Straight Up with Sherri

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Hat tip: Sally Vee

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sally Vee over the phone today. Look forward to her becoming a leading voice and activist agianst the "culture of death" in America.

Two Decades to an American Culture of Death

How a handful of progressive foundations and quasi-government agencies set out to provide equitable distribution of health care, and in the process, created a duty to die and a culture of death. And how they hope to secure their legacy. . .

Featuring the collaboration of:

the Hastings Center, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), George Soros's Project on Death in America (PDIA), Institute of Medicine (IOM), AARP, Choice in Dying, and a number of prestigious universities, to name only a few.

From 1996 forward, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and
George Soros's Project on Death in America (PDIA) implemented end-of-life (EOL) programs that fit into a three-point strategy to change American culture. The strategy for social change had been offered by Daniel Callahan in a 1995 Hastings Center Report article. He argued that America was a death-denying society. Callahan's three points were later refined in an Institute of Medicine report, and adopted by RWJF. Each RWJF/Soros initiative advanced at least one of the following strategies, denoted by these icons in the timeline:


While RWJF provided the lion's share of the funding, Soros's Project on Death in America funded the leadership. Many of the key project designers such as Diane Meier, Joanne Lynn, Christine Cassel, Charles von Gunten, Joseph Fins, and Frank Ferris were Soros scholars.

Central to this history is Choice in Dying, a right-to-die advocacy organization in New York. While assisted-suicide activists in Oregon, California, and Colorado were aggressively pushing legislation and bringing suit to legalize PAS and euthanasia, Choice in Dying quietly reorganized as "Partnership for Caring." Eschewing Oregon's prescribed overdose version of assisted-suicide, Partnership endorsed a more nuanced form of aid-in-dying. In 1994, as president of Choice in Dying, Karen Kaplan called the Oregon PAS legalization a pain control measure. By 2001, Partnership claimed neutrality on the issue of PAS and euthanasia; but its president saw tremendous right-to-die potential in the Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill decisions:

"the Supreme Court upheld the right of states to legislate whether to ban or to permit assisted suicide. The Supreme Court concluded that the distinctions between assisted-suicide and either withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment were 'important,' 'logical,' and 'rational.' As a result, it is constitutionally permitted for states to allow competent persons to refuse life-sustaining treatments while banning physician assisted suicide." [emphasis added]

[ M. Metzger JD, K. Kaplan MPH, Sc.D. Transforming Death in America: A state of the nation report. Washington, DC. 2001. Prepared for Last Acts.]

Thus, there have been two predominant wings of the right-to-die movement, and they are flagged in the timeline by the following icons:

The militant western movement -- Hemlock Society, Oregon Right-to-Die, Death With Dignity, and Compassion in Dying (now known as Compassion & Choices). These have been forthright advocates of PAS by lethal overdose. They are known for their direct approach to forcing change, such as through litigation. In 2003 and 2004, some of these groups re-named themselves in an effort to present a softer image to the public.

Choice in Dying/Partnership for Caring
Advocating "patient's choice," their strategy was to encourage individual choice through living wills, and to change medical and public culture through education programs. Partnership advanced two principal avenues for hastening or controlling time of death. When the new palliative care movement lobbied for change, they demanded that legislation provide one or both of these "safe harbor exceptions:"
  • withholding/withdrawing nutrition and hydration
  • double-effect of pain medication (allowing terminal sedation).

Some other excerpts:

but which are now commonplace in textbooks, accreditation courses, and popular culture:

withholding/withdrawing nutrition and hydration, even when the patient is able to assimilate food and/or fluids

non-reversible sedation, usually through the use of opioids a more casual view of opioids

chronic disease is terminal disease

redefining "imminent." A prognosis of "imminent death" can mean that the patient might die in a day or so; or within a year.



  • It doesn't matter...all this stuff, because the Rapture is coming...

    I'm just waiting for it to show up already - then I can get that BMW the guy down the street owns.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 PM  

  • Right on! Just a couple of notes to add. Choice In Dying was the new name for the Euthanasia Society of America, which underwent several name changes till it changed to Choice in Dying in the 1960s. These people, who directly influenced Adolf Hitler in the 1930s and early 1940s, never went away and have been in the United States and elsewhere all along.

    Choice in Dying gave us the living wills, advanced directives, DNRs just as you point out. Partnership for Caring was created by Ira Byock, MD and others as a hospice industry coalition specifically for the purpose of creating legislation favorable to the hospice industry, however, they merged with Choice in Dying, with Partnership for Caring being the "surviving" corporate entity. Partnership for Caring merged later on with Last Acts to become Last Acts Partnership, and as you point out the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and others were behind these groups. Last Acts was funded by a grant from Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.

    The national policymaking groups for hospice in this country have been totally overrun by these groups or this mindset, where "assisted suicide," "aid in dying," "patient choice to determine the timing of their death," etc. is to be added to the "menu" of "services" to be provided within hospice.

    The Euthanasia Society of America, later Choice in Dying, spent thousands on formal research to learn what phrases could "sell" euthanasia to America, because they failed in the 1930s through 1960s to do so. They found that phrases such as "compassion in dying," "patient choice," "end of life choices," "aid in dying, etc., all were much more accepted.

    The public needs to understand that the MISUSE or redefining of what hospice is, is one of the two major prongs in their attack on America to legalize euthanasia. They are working overtly to legalize physician assisted suicide, but are working COvertly to backdoor legalization through the "safe harbor" laws where professionals are protected from prosecution for murder when patients are "aided to die" if they are simply "refusing medical care" at the end of life.

    Be on the lookout! When you see a bogus "ban" on assisted suicide being proposed in many states (it has been tried in North Carolina the past two years without success), ... if the "ban" gives an exclusion (free pass) to the hospice industry, then they will be redefining any murders that occur in hospice as NOT murder, NOT assisted suicide, and thereby LEGAL in the eyes of the law and courts!

    REDEFINITION OF THE TERMS USED is a big strategy, and you can be sure that any such assisted suicide "ban" will give anyone accused of a hospice killing a "peer review" BEFORE it could go to the prosecutors.

    And what will the panel of peers, i.e., hospice doctors determine when looking at another accused doctor or nurse standing before them? "Innocent" every time! you can be sure.

    By Anonymous Ron Panzer, Pres/Founder Hospice Patients Alliance, at 10:39 PM  

  • Mr Panzer

    I am humbled and honored by your visit and in awe of your hard work!

    Thank you!!

    Anything we can do to help you- please let me know..

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 10:52 PM  

  • Anon:

    LOL gotta agree with you about that Rapture deal. Bring it on already.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 AM  

  • Sherri I want to post this timeline, but I'm having trouble figuring out who to cite. Is Sally Vee the author? Or is it the Tree of Life folks?

    This is really tremendous work and I'll be mining it over the next few weeks.

    By Blogger papijoe, at 7:48 AM  

  • Abortion, euthanasia, the new money making industries: Death for Profit.

    By Anonymous Nell, at 8:26 AM  

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