First compensation claim for compulsory sterilisation in Japan

BioEdge

Michael Cook

A Japanese woman in her 60s is planning to sue the government over her forced sterilization under a 1948 law. This will be the first time that state compensation has been sought for sterilisation. The mentally disabled woman in Miyagi Prefecture was a teenager when she was forced to undergo the procedure.

Records of 2,700 people who were sterilized under the Eugenic Protection Law — which was in force until 1996 — have been found in local government archives, a development which could help victims seek state compensation.

Like some Western countries, Japan has a dark eugenic past.

A 1948 Eugenic Protection Law (EPL) was intended to prevent the births of “inferior descendants” and to foster the health of mothers and pregnant women. It provided for both voluntary and involuntary sterilisation. Doctors could apply for permission for sterilisation to a regional board if a patient suffered from a range of conditions which were believe to be hereditary, including schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, epilepsy, abnormal sexual desire, “remarkable criminal inclination,” Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, albinism, achromatopsia, deafness, haemophilia, and so on.

The Ministry of Health issued guidelines in 1953 clarifying what doctors could do: “It is permissible to restrain the patient’s body, to administer an anesthetic, or to deceive the patient, etc.”

According to government statistics, between 1949 to 1994, 16,520 involuntary sterilizations were performed, 11,356 on women, and 5,164 on men. Most were performed on inmates of psychiatric hospitals and institutions for intellectually disabled people.

Compulsory sterilisation lapsed in 1996 with the passage of the Mother’s Body Protection Law. However, the Japanese government has refused to apologize to the victims of the law or offer them compensation.


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Psychiatrists given clear guidelines on abortion law: HSE

Irish Independent

Eilish O’Regan

The HSE says it has issued “clear guidance” to the heads of mental health services “detailing and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of psychiatrists in cases where a pregnant woman is seeking an abortion on grounds of suicide risk.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act allows for abortion where a woman is assessed as suicidal on the opinion of two psychiatrists and an obstetrician.

But an internal HSE document, overseen by Philip Crowley, the HSE national director for quality improvement, warned of the failure to always secure a psychiatrist locally to give the necessary second opinion.

In some cases this stage is having to be bypassed and the woman must go before a review panel to assess her case. . . [Full Text]

Christian doctors and other medical staff opposing abortion face serious disadvantage, lords told

Press Association

Some doctors and midwives are suffering “serious disadvantage and discrimination” for their beliefs over abortion and other medical activities, peers have been told.

Baroness O’Loan also claimed young healthcare professionals are leaving the UK as they cannot carry out certain tasks, arguing there is a need to “reestablish legal protection” for medical conscientious objections.

The Crossbench peer’s Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill – which is being supported by the Free Conscience campaign – would apply to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, human embryo research and activity linked to preparing, supporting or performing an abortion.

But her proposal split the Lords, with Labour’s Baroness Young of Old Scone among those voicing their opposition and describing it as “unnecessary and potentially dangerous” given existing protections. . .  [Full Text]

Medical Establishment Opposes Conscience Rights

Evolution News & Science Today
Reproduced with permission

Wesley J. Smith

The laws and regulations of the United States protect medical professionals from being forced to participate in abortion and sterilization and other procedures against their religious beliefs by prohibiting discrimination in employment.

The medical establishment thus responds to the creation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). How awful, they yell. We want our pro-life colleagues, and those who believe in the Hippocratic Oath, to be forced to violate their religious and moral beliefs in their professional lives.

For example, the Massachusetts Medical Society doesn’t want a division formed to protect their colleagues. From the Society’s statement:

As physicians, we have an obligation to ensure patients are treated with dignity while accessing and receiving the best possible care to meet their clinical needs. We will not and cannot, in good conscience, compromise our responsibility to heal the sick based upon a patient’s racial identification, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, disability, immigration status, or economic status.

Baloney. It won’t “compromise” anything. Doctors are not “on demand” technocrats who fill patient’s orders, particularly with regard to non-life-threatening and elective procedures, which are the real subjects here.

It could, however, protect employees from being forced by their employers to choose between their faith or moral beliefs, and their careers.

In a society as profoundly rent as ours is about fundamental moral beliefs around the sanctity of human life and the proper role of medicine in fulfilling lifestyle and other personal desires, basic comity requires such focused enforcement of legal conscience protections.

