State-level Anti-Choice Efforts Target Pharmacies and Provider Conscience Laws


Last week, Louisiana’s legislature passed what is known as a “conscience” bill, allowing medical professionals to refuse certain procedures if they violate religious or other beliefs. Often, conscience bills, like the midnight regulation passed in the final days of the Bush administration (Obama is expected to rescind the rule), specifically target abortion and contraception. Louisiana’s bill includes abortion and some types of emergency contraception, along with stem cell research and euthanasia. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is anti-choice, is expected to sign the bill. But Louisiana isn’t alone in proposing such a measure; 12 other states have introduced such bills this legislative session, the most active of which were in Louisiana and Arizona.

Still, pro-choice activists in Louisiana are optimistic. “What came out is something that we consider to be a major victory,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Louisiana. When the bill was first introduced it placed no restrictions on what procedures could be legally refused by a medical professional. “Any medical care of any kind could be refused,” Esman said.

Now the bill not only has an enumerated list, but it also cannot legally interfere with access to care. “If you’re the only pharmacy in a small town and there’s no [other] pharmacy within 100 miles, you have to have someone on your staff that will distribute emergency contraception,” Esman said.

Esman, who testified before the state legislature three times on behalf of changing, said that the ACLU called the bill “discriminatory medicine.” The more sinister potential of the original bill could have expanded far beyond reproductive services, Esman said. “If you were anti-gay, you didn’t have to treat gay people. If you were a white supremacist and worked at a doctor’s office you could refuse to make appointments for people who are non-white.”  It was by raising concerns of broader threats of the legislation that the ACLU was able to build a diverse coalition to work on the bill.

Through the compromise ultimately reached on this bill, the ACLU achieved two objectives: protecting religious freedoms and protecting the rights of patients as consumers by ensuring access to care. Even so, Esman is sanguine. “[M]y feeling is that you shouldn’t enter into a medical profession if you object to some of its procedures,” Esman said.

Still, conscience clauses are becoming an increasingly popular mode of anti-choice legislation, and not all states will result in the kind of compromise reached in Louisiana. Arizona’s bill combines a conscience clause, allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, with a 24-hour waiting period for abortions. The bill also increases penalties (from one year of prison to two years) for physicians that perform the already-illegal late abortion procedures erroneously and misleadingly termed "partial-birth abortions."

Gov. Jan Brewer, an anti-choice Republican who took Janet Napolitano’s place when she accepted the job of Secretary of Homeland Security, is expected to sign such legislation if it comes to her desk.  Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, says that Brewer is “hot to trot on bad anti-choice stuff … she wants to sign some anti-choice [legislation].”  Arizona is also considering legislation that would require that a parental consent form for a minor’s abortion, already required by law, also be notarized.  This would create one more hurdle for teenagers seeking an abortion.

Nash also points out that while there is some movement on anti-choice pharmacy access legislation in the states, 11 other states have introduced consumer protection bills that would ensure access to birth control and emergency contraception. Four states, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Washington, already have laws in place that ensure access. However, as I’ve written before, Washington’s law has a temporary injunction while pharmacists that are making a constitutional claim to religious freedom challenge it in court. The case could ultimately make its way to the Supreme Court, forcing a decision on whether such conscience rules are constitutional.

Of the 11 states that introduced measures to ensure access to contraception this legislative session, the bill furthest along in the process is one in Wisconsin. Known as the Prescription Protection Act, the bill is currently folded into the state’s annual budget bill, so it has a significant chance of getting passed. It is unlikely that Gov. Jim Doyle, a pro-choice Democrat, would support the bill.

Wisconsin’s bill requires pharmacies to have someone available during business hours willing to fill prescriptions for birth control. The bill also has broad public support. A 2007 poll showed that 84 percent of Wisconsinites support guaranteed access to birth control, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin. And there are no anti-choice bills on the docket this year.

Nash would like to see more states with guaranteed access to birth control and emergency contraception. “This movement got started in response to pharmacists’ refusal to fill prescriptions,” Nash said. Indeed, just last year the Washington Post wrote about Pharmacists for Life, a group that aggregated a list of pharmacists that refused to fill birth control prescriptions. Pharmacists are increasingly targeting birth control, but more commonly they refuse to dispense Plan B, often because of a misconception that Plan B is a form of medical abortion.

Perhaps the best way to fight pharmacist refusal bills is to approach these from a consumer protection perspective. Few pharmacists refuse prescriptions that don’t affect women’s reproductive heath and rights. Bills that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control or emergency contraception are unfairly targeting women as consumers. Women deserve access to birth control and emergency contraception, just as other consumers deserve access to heart disease or other medications.

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  • progo35

    Oh, God. Not a conscience protection for euthanasia. I want doctors to be forced to proscribe lethal drugs for ill, disabled, desperate people.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • hatmaker510

    I am happy to report that new legislation in Michigan was introduced on June 25, 2000, which if passed, would prohibit a pharmacist from refusing to dispense or transfer a prescription based solely on his or her ethical, moral, or religious beliefs (including the “morning after pill”.
    I consider this to be great news and hope it passes posthaste after the holiday break.

    Melissa

  • crowepps

    When my father died after a lengthy deterioration from spreading cancer, he was on so much morphine to control the pain that it would have been a killing dose in someone who hadn’t been getting gradual increases in the dose over months.  Perhaps the level of pain relief he was on even hastened his death, but it was a peaceful death.  His doctor was wonderful and understood that there is nothing noble about dying in agony in order to hang on every possible second.  I absolutely agree that no doctor who is unable to put the patient first in this way should ever be involved in any decision that even approaches euthansia.

     

    The pharmacist, on the other hand, has no way to know that the prescription is for euthanasia.  What the pharmacist would have to do to discover that is to invade the patient’s medical privacy by demanding irrelevant information about the diagnosis, course of care, prognosis and the doctor’s decisions.  I have the highest respect for pharmacists, who do many things to protect the health of patients.  They are not, however, the most important person in this medical equation or the moral guardians of the patients who actually are the most important, and they certainly shouldn’t be able to hold patient’s care hostage because they are given a veto to enable them to overrule the decisions of the patient, the family or the rest of the medical team.

