslaughter through physician-assisted suicide, even if it violates the doctor’s conscience.

So many uphold the forcing of all medical students to perform abortions against their consciences.

So many uphold the forcing of religious institutions and private businesses to purchase contraceptives against their consciences.

90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, with costs to the parents and the ‘system’ cited by physicians and genetic counselors in a coercive campaign to rid the world of these “defectives”.

Far too many in this nation support the coercion of physicians and private citizens to do the government’s bidding when doing so violates consciences formed by thousands of years of civilized precepts. Now we have established that private and institutional conscience is the property of the state, the state is taking full advantage of the opportunity to advance its agenda.

Hitler never could have accomplished his malignant agenda without the support of the German people in sufficient numbers. It takes more than a village, it takes a nation to be good or evil. Today, our nation balances on a razor’s edge.

It will take more than the November elections to turn things around. It’s going to take the realization of what is at stake. It’s no longer someone else’s ox getting gored.

We’re all in peril.

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From LifeSite News:

UTRECHT, Netherlands, October 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) has released new guidelines for interpreting the 2002 Euthanasia Act that now includes “mental and psychosocial ailments” such as “loss of function, loneliness and loss of autonomy” as acceptable criteria for euthanasia. The guidelines also allow doctors to connect a patient’s lack of “social skills, financial resources and a social network” to “unbearable and lasting suffering,” opening the door to legal assisted death based on “psychosocial” factors, not terminal illness.

The June 2011 position paper, titled “The Role of the Physician in the Voluntary Termination of Life” concludes that the “concept of suffering” is “broader” than its “interpretation and application by many physicians today.”

Included in a broader interpretation of suffering would be “disorders affecting vision, hearing and mobility, falls, confinement to bed, fatigue, exhaustion and loss of fitness,” according to the authors.

“The patient perceives the suffering as interminable, his existence as meaningless and—though not directly in danger of dying from these complaints—neither wishes to experience them nor, insofar as his history and own values permit, to derive meaning from them,” explains the KNMG position paper.

“In the KNMG’s view, such cases are sufficiently linked to the medical domain to permit a physician to act within the confines of the Euthanasia Law.”

“It doesn’t always have to be a physical ailment, it could be the onset of dementia or chronic psychological problems, it’s still unbearable and lasting suffering. It doesn’t always have to be a terminal disease,” said Dr. Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman, Chairman of KNMG to Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Read the rest here.

This is an absolute descent into madness. We doctors of science and medicine spend close to twenty years of our adult lives in training, and for what? This???

This represents moral and intellectual bankruptcy, the collapse of reason and sanity, of love for our patients and experimental subjects. In the Netherlands, medicine no longer seeks to better the human condition. It makes the problems go away by killing the patients.

We don’t need extensive education for this anymore.

We simply need executioners.

This is what many in this country are pushing for. And this is what national healthcare will deliver.

It’s time for this nation to have a serious family talk.

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When the pro-life community rose in opposition to the court-ordered murder of Terry Sciavo, a severely brain damaged, but not terminally ill woman, we warned that this was the slippery slope. We warned that more such killings would follow. We were ridiculed as hysterical alarmists.

Now in Canada, a one year old boy with a rare neurological disease who is slowly dying is being threatened with one of the most gruesome deaths imaginable: drowning. Read the story here.

Baby Joseph Maraachli is on a respirator. His parents want to bring him home to die in their arms, surrounded by his loving family. They’ve been down this road before with their daughter.

Currently, Joseph is on a ventillator, with a plastic airway holding his trachea (windpipe) open and clear. In order for Joseph to go home, he would need a tracheotomy, which is a small incision made in the trachea with a trach tube inserted to hold it open. Without this simple procedure, Joseph will literally choke to death, or drown in his own secretions. The hospital wants to simply remove the ventilator and let nature take its brutal course. They refuse to do the tracheotomy, claiming it is too risky, because Joseph could….. die!

There is no rational basis for such decision making, and the courts have sided with the hospital.

If the cost of care is the issue, then dragging this battle out has been the least cost-effective avenue for the hospital to pursue. In such brutal calculus this baby could have had his tracheotomy performed weeks ago, and either have died on the table, or been home by now. So clearly, this is not about saving the hospital money.

This is about the intolerance of imperfection and the exercise of radicalized autonomy.

Baby Joseph

It’s human evil in all of its institutionalized malignancy. The request of the family is one that would have saved the hospital time, money, and effort. It would have freed the courts for other cases. It would allow baby Joseph to slip quietly and peacefully into eternity at home, rather than drowning in spasms of anxiety and despair.

When the medical establishment seeks such an ending to any life, but especially the life of a child, then the cancer has gone to civilization’s bone.

We are in the cataclysmic struggle for our very lives and for the survival of Western civilization, and we must prevail.

