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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson's patients stories reveal how the choices physicians make can mean our life or death

Photo: World Net Daily
Writing in The Washington Times, Dr. Ben Carson highlights the life-or-death power entrusted to medical professionals and institutions:
Several years ago, I was consulted by a young woman who was 33 weeks pregnant and was on her way to Kansas get an abortion. I informed her of the multiple options available to her outside of abortion and she decided to go through with the pregnancy even though the child had hydrocephalus and required neurosurgical intervention after birth a few weeks later. She kept the baby and loves the beautiful child that has resulted.
A couple of decades ago, I came into the pediatric Intensive Care Unit on morning rounds and was told about a four-year-old girl who had been hit by an ice cream truck, and was comatose and exhibiting little neurological function other than reactive pupils. I tested her pupillary reflexes and both pupils were fixed and dilated. The staff indicated to me that this is something that must have just occurred. I grabbed the bed and with some help, transported her quickly to the operating room for an emergency craniotomy. I was met along the way by a senior neurosurgeon who told me I was wasting my time and that at best, we would end up with someone in a vegetative state.
Nevertheless, we completed the operation and a few days later, her pupils became reactive and she eventually left the hospital. I saw her a few years ago walking through the hospital with her own 4-year-old little girl. She was neurologically fully intact and told me she had become somewhat of a celebrity because of the experience I just related. What do these two stories have in common? Read more...

Sexual risk avoidance programs awarded crumbs from HHS table

It's comparatively crumbs under the table funding compared to less effective programs, but yesterday the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families, released the names of successful grantees for the sexual risk avoidance (SRA) abstinence education program. Entitled the Competitive Abstinence Education Grant Program (CAE), the $5 million dollar program was authorized by Congress as part of the FY 2014 spending bill.
Eleven programs across the United States received two-year grants to provide information and skills that help teens avoid the risks associated with sexual activity.
My colleague Valerie Huber, President/CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA), noted, 
The Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence approach is vital to the optimal health of America’s youth. SRA programs empower teens to successfully navigate adolescence by focusing on their goals and dreams, rather than sex.
Currently almost 95% of sex education spending in the federal budget goes to federal initiatives that are not centered on the risk avoidance abstinence message.  We hope that Congress will expand this program so that the focus on abstinence education can achieve parity in both priority and funding with contraceptive-focused programs.
Since almost 75% of the age group often targeted for sex education (15-17 year olds) have never had sex, we are eager for students to receive the reinforcement they need to continue to make healthy sexual decisions. They will singularly receive this important reinforcement in successfully implemented abstinence programs.
For more information from medical experts, download Sexual Risk Avoidance Education.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Liberal ideas like euthanasia get promoted as personal autonomy and liberation but in actual practice translate into more power for the State and death

In "Children Support Parents' Joint Euthanasia," anti-euthanasia colleague Wesley J. Smith highlights the natural result of legalizing medical killing: there are no boundaries.

The story of a healthy couple who found a non-Hippocratic physician in Belgium willing to kill them both at the same time is tragic in and of itself. But it gets worse: their son loves the idea in part because it saves him time and trouble.

In his own words: "If one of them should die, [the other] would remain would be so sad and totally dependent on us. It would be impossible for us...."

I testified some years ago at a US Senate hearing on euthanasia and related several stories from my on-site research in the Netherlands. One involved a sailor whose wife refused to discourage his euthanasia because she thought he'd been unfaithful to her. Another story involved a grandfather who asked for help with a painful leg, and doctors killed him before the family realized what was happening. I uncovered more stories that illustrate how Dutch doctors knock off a thousand patients a year (according to the government-funded Remmelink report) without patients' consent.