  • progo35

    Crowepps, don’t be coy. This isn’t just about pharmacies. It’s about doctors and their conscience. If there is no conscience clause to protect dissenting health professionals, doctors will have no choice in the euthanasia debate but to  violate the hypocratic oath and proscribe deadly drugs or leave the medical profession.  That’s what I’m talking about, and I think that you know it. 

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • therealistmom

    Nobody is going to go in and force a doctor to participate in assisted suicide or euthanasia no more than they are forcing them to perform abortions. If these things are against their personal belief systems they can practice in fields where it is never an issue. It is like saying someone is going to force a podiatrist to perform surgeries. If it is outside of their field or they have moral issues they can opt out- just make sure the patient knows the options are available if they wish to seek them out. A pharmacist has NO right to know what a prescription is for, it is their duty to dispense the meds. Period.

  • crowepps

    I find it a little difficult to grasp just how a doctgor could be forced to do anything of the kind.  Doctors are always free to refer a patient to another physician where they can receive more specialized or appropriate care.  I suppose it’s possible that they might not be able to make the big ‘holier than thou’ speech and tell the patient they’re going to hell, but surely professional ethics would prevent that anyway.

     

    By the way, it’s my understanding that we’re trying to promote civil discussion on issues here.  It would be very helpful in that effort if you would stop announcing your incorrect guesses about what I ‘know’.

  • jodi-jacobson

    three laws on the books protecting provider conscience situations for years.

    They worked fine until the Bush Administration thought they could find a way not only to expand those “protections” to the point of allowing serious emergencies to go untreated, but also to force organizations not to be able to fire or even ask workers about their own objections to contraception and abortion. So this would have left family planning clinics having to hire providers who would not provide family planning. Knowing history is always a little bit helpful here and makes it less likely you will be perceived as being disingenuous. We don’t need more conscience rules. They already exist and are not likely to go away any time soon.

  • colleen

    If there is no conscience clause to protect dissenting health
    professionals, doctors will have no choice in the euthanasia debate but
    to  violate the hypocratic oath and proscribe deadly drugs or leave the
    medical profession.

    Crowepps is never coy but you sure have a nasty mouth on you.

    In the Death with dignity laws in Washington and Oregon (which you persist in calling euthanasia) not only must two physicians agree that the patient has an 6 months or less to live, the participating physicians volunteer to be on a registry. There is no coercion of anyone.

    And, of course, Louisiana has no death with dignity laws.Only Washington and Oregon do.

     

    I would be happy to provide a link to the laws if you want to read them for yourself.

     

    This is all about a pending SCOTUS case and the precious ‘consciences’  of ‘pro-life’ pharmacists confused about their social role. 

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    "to force organizations not to be able to fire or even ask workers about their own objections to contraception and abortion. So this would have left family planning clinics having to hire providers who would not provide family planning."

     

    The new rule also covered VOLUNTEERS who would have to be recruited to work at agencies without asking about their objections and who could then prevent the agencies from providing services.

     

    I certainly don’t think anybody should be coerced into doing something against their conscience, but I also don’t think any orginization should have to be blindfolded while hiring an employee or allowing someone to volunteer whose purpose was to disrupt services at and attempt to shut down the place they work.

     

    That would be like a steakouse being required to hire a waitress who refused to take orders from customers because she was a vegetarian or a pub being required to hire a bartender who refused to serve liquor because he was a teetotaler.

  • progo35

    Euthanasia: From the Greek: eu: "good" thanos: "death" literally "good death."

    Euthanasia:

      Also called mercy killing. the
    act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by
    withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from
    an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.-Meriam Webster online dictionary

    Providing a prescription for a lethal drug with which to end one’s life is to participate in an act of euthanasia, just as if the doctor had lethally injected a person. Some in the "right to die" community will try to force dissenting physicians to participate in some way or leave medicine. For instance, the RTD movement will try to force physicians "to provide referrals" to doctors who will carry out the procedure/prescribe lethal drugs if they won’t. So, you can dance around and play with semantics all you want: the
    intention and end result are the same. You can also pretend that
    assisted suicide advocacy intends to limit itself to the terminally
    ill, but those of us with experience in the disability rights movment
    aren’t fooled. We know that if euthanasia is a civil right, than it
    will be extended to those suffering from mental illnesses and life long
    handicaps, as is the only logical outcome of physician caused or assisted death being recognized as a personal right.

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Realist-

    I don’t know how these things work at pharmacies in states with assisted suciide, which, contrary to what Colleen says, also includes Montana by way of judicial mandate, but if a pharmacist knows the exact dosage used to cause death in sick patients and suspects that that is what the medication is being used for, than I think that he or she does have some rights in regard to whether or not to dispense the medication. Perhaps there is no way to know this right now, but I would imagine that in the future there wil be certain drugs that pharmacists know are being used to cause death, and they may refuse to dispense it. If such a situation arises, I do not feel the pharmacist involved should have to refer the patient to another pharmacist-he or she can go and find another one indepently. Moreover, crowepps, this has nothing to do with preaching to people and telling them that they are going to hell if they commit suicide. This is about discrimination against ill, handicapped, desperate people, who should be prevented from committing suicide on the same merits of compassion that cause us to run suicide hotlines for suicidal, otherwise healthy fifteeen year olds.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Ah, but there we go. What you just wrote indicates that you believe that physicians are not forced to participate in acts the violate their conscience because they don’t have to work in fields where this is necessary, which, for instance, would indicate the you would support forcing pro life OBGYNs to provide abortions or get out of the field. Moreover, there is no particular field that includes euthanasia/assisted suicide prescriptions. For instance, a person could get cancer in their bones, ovaries, blood, etc, and then whichever doctor specializes in that part of the human body would have to deliver the bad news and then present AS or euthanasia as an option, and then would be obligated to write the prescription. Thus, practicing in a certain field would not protect dissenting doctors from being forced into prescibing/referring for the lethal meds or leaving medicine.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    By Progo35’s logic, then a Wlamart employee can refuse to work in the gun department or if assigned, can refuse to sell bullets, because you never know where one of those might end up.

    And continuing that same logic, they could refuse to sell anythign else that might, possibly be used in a way they didn’t agree with.

    Oh,,, the fun!