O Canada!

UPDATE: Read Here for Update

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Want to kill your mother? Here is how one New York HMO tried to do it with my friend’s mom. Names have been changed to protect their privacy. This is malevolence as art.

Clinical Background
Mike’s mom, Betty, is 90 years old. In the past seven years she has had cancer and triple by-pass surgery. The cancer is in remission. She has mild, early stage Alzheimer’s disease that is well managed with medicine. A few months ago, Betty took a tumble getting out of bed at home (Mike and his wife live with her). Betty, it should be noted, is one tough woman who will no doubt outlive me. She’s that type of gritty pioneer woman with a triumphant spirit. However, Betty needed some PT and Rehab that required two months in a nursing home.

Her leg is stiff and needs more strengthening, but that can be accomplished at home with outpatient therapy. The stay in the nursing home has slowed Betty down a bit, but she’s mobile, lucid, and ornery as ever. Glory Be. Otherwise, Betty is in great shape.

It should be noted that Betty is a retired NY City employee with a great pension and full medical benefits.

Mike is a great guy. Engineer, Warrant Officer in the US Army, Gulf War Vet, adjunct History professor, and all-around good egg. Medicine is not his area of strength, as engineering is Greek to me. History is a common passion and we have our weekend breakfast every weekend as we discuss teaching, military history, current events, family, etc.

The Lie
Last week Mike stated in passing that his mother’s physician suggested that she really needs full-time help during the day, and that such help can be arranged by signing her into hospice care.

I almost choked on my food as he said it.

I told Mike that if he did this, they wouldn’t treat Betty’s heart if a stent was needed, do surgery if she fell again, treat the cancer aggressively if it returns, etc. Hospice is about palliative care. They’re marking her for death through withholding of treatment. Hospice is about easing one into the ground. Regina and I were adamant that he call the HMO and grill them with very specific questions.

Mike called the HMO and grilled them. They agreed (reluctantly and after great ducking and weaving) that, yes, they would not stent, bypass, do bone surgery, etc, if Betty were a hospice patient. He also pried out of them that she wouldn’t even be sent for routine follow-up testing for the heart and the cancer. No mention of these consequences was made when the paper was put on the desk before Mike, and he’s grateful that he took some time to think, and that he made such a serendipitous passing comment over breakfast.

So that’s were we are now. Euthanasia being dressed up as long-term home healthcare as an affordable means of caring for mom, so as to avoid a nursing home, with absolutely NO mention of the ramifications.

This is evil, as dirty and dastardly as it gets. If we cannot trust our physicians to be truthful, to be our advocates, then we are in trouble. Big trouble.

The only thing more unthinkable than a world without Betty in it, is a world in which Betty was murdered through treachery, because some medical economist has determined that she is no longer worth the money spent to keep her alive. But New York made a deal with Betty. New York agreed that it would see to her financial and medical needs if she helped build our city through her life’s work.

Betty kept faith, and now societal forces are breaking faith with the Betty’s of our nation. That’s because those who held out the promise were honorable people who have been supplanted by my generation. The Greatest Generation spawned the Narcissistic Baby Boomers.

Betty will be fine. We’ll see to that. The Boomers, who begin retiring this year, are about to find out that they are too slow to outrun the scorched earth campaign they’ve waged for 45 years on the American landscape.

We will be the ones to catch the full fury of euthanasia.

The fire is gaining on us, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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My article in today’s Headline Bistro.

If there is one potential social-scientific study that cries out to be performed, it is the measure of the Culture of Death’s activities in a nation as a function of Christian belief and practice. In formulating a hypothesis for such a study, it would seem the anecdotal evidence suggests that as faith and its related activities decreases, there is a proportional increase in the activities of the Culture of Death.

This shouldn’t come as any great surprise. Rejection of our fundamental identity and great dignity, which is inherent in Christian anthropology, leaves the human little more than a sentient animal on the taxonomic tree in any biology classroom.

By way of example, the Netherlands appears to be a bellwether. Religion overall has declined there throughout the twentieth century. While several studies give varying percentages, the most reliable indicate 61% of the population has no religious affiliation, with that number climbing to 69% for those under 35 years of age. In that period of decline, legalized prostitution, abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia have been adopted and taken deep root. Far from a grab bag of licentious issues, these issues share an organic unity in purpose and function.

They are the foundations of an anti-Christian “civilization.”

As Saint Augustine teaches us, heterosexual, sacramental marriage is meant to be an earthly icon into the inner life of the Blessed Trinity, where the radical and reciprocal self-donation between the Father and Son in Love generates the Holy Spirit of God. The completeness of this Love forms the oneness between the three persons in the Godhead. So it is supposed to be between spouses in God’s design. The two become “one flesh” both literally and metaphorically, whose radical self-donation produces new life, which is both a product of that love and the object of that love.

