The Fourteenth Amendment is the uber amendment. The Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government because the Constitution applied only to that organism. States could abridge the Bill of Rights through laws maintaining slavery, as one example. The Fourteenth declares all citizens are US citizens within their states and so extends the Bill of Rights to Americans compromised by state laws. The amendment forbids confiscating life, liberty, or property without due process of law – anywhere. Finally, it guarantees the right to vote except where the voter has committed insurrection or another felony, and authorizes Congress to make laws consistent with it or necessary for its enforcement.
Examples include the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These laws travel a direct road back to the amendment itself, although courts have a long history as well of striking down legislation – state or federal – that conflicts with it. Meanwhile, along comes California’s proposed law – SB 128 – intended to give legal legitimacy to death-by-doctor, or more politely, physician assisted suicide. The concept is presented as patient-initiated to eliminate the spectre of government confiscating something so basic as the right to life itself. The lies just keep on coming.
When the well-funded group pushing these laws in California and other states speaks of releasing people from intractable pain, they lie. Palliative care – making people comfortable as they finish the natural cycle of their lives – is advanced to the point that no one need suffer chronic severe pain. Palliative care doctors sometimes provide choices between comfort and alertness – choices made by the patient.
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Back in the 90s when the Hemlock Society – the original name of Compassion and Choices – campaigned successfully for a “right-to-die” law in Oregon, three quarters of those “choosing” death cited emotional or existential issues such as burdening family, loss of autonomy, or loss of joy. Forty Dutch people were killed in 2013 under these laws for psychiatric illness. Others went quietly because they were blind or had chronic ringing in their ears. Pain ranks low on the motivational chart even before these advances and even in the reality that many doctors do not understand how to deliver quality palliative care. Who persuaded people they needed to die sooner than nature decreed? That is, who besides “the sky is falling” crowd of organizations with names ranging from Compassion and Choices to Final Exit.
Some are pressured by family members and caregivers with something to gain. Some are persuaded by their own untreated depression. According to an editorial in the San Diego Union Tribune, some are exploited by managed care forces — read insurance companies — who, like gambling casinos, are not in business to benefit the consumers of their products. These companies lied through their teeth – along with many hospitals – in their efforts to craft and pass Obamacare while pretending to oppose it; this is not an imagination stretcher.
Lawsuits are likely if this bill becomes law. Aside from the demonstrated trashing of the Fourteenth Amendment in pretending a piece of paper with signatures constitutes due process, there is what I call the Nazi deception. The Nazis – and all totalitarian movements – routinely use ridiculous euphemisms to rationalize their brutalities. Executed prisoners were “shot while attempting escape,” the interesting thing being they were never injured but always killed. Amazing numbers of concentration camp inmates died of a “heart attack”; if you gas people enough, their hearts will stop. And SB 128, Section 443.7 says the “underlying disease” is always the cause of death. State law will sanction the falsification of documents. This alone is grounds for a lawsuit.
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Lawyers can and should file lawsuits. What do we do, Christian or not?
We make it clear we will not tolerate this atrocity. We write to assembly and senate members leaning toward adoption that we will make it our business to hound them from office if they vote yes; this is their last deal breaker. We sit in and occupy their offices and nonviolently make it impossible for them to function. We make it clear they operate with neither autonomy nor impunity; they are subject to the dictates of One who died to abolish death and came to bring life and freedom. This is not theocracy; it is justice for the helpless.
We should remember the blessing we promise to legislators who stand for life in this hour – a blessing that is first promised to us. The Son of God says when we acknowledge Him before men, He acknowledges us before His Father. His gift of life is unconditional; for this blessing, however, we first have to acknowledge Him and His ethics.
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