Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

What happens to societies that embrace a right to die?

Holland has been on the bleeding edge of the “right to die” movement, a movement employing Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). Most people supporting this supposed right have never actually thought through the long term consequences on a grand scale, and that is true of such supporters in the U.S. as well as Europe.

Just last month the DailyMail reported a Dutch doctor killed an elderly patient, a woman over the age of 80. The patient at some earlier time expressed a wish to be euthanized, but later (several times) expressed her desire to live. When the doctor decided it was the “right time” to perform the medicalized killing she drugged the patient without the woman’s knowledge. But the patient unexpectedly awoke during the lethal injection and struggled and resisted so much the doctor asked the family to hold her down. The patient’s right to change her mind seems to have been entirely ignored. Or does the patient even have such a right?

During the court proceedings, the panel charged with handling the matter wanted the case to go to court not to prosecute the doctor, but to have “greater clarity” on the rights of the physician who engages in medicalized killing. Read the full article to see the horrific reasoning used to justify the situation. Those of you who didn’t have your head buried in the sand during the Obamacare debates may remember warnings of “death panels” and other dangers that corrupt health care by allowing elitist government bureaucrats to interfere. Keep in mind, the right to die movement is already here in the U.S. and is growing with the help of various left wing groups.

This is by no means the first incident of PAS where the patient was euthanized against their wishes. But when a society embraces the right to die, with not only the approval but also with the assistance of the state, any person capable of thinking past their own nose should see the obvious problems that will arise. In the name of a persons’s “choice” to die we are seeing government endorsement of medicalized killing without the patient’s consent.

How does government-endorsed medicalized killing go so wrong? Ryan T. Anderson examines this important question in his report Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality from March, 2015. It’s a lengthy report but touches on very important issues such as:

  • changing how society deals with the marginalized
  • fundamentally altering the doctor-patient relationship
  • compromising the nature of the family
  • damaging the essential premise of human dignity

It might be funny if this weren’t so serious hearing people pretend to be well informed on this issue while they insulate themselves from the anti-euthanasia side of the debate. When “thinking for yourself” involves intentionally avoiding a view you disagree with (which implies you may not actually know what you disagree with) it becomes a euphemism for not thinking at all. If you claim to care about people you should read the full report. And while you do, think about how compassionate a health care system is when the state is run by enlightened people who think overpopulation is one of the greatest dangers the world faces.

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Science accidentally shows the preborn child is a distinct individual person

original article: Scientists discover cells of aborted babies living in their mothers’ brains
January 3, 2013 by Jill Stanek

Scientific American termed the research findings another way: “Scientists discover children’s cells living in mothers’ brains.”

But I wanted to drive home a touching point: Mothers who terminate their pregnancies apparently don’t completely rid themselves of their babies. The cells of murdered children live on inside their mothers to help – or perhaps – hurt them:

Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders.

It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals.

I need to stop and note that this politically incorrect article correctly defines preborn babies as “distinct person(s),” “people,” and “individuals.”

Moving on….

As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain.

We all consider our bodies to be our own unique being, so the notion that we may harbor cells from other people in our bodies seems strange. Even stranger is the thought that, although we certainly consider our actions and decisions as originating in the activity of our own individual brains, cells from other individuals are living and functioning in that complex structure….

They examined the brains of deceased women for the presence of cells containing the male “Y” chromosome. They found such cells in more than 60 percent of the brains and in multiple brain regions. Since Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, they suspected that the number of fetal cells would be greater in women with AD compared to those who had no evidence for neurological disease. The results were precisely the opposite: there were fewer fetal-derived cells in women with Alzheimer’s. The reasons are unclear.

A post-abortive mother who gives any of this much thought will reach either distressing or comforting conclusions, depending on whether she has made peace.

 abortion, babies, biology, children, medicine, pro-life, prolife, science, scientists

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Doctor who forcibly euthanized elderly woman ‘acted in good faith’

original article: Dutch gov’t panel: Doctor who forcibly euthanized elderly woman ‘acted in good faith’
January 31, 2017 by Claire Chretien

NETHERLANDS, January 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Dutch doctor who forcibly euthanized an elderly woman without her consent “acted in good faith,” a euthanasia oversight panel decided when it cleared her of wrongdoing. The chairman of that panel has expressed hope that the case will go to court – not so the doctor can be prosecuted, but so a court can set a precedent on how far doctors may go in such cases.

This particular case was sent to the Regional Review Committee, which oversees the country’s liberal euthanasia regime.

The woman, who was over 80, had dementia. She had allegedly earlier requested to be euthanized when “the time was right” but in her last days expressed her desire to continue living.

Nevertheless, her doctor put a sedative in the patient’s coffee. The doctor then enlisted the help of family members to hold the struggling, objecting patient down so that she could administer the lethal injection.

“I am convinced that the doctor acted in good faith, and we would like to see more clarity on how such cases are handled in the future,” Committee Chairman Jacob Kohnstamm said. Taking the case to court would be “not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.”

Society has “flipped everything completely upside down,” Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. “This is a prime example of another upside down attitude in the culture.”

“Doesn’t someone have a right to change their mind?” he asked. “They sell it as choice and autonomy, but here’s a woman who’s saying, ‘no, I don’t want it,’ and they stick it in her coffee, they hold her down and lethally inject her.”

“It’s false compassion,” Schadenberg continued. “It’s killing people basically out of a false ideology” that treats euthanasia as somehow good when “it’s the exact opposite of what it actually is.”

“All signs say she didn’t want to die,” he said. “Canadians should take notice of this because this is exactly what we’re debating in Canada.”

A current debate in Canada is, “should they expand euthanasia to people who ask for it in their power of attorney…so if they’re incompetent, they can have euthanasia anyway,” Schadenberg explained.

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How to be anti-science while pretending to be pro-science – a look at abortion rights

For years you’ve believed telescopes helped us learn those white fuzzy lights in the night sky are stars and galaxies. You’ve believed math showed us the universe is intelligible. And you thought ultrasounds showed a heartbeat of the child growing in the womb.

Well, surprise, all that might just be anti-science! The Atlantic has a new article written by Moira Weigel telling us ultrasounds in fact don’t show us a heartbeat, that such an idea is just an illusion. Keep in mind she is not a scientist, but she’s a woman so she can comment as if she were a scientific expert. According to Weigel, you shouldn’t believe your eyes when you see an ultrasound of a pregnancy (which is real time imagery of what’s going on inside the womb).

Contrast Weigel’s article with a recent scientific study in Nature showing the autonomous nature of the embryo from its inception. The study reveals new knowledge on the nature of the human condition, with implications on questions of human life and reproductive rights. Another woman, Ana Maria Dumitru, writing for Public Discourse, wrote a piece on this study. If Weigel, a woman getting a doctoral degree in comparative literature is qualified to write on the scientific nature of the subject of abortion, surely Dumitru (a fifth-year MD/PhD candidate at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College) is qualified to do the same.

Weigel’s article appears to be an anti-science diatribe attempting to get you to dismiss what you see with your own eyes, urging you to dismiss the evidence and focus on the politically correct opinion to hold (that a woman’s right to kill her unborn child is sacred). Dumitru has some interesting and far more reasonable insights on abortion, bioethics, and science (such as the interchangeability of concepts like autonomy and personhood) and attempts to show how a Planned Parenthood type ideology actually corrupts one’s view of the evidence and indoctrinates even scientists. Give her article a read.

Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins, by Ana Maria Dumitru.

abortion, corruption, culture, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, medicine, political correctness, pro-life, relativism, science, scientists

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Doctors give up on post-traumatic patient, how about euthanasia?

original article: Sex abuse victim in her 20s allowed to choose euthanasia in Holland after doctors decided her post-traumatic stress and other conditions were incurable
May 10, 2016 by STEVE DOUGHTY

A former victim of child sex abuse has ended her life under Dutch euthanasia laws because she could not live with her mental suffering.

The woman, in her twenties, was given a lethal injection after doctors and psychiatrists decided that her post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions were incurable.

It went ahead despite improvements in the woman’s psychological condition after ‘intensive therapy’ two years ago, and even though doctors in the Netherlands accept that a demand for death from a psychiatric patient may be no more than a cry for help.

The woman, who has not been named, began to suffer from mental disorders 15 years ago following sexual abuse, according to the papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission. The timescale means she was abused between the ages of five and 15.

News of her death angered anti-euthanasia MPs and disability campaigners in Britain. One Labour MP said it meant sex abuse victims were now being punished with death.

It comes at a time of continued controversy over assisted dying in Britain. A steady flow of people from this country travel to die legally at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, and judges and the courts appear to be leaning in favour of making it legal to help someone to die.

Details of the Dutch case were released by authorities anxious to justify euthanasia laws and to demonstrate that mercy killings are carried out under full and correct medical supervision.

The papers said that the woman, who was killed last year, had post-traumatic stress disorder that was resistant to treatment. Her condition included severe anorexia, chronic depression and suicidal mood swings, tendencies to self-harm, hallucinations, obsessions and compulsions.

She also had physical difficulties and was almost entirely bedridden. Her psychiatrist said ‘there was no prospect or hope for her. The patient experienced her suffering as unbearable’.

However, the papers also disclosed that two years before her death the woman’s doctors called for a second opinion, and on the advice of the new doctors she had an intensive course of trauma therapy. ‘This treatment was temporarily partially successful,’ the documents said.

Treatment was abandoned last year after independent consultants were called in and said the case was hopeless.

The consultants also said that despite her ‘intolerable’ physical and mental suffering, chronic depression and mood swings, she was entirely competent to make the decision to take her own life.

The patient, they said, was ‘totally competent’ and there was ‘no major depression or other mood disorder which affected her thinking’. A final GP’s report approved the ‘termination of life’ order and the woman was killed by an injection of lethal drugs, the report said.

In Britain yesterday her case was condemned as ‘horrendous’ by Labour MP Robert Flello.

He said: ‘It almost sends the message that if you are the victim of abuse, and as a result you get a mental illness, you are punished by being killed, that the punishment for the crime of being a victim is death.

‘It serves to reinforce why any move towards legalising assisted suicide, or assisted dying, is so dangerous.’

Tory MP Fiona Bruce, chairman of the Parliamentary All-Party Pro-Life Group, said: ‘This tragic situation shows why euthanasia should never be legalised in this country. What this woman needed, at a desperate point in her young life, was help and support to overcome her problems, not the option of euthanasia.’

Nikki Kenward, of the disability rights group Distant Voices, said: ‘It is both horrifying and worrying that mental health professionals could regard euthanasia in any form as an answer to the complex and deep wounds that result from sexual abuse.’

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Obamacare Premium Hikes Expected in 2017

original article: Get Ready for Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017
April 21, 2016 by Eric Painin

Amid rising drug and health care costs and roiling market dynamics, the spokesperson for the nation’s health insurers is predicting substantial increases next year in Obamacare premiums and related costs.

Without venturing a specific percentage increase, Marilyn Tavenner, the president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said in an interview with Morning Consult that the culmination of market shifts and rising health care costs will force stark increases in health insurance rates in the coming year.

“I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like?” she said. “I don’t know because it also varies by state, market, even within markets. But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years. That’s my big prediction.”

If Tavenner is right, Obamacare will jump dramatically—last year’s premium for the popular silver-level plan surged 11 percent on average. Although Tavenner didn’t mention deductibles, in 2016, some states saw jumps of 76 percent, while the average for a 27-year-old male on a silver plan was 8 percent.

The warning to consumers from Tavenner, the former administration official who headed the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and oversaw the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare website, comes at a time of growing uncertainty about the evolving makeup of the Obamacare health insurance market. With many insurers struggling to find profitability in the program, the collapse of nearly half of the 23 Obamacare insurance co-ops and this week’s announcement that giant UnitedHealth Group intends to pull out of most Obamacare markets across the country, anticipating future premiums and copayments is largely risky guesswork.

Premiums for the current 2016 season rose on average by 8 percent over the previous year, with 12.7 million Americans enrolling for coverage and government subsidies, according to CMS. Federal officials stress that the average rate doesn’t tell the whole story, and that in many cases after consumers shop around for the best price and government subsidies are applied, the actual premium increase is lower.

The Department of Health and Human Services did a study looking at what consumers were estimated to pay based on initial filings compared to what they actually paid. The study found that last year, the average cost of Obamacare marketplace coverage for people receiving tax credits went from $102 a month to $106 per month, a 4 percent change — despite warning from some of double-digit hikes.

Tavenner’s prediction may well be an opening gambit in the negotiations between the industry and insurance regulators about the 2017 premiums. As Morning Consult noted, many insurers have begun submitting opening bids on raising their premium rates and copayments, which will then be reviewed by the government and finalized this fall.

With a major presidential and congressional election looming this fall, the administration is doing all that it can to tamp down fears of major hikes next year in Obamacare insurance premiums and related out-of-pocket costs. Benjamin Wakana, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson, said on Thursday that changes in health care insurance rates are “not a reliable indicator” of what typical consumers on average will pay. “Marketplace consumers would do well to put little stock in those initial numbers,” he said in an email.

