Month Archives: April 2010

Hospital Visit Horrors? Heres the Rest of the Story

by Peter Sprigg

April 21, 2010

On April 15, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services instructing her to prepare regulations that will protect the right of homosexual partners (and other non-family members) to visit their loved ones in the hospital.

In a series of interviews the next day, I emphasized that the Family Research Council does not have any objection to such visitation in principle, as long as it is premised on the patients personal choice rather than on a redefinition of family or marriage. However, I also pointed out that the main reason this is even a topic of discussion is because it is used as a political talking point by the advocates of same-sex marriage, who see it as a golden opportunity to tug at peoples heartstrings and generate emotional sympathy for their cause.

I further asserted my belief that the frequency with which homosexuals are barred from visiting their partners in the hospital is grossly exaggerated. As I pointed out in an online chat on the Washington Post website,

The idea that homosexuals are regularly denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital is one that has only one source—homosexual activists who want to change the definition of marriage. Where are the media surveys of hospital administrators to determine how many hospitals actually have such restrictive policies?

In the reporting on the Obama memorandum, however, many media outlets cited the case of Janice Langbehn, a lesbian who sued a Florida hospital claiming that she was denied the right to visit her partner Lisa Pond when Pond was dying from an aneurysm. Langbehns story is apparently a familiar one in the homosexual activist community, thanks in large part to a sympathetic New York Times article last year.

In fact, Langbehns story was instrumental in moving Obama to act. According to the Washington Post:

Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side. Obama called Langbehn on Thursday evening from Air Force One as he flew to Miami, White House officials said.

The New York Times story last year did report that the hospital disputes some of Langbehns charges, but media reports on the Obama memo last week, like that in the Post, did not even bother mentioning that. They were content to repeat the storyline of the homosexual activists verbatim, without even stopping to ask if there was another side.

There is, however, another side. On the website of the Miami Herald, I discovered that the hospital which Langbehn accused of mistreating her has sent its own letter to President Obama. Here is part of what the hospital said:

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with some clarification on the allegations being made by Janice Langbehn, whose partner was treated at Jacksons Ryder Trauma Center in 2007. From the beginning, JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual orientation. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Ms. Langbehns lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in September 2009.

Ms. Langbehns allegations and those made by published articles, blogs, etc., are inaccurate and have damaged the reputations and deeply hurt the feelings of the personnel in our trauma center. They have devoted their careers to all who come through our doors, from all walks of life.

JHS grants hospital visitation to all individuals equally, regardless of their relationship to the patient, as long as doing so does not interfere with the care being given to the patient or other patients in the area. With that said, our first priority when a patient is brought to our trauma center is always to stabilize the patient and save their life. As the only adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County to support a population of more than 2.3 million people, our facility is one of the busiest and most renowned in the nation.

The Trauma Resuscitation Unit in Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa Pond was treated when airlifted to Jackson, is more like a large operating room with multiple beds separated by glass partitions rather than a traditional hospital floor. Sometimes, visitors are not able to see a loved one in the trauma bay as quickly as they would like or they may have to wait until the patient is moved to the ICU or to another area of the hospital that is better suited for visitation. This all depends on the circumstances of the situation, how busy the unit is at the time and the medical conditions of the patients in the unit at the time. The patients in this area are facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses and are extremely vulnerable.

The most important piece of information to consider from our side of this story is that the charge nurse on duty the night Ms. Pond was in our care and the person who made all visitation access decisions that evening is herself a lesbian with a life partner. In addition, numerous members of the medical team working in our trauma unit are openly homosexual. We can assure you that Ms. Langbehn was not treated differently because of her sexual orientation.

When homosexuals complain that they are denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital, they may give some people the impression (I suspect deliberately) that in some hospitals they are never able to visit their partners, simply because they are not legally recognized as family members. I pointed out that for ordinary patients in ordinary hospital rooms (the vast majority of hospital patients), there are few if any restrictions on visitation. You dont go through security, no one checks your IDyou just walk up to the room and visit. Some hospitals have even done away with the tradition of visiting hours, and instead allow visitors to come in at any hour of the day or night.

I did acknowledge that there might be exceptions to these liberal visitation policies, such as when a patient is in intensive care. But there was one point so obvious that I did not bother making it (until now)and that is that in situations of emergency, trauma, or intensive care, hospitals may sometimes keep away all visitors from a patient for medical reasonsnot for reasons of discrimination. If the hospitals account is accurate, that is what happened to Janice Langbehn.

Is the thought of a person dying without their loved ones at their bedside an agonizing one? Of course. But it is an agony that is probably experienced by many people, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, every day, for one simple reasontheir beds are surrounded by doctors and nurses fighting to save their lives.

Is Obamas Jewish Support Cracking?

by Chris Gacek

April 20, 2010

It appears that President Obamas support with prominent Jews may be under severe strain. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch has blasted Obama on several occasions recently over the presidents relentlessly anti-Israeli policies. The articles appeared in: 1) Israel National News on March 25; 2) Huffington Post on March 30; 3) and, Huffington Post on April 12.

In the April 12th piece, the ex-mayor asserted that the president was trying to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israels needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch. Koch also asserted, I believe President Obamas policy is to create a whole new relationship with the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq as a counter to Iran The Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Muslim world which we are now prepared to see in possession of a nuclear weapon. If throwing Israel under the bus is needed to accomplish this alliance, so be it.

In the opening paragraph of his March 30th piece, Koch described President Obama’s abysmal attitude toward the State of Israel and his humiliating treatment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as shocking. He concluded by observing, It is one thing to disagree with certain policies of the Israeli government. It is quite another to treat Israel and its prime minister as pariahs, which only emboldens Israels enemies and makes the prospect of peace even more remote. This harsh language also included a denunciation of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) for giving Secretary of State Hilary Clinton a standing ovation at their recent convention.

Another major figure in the Jewish cultural world has made his feelings of unhappiness about American policy toward Israel and Jerusalem, in particular widely known.

Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel is less direct in his criticism of the Obama Administration than Koch, but his point is clear. In a full-page advertisement entitled For Jerusalem that I have read in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post on April 16th (follow link), Wiesel writes, For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. He notes the centrality of Jerusalem to Jewish life and civilization.

In a thinly veiled swipe at the Obama Administration he asks of Jerusalem: What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. (my emphasis) He continues by asking why the issue of Jerusalem must be addressed first before other major problems are resolved. Why must the toughest question be resolved before Arabs and Jews can be shown to be capable of living together peacefully? A fair question.

Wiesel continues by observing that Jerusalem must remain the worlds Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. And, he closes saying, Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul.

It is too early to know whether these comments constitute a trend within the Jewish community, but if I were President Obama I might want to lose the Lawrence of Arabia act for a while. There is, however, little chance of that happening because Ed Koch has it exactly right. In fact, Koch may be understating Obamas animosity toward Israel.

The ACLU: Unwelcome Schoolyard Bully?

by Cynthia Hill

April 16, 2010

Dont you just wonder why some grownups are so terrified of kids praying in schools, of town councils invoking Gods blessing and guidance on their work, or of the absolute horror of having an Enfield, Connecticut high school graduation take place in a building in which Christian worship occurs? Its not only sad, but rather strange, that such energy is expended to eradicate the tiniest smidgen of Christianity from the public square.

Should we be subjected to those whose self-appointed mission is to bully their way through communities where their crusade to annihilate Christianity is neither wanted nor welcomed? Furthermore, must we be forced to accept that their patronizing destruction of Judeo-Christian traditions is good for us? Sooner or later, the ACLU and others like them may have to acknowledge that the majority of Americans adhere to the Christian faith and dont want the empty exchange they have to offer. We enjoy our faith we enjoy our God, and in spite of our many shortcomings, Scripture is clear that God enjoys us. And whether or not the ACLU approves, that is a lifestyle worth celebrating.

Lessons Not Learned from Fort Hood

by Robert Morrison

April 15, 2010

Its another classic bureaucratic report from the Pentagon. In the wake of the murders of 14 persons by Nidal Hasan last November, the Secretary of Defense demanded a full report. [Yes, there were fourteen victims. One of those killed was a pregnant woman.] Well, the Secretary got his report. Its another doorstop of a document replete with all the usual verbiage when it comes to pop psychology and busy-work buzz words. Heres what the Department of Defense press release tells us:

Among the actions to be taken in the near-term are:

(1) Expand the pilot program to fully deploy eGuardian as the DoD-wide force protection threat reporting system to handle suspicious incident activities. The eGuardian system, which is FBI-owned and maintained, will safeguard civil liberties, while enabling information sharing among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, including interagency fusion centers.

(2) Complete the deployment of the Law Enforcement Defense Data Exchange system (D-DEx) allowing all DoD law enforcement agencies to share criminal investigation as well as other law enforcement data as appropriate. D-DEx will be a consolidated database to enable organizations across the Department to query, retrieve, and post criminal investigation and law enforcement data in a single repository.

(3) Establish the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas Security Affairs as the DoD lead for the FBIs Joint Terrorism Task Force program.

(4) Strengthen DoDs antiterrorism training program by incorporating lessons learned from the Fort Hood incident, Department of Homeland Security best practices on workplace violence, and civilian law enforcement active shooter awareness training.