Ever notice how often liberal ideas get promoted as personal autonomy and liberation but in actual practice translate into more power for the State and death?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saving students' lives: What it takes to be a hero

While California teacher unions, fretting over lawsuits, opposed a lifesaving bill to equip schools with EpiPens to save students from deadly anaphylactic shock, courageous and committed physicians like Dr. Kent Brantley risked their lives caring for Ebola patients in Africa whom they hardly knew.
What makes the difference? A worldview that considers the interests of others and not just self. A mantra more like "Do unto others…" than "What's in it for me?" A focus on the long-term, soul-sustaining casting of character rather than the short-term pleasure of cash in the pocket.
These are the everyday choices that determine what kind of people we will be and how others will view us. For all the teachers of character who daily put our children and grandchildren ahead of petty self-interest, thank you for your honorable service. For the heads of the teachers unions, just get out of the way of these heroes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

President Prevaricated: Govt. Agency Reveals that Your Tax Dollars Do Fund Abortion in Obamacare

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has unraveled the deception used to pass and promote Obamacare--by revealing that the new law does, as pro-life advocates have insisted, channel our tax dollars to abortion.
The GAO report gets into the weeds of the accounting schemes that the administration has used to obfuscate this fact, but here are the topline takeaway messages from this revelation:
  1. President Obama misled Congress and the American people. As one of many examples of where President Obama and Democratic leaders promised the American people that ObamaCare would not fund abortions, on September 9, 2009, President Obama told the Joint Session of Congress on Health Care: “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up -- under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
  2. An independent government agency finally has proved what pro-life advocates have insisted: that Obamacare is channeling our tax dollars to abortion.
  3. The administration is not even bothering to enforce its own accounting gimmick to cover up taxpayer funding of abortion.

Take Action: Use this easy form to tell your legislators to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

Colleagues in Congress have provided the information below:
GAO Report demonstrates that Obamacare taxpayer subsidies are going to insurance coverage that includes abortion….despite claims to the contrary. 
No matter where you live, your federal taxpayer dollars are subsidizing plans in other states that include abortion.  If the longstanding prohibition on abortion funding, known as the Hyde amendment, had been applied to the ACA, there would be no taxpayer funding for plans that include abortion.
The GAO identified 1036 Plans that cover abortion on demand.
In California, where an estimated 1.25 million people are receiving taxpayer subsidies[i] for Obamacare plans, 86 out of 90 plans include abortion on demand. 
95% to 100% plans in 8 states include abortion on demand. 

·         Every plan in New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii
·         Massachusetts—98% (109 out 111)
·         New  York—95% (405 out of 426)
·         California—96% (86 out of 90)
According to the CBO’s April 2014 estimates, between 2015 and 2024 ACA premium subsidies will cost $855 billion. ($726 billion in direct spending and $129 billion in reductions in revenues.)[ii]
GAO interviewed 18 insurance issuers.  NONE had collected the abortion surcharge payment separately—even though the author of this arrangement, Senator Ben Nelson said: “…the insurance company must bill you separately, and you must pay separately from your own personal funds–perhaps a credit card transaction, your separate personal check, or automatic withdrawal from your bank account– for that abortion coverage. Now, let me say that again. You have to write two checks: one for the basic policy and one for the additional coverage for abortion....”[iii]
Background: Instead of extending the Hyde amendment, Obamacare constructed an accounting gimmick to get around the Hyde amendment. Proponents of the gimmick claimed that when a consumer selects a plan that covers abortion, the abortions would be paid for using funds collected from the plan purchaser through a separate abortion surcharge. This separate payment approach was contemporaneously acknowledged by NARAL, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.[iv]
The GAO found that the administration reinterpreted this billing arrangement.  Instead of separate payments, they told issuers they could simply itemize the abortion surcharge on the consumer’s bill. NONE of the 18 issuers interviewed itemized an abortion surcharge.  (One company stated bills indicate there is a $1 fee for “coverage of services for which member subsidies may not be used.” The rest were silent regarding the surcharge.) 


