Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interesting Op-ed by PR Guy for Hawaii Death with Dignity Society

Stephen Drake, the research analyst for the disability rights group Not Dead Yet has done a great analysis of the recent comments by Scott Foster, the communications director for the Hawaii Death with Dignity group. Drake always does a great analysis, and he always looks into the archives for more information.

Drakes comment is work reading.

Interesting Op-ed by PR Guy for Hawaii Death with Dignity Society

Well, whatever else you can say about Scott Foster, Communication Director at the Hawaii Death with Dignity Society, he churns out an op-ed pretty quickly. Like lots of communications folks, he regurgitates stuff he's written elsewhere, but every once in awhile he introduces some new gem and there are several items of interest in his op-ed in the Star Advertiser after the defeat of the assisted suicide bill last week.

Foster wants a "better" debate - an ironic request from an assisted suicide zealot who exploited the tragic attempted murder-suicide in late 2009. Robert Yagi attempted to kill his wife with a flare gun loaded with shotgun shells. It was unsuccessful. However, Yagi succeeded in killing himself a short time later when police sent him home after being charged with attempted murder, left alone in his home. Like "Conflation and Con Jobs," Foster jumped on this incident to promote legalized assisted suicide, making the bizarre case that an attempted murder of a woman who didn't want to die somehow would have been prevented by a "death with dignity." Draw that reasoning up on a chalkboard and it would have a striking similarity to some of Glenn Beck's exercises in fantastical "logic."

The first "gem" in Foster's op-ed is that he comes very close to "speaking" Derek Humphry's "unspoken argument" - that an aging population and rising health care costs are powerful hidden motivations in supporting assisted suicide. Here's what Foster says:

I remain convinced that the well-organized opposition to DwD legislation in Hawaii and elsewhere is more about money and God than about our solving the many challenges associated with an aging population, the resulting end-of-life issues, or the out-of-control cost of health care in our state and nation. If you wonder where all that money is going, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research, Development, and Information: "Medicare provides 64 percent of total health expenditures for beneficiaries in their last year of life ..." and the numbers for private insurance and out-of-pocket expenditures are similar. Despite the smoke and mirror arguments about "compassion," as it is, there's big money in death for many in the health care industry and DwD seems to threaten the status quo. (Emphasis added.)

It's fascinating, really. If you read that carefully, what Foster is saying is "assisted suicide will save money." After you look beyond "the smoke and mirror arguments about 'compassion'" (to use Foster's words) you see what Foster and the rest are really betting on.

Another interesting aspect of this op-ed is his attack on the chair of the Committee that held the hearings on the assisted suicide bill. Pro-assisted suicide advocates normally portray physicians as absolutely trustworthy professionals who would never abuse or expand killing beyond what an assisted suicide statue allows. That doesn't mean that Foster wants one to run a hearing on assisted suicide:

It is also clear that an M.D. should not be chairing health committees. It's an inherent conflict of interest.

There's a contradiction there - trust a doc with your life but not your legislation? Seriously, though, I doubt that Foster would object to the hearing being chaired by a pro-euthanasia doctor.

For anyone interested, there's been a fairly heated exchange between myself and another commenter at the newspaper site. I wouldn't be surprised if the other person was Foster himself, since he or she uses the same tired old arguments and fantasy scenarios about husbands who murder their wives.

Check out the comments in the Star Advertiser.

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