Otherwise, pro-lifers will be driven entirely out of medicine — an outcome, I assume, that the the leaders of the Massachusetts Medical Society would heartily applaud.

https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/the-medical-establishment-opposes-conscience-rights/

Dutch euthanasia regulator quits over dementia killings

Catholic Herald

Simon Caldwell

The number of dementia patients killed by euthanasia has risen fourfold over the past five years

A Dutch euthanasia regulator has quit her post in protest at the killings of patients suffering from dementia.

Berna van Baarsen, a medical ethicist, said she could not support “a major shift” in the interpretation of her country’s euthanasia law to endorse lethal injections for increasing numbers of dementia patients.

She has now resigned from one of Holland’s five regional assessment committees set up to oversee the provision of euthanasia. . . [Full Text]

BC recorded 188 medically assisted deaths; 77 on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Sun

Amy Smart, Victoria Times-Colonist

Seventy-seven people on Vancouver Island died with medical assistance in 2016, more than any other region in B.C. — and most other provinces.

Some speculate the high number might be the result of demographics and a long history of advocacy for the right to assisted death.

For each assisted death performed, between five and 10 patients are deemed ineligible, Island Health said.

A Times Colonist survey of provincial coroners, health ministries and health authories found that British Columbia ranked among the highest of medical assistance in dying, with 188 assisted deaths recorded. That was one more than Ontario, where the chief coroner recorded 187 deaths. . . [Full Text]

Palliative care nurses quit ‘houses of euthanasia’

Catholic Herald

Simon Caldwell

Belgian nurses and social workers who specialise in treating dying patients are quitting their jobs because palliative care units are being turned into “houses of euthanasia”, a senior doctor has alleged.

Increasing numbers of hospital staff employed in the palliative care sector are abandoning their posts because they did not wish to be reduced to preparing “patients and their families for lethal injections”, according to Professor Benoit Beuselinck, a consultant oncologist of the Catholic University Hospitals of Leuven.

He said that after more than 15 years of legal euthanasia in Belgium “palliative care units are … at risk of becoming ‘houses of euthanasia’, which is the opposite of what they were meant to be”. . . [Full Text]

Complaint filed with federal agency by Rockford nurse over abortion mandates

rrstar.com

Georgett Braun

ROCKFORD.  A local woman has filed a complaint with a federal agency alleging that she was forced from her job in 2015 at the Winnebago County Health Department because of abortion mandates.

The complaint was filed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by attorneys representing Sandra Rojas.

The complaint alleges that Rojas, a pediatric nurse who worked 18 years at the Health Department, objected to a requirement that nurses be trained to make referrals to abortion providers and to help women obtain abortion drugs. . . . [Full Text]

HHS Announces New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

News Release

For immediate release

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is pleased to announce the formation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  The announcement will take place at an event at HHS headquarters from 10:30 a.m. to noon.  It will be livestreamed here. Speakers will include Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Representative Vicky Hartzler, Senator James Lankford, OCR Director Roger Severino, and special guests.

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division has been established to restore federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom.  OCR is the law enforcement agency within HHS that enforces federal laws protecting civil rights and conscience in health and human services, and the security and privacy of people’s health information.  The creation of the new division will provide HHS with the focus it needs to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom, the first freedom protected in the Bill of Rights.

OCR already has enforcement authority over federal conscience protection statutes, such as the Church, Coats-Snowe, and Weldon Amendments; Section 1553 of the Affordable Care Act (on assisted suicide); and certain federal nondiscrimination laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion in a variety of HHS programs.

OCR Director Severino said, “Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice. For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now.”

Acting HHS Secretary Hargan said, “President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom.  That promise is being kept today. The Founding Fathers knew that a nation that respects conscience rights is more diverse and more free, and OCR’s new division will help make that vision a reality.”

Contact: Office for Civil Rights
202-774-3009

arina.grossu@hhs.gov

To learn more about the new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, visit us at www.hhs.gov/conscience.

To file a complaint with OCR based on a violation of civil rights, conscience or religious freedom, or health information privacy, visit us at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints.

British conscience protection bill: second reading set for 26 January, 2018

The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL] 2017-19, introduced by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, will be debated during second reading in the British House of Lords on 26 January, 2018.  The proposal is a procedure-specific bill limited to activities associated with abortion, artificial reproduction and withdrawing life sustaining treatment.