  • progo35

    phylosopher-Frankly, I also feel that any person who does not want to sell guns at Wallmart should not have to sell guns. He or she should be assigned to another part of the store, as there are plenty of others without moral objections to selling guns who can work in that person’s place. Morover, neither is a matter of condoms or playboy magazine. This is a matter of someone’s life, someone who is indisputably a person by pro life and pro choice standards. The two are not the same thing, and to portray them as such is intellectually dishonest.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    They worked fine until the Bush Administration thought they could find a way not only to expand those “protections” to the point of allowing serious emergencies to go untreated, but also to force organizations not to be able to fire or even ask workers about their own objections to contraception and abortion. So this would have left family planning clinics having to hire providers who would not provide family planning.

    It also works the other way, too. A facility inclined toward “pro-life” wouldn’t be able to ask a potential hire either. It’s possible (though not probable) a pro-choice worker could be hired who might start offering pro-choice info/services and nothing could be done about it.

    If that situation hit the news, the “pro-life” people would come out of the woodwork claiming the conscience rule was a bad thing.

  • emma

    Progo, you’re discriminating against people who are suffering horribly with terminal illness. Clearly, you just don’t give a damn about them.

     

    I cannot believe you seriously think a pharmacist should have the right to refuse to dispense pain relieving medication to people with a terminal illness because they have a suspicion that those drugs might be used to hasten a patient’s death. Never mind that they don’t have access to patients’ medical records, don’t take medical histories, and have no idea of a given patient’s tolerance for the prescribed narcotic analgesia (and tolerance, as I’m sure you know, tends to increase with length of use).

     

    You are willing to cause people massive pain and suffering because you are so convinced that everyone other than you is a genocidal maniac who wants to kill you because of your disability. You also clearly believe that patients with terminal illnesses are credulous idiots who are incapable of making an informed decision to end their suffering. Do you have any compassion whatsoever for anyone other than foetuses and people with disabilities? Who cares about what terminal patients want, right? They should just accept that Progo knows best, and their suffering is for the greater good.

     

    Of course, your support for torture would seem to suggest that you enjoy the idea of inflicting pain on people, so I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised…

  • progo35

    Emma-get bent. You know what you’re writing isn’t true, and you know that I care about people. It’s just in your best interests to portray me as otherwise. As to dispensing medication, I am only talking about a future hypothetical situation in which a pharmacist knows for sure that a particular dosage of a particular drug is being used for assisted suicide/knows it is being used for such. For instance, there are ways that a pharmacist could tell…by looking at the name of the doctor on the prescription, for instance. If that doctor has prescribed AS for someone in the past  or is on Compassion and Choice’s list of euthanasia friendly doctors and the person getting the medication has a terminal illness, it’s a safe bet to assume that the secondal being dolled out is being used to knock someone off. I don’t know of any situations where this is the case, but I do know that if I knew that someone wanted the medication for assisted suicide, I wouldn’t dispense it. Otherwise, I would, but there are ways of gathering this information beyond being told directly, and if a pharmacist has this information, than I don’t think that he or she should have to dispense that medication. That is compassionate because that is valuing people enough not to participate in their assisted suicide. 

    As for this lovely jewel: " you are so convinced that everyone other than you is a genocidal maniac who wants to kill you because of your disability," I got a good chuckle out of it. Thanks. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • emma

    So, should I get bent or jump in a volcano? You seem to be coming out with those kinds of comments with increasing frequency. It’s infantile.

     

    I stand by the statement that your lack of concern for the wishes of people with terminal illnesses who want to be euthanised is pretty staggering. I also stand by my belief that your obsession with disabled foetuses and eugenics is, at the very least, a reflection of your own existential crisis. I know I’m not the only one here who is a little bit fed up with dealing with dealing with both your existential crisis and your tendency toward authoritarianism.

  • colleen

    This is about discrimination against ill, handicapped, desperate
    people, who should be prevented from committing suicide on the same
    merits of compassion that cause us to run suicide hotlines for
    suicidal, otherwise healthy fifteeen year olds.  

     

    "Should be prevented"? You’re equating adults facing painful and inevitable deaths with suicidal 15 year olds? Do you really believe we need you to tell us how to live and how to die?

    . The ‘discrimination’ is coming from people like you who would force your  beliefs down our very reluctant throats and into the most painful and private moments of our lives.

     

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    ‘La la la I can’t here you!" Apparently you and Emma both have your hands over your ears when I’ve said repeatedly that if dying is a "right," than it is a right. Once that is established, it is impossible to argue that someone suffering from any illness or disability at all does not have the same right that a person suffering from cancer has. I would like to see each of you respond by telling us which limits you feel should be placed on the right to die, if it is, in fact, a right.

     

    And no, outlawing assisted suicide is not about discrimination because discrimination causes someone to be treated differently than someone else-when something is the law, everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender, handicap or sexual orientation, is required to abide by that law. So, doctors who want to prescribe AS drugs and who aren’t allowed to aren’t being discriminated against, they’re just being held to the law, like everyone else. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    Moreover, there is no particular field that includes
    euthanasia/assisted suicide prescriptions. For instance, a person could
    get cancer in their bones, ovaries, blood, etc, and then whichever
    doctor specializes in that part of the human body would have to deliver
    the bad news and then present AS or euthanasia as an option, and then
    would be obligated to write the prescription. Thus, practicing in a
    certain field would not protect dissenting doctors from being forced
    into prescibing/referring for the lethal meds or leaving medicine.

     

    Really, you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. You are just making shit up. You need to read the laws in question and when you do you will see that no physician is ever coerced into or obligated to prescribe drugs for an assisted suicide. It’s just not true. It does not happen

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Coleen, I READ THE LAWS. What I said about diverse areas of medicine being affected by the conscience debate is true, too.  I am not making shit up and I would like to see a better argument for why you feel comfortable saying so, other than "you will see that no physician is ever coerced into or obligated to prescribe drugs for an assisted suicide. It’s just not true. It does not happen." Not TODAY. But, AS I CLEARLY SAID,  right to die advocates will try to force doctors to provide referrals to other doctors who will do the deed if they won’t do it themselves. Secondly, WHY won’t this happen? Is it because you, Colleen, are going to fight personally for the right of doctors not to prescribe lethal drugs to patients? I’d like to know the answer to that question, in addition to a better , logical argument for why my argument is "shit."

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    ‘La la la I can’t here you!" Apparently you and Emma both had your hands over your ears when I said repeatedly that if dying is a "right," than it is a right. Once that is established, it is impossible to argue that someone suffering from any illness or disability at all does not have the same right that a person suffering from cancer has. I would like to see each of you respond by telling us which limits you feel should be placed on the right to die, if it is, in fact, a right.

     

    And no, outlawing assisted suicide is not about discrimination because discrimination causes someone to be treated differently than someone else-when something is the law, everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender, handicap or sexual orientation, is required to abide by that law. So, doctors who want to prescribe AS drugs and who aren’t allowed to aren’t being discriminated against, they’re just being held to the law, like everyone else.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • therealistmom

    An OB/GYN who doesn’t wish to perform abortions is perfectly within their rights to not do so… they just cannot demand to work in a Planned Parenthood and be exempt. One who does not believe in the MAP cannot work in an emergency room where there are victims of rape who may be in need unless there is always someone available who can write the prescription. You can have a “conscience” all you want, you just cannot place yourself directly into a situation that your “conscience” will be violated and expect people to work around you. Also, in regards to assisted suicide, a doctor cannot “offer” it, it is something a patient has to request. If that doctor cannot or will not assist the patient then as a physician they need to say so and point them in the right direction. This is NOT the same as providing the service.

  • colleen

    Some in the "right to die" community will try to force dissenting
    physicians to participate in some way or leave medicine. For instance,
    the RTD movement will try to force physicians "to provide referrals" to
    doctors who will carry out the procedure/prescribe lethal drugs if they
    won’t.

     

    The law specifically states there is:

    No censure, discipline, loss of license, privileges, or membership, or other penalties to members of professional organizations for either participating or not participating

    Your scenerio does not exist.

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • therealistmom

    In the region of Washington I am in, virtually all of the hospitals have stated they will not be a part of assisted suicide. The one saving grace is that they have also stated that if a physician chooses to provide this service to terminal patients outside of the hospital it will not affect their attending privileges. The frothing lunacy of “OMG they are gonna make the doctors kill everyone who isn’t perfect OMG!!!11″ is so far away from the reality of the carefully proscribed legislation…

  • progo35

    a) No, just get bent. You’ll live longer. 

    b)I think that your attitude toward people with disabilities and euthanasia is infantile and uninformed, to say nothing of repeatedly ignoring my concern that AS will be extended to those with disabilities that are not fatal,  so we’re equal there…but that doesn’t really get us anywhere in the way of social betterment, does it?

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    "Maam, I can’t do it, it violates my conscience…but go see Dr. Billy Bob. He’ll do it for you." That is no conscience at all. If I were a doctor, I would give that person a referral to a good psychologist or psychiatrist trained in hospice care and a pain management specialist, but I would not, under any circusmtances, give that person a referral to someone who would do the deed. That’s just as bad as if somoene said, "well, personally, I’m opposed to shooting person X, but Joe down the road would be glad to do it for $1000."

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    I would like to see each of you respond by telling us which limits
    you feel should be placed on the right to die, if it is, in fact, a
    right.

    The Washington and Oregon ‘Death with Dignity’ laws are well written and have worked very well indeed. At least we aren’t frightened that someday we’ll end up in a situation like the Schiavos ended up in, surrounded by the gibbering idiots of the religious right and with that massive idiot Bill Frist ‘diagnosing’ someone who, guess what, was missing half her brain..

    What I want to know from you is what limit you would place on cramming your religion down our reluctant throats and, for that matter, up our vaginas? Is there any part of our lives you folks aren’t eager to judge and control?

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

    • snowflake

      It’s about how do you know the person who loved you when you were his or her "pretty young thing" will still love you when you are older, or old, and have some pain-in-the-tush (or worse) health problems?

       

      A lot of people with disabilities find out their spouse isn’t too eager to push their wheelchair, or interface repeatedly with a doctor–and it’s no surprise that this type of "spousal discrimination" most often happens to WOMEN.

       

      In the Shiavo (? spelling) case, her husband was already living with the next woman he intended to marry, when he won the right in court to pull the plug on Terry– bet you never heard that in the news, but it’s true.

       

      Do you think he was the most objective person to make the decision at that moment?  Especially with "wife no. 2" pleading with him to get it over with so they could get married?

       

      The VERY LEAST the judge could have done is appoint an independent guardian to make the decision, in the face of Mr. Schiavo’s obvious conflict of interest and the fact that Terry never put her wishes in writing.  But it didn’t happen.

       

      It amazes me that especially that on this web site, which is always talking about male coersion of the reproductive health decisions of women, the contributors seem to think these same group of guys turn into a bunch of self-sacrificing angels when a wife or girlfriend becomes ill.  The truth is, like in most situations, some will act in the woman’s best interest and some will act in their own best interest, and maybe even fewer will find a compromise betwwen the two.  Please tell me how a broardly written assisted suicide law will protect a women who’s husband no longer loves her, but some old paperwork she signed gives him the right to not only deny her health care, but also to deny her food and water, if he thinks she isn’t dying fast enought to suit him. 

       

      Do you know how horrible it is to die of thirst???  Look it up–it’s more awful than a lot of medical conditions people have.

  • progo35

    Colleen-get it through your ideologically baked skull-this has nothing to do with my religion. I have made very little mention of my religious beliefs on this blog and they are not relevant to the issue as it relates to disability rights and advocacy in our society. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • therealistmom

    that REQUIRE two doctors independently evaluating the patient and determining they are terminal within six months, and PSYCHIATRIC evaluation as well? You may not believe so, but wishing to die peacefully when one is in severe pain beyond narcotic management does not make someone necessarily mentally ill. That is exactly why there are so many strict guidelines, to determine mental status and make sure the patient is indeed terminal and understands completely what they are asking for. Giving someone a list of other physicians is not like sending them down the street to buy another car- they would have to consult with the doctors and psychiatrists and then they could make an informed decision. Withholding information is against every principle a doctor should be standing for- it is not their choice to make.

  • colleen

    Secondly, WHY won’t this happen?

     I’m going to say this once more. Because the law is written with safeguards in place to prevent your scenerios from happening. If the law changes get back to me.

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • colleen

    this has nothing to do with my religion. I have made very little mention of my religious beliefs on this blog

    Bullshit. You’ve been endlessly self referential and your ‘faith’ is something you’ve spoken of often.