THREE TIMES Former Secretary Sebelius was asked about abortion coverage transparency in Congressional hearings, and each time she refused to supply the answer.[v]  It took a GAO investigation to get a straight answer. 
The report confirms that the information about abortion coverage is not uniformly available to consumers.  When consumers are shopping for a plan there is no reliable consistent way to determine whether abortion is covered.  According to the GAO of the 18 issuers interviewed:
·         11 issuers indicated that consumers shopping for plans do not have access to such information, and some of the 11 indicated consumers would need to call their issuer directly to determine whether the plan includes abortion coverage
·         6 issuers indicated they made abortion coverage information available in some fashion prior to enrollment
·         1 issuer did not respond to GAO’s request for information
Consumers should not have to search multiple websites and make time consuming phone calls to get this simple information.
The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute and the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute agree there is a lack of transparency.[vi]


The information in this report only applies to 2014 plans.  It does not answer questions for the consumers that will shop in the 2015 Open Season. 
For 2015, the administration needs to ensure that plans clearly and prominently disclose abortion coverage, and that the abortion surcharge is prominently disclosed whenever the price of a plan is advertised. 
The Senate should pass and the President should sign H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”[vii] (Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ) which would stop taxpayer funding for abortion and plans that include abortion in all federal programs including the Affordable Care Act. The House passed H.R. 7 by a vote of 227-188[viii] on January 28, 2014.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reflections on 9/11, national and personal

The commentary below was published just after 911. I wrote the personal reflection that follows below in 2006 on the five-year anniversary of 911. Thought it might be of interest today as we remember the fallen and the heroes.
Remembrances left at Pentagon 2001

An American foundation

Published in the Washington Times, September 13, 2001
by Jonathan Imbody
The atrocities of September 11 left many Americans wondering how terrorists could strike at the heart of our nation's power. In fact, they did not--and never can.
The heart of our nation's power has never been our military and financial might but our commitment to a civilization based upon liberty and love. Reaffirming these highest values--even more so than rebuilding our physical security--now poses the greatest test of our nation's mettle.
As we commence this task, let us take inspiration from the selfless firefighters and paramedics who died trying to save strangers trapped in the World Trade Center. Let us follow the example of servant-leaders like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who joined the many service men and women at the Pentagon tending to the wounded. Let us imitate the quiet love shown by hundreds of citizens who stood in line to donate blood to aid their suffering neighbors. This is a nation of citizens who respond with love in action to the question, "Who is my neighbor?"
Such acts of selflessness, service and love will carry us through extremely difficult days ahead. And our reaffirmation of these values will strengthen an American foundation that can never be shaken.


Personal reflection on 911

At this time five years ago, I was sitting in my home office, as I am now. Our daughter Bethany had called from work with the news about the attacks on the World Trade Center. As I watched that New York scene on TV, I felt and heard a thud. That thud turned out to be a plane crashing into the Pentagon, a few miles from our home.
Bethany had left the Pentagon on her morning commute into Washington an hour and a half before the plane hit. A series of cell phone calls to her followed, as the news unraveled about the terrorist attacks and rumors swirled about bombs exploding and fires in DC. We didn’t know what target would be next, and with Bethany’s office located in the Watergate and directly across from the Saudi embassy, her security was uppermost in our minds. I loaded a bike and a moped into our van and headed toward the city to get her out—a daunting challenge with much of DC evacuating outward. We eventually met up in Vienna, VA and I brought Bethany home safely.
But for thousands of Americans, of course, the news was much worse.
Our region here in DC remained in a state of siege for weeks to come. We fell asleep to the sound of fighter jets and awoke to machine-gun-touting soldiers in areas where we used to walk unconcerned.
Today we mourn the loss from that day of rescue workers, military personnel and innocent citizens. Five years after the attacks, we live in relative peace and apparent security, though our soldiers fight and give their lives on our behalf overseas. The war against terror rages on, even as we go about our daily business.
It occurs to me that our war on terror is a picture of spiritual warfare. A crisis, an attack occurs in our lives, and we earnestly seek God for intervention and protection. As He does so, and as we regain peace and security, it is easy to forget that spiritual warfare still, in fact, rages and roars all around us:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith