Tetraplegic model speaks out against euthanasia after once planning to end her life

A deadly double standard – Claire’s Story #DefendNZ Documentary 2 (Youtube: screenshot)

As The End of Life Choice Bill is currently being debated in New Zealand, a woman, Claire Freeman, involved in a car accident causing her to become tetraplegic, has spoken out forcefully against the Bill.

The Bill permits assisted suicide in cases where an adult has a “terminal illness that is likely to end the person’s life within 6 months”; or suffers from “a grievous and irremediable medical condition; and is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability; and experiences unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that he or she the person considers tolerable”.

Claire argues that this Bill would have been dangerous for people like her given her (former) “mindset and lack of proper support” and had this Bill passed only a few years ago, she would have been eligible to end her life.

Although formerly pro-assisted suicide, her experience as a tetraplegic has led her to change her mind admitting that “[she] didn’t really understand the implications of having a ‘choice’ [for assisted suicide].”

Claire attempted suicide more than once and her health professionals “encouraged [her] to explore assisted suicide”. She had intended to travel to Switzerland to kill herself but was unable to do so due to a disastrous operation on her neck, which made her condition even worse.

During her recuperation in hospital “[she] realised that being offered assisted suicide instead of suicide support was disturbing.”

“I had been told ‘if I was in your position, with your disability, I wouldn’t want to live’ by the very health professionals who are there to help suicide survivors. No one ever asked about my toxic mindset and frantic way of living.”

“I realised my biggest problem had been my mindset and a lack of proper support”

Claire said that people like her are not being given a voice in this debate in New Zealand.

“I don’t want to see a vulnerable person talking to a health professional who assumes their life is of little value due to their disability or illness.”

“The reality is this: If the End of Life Choice Bill, in its current form, were law four years ago, I’d be dead. This isn’t about religion or politics; it’s about trying to do the right thing and highlight the dangers of this bill.”

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK commented:

“The attitude of medical professionals towards people with disabilities in this case is, sadly,  all too familiar. Just recently in the UK, a mother was offered an abortion 10 times because her daughter was diagnosed as having a disability in the womb.”

“These professionals acted in a remarkably unprofessional manner by encouraging Claire to kill herself, and, as she rightly notes, she would not be alive today had the law been different. We can see clearly that the attitudes of the medical professionals and the lack of proper support were a key motivating factor behind Claire’s original decision to take her life, which, fortunately, she was unable to enact.”

“As her experience shows, laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia protect people like Claire, and they should not be removed.”

US stops federal funding for research using aborted baby parts

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The US Department of Health and Social Services (HHS) has ended taxpayer funded federal research using the remains of aborted foetuses.

HHS recognised “the dignity of human life” as a “top priority” in determining what counts as ethical research. “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the department said in a statement.”

However, privately funded research using parts of aborted babies is still able to continue.

Any research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that desires to use new foetal remains for its research will no longer be conducted under this policy change.

As for future aborted-tissue research that applies for federal funding but takes place outside NIH, “an ethics advisory board will be convened to review the research proposal and recommend whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project—pursuant to a law passed by Congress.”

HHS also said that it was committed to funding ethical alternatives which does not involve the use of foetal remains.

After an abortion, it is possible to harvest the dead foetal remains for use in medical research.

Planned Parenthood were embroiled in a scandal in 2015 after they were discovered to negotiating the trading of baby body parts for research. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) also openly admitted to being involved in harvesting of baby parts for research following an abortion.

However, biochemistry expert Dr. Tara Sander Lee testified before the US Congress last December that fetal tissue research is medically unnecessary.

She explained that “after over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue,” and that researchers have access to a wealth of ethical sources for human tissue, including cells that can be given the coveted quality of pluripotency, or the ability to become other types of tissue.

A year on, and many regret repealing Eighth Amendment

One year on from the referendum that removed the Eighth Amendment and allowed abortion, campaigners are demanding that access to abortion be increased. Those who followed the debate will hardly be surprised.

After all, things are very different to when Health Minister Simon Harris heralded a post-referendum “brighter Ireland” in which concerns regarding the new act would be inserted via amendments.

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The ethical nightmare we won’t confront

Nothing pleases some people more than when others get something wrong. The Germans even have a word for it.

Naomi Wolf was on the receiving end of it recently. It emerged, in the course of a live broadcast, that she had made a serious mistake in interpreting some of the evidence which she had marshalled to defend the argument of her new book. And gosh how people enjoyed it.

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