    The Death with Dignity laws have nothing at all to do with disability rights and nothing to do with you. People voted for those laws because if we were confronted with a long painful death we wanted to be able to die with some dignity and without unmanageable pain. Much of the time people who have gone through the process of acquiring the drugs don’t use them anyway.

    When you argue:

    This is about discrimination against ill, handicapped, desperate
    people, who should be prevented from committing suicide on the same
    merits of compassion that cause us to run suicide hotlines for
    suicidal, otherwise healthy fifteeen year olds.  

    this is not your religious views?. Are you pretending once again that terminally ill people who have made a conscious and considered decision to  end their lives are, by definition,part of the disability community and you,  their self appointed voice and conscience, are here to stop them?

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Colleen-there is a huge difference between acknowledging that one is part of a certain belief system, such as Christianity, and presenting that as the reason that people ought or ought not to do certain things. Arguing that opposition to euthanasia is necessarily rooted in religion requires that all disability rights advocates who oppose it be religious/Christians. That is just not true. What I have said in regard to euthanasia has been based in the disability rights movement, not my personal belief in the Ressurrection.  Your characterization of the issue only helps your argument insofar as people remained convinced that opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide is rooted in religion rather than in equal human rights. But, that characterization of the debate is phony, and people will become more and more aware of this as the disability rights movement continues to gain ground. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    The thing is that you’re trying to deny people diagnosed with a terminal illness and less than 6 months to live, people who after consultation with and with the consent of two physicians and a psychiatrist have decided they want the option of ending their lives the right to do so. You can call youirself a disability advocate all you like but every person who voted for these laws knew precisely what they were doing and saw the possibility that they or a loved one might wish they had this option some day.

    Trying to force others to  do what you want and meddling in the private decisions of others isn’t ‘advocacy’ or ‘caring’. 

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • emma

    Would legal safeguards not prevent people with non-fatal disabilities from being forced into assisted suicide? You’re worried about coercion, yeah? Or is it that you don’t think anyone should be allowed to make decisions about their lives or deaths with which you don’t agree? I’m not clear on that.

     

    What exactly is infantile and uninformed about my attitude toward euthanasia and people with disabilities? My infantile attitude is that people with terminal illnesses should have the right to physician-assisted suicide. I think this right should be limited to people with terminal diagnoses.

     

    I also think you need to start respecting the fact that sometimes, people will make decisions with which you don’t agree, and that the fact that you don’t agree with them does not make those decisions invalid or wrong, nor does it mean it’s reasonable to legislate away people’s ability to make those decisions.

  • progo35

     "Would legal safegaurds not prevent people with non-terminal disabilities from being forced into assisted suicide?" Now, that’s interesting. The discussion we’ve been having has been about extending that right to such people. I’m saying that I don’t want the "right to die" extended to people with depression, learning disorders, and neck injuries, even if they want it. Are you okay with that, or do you think AS/euthanasia should be legal for such people?

     

    Emma-in my view, your understanding of this issue is infantile because you are willing to ignore the very serious abuses and discrimination inherent in assisted suicide, via not doing any research into what has happened in countries where euthanasia has been legal for a long time. For instance, in the Netherlands, it is legal to euthanize people with psychiatric illnesses, including everything from Schizophrenia to Anorexia to Clinical Depression. Doctors who give the okay on the person’s suicide often know each other and are part of a pre-established registry, as is the case now in US states with assisted suicide. It is also technically illegal but common to euthanize people who cannot consent or have not consented to being euthanized when asked. You need to look this up. Some of several good sources for this information are Wesley Smith’s books, Forced Exit and Culture of Death, nonreligious/partisan books about the rise of euthanasia AS, etc in America and other countries, and his blog, Secondhand Smoke. (This man is NOT a conservative or a member of the religious right by any stretch of the imagination, as, for instance, he has written books with Ralph Nader. He does not write about abortion in the books and only on his blog insomuch as it impacts abortions concerning disabled fetuses). If you do the research and check his sources, that would be a good place to start enlightening yourself to the consequences and potential consequences of legalizing AS and euthanasia in the US.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

     GOOD FOR THE HOSPITALS!!!!

    (I Already knew they could opt out, and I know that Compassion and Choices, AKA the Hemlock Society, has complained very, very loudly about it. IF they had their way, "patient’s rights" would trump a hospital’s conscience in this regard.) 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • emma

    I’m actually ambivalent regarding whether the right to assisted suicide should be extended to treatment resistant mental illness. I’m not sure I agree that such people, in certain circumstances, cannot make a rational decision to end their lives, and I say this as someone with a family history of mental illness and suicidality (which you’ve indicated in the past that you find amusing).

     

    That aside, I was under the impression that the disagreement here was on whether the right to assisted euthanasia should be extended to people with terminal illnesses. I believe it should. You are catastrophising and insisting it’s inevitable that people with non-lethal disabilities will also have that right extended to them, and I don’t necessarily agree that this is inevitable. I’m also not sure whether your concern is that people will be able to make an informed decision for themselves, or that they will be coerced, or both.

     

    It seems apparent to me that we have fundamentally different views on the extent to which people should be able to control what happens to their bodies. I view your insistence that there are correct decisions and incorrect decisions, that you know what they are, and that decisions with which you don’t agree are wrong and shouldn’t be allowed as authoritarian, controlling, arrogant and bloody obnoxious.

     

    I checked out Wesley Smith’s blog a while back and was unimpressed. I call bullshit on the claim that he writes from a secular perspective and that he’s not a member of the religious right. He’s a fellow at the Discovery Institute, which is a right wing think tank that promotes creationism/intelligent design (here is a link stating as much). I think his stuff about human exceptionalism is rubbish, btw. And I cannot believe you would make demonstrably incorrect claims about this guy’s background, and then accuse me of being ignorant. According to sourcewatch, his capitalist, pro-industry cred is pretty impeccable – he’s solidly religious right. There’s plenty of info about him around the internet that I’m sure you can find, should you feel inclined to look.

  • progo35

    Gee, Emma. I didn’t know that being "capitalist" and "pro industry" meant that one was a member of the religious right. Thanks for informing us. Anyone who looks at our conversation a while back can see that I was not "laughing" at your family history of mental illness, but calling you out on what I saw as a eugenic mindset, which, as you stated it, I found amusing. You made no mention in your initial post of having family members who had committed suicide, only that you had depression in your family and that you felt it would be irresponsible to procreate because of it. I found/find that perspective ludicrous, but you are being disingenous by presenting the conversation as if I said that I found struggling with mental illness and personal tragedy humurous, which is not the case. 

    Now that we’ve cleared that up, I’m not surrprised that you also feel "ambivalent" about whether or not people with mental illnesses should be allowed to end their lives. The fact that I knw that you struggle with this, yet actually think that having that option available to you might be a good thing, makes me very sad for you. I am sorry that life is so difficult that you feel that assisted suicide would be a good decision. In my opinion, that indicates that people around you have not treated you well and that society owes you more than a lethal injection. In my opinion, AS and euthanasia are the easy way out for sociey, not for the sick, disabled, or dying person. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

     Coleen-that was not a "viscious attack," and you know it. I am recounting my first conversation at RH reality check in response to Emma’s post, in which she clearly stated that she has a family history of depression, etc. So, I’m not saying anything that she hasn’t said herself. I then offer my thoughts on her ambivalence regarding whether doctors should be allowed to help those with mental illnesses kill themselves. I honestly do think it is sad that someone that actually struggles with these illnesses feels bad enough to seriously consider the merits of extending euthanasia and asisted suicide to those who are mentally ill. That indicates to me that somoene is in significant pain. If you want to see that as a viscious attack, that’s your decision. 

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    Gee, Emma. I didn’t know that being "capitalist" and "pro industry"
    meant that one was a member of the religious right. Thanks for
    informing us.

     Are there more than one of you? Because most folks are aware that the Discovery Institute is very much a creature of the religious right. 

     

    The fact that I knw that you struggle with this, yet actually think
    that having that option available to you might be a good thing, makes
    me very sad for you.
    I am sorry that life is so difficult that you feel that assisted
    suicide would be a good decision. In my opinion, that indicates that
    people around you have not treated you well and that society owes you
    more than a lethal injection. In my opinion, AS and euthanasia are the
    easy way out for sociey, not for the sick, disabled, or dying person.

     

    Wow, Progo, as both an ‘argument’ and a truely vicious personal attack,  this is a new low, even for you.

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • emma

    Thank you, Colleen. :)

     

    No, Progo, I distinctly recall writing that there was a history of suicidality in my family, and that I didn’t want to pass along my mental health genes – as in, I don’t want to bring someone into the world who might be afflicted with such issues. Typically, you interpreted that through your own ‘zomg, eugenics! Discrimination! Disabled foetuses!’ lens.

     

    Uh, I have no plans to kill myself; in fact, I have no interest in dying whatsoever. Your pity is entirely unwarranted, although I guess assuming that I’m crazy and miserable allows you to more easily dismiss me and convince yourself of your own superiority. What I am saying is that some people have extremely treatment resistant mental illness, and I’m not convinced there isn’t a point at which it’s reasonable to predict that one’s life is likely to consist mainly of misery with little chance of improvement, and in those circumstances, a person who does not want to live such a life might be in a position to make a rational decision to die. As I think I stated before, though, I’m ambivalent on that. That’s also pretty much theoretical, though, and from a policy perspective, I think it’s probably better to legalise assisted suicide only in limited circumstances (terminal physical illness) in order to minimise the potential for abuse.

     

    The Discovery Institute promotes ‘Intelligent Design’ – i.e. creationism. The fact that Wesley Smith is a fellow at that institution would suggest that, at the very least, he doesn’t mind being associated with proponents of that ideology. At the very least, he seems to have a lot of associations with the religious right, and it appears that he’s economically pretty far right. You’re correct that being a pro-industry capitalist doesn’t mean one is a member of the religious right, but his being at DI is making me suspicious.

  • airina

    …I’m not sure that’s the best analogy to draw, given that the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s services aren’t related to abortion so I’m pretty sure the vast majority of their practicioners don’t provide abortions.

     

    However, totally agree with the rest of your comment!

  • progo35

    Emma-my understanding of the Discovery Institute is that it simply explores the idea of intelligent design. It has fellows who are Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, etc. It has not gotten any funding from people on the far right, nor does it make a point of associating with such people and organizations. You won’t hear Pat Robertson mentioning them in a sermon, and you don’t see them advertising from the Christian TV channels and radio stations. Questioning evolution theory as it is currently understood and examining the scientific evidence for the possibility of intelligent design does not make someone a member of the religious right. I personally am open to either possibility, as I don’t think that Darwin’s theory is flawless. But the point is that it is impossible to know how the earth was created. Maybe it was evolution and God was behind the evolution. Maybe aliens did it. Maybe we evolved from premordial ooze, even though I think that’s unlikely. But squelching scientific inquiry is never a good thing, and to demonize those who are simply exploring the idea that there was an Intelligent Designer behind it all does just that. So, being associated with the Discovery Institute means nothing to me in terms of Wesley J. Smith’s religious affiliation. Moreover, the man has written several books with Ralph Nader, another indication that he is not a member of the religious right. He has deep connections to the political left.

    Moreover, it would behoove you to check one of his books that I mentioned out of the library and read it before coming to a conclusion as to whether he is making his arguments from a religious perspective/coming at it as someone of the religious right. I think that if you do you will see a secular argument against AS and euthanasia that is both cohesive and liberal in it’s origins. 

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Here is the wikipedia link to the Discovery Institute..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Institute

    It includes links to the sources on many things like their Wedge strategy which includes “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions”, their response to that getting on the web, the court cases they’ve been involved in and the ruling that found their mission to be religious, their own claim they are a secular organization along with several counterpoints including a former fellow of the Discovery Institute who resigned regarding the Christian conservatism.

  • colleen

    And here is a link to a series of articles  examining the Discovery Institute’s funding sources and links to the extreme right of social conservatism.

    ‘Intelligent design’ is to  creationism what NFP is to the rhythm method. Rebranding.