Shooter awareness training? What in the world is that supposed to mean? Can any American take any comfort from this dismal report? Does anyone think anyone at Fort Hoodor in the nation, for that matter—had any problem being aware of the active shooter in their midst?

I am surprised the report did not advocate advance positioning of grief counselorsgood griefand offer to distribute candles for memorial services before the next outbreak.

Heres my recommendation:

Step 1. Require every member of the Armed Services, officer, non-com, and enlisted, to take an oath. The oath might say something like this:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Whats that you say? They already take such an oath? That youve even seen them take it? That it looks like this:

Very well. Then that brings me to Step 2.

ENFORCE THE OATH.

Nidal Hasan was commissioned in the Army of the United States. He took this oath, along with millions of other Americans. For years, he was allowed to spew venomous anti-American and anti-Christian statements. He was cosseted and coddled in the interests of diversity.

Every time he spoke up for jihad he was in violation of his oath. And he got away with it. Treason is not diversity. Sedition is not diversity. Insubordination is not diversity.

By winking at Hasans treasonous statements, the army brass created the conditions for this mass killing. They were enablers of Hasans murderous rampage. For the troops to see such treasonous statements going unchallenged and undisciplined is to undermine morale at every level.

Once, in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln heard that one of Gen. McClellans officers, a Major John Key, had been loudly telling his fellows that the reason McClellan did not pursue the retreating Gen. Lee and the rebel army was because the game was to fight the war only to reach a stalemate; then, Major Key said, the generals North and South would intervene to force a negotiated settlement. Keys sentiments were by no means as dangerous, as treasonous as Nidal Hasans were. But Lincoln summoned Key to the White House and dismissed him from the army on the spot. Although Lincoln was a famously merciful man, he never relented in his determination to banish disloyal sentiment from the army.

Thats the kind of leadership that is missing here. With this kind of pathetic report, filled with all the usual vapid sentiments, the typical bureaucratic gobbledygook, who among our all-volunteer services can have confidence that their seniors will truly look out for them?

Our military has historically been a great place to bring Americans from all backgrounds together. Men and women from different regions, races, religions, ethnic and social groups work together, fight together, live together, pray together. The military has been a great unifier for our country. Our armed forces have survived and prevailed over every enemy that has come against them. But they cannot survive political correctness.

UK Scientists Clone 3-Parent Embryos

by David Prentice

April 15, 2010

UK scientists have used nuclear transfer (cloning) technology to create 3-parent human embryos—one father and two mothers.

Despite the standard hype about curing disease using these cloning techniques, significant ethical concerns exist. First, the technique sacrifices two embryos — the smallest, most vulnerable humans — to create a third, recombined embryo, with two mothers and one father. It is not a possible cure, but germline genetic engineering and even eugenics, in that embryo manipulation moves us further down the slope not just of selecting children, but manufacturing them.

This technology, described below, is a further step toward tampering with the very essence of humanity, and demonstrates not just a contempt for life itself - all the embryos in this experiment were destroyed for science - but a profoundly dangerous and arrogant belief that we can tamper with the genetic makeup of our fellow human beings.

The rationale for the experiment was that some people have diseases caused by their mitochondria, little energy-generating factories in every cell. Mitochondria have DNA of their own coding for a handful of genes, separate from the nuclear DNA of the cell, and mutations in the mitochondrial DNA can lead to some diseases.

Every cell has mitochondria to generate energy, including the egg cell. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, the mitochondria from the egg cell that contributed to the new embryo are passed to every cell of the person, and if those mitochondria have a mutation, the mutations are passed on as well. The cloning technique used in this experiment was designed to try to get rid of problem mitochondria.

In this human cloning experiment, the scientists used one-cell embryos as both the DNA donor and recipient, an “Embryo Cell Nuclear Transfer”. NOTE that most news stories call these embryos “fertilized eggs”; the term is a scientifically inaccurate misnomer and misleading, as once fertilization occurs, these are no longer eggs but rather embryos. The scientific paper published in Nature uses the scientifically-accurate term: “Pronuclear transfer in human embryos to prevent transmission of mitochondrial DNA disease”

After fertilization, but before the maternal and paternal nuclei have joined as a single zygote nucleus, the embryo is at the “pronuclear” stage. The scientists transferred this nuclear material out of one embryo (thus destroying the first embryo), placing the nuclear material into a second embryo (the second embryo having had its nuclear material removed, i.e., destroying the second embryo to make room for the nuclear material of the first.)

Two embryos are destroyed to create (with new genetic mitochondria) a third, recombined embryo. The newly-created recombined embryo has the nuclear material from one embryo, and the cytoplasmic material from another embryo.

A diagram of the process is in the paper’s supplementary material.

