Critics: Booklet Asks Vets to Question Life's Value

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Critics have warned that President Barack Obama's healthcare reform would force the elderly into mandatory sessions where doctors could subtly pressure them to stop taking medications or even consider euthanasia.

Jim Towey, the Bush administration's first faith-based office chief, also told CBN News a similar thing is already being pushed on veterans through a booklet called "Your Life, Your Choices."  

The document is framed in quality of life terms that acts as though, if a person has a disability or a stroke, somehow their life has less value," he said.

Click play more more on the "Your Life, Your Choices" booklet with Col. John Folsom of the Wounded Warriors Family Support group.  Also, read the contents of the booklet here.

Click here for Dr. Mark Mostert's thoughts on the Tuesday "glitch" report that the Veterans Administration sent to more than 1,000 vets about benefits related to being accidentally diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Towey is trying to shine a harsh spotlight on a booklet used by the Veterans' Administration.

According to Towey, the booklet could steer veterans to consider their life not worth living.

He points to page 21 in the booklet, where readers are asked to consider whether they'd want to live if faced with certain conditions. 

Many of them are common for elderly or disabled people, like being in a wheelchair, living in a nursing home and being a severe financial burden on family.

Those filling out the work page aren't allowed to feel okay about any of these conditions.  Their choices are "life like this would be: difficult, but acceptable; worth living, but just barely; or not worth living."

On page 48, it states "if you have fears about being a burden, explore these feelings with those who will care for you.  Family members often view caring for loved ones as an honor - not a burden."

Towey says Robert Pearlman, the booklet's author, has pushed both doctor-assisted suicide and healthcare rationing.

"He's been an advocate for assisted suicide both in a U.S. Supreme Court case where he filed an amicus brief but in other writings where he was a contributor to a book about physician-aided killing," Pearlman said.

All this disturbed Sen. Arlen Specter enough to call for immediate action over the VA's connection to "Your Life, Your Choices."

"Consideration ought to be given right now to suspending it pending hearings before the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Senate, where I serve," he said.  "And I'm going to call for those hearings first thing tomorrow."

VA assistant secretary Tammy Duckworth insists the VA is no longer promoting the booklet.

"It is in our best interest to make sure that every veteran out there receives the care and access to the treatments and everything that he needs."

Towey insists the Bush administration ordered the VA to stop pushing the booklet, but someone reversed that order a couple of months ago.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.