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Ooh, Americans United for Seperation of church and state. There’s an unbiased source.  The difference between creationism and intelligent design is that creationism takes science and tries to rectify it with the Bible.Intelligent design does not try to rectify science with the Bible; rather, it attempts to examine evidence for the existence of an intelligence that created the universe, whether that be God or something else. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • therealistmom

    Both movements use the exact same kind of not-science wherein they fit their perceived facts to fit preconceived views, instead of observing, theorizing, and testing. The entire premise of ID is that “things are too complicated, ‘someone’ must have done it. That ‘someone’ would therefore be supernatural, ie, outside of observable, testable nature… ie GOD in some form.

    The originators of ID have explicitly acknowledged the ultimate goal is inserting non-scientific vies into the classroom by disguising it as pseudoscience (ie the ‘wedge strategy’) In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District documents were produced from the ID curriculum that were IDENTICAL to Creationist articles… even to FORGETTING to cross out “Creator” to insert “Designer”.

    PBS/ NOVA did a great program on that court case, it can be viewed at http://www.pbs.org/video/video/980040807/subject/957383555/topic/957389300/tag/intelligent%20design# .

  • invalid-0

    Had you bothered to actually read it you would have noticed that there were articles from many sources. Not that anyone here would accuse you of having an interest in facts, research skills or personal integrity.

  • crowepps

    The American system of ‘allowing’ the mentally ill to refuse their medication and disrupt or destroy the lives of their entire families or alternatively to exist homeless where they can be beaten to death by punks or shot by cops is SO much more ‘ethical’.

  • progo35

    Wow, crowepps. That is one of the most bigoted characterizations of mentally ill  people that I’ve heard in a while. How about euthanizing mean people? Honestly, then they wouldn’t kill anyone, or lie, or destroy the lives of their families, or get beaten to death by other mean people that they associate with.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    I work in the field of law – if you aren’t aware that mentally ill people are allowed to refuse treatment, that refusing treatment and allowing their illness to manifest causes huge problems for their families, or that mentally ill people are hugely disproportionate as both inmates of prisons and police shootings, you haven’t been paying attention to the news.  The American system of ‘treating’ mental illness is a disaster.  Surely in a country as rich as ours we could find some middle ground between euthanization and abandonment – like supervised treatment?

     

    Using as a point in your discussion that in Europe the mentally ill are euthanized and that’s wrong tends to make one wonder why you think that keeping them alive but neglecting them is ethically superior.

  • crowepps

    Hospitals are buildings – they don’t have a ‘conscience’.  If you’re talking about the staff, some of them will believe one thing and some another.  The idea that making those doctors who are willing to participate in euthanasia check the patient out and send them home before giving them the prescription seems pretty — petty.

  • progo35

    Crowepps-the mentally ill people you depict are those with illnesses that are not controlled and therefore do not have the capacity to consent to euthanasia; therefore they are, (hopefully) outside the realm of consentual euthanasia that right to die advocates envision.  Are we to take from this that you actually support euthanizing people without the capacity to consent? The people who would be able to make a so-called "rational" decision to kill themselves do not refuse medication or reak havoc on their families.  Moreover, you painted all mentally ill people with a broad brush as social menaces who don’t want to take care of themselves and reak havoc on their families. That is prejudiced. The fact that many people with long term psychiatric illnesses hold jobs, have families, and do everything you and I do, except with the mental illness, seems to have escaped your understanding. Your implication that we would be better off being euthanized, which you imply when you state that ‘oh, letting those people run around and disrupt their families and be homeless is soooo much better’… is disgusting. You portrayed the mentally ill as people who cannot take care of themselves and are inferior to you, and that is bigoted.

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    only that you had depression in your family and that you felt it would be irresponsible to procreate because of it. I found/find that perspective ludicrous

    You find that ludicrous??? Wtf?? You just think everyone should procreate? Why?

    I also have depression and suicide in my family, and I also don’t want kids due to this. Stopping my meds to get pregnant sounds like a BAD idea, and I don’t think I would survive it. The pain my depression has brought me I wouldn’t wish on anyone, especially not my own children. My mother has borderline personality disorder, for which there is no treatment. I definitely think having children was irresponsible for my parents. Having a mentally ill mother is the hardest challenge I go through even TODAY as an adult. I would never willingly inflict that on ANYONE.

    Not wanting to bring people into the world just to suffer sounds ludicrous to you?

  • snowflake

    law allows for a consceince clause so I doubt the Micigan bill you cite, if enacted, could survive the first legal challenge.

  • crowepps

    "Your implication that we would be better off being euthanized"

     

    I didn’t imply anything of the kind.

     

    "You portrayed the mentally ill as people who cannot take care of themselves and are inferior to you, and that is bigoted."

     

    Some mentally ill people cannot take care of themselves.

    Some mentally ill people do disrupt the lives of their families.

    Some mentally ill people are arrested and/or victimized because of their illness.

    It isn’t ‘bigoted’ to recognize the truth and I certainly never said anything about being ‘inferior’.  I said that we need better a treatment model so that people CAN take care of themselves and DON’T disrupt the lives of their families and so law enforcement/prisons are not the primary treatment facility.

     

    As I’ve said before, it would be really nice if you would stop telling me what I think, because you GET IT WRONG most of the time. 

  • invalid-0

    That is one of the most bigoted characterizations of mentally ill people that I’ve heard in a while.

    I don’t usually agree with you, but in this case, I do!

    The American system of ‘allowing’ the mentally ill to refuse their medication and disrupt or destroy the lives of their entire families or alternatively to exist homeless where they can be beaten to death by punks or shot by cops is SO much more ‘ethical’.

    Crow, you do realize there is NO CURE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS, right? The medication is just a “treatment”, ie, it may or may not help, not to mention the side-effects. Do you really believe in forcing people to take drugs they don’t want?

    My mother is severely ill, definitely disrupts my entire family, but the only real way to “treat” her illness is to tranquilize her until she’s a zombie. Sure, she’s not crazy when she’s sleeping. But is forcing that on someone really an answer?? She wants to kill herself too, but only 50% of the time. I don’t think assisted suicide would be an answer for her either, what about her other 50% that wants to live?

    I don’t think letting them live homeless is the answer either. My mother is very lucky to have my dad to take care of her. I think if you are so mentally ill you can’t hold a job you should be able to get gov’t support.