But Tavenner outlined several factors that she could put considerable pressure on premium prices next year. Those include:

  • A general rise in the nation’s health care tab. Overall, U.S. health care spending grew by 5.3 percent in 2014 – reaching an historic level of $3 trillion, after years of relative cost stability. Medical costs rise from year to year and will certainly affect the next round of premium hikes.
  • Soaring prescription drug prices. Insurers as well as government health care programs have been struggling to keep pace with rising drug prices, especially newer specialty drugs to treat the Hepatitis-C virus and cancer. Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Allergan PLC and other companies have raised U.S. prices for scores of branded drugs since late December, with many of the increases between 9 percent and 10 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal .
  • The combination of market forces and limitations imposed by the Affordable Care Act will put enormous pressure on insurers to up their premiums. Under the law, there is a cap on insurers’ profits, companies are obliged to insure anyone regardless of their general health or pre-existing conditions, and the insurance plans must be structured in a certain way that often lead to losses.
  • Finally, two of three federal “risk mitigation” programs created under Obamacare are due to expire in 2017. Those programs were set up to protect insurers from huge, unexpected losses from providing health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. UnitedHealth and other major insurers have found it difficult to accurately anticipate their costs in providing coverage to sicker or older Americans, and set premiums that were inadequate to cover their risks. Without those programs to fall back on, many companies likely will seek to jack up their premiums.

“It’s kind of a myriad of factors,” Tavenner said in predicting rising premium costs. “It’s not one factor.”

Clare Krusing, director of communications for AHIP, said in an interview on Thursday that health insurance companies “are working through” these factors right now in setting rates for the coming year and deciding whether to participate.

“Plans are just beginning to file their rates, and it’s a long process with state and federal regulators, until those are approved,” she added. “Certainly plans are going to evaluate market conditions and regulatory approvals, and that will all impact their participation overall” in Obamacare.

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Chelsea Clinton laments ‘crushing’ health care costs despite ObamaCare

original article: Chelsea Clinton laments ‘crushing’ health care costs despite ObamaCare
March 25, 2016 by FoxNews

Chelsea Clinton, in an implicit swipe at the impact of President Obama’s health care law, recently told voters that many Americans still are facing “crushing costs” from health insurance even under the Affordable Care Act.

The comments were captured in a video posted this week. In her remarks, Clinton said her mother — presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — could use executive action to curb those costs.

“We can either do that directly or through tax credits. And, kind of figuring out whether she could do that through executive action, or she would need to do that through tax credits working with Congress. She thinks either of those will help solve the challenge of kind of the crushing costs that still exist for too many people who even are part of the Affordable Care Act,” she said in the video, initially flagged by The Weekly Standard.

The video appears to be from a Hillary Clinton town hall event this past Tuesday at the Advanced Technology Center at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash.

It’s just the latest controversial comment from a member of the Clinton family; former President Bill Clinton lamented the “awful legacy of the last eight years” earlier this week while stumping for his wife, though a spokesman later said he was referring to Republicans during the Obama administration.

On health care, Hillary Clinton herself has staunchly defended the Affordable Care Act, while saying she would take any steps necessary to fix problems in the system.

In a January debate, she said, “As president, I’ll defend the Affordable Care Act, build on its successes, and go even further to reduce costs. My plan will crack down on drug companies charging excessive prices, slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs, and provide a new credit to those facing high health expenses.”

In December, Hillary Clinton was asked by a questioner at a town hall event why companies are favoring part-time employment over full-time employment. Clinton responded by saying, “the Affordable Care Act. You know, we got to change that because we have built in some unfortunate incentives that discourage full-time employment.”

A report from Freedom Partners released earlier this month states that the cost of health care premiums have outgrown both wages and normal inflation, resulting in an average rise of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014.

“With health care costs still rising faster than inflation six years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the law is not helping lower the burden of health care expenses for American families,” the report states.

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Health Insurance Premiums Rising Faster Than Wages

original article: Health Insurance Premiums Rising Faster Than Wages
March 23, 2016 by Ali Meyer

Health insurance premiums have increased faster than wages and inflation in recent years, rising an average of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014 despite the enactment of Obamacare, according to a report from Freedom Partners.

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, and Wednesday is the law’s sixth anniversary.

The Obama administration expressed concern in 2009 about skyrocketing health care premiums in a report entitled, “The Burden of Health Insurance Premium Increases on American Families.” They were concerned that premiums had increased by 5.5 percent from 2008 to 2009.

However, from 2010 to 2011 in the first year after Obamacare was enacted, premiums increased by 9.4 percent.

“In 2009, when the [Executive Office of the President] issued its report, states had seen premiums increase on average by 30 percent between 2004 and 2009,” states the Freedom Partners report. “But since 2009, health insurance premiums have continued to grow faster than wages in nearly every state, averaging a 28 percent increase from 2009 to 2014, resulting in a greater amount of disposable income being consumed by rising premiums.”

According to the report, while premiums increased by 28 percent from 2009 to 2014, wages increased by only 7.8 percent. From 2004 to 2009 when premiums increased by 30 percent, wages increased by only 12.2 percent.