OR click on this image to enlarge

The scientists let the recombined embryos develop for up to eight days before they were destroyed. As with all cloning experiments, few of the embryos developed. In this case only 18 out of 80 showed any development or divided at all, and only three of the recombined embryos made it to blastocyst stage. This was only half as good as the control “abnormal” embryos (17%), which also develop poorly when compared to normal IVF embryos (32%), again indicating that cloning and manipulation of embryos introduces problems.

When they checked the mitochondria, on average about 2% of mitochondrial DNA was carried over from the first embryo with the transferred nuclear material. The scientists suggested that this was not enough to cause disease, and claimed the experiment as proof-of-principle for a way to prevent inherited mitochondrial disease. However, they have not even shown that such a genetic engineering technique that mixes nuclei and cytoplasm of different individuals is safe even for the newly-cloned embryo and does not affect normal development.

Nonetheless, the UK scientists are supposedly working with the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Authority (HEFA), which licenses research on human embryos in the UK, to determine what further studies must be done before a human embryo that has undergone their genetic engineering procedure can be implanted for a pregnancy.

A similar cloning experiment with mice was done in 2007, and in 2009, U.S. scientists used a similar nuclear transfer cloning technique to create cloned monkey embryos. The U.S. scientists who did the monkey experiments also supposedly have plans to seek approval from the FDA to use their technique to create genetically-manipulated human embryos.

Nine Days That Changed the World

by Family Research Council

April 15, 2010

This week I saw a screening of a new documentary, Nine Days that Changed the World, on Pope John Paul IIs June 1979 pilgrimage to Poland, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich. The impact this short trip would have first on a country and ultimately on an entire empire of evil was extraordinarily well communicated in the film. The underlying theme of the movie is that freedom is found in faith.

Those interviewed in the movie include noted Polish writers, religious and political leaders, including presidents, priests and ambassadors. As I watched I couldnt help but be reminded of the well-known Peggy Noonan piece on this very trip, We Want God, named for the ongoing chant of the Polish people during one of the religious ceremonies.

Perhaps most importantly this movie brings a message for this particular time period in American history. Political ideologies may try to oppress the human spirit but the inherent capacity for God, truth, love and freedom that exists in every single human being can never be extinguished.

Legislative Wake-up Call in the States

by Cynthia Hill

April 14, 2010

If you think legislation on the federal level has gone haywire, take a minute to check out whats going on in state governments through FRCs State Legislation Tracker. The present 38 issue profiles currently track 7469 bills of concern. A breakdown of the results (listed below) provides a telling glimpse into the “state of the states” and the subsequent health of our nation. That the top five profiles include domestic violence (2146), gambling (1346), divorce reform (827), and pornography (728 total, 325 dedicated to child pornography alone) should be a serious wake-up call for all Americans.

Whether or not current liberals and progressives approve, Americas Founders understood from historical perspective that their new government must be rooted in Judeo-Christian tenets. Nothing less resilient and enduring could contribute the ongoing stability required for individuals, families and national industry to flourish in the long term. The following contemporary indicators mandate that we re-examine those pro-family factors that precipitated Americas success, and work aggressively at the state and local level to re-introduce and re-implement them.

Numbers of bills (see here a drill-down on each issue):

  • Abortion - Fetal Pain 5
  • Abortion - Parental Notification - 38
  • Abortion - Ultrasound Bills - 60
  • Abortion Alternatives - Pregnancy Care Centers -18
  • Adoption - By Traditional Family - 551
  • Adoption - By Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples - 44
  • Bathroom Bills - Gender Expression & Same-Sex Issues - 185
  • Conscience Regulations - 4
  • Cord Blood - 62
  • DADT - Military Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ - 13
  • DOMA - Defense of Marriage Act - 2
  • Domestic Violence - 2146
  • Eminent Domain - 1340
  • ENDA - Employment Non-Discrimination Act - 3
  • Gambling - 1346
  • Hate Crimes - 27
  • Health Care - States’ Response to Obamacare - 176
  • Homeschool - 341
  • Human Cloning - 149
  • Human Eggs - 8
  • Human Trafficking - 255
  • Jessica’s Law - 5
  • Life Issues - 23
  • Marriage - Divorce Reform - 877
  • Marriage - Marriage Protection Amendments -12
  • Pornography: Child - 325
  • Pornography: General - 403
  • Public Education: Bullying Bills - General - 28
  • Public Education: Bullying Bills - Pro-Homosexual Agenda - 41
  • Public Education: Discrimination Free Zones - 1
  • Public Education: Sex Education - 7
  • Religious Liberty - 29
  • Reproductive Health - 9
  • Same-Sex Marriage - 493
  • Sexual Predators - 60
  • Statutory Rape - 69
  • Stem Cell Research - Adult - 17
  • Stem Cell Research - Embryonic - 37

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