Artificial contraception represents a fundamental rejection of complete self-donation, and has taken millions one long step toward abortion when the contraception fails. Prostitution builds on the use of contraception and further distorts conjugal appetites and expression by making sex and the body of the prostitute a mere commodity, as opposed to the priceless treasures that they are.

Homosexual marriage builds on all of the above by accepting their prerequisite ideologies and then removing the opposite sex from the equation.

Enter the perversion of science.

Having rejected God’s wise design for His creation, children have come to be regarded as a right of possession, rather than a blessing issuing forth from sacramental mutual submission. The mentality of rights demands further distortions of the created order through scientific machinations such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. In the latter, a child may rightly claim up to five parents: sperm donor, egg donor, gestational mother, and adoptive parents.

Finally, having entirely redefined the parameters of marriage, family, conjugal expression and life’s beginning, the last area of radical autonomy is over life’s ending.

In the Netherlands, this began with the Dr. Jack Kevorkian model of physician-assisted suicide for patients in end-stage terminal illness, driven by fear of unimaginable pain and suffering. It rapidly degenerated into a system where the fear of suffering in those terminally ill, but not yet in end-stage, was sufficient to merit the consent of two physicians. Now, physicians routinely sign the death order, without the patient’s knowledge or consent, if the physicians believe the patient is “suffering.” This process now encompasses the mentally ill. Such cases of “involuntary euthanasia” number approximately 550 per year.

It’s cold-blooded murder, and it’s spreading across a European continent increasing marked by atheism, agnosticism and hedonism. On May 17, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that in Belgium, cases of euthanasia were up 40% in 2009 over the previous year, and in one region of the country 30% of cases were performed without the patient’s knowledge or consent.

It is noteworthy that Catholicism represents 75% of Belgian religious affiliation, and that Sunday Mass attendance has steadily declined from 42.9% in 1967, to 22% in 1985, to 11.2% in 1998, to 7% in 2006. After weekly Mass attendance dipped below 25%, the following were adopted in rapid succession: abortion, 1990; euthanasia, 2002; gay marriage, 2003.

Last week the Federal Court of Justice of Germany legalized euthanasia.

According to Gallup, here in the U.S., Catholic Mass attendance has steadily declined from 75% in 1955, to 55% in 1973, to tie with the Protestants at 45% in 2008. The narrow margins between pro-choice/pro-life voters, pro-gay marriage/traditional marriage are reflected in those attendance data.

There is reason for hope in all of this. We are without a doubt in a period of great disintegration. So was the world of Saints Peter and Paul, whose solemnity we celebrate today. Rather than curse the darkness around them, these men rejoiced in their sufferings, and saw the world about them as a harvest waiting for workers to bring in the sheaves. They looked upon the pagans as utterly bereft and boldly proclaimed their dignity and true worth. We must do the same.

Catholicism has become the fodder for comedians who ceaselessly riff on our faith as being nothing more than a compendium of rules to be obeyed mindlessly. Our most persuasive arguments will not be intellectual apologias of dogma and canon law, which seem parched and lifeless to the parched and lifeless. Rather, our evangelization must target people’s hearts, address the issues of isolation, meaninglessness and despair that drive people to contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and the rejection of sacramental marriage. We must appeal to the fruits of faith and not its rules. People buy the rules only when they desire the fruits that follow.

The letters of Peter and Paul and the Acts of the Apostles form the template that these two extraordinary men have laid down for us to follow. Their feast is a perfect day to rededicate ourselves to a new evangelization of a world desperately seeking meaning in all the wrong places.

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Mother- Frances Inglis Photo: Central News

Across the Pond, The Telegraph brings us the story of Frances Inglis, 57, a mother who was training to be a nurse and was driven ‘insane’ by the thought that her brain damaged son Tom was suffering. Inglis killed her son with a heroin overdose, after searching the internet for methods of performing euthanasia. Perhaps our readers from England can fill us in on some of the details not accounted for in the Telegraph story.

There are multiple layers of tragedy here in this story. The most obvious is a mother driven mad by the thought that her child was locked in a seemingly endless state of suffering, despite assurances from the physicians that he would improve.

The second layer of tragedy is the collective consciousness that is setting in regarding euthanasia, and is inversely proportional to the authentic participation in and witness to Christian Faith. Where Christian faith and hope are absent, the cult of death grows strong. It becomes the answer to all of life’s deepest challenges.

That in turn leads to the next level of tragedy, no room was left for the grace of God. As Father Anthony Padovano said of the human heart, ” It breathes the air of hope and is suffocated in despair”.

Therein lies the greatest tragedy of all. A mother whose heart was suffocated in despair took the life she brought into the world. A permanent solution to what might only have been a temporary problem.

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