1. D.C. Council set to approve aid-in-dying measure, By Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post, October 18, 2016, Pg. A1.

The D.C. Council is poised to approve legislation making the District the nation’s sixth jurisdiction to allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill residents, adding momentum to a practice that had long been controversial but is gaining acceptance among elected leaders, the medical community and the public.

A majority of D.C. Council members say they plan to vote for the bill when it comes before them Tuesday.

But chances for enactment are unclear. The council will have to vote on the bill twice more by the end of the year. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has not indicated whether she will sign the legislation, although her health director has testified against it, saying it violates the Hippocratic oath. It is not certain that proponents have enough votes for an override. And Congress could also strike down the legislation; a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) did not answer requests for comment.

Critics say the notion of doctors hastening death for terminally ill patients runs counter to religious teachings about the sanctity of life.

Right-to-die advocates say passage in the District, especially after their California victory last year, would help break a key racial barrier in their national campaign.


 2. Dying in the District, The D.C. Council wrestles with how to end a life, By Patrice Hirsch Feinstein and Tara Sonenshine, The Washington Times, October 18, 2016, Pg. B3, Opinion.

As the D.C. Council takes up the issue of “death with dignity” this week, it is time to frame the topic correctly. Pending legislation would allow consenting doctors to help terminally ill District residents hasten the end their lives and provide another option for those who are out of options.

Advocates for “death with dignity” are hopeful that the nation’s capital will be the next jurisdiction where patients facing painful end of life decisions will have the choice to bring their suffering to an end and legally end their lives, which is the kind of advancement we need.

Americans are living longer these days, and with the growth of assisted living, hospice benefits, palliative care, memory care units, as well as life-extending health care measures, many have many more options for the last years of life.

But rather than have a “debate” over the willingness of all physicians to help those with terminal illnesses hasten death, we need to see the issue as one of empowering mentally able patients with only a six-month likely life span by adding another category of choice, as many states are doing. In fact, 17 percent of the U.S. population reside in states where such patients now have more autonomy at the end of their life as they should.

We are a nation of options. Options at the end of life are important. But for more than 250 million Americans, one option is still off the table — getting help with dying.

Let’s hope the council in the nation’s capital makes the right decision. Just as there should be autonomy for the District of Columbia, so should there be for the citizens that live there.

Patrice Hirsch Feinstein is the former associate administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Tara Sonenshine is former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.


3. Time is not on abortion-giant Planned Parenthood’s side, By Ashley McGuire, contributor, The Hill Online, October 17, 2016, 6:14 PM.

Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association.

As Planned Parenthood turns 100 this week, it would appear that times are great for them.
The corporation is certainly flush, as a recent audit revealed that CEO Cecile Richards’ salary doubled to nearly one million dollars from a couple years ago. The half a billion dollars the corporation receives annually from the U.S. government certainly helps, as do the hundreds of thousands of abortions the chain performs annually, at a cost of up to $1,500 a pop.

And it certainly helps when the presidential candidate leading in the polls has sworn her allegiance to Planned Parenthood, even promising to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal tax dollars for most abortions directly.

One can hardly blame Planned Parenthood for thinking it’s party time.

But a closer look reveals many reasons for Planned Parenthood to be deeply concerned.
For starters, there is my generation.

Indeed, the pro-life energy tracks that of other social justice movements in our nation’s history.
Over time, each of those movements swelled to the point that it became an unstoppable force, eventually piercing the nation’s conscience and stirring legislators to action. Just this year, polling found that an overwhelming majority of Americans find abortion to be “morally wrong” and that nearly 80 percent believe that our laws are capable of protecting both a mother and her unborn child.

That’s bad news for Planned Parenthood.

And so they will no doubt celebrate the 100 years they have behind them, but they cannot hide from reality, which suggests that time is not on their side.


4. Religious freedom and healthcare — what our candidates should know, By Jonathan Imbody, contributor, The Hill Online, October 17, 2016, 12:50 PM.

Freedom of faith, conscience and speech in healthcare has come under fire domestically and internationally in recent years, as politicians pander to special interest groups by mandating ideological conformity on issues such as homosexuality and abortion.

Regardless of one’s stance on controversial social issues, sound practical considerations and compassion for needy patients should quell cries to coerce health professionals — particularly those professionals motivated by their faith — into ideological conformity.

Even those who disdain faith, perhaps because religious principles counter their own ideological proclivities, can appreciate the fact that people of faith for centuries have been serving where no one else will serve and serving people whom no one else will serve. Impelled to do so by the principles of their faith, these servant-ambassadors serve anyone and everyone and especially seek out the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.

The same faith principles that motivate sacrificial service also impel faith-based health professionals and institutions to serve according to moral and ethical principles. The faith motivation to serve the needy cannot be severed from the faith motivation to serve according to moral and ethical principles. The motivations are one and the same — to glorify God by loving others according to His principles.

This inseparability of motivation explains why 91 percent of faith-based physicians surveyed say they will leave medicine if forced to choose between their careers and their conscience. When a physician is forced to leave, every patient served by that physician loses her doctor. When a faith-based institution is forced to close, in some cases a whole region loses healthcare.

Accommodating conscience may challenge government officials bent on wielding power and ideological bureaucrats who despise competing faith principles. But without such conscience accommodations to insure true toleration and inclusivity, the resulting loss of patient access to healthcare may prove an uncompromising administration’s undoing.


5. Vatican advances financial clean-up with Italian tax deal, By Carol Glatz, CNS, Crux, October 17, 2016.

Individuals and entities that have accounts at the Vatican bank and are subject to taxation in Italy will have until mid-April to report to Italian authorities the income earned by their Vatican accounts.

As part of ongoing efforts by the Vatican to increase financial transparency and accountability, an agreement between the Holy See and Italy concerning taxes went into effect Oct. 15.

The Vatican released further details about the agreement in a press release Oct. 17, reiterating that individuals and entities had 180 days from the date of implementation to follow the convention’s mandates, complete the necessary paperwork and – for those with Vatican bank accounts – to inform the proper Italian tax authorities.

The convention’s application will be overseen by the Vatican Secretariat of State, the press release said.