The data also finds that health care costs have exceeded the rate of inflation. “The average annual cost of a family’s employer-sponsored health insurance policy was $17,545 in 2015, which marks a 4.2 percent increase from the 2014 average of $16,834, while the inflation rate remained low at 0.1 percent,” states the report. “With health care costs still rising faster than inflation six years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the law is not helping lower the burden of health care expenses for American families.”

Americans can expect their health care costs to rise again in 2017. According to Stephen Parente, a scholar at the University of Minnesota, each type of health care plan on the exchanges can expect to see an average premium increase of 7.3 percent for families and 11 percent for individuals.

“The Administration claimed the ACA would bend the cost curve, but our report shows it bent in the wrong direction—premiums didn’t slow down under the Affordable Care Act, they sped up,” said Nathan Nascimento, senior policy adviser at Freedom Partners. “No wonder the White House is trying to change the national conversation away from health care costs. By their own standards, the Affordable Care Act has failed.”

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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Euthanasia continues to grow more popular

original article: In Europe, People are Being Euthanized Just Because They’re Autistic
March 10, 2016 CONOR BECK

Euthanasia laws in the Netherlands are very liberal, leaving not only physically ill but also mentally ill patients vulnerable to assisted suicide.

In one case in the Netherlands recently, this resulted in death for a depressed patient with autism. The Washington Post report on this disturbing case shows that Holland’s Regional Euthanasia Review Committees “almost never find fault” with “mercy killings.”

In a recent case, a 30-something patient with autism was labeled “treatable” by one Dutch doctor, but after one more year his request to be killed was approved. The patient was administered a fatal combination of drugs, though the man’s only diagnosis was autism, according to the report. Doctors said the man had been neglected and abused as a child, which also could have been a factor in his wish to die.

The man was one of 110 people to be euthanized for mental disorders between 2011 and 2014 in the country, according to the report. This is a tremendously high number, especially given that the country’s population is nearly 20 times smaller than the United States’.

Columbia University psychiatrist Paul S. Appelbaum writes that widespread euthanasia access is “inducing hopelessness among other individuals with similar conditions and removing pressure for an improvement in psychiatric and social services.”

Appelbaum chairs the World Psychiatric Association’s ethics committee and is planning to address the issue this month.

In the Post article, Charles Lane says, “Once the Netherlands authorized euthanasia for physical illnesses in 2002, demands to extend this ‘right’ to the suffering mentally ill were inevitable and, indeed, logically consistent.”

Assisted suicide also is facing increased access in Canada, with pressure to include that access to patients with mental illness.

In a column at LifeNews, Wesley Smith listed the proposed guidelines for Canada’s new assisted suicide laws:

  • Death on demand for those with medically diagnosed serious sicknesses;
  • Death on demand for those with disabilities;
  • Death on demand for those with medically diagnosed mental illnesses.
  • Death on demand for “mature” children with the above conditions, perhaps with parental consent required;
  • Nurses ordered to participate in euthanasia under the direction of a doctor, normalizing killing as an answer to suffering and making it easier for doctors to avoid the dirty work of homicide;
  • Government-paid euthanasia.

The assisted suicide push also continues in the United States. In October, California became the fourth state to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide.

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Another country busted for euthanizing without consent

original article: Head of Nurses Group Reveals Doctors are Euthanizing Patients Without Consent
March 8, 2016 by MICHAEL COOK

The head of Portugal’s national nurses’ association has blown the whistle on covert euthanasia in public hospitals. Ana Rita Cavaco told a radio program that she personally had heard doctors discussing the topic.

She declared on the Catholic station Rádio Renascença, that euthanasia “is sometimes practiced in the health service hospitals, with doctors suggesting this solution for some patients”.

“I have personally witnessed such situations – I don’t need to look for further examples. I have seen cases where doctors have suggested administering insulin to induce an insulin coma. I am not going to shock anybody as everyone who works in the health service knows these things happen out of sight and sound, so let’s talk about it openly.”

She gave no details, but the mere suggestion was enough for Portugal’s national medical association to demand that she be prosecuted for alleging that doctors were participating in an illegal activity. The association declared that Portuguese should have complete confidence in doctors.

“These statements cannot be passed over in silence with the swiftness with which they were uttered. They are libelous and undermine the dignity of doctors and nurses, so it must be proven or clearly and formally denied”.

The Health Ministry has ordered an urgent inquiry into the allegations.

The controversy comes at a sensitive time in Portugal as Parliament will probably debate euthanasia later this year, after a high-profile petition secured enough signatures to bring the matter before the legislature

LifeNews Note: Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet where this story appeared.

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