You're going to let her Die?

03/08/2013 07:45

by Carol Tobias

{The nazi leader Adolf Hitler wanted to create a generation without a conscience. Anyone think he's not succeeded? - Ed.}

By now, most of you have probably heard about the unconscionable events at a California housing facility this weekend, where a woman struggling to breathe was refused cardiopulmonary resuscitation by a nurse.  A 911 operator frantically told her to apply CPR or find another person who could, but the nurse, apparently following orders from the facility, refused.  Without the immediate aid she needed, the woman died. 
Tapes of the incident at Glenwood Gardens show the 911 operator did everything she could, offering to talk through the CPR procedure to either the nurse or to any other person who would take the phone and help the woman in distress.  When the nurse repeatedly refused, the operator told her that the woman, who by then was breathing just once every 15 seconds, would die without immediate help.  When the nurse still refused, she asked “You’re going to let her die?”
It was once a universal assumption in our society that every human being is imbued with such unique and special qualities that every effort should be made to preserve his or her life.  We could trust that medical personnel, trained as they were in the values of the Hippocratic Oath, would put forth every effort to save us.  In an emergency we could count on lay people to do everything in their power, as well.

No more. 
In 1959, the American Law Institute (ALI) started advocating that state laws carve out just a few categories of the unborn who would be allowed to be aborted.  A few years later, the first states started enacting such laws.  Soon, some states enacted laws to allow abortion for reasons far broader than those called for in the ALI recommendations.  And in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that any abortion would be allowed before viability, with other abortions allowed for “health” reasons even beyond that point.
About the time the Supreme Court was legalizing abortion, other groups started advocating euthanasia for the elderly.  Some of the most radical euthanasia advocates, such as Peter Singer of Princeton University, even suggested that newborn babies not be considered persons so they could be left to die if disabled.  A recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics suggests parents be allowed to kill newborns on demand in what the authors call “after-birth abortions.”  Tragically, these views are now considered to be in the mainstream of bioethics.

History tells us that when you open the gates to death a little bit, to “just a few” “other” human beings, you open them to everyone. 
We’re going to see more of this.  Much more.  In 2010, Barack Obama got his signature Obamacare legislation passed into law.  To pay for its expansion of insurance coverage, the law has built into it many mechanisms by which life-saving treatments for the elderly, those with disabilities, and the chronically ill will be denied.  Many will die.
And it’s not just denial of insurance payment that will threaten these groups:  Even those who try to use their own money to purchase treatments needed to save their lives or the lives of loved ones will find impenetrable roadblocks in the law.   
Sadly, the question the 911 operator asked the nurse at Glenwood Gardens is going to be repeated many times once Obamacare is fully implemented:  “You’re going to let her die?”
National Right to Life is in the forefront of public education and public policy advocacy to keep our precious tradition of respect for all innocent human life.   With your support, we can do more to educate, to bring these abuses to the public’s attention, to inform opinion leaders in the media and lobby in Congress and state legislatures. 
Our Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics is the leading legislative advocate for policies that protect vulnerable human beings threatened by denial of care. 
When people hear a single story of denial of care like the one this weekend, they tend to oppose it and want policies that won’t foist that injustice on others.  But they need to hear more such stories to know it’s a growing trend and will happen even more under Obamacare.  We can provide that information to a public that needs it.

Everyone – old, young, disabled or healthy – deserves to know that when the day comes when they need medical treatment, that it won’t be denied because of someone else’s ideology.