    And just so you know, not all mental illness is the same. I am also mentally ill, but I don’t “disrupt” anybody, I chose my medication, they weren’t forced (and doctors did want to give me a whole bunch, trust me, I eventually chose one I liked and stopped the rest), I hold a job and am not homeless. I couldn’t imagine being forced to take meds I didn’t want to take! And who pays for that anyway? My meds cost me $200 a month WITH INSURANCE!!! I’ll bet plenty of ppl aren’t being treated because it fucking costs an arm and a leg, not because someone wasn’t forcing them.

  • progo35

    Crowepps-if you can’t deal with someone criticizing your bigoted statements in support of euthanasia, don’t make them. Moreover, you said nothing about helping anyone in your initial post about euthanasia and mental illness, you only made a snide remark about how much mentally disabled people disrupt their families in response to my contention that euthanasia should not be available to those with mental illnesses. Your support of better treatment for those with mental illnesses does not mitigate the bigotry in your statements. So you support better treatment. Big whoop. So do I. So does every disability advocate who opposes legalizing assisted suicide for mentally ill and otherwise disabled people.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    KatWA-you said everything I wanted to say, only better!!

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Colleen-

    The person being euthanized in the Schiavo case would have been Terri, who lacked the capacity to consent to euthanasia while in a minimally conscious state. Are you suggesting that her husband should have had the power to euthanize her, even though she couldn’t consent to the procedure? If the law says that only an adult who is competent to decide to kill themselves can access euthanasia, than Terri would not have been a candidate, unless your goal is to enable family members to euthanize disabled people who cannot consent on their own. 

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    No, KatWA, I do not think that everyone should procreate. I know plenty of women and men who are childless and are doing just fine. Nonetheless, neither do I think that people should make judgements about a person’s potential life based on the presence of a disability. For instance, do you really feel that the only thing that you do in this world is suffer? Do you not enjoy certain things?

    I live with depression and a very rare learning disorder. From speaking with my biological family, it would seem that some of this is genetically inherited, as members of my biological family suffer from depression/anxiety as well. That isn’t going to stop me from having kids someday, however, because they will not be brought into the world "just to suffer." They, like me, will have a life full of various experiences and they will have the opportunity to deal with their own sorrows and joys like any other human being. So, yes, it concerns me to here someone say that the reason that they don’t want to procreate is because of their genes, although in this case I can’t argue with the decision itself since many people choose not to procreate for variuos reasons, which is a perfectly valid decision. I strongly disagree, hower, that a life with depression/mental illness constitutes a life of suffering. If appropriate treatment is rendered and support is given, people living ith mental illnesses should be able to live full, healthy lives. Hopefully healthcare reform will help mentally ill people get the medication and assistence they need to do this.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    Of course I’m aware that there are different mental illnesses.  Why would you think I don’t?  Thanks for sharing your personal information.  I’m really glad you found a medication that works for you and that your mother has your dad to take care of her.

     

    There is mental illness in my family too, my grandmother drove TWO husbands to suicide, my mother was bipolar, most of my nephews are ADD, and there are relatives by marriage who have mental illnesses. Most manage to cope pretty well, because someone is willing to carry the load for them when they can’t.  In society at large, though, there are recurrent problems because some people with severe illnesses cannot cope and families just cannot continue coping with the fallout from those who cannot cope.

     

    Government support doesn’t help unless the person either has family members with whom they will cooperate or has the capacity to recognize and repel the users and creeps who want to sleep on their couch, ‘borrow’ their stuff, importune them for sex, or ‘help’ by redirecting that support to themselves and partying.

     

    I certainly understand how someone who’s managing their illness competently would be massively reluctant to have someone else shoving pills down their throat, ‘for their own good’, however, some people who are severely disassociated end up killing or being killed or in prison for behavior they were’t able to control.  Is this a tiny percentage?  Absolutely.  Does requiring medication of this tiny percentage with violent/suicidal ideation threaten the autonomy of those who have a mild form or a different illness altogether?  I sure don’t see how.

     

    I just do NOT see how allowing the ruination of the lives of everyone involved, including the person with the severe mental illness who will have to live with what happened when they were delusional, is ‘ethically’ superior because it shows ‘respect for their autonomy’.

     

    If autonomy is such a foundational right when it comes to REFUSING medication, why can’t the person who wants to be euthanized be recognized as having autonomy to take medication, even when by doing so they end their own life?  It’s THEIR life, isn’t it?

    • invalid-0

      Does requiring medication of this tiny percentage with violent/suicidal ideation threaten the autonomy of those who have a mild form or a different illness altogether? I sure don’t see how.

      If there really was some medication that cured mental illness, maybe I would be more willing to accept requiring people to take it. But there isn’t. So what I want to know is, what medication exactly would you have people be forced to take?

  • colleen

    As I’ve said before, it would be really nice if you would stop telling me what I think, because you GET IT WRONG most of the time.

    crowepps.

    Progo’s raison d’etre is mischaracterizing the arguments of those of us who post here and aren’t ‘pro-life’. No amount of trying to reason with her or explaining your position will suffice at this point. She is doing this not because she wants to communicate but because she derives a great deal of pleasure from pissing people off and taunting the ‘enemy’.
    She will never learn anything from the rather wonderful pro-choice people who write here, she’s as intellectually incurious as Sarah Palin or George Bush. Her goal isn’t communication, her goal is to discredit this blog and to disrupt any decent or interesting conversations. This she does day after day after day.
    She is a waste of time.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    It isn’t possible to ‘cure’ diabetes, but taking insulin can control the symptoms.

     

    I don’t think people should be ‘forced’ to take any medication.  IF they are violent when they don’t take the medication, I think they should be given a choice – take the medication that controls the symptoms or be confined where they can’t hurt others.

     

    I do grasp the fact that it isn’t anyone’s fault that they are mentally ill.  I do grasp the fact that there isn’t a cure for some mental illnesses.

    I absolutely do not think the institution to which they are confined should be a punishment or a horror.  But the thing is, right now the place that they are ending up INSTEAD is in prison, which is both punishment and horrible.

     

    There’s some information here you might find enlightening:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/etc/faqs.html

  • colleen

    I disagree, the opposition to the Death with Dignity acts is all about religion and those, like you and Progo, who would force their religious views on the rest of us.

    Indeed even in the Schivo case (which has nothing at all to do with the Death with Dignity act we were talking about) the main players and ‘leaders’ were the worst sort of American male, religious conservatives like Priests for Life and, of course, the  notorious adulterer Randall Terry.

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD