Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Belgium’s euthanasia establishment hisses back.

Paul Russell
This article was published by HOPE Australia on June 26, 2015 and Mercatornet on June 30, 2015.

By Paul Russell, the director of HOPE Australia: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide,

The name and the story of Belgian chemist Dr Tom Mortier has become known throughout the world. His physically well mother was clinically depressed. Yet in 2012 she was euthanised without his knowledge in Belgium. He and his sister were left to pick up the pieces.

His experience was recently described in a stunning feature in The New Yorker by journalist Rachel Aviv. Ever since his mother’s death Tom has been campaigning against legalized euthanasia in Belgium, much to the consternation of figures in the euthanasia establishment who have become the darlings of the media.

“I am afraid that the notion of ‘free will’ has become dogma, behind which it is easy to hide,” Tom wrote in a Belgian medical journal. “Wouldn’t it be better to invest in mental health and palliative care?”
The establishment was indignant at this impertinence. Etienne Vermeersch, who has been called the most influential intellectual in the country, complained that Tom was conducting a “smear campaign”. Seven thousand people signed a petition objecting to the criticism. At least he knows who his enemies are…

Tom Mortier in Adelaide.
Tom spoke recently about his experiences at a symposium I organised in Adelaide, South Australia, and two weeks later in Dublin. We have corresponded and talked on and off for the last few years after meeting briefly in Brussels in November of 2013.

Tom is incredibly open and honest about his personal history: his father’s suicide when Tom was small; becoming both child and carer for his mentally-ill mother; their later estrangement; and his own difficulties in dealing with depression and mental health issues.

His mother’s death and the trials that followed as he struggled to understand the how and the why can be easily understood to be stressful and challenging.

Tom and I went fishing for a few days after our event. He’s a warm and intelligent man with a zany sense of humour. He is also a husband and father. We spoke about his grief following his mother’s death, what he has learned since about euthanasia practice in Belgium. Tom says, “I did not ask for any of this.” I am in awe of Tom, his inner strength, his lucid thinking and his drive for justice. He is a survivor, not a statistic.


Tom Mortier's mother
But any suggestion that Tom’s behaviour, the path he has pursued and the questions he has asked of those involved in his mother’s death, are the actions of someone who is not in control of his faculties, who sought, “self-treatment with lawsuits to the European Court of Human Rights” is beyond the pale. But that is precisely what Dr Jan Bernheim and Professor Etienne Vermeersch did in defending their euthanasia colleagues in the De Morgen newspaper after Tom’s story was the focal point of an extensive article in The New Yorker magazine recently.

Bernheim, like Dr Wim Distelmans who killed Tom’s mother, is an oncologist. Vermeersch is a philosopher. Along with Distelmans, they are part of the foundation movement that brought euthanasia to Belgium in 2002. None is a psychiatrist and yet Distelmans cleared a mentally-ill woman for euthanasia while his colleagues “diagnosed” her son as suffering “pathological grief” in a newspaper – no issues of confidentiality for them!

There’s a very distinct empathy deficit here; a deficit, I submit, that characterises the Belgian euthanasia experiment over these last 12 years.

Think of the pain and distress this De Morgen article visits upon Tom and his family. If Bernheim and Vermeersch had the slightest shred of decency they would have taken a more humane and sensitive route in defence of their colleagues.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Disability rights advocates fight California assisted suicide bill.

Anthony Orefice
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

USA Today published a very interesting article by Anna Gorman of Kaiser Health News concerning the role of disability rights activists in the assisted suicide debate in America. For instance Anthony Orefice from Valencia California who had a motorcycle accident when he was 19.
Anthony Orefice hit a telephone pole on his motorcycle going 100 miles per hour. Doctors told his family he wouldn't survive. He did, but the accident left him paralyzed from the chest down ... All you are thinking is the worst, worst, worst – everything you can't do," ... "I wanted to be dead. 
Orefice, who is now 40, is married, has a 7-year-old son, owns a medical supply company and counsels people who are newly disabled with spinal cord injuries. Orefice says that:
"Depression,... is part of the healing process." 
Marilyn Golden (on right)
Orefice is one of many disability rights activists who are speaking up against the California assisted suicide bill. He and others are concerned that:

depression and incorrect prognoses may lead people with serious disabilities to end their lives prematurely.
Marilyn Golden, the senior policy analyst at Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, argues that the assisted suicide bill poses "considerable dangers" to people with new disabilities who may have suicidal thoughts. Golden states that:
"It would almost be too easy to make an irrevocable choice,"
Golden added:
many people who initially received terminal diagnoses have "lived full lives (for) years or even decades" longer than expected.
John Kelly
John Kelly, with the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, explained that the disability rights groups were less organized when the Oregon and Washington State and Vermont passed assisted suicide bills, but since then they have effectively defeated assisted suicide bills in many states including Massachusetts, Colorado and Connecticut. Kelly is quoted as saying:

"We have had success after success in stopping these bills," ... they are determined to defeat any bill, including the one in California.
The disability rights coalition is actively opposing the California assisted suicide bill SB 128. Deborah Doctor, a legislative advocate for Disability Rights California, wrote in a letter to State Senator Lois Wolk:
disabled people are vulnerable to abuse and could be coerced by family members not acting in the patients' best interests. Relatives, she said, could put pressure on people to take life-ending medication. 
"Our responsibility is to think of people who are the most vulnerable to coercion, abuse and pressure."
Doctor is also concerned that:
physicians may simply be wrong about how long someone has to live. Insurance companies also might overrule treatment for people with disabilities because of the cost of care.
Laurie Hoirup is another disability rights activist who strongly opposes assisted suicide, based on her personal experience. Hoirup has had spinal muscular atrophy since she was a toddler. She has a curved spine and rods in her back, she cannot eat, bathe or go to the bathroom on her own and has trouble breathing. According to Gorman, Hoirup said that:
Physicians told her family that she wouldn't live past 10 years old.
Anyone could be given the wrong diagnoses, I am certainly the perfect example of that.
Laurie Hoirup
Hoirup, who is now a grandmother, spent many years working in government and other positions on behalf of people with disabilities.

The article concludes:
Orefice, who wished for death when he was 19, said he is now glad for what he calls the years of "bonus time." 
But Orefice said he doesn't dwell on his disability or think much about death. Instead, he focuses on his family and thinks what he's been able to accomplish and what he still hopes to. He paddle boards, plays wheelchair hockey and races specially equipped off-road vehicles. 
"I have affected more lives than I would have if I was walking," he said. "When you are in the trenches, you don't see that."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Parents of cognitively disabled man appeal death by dehydration order in France.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

On June 5, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg Germany decided that Vincent Lambert, a cognitively disabled man who lives in France, could have his food and water withdrawn causing his death by dehydration.

Yesterday, the French media reported that Lambert's parents appealed the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. His parents and two siblings intend to protect him from death by dehydration. After the Strasbourg court decision Lambert's mother, Viviane stated:
“It’s scandalous. They are condemning my son. We will remain by Vincent’s side and will continue to fight,"
Vincent Lambert's mother
Lambert's parents referred to death by dehydration as being "akin to torture."


The Strasbourg court decision should concern people who believe in human equality. Lambert is not dying, but is cognitive disabled. This precedent setting court decision may cause other people with cognitive disabilities to be dehydrated to death.

Letter: Collateral damage of assisted suicide

This letter was written by disability rights attorney, Christopher Knauf, and published on June 25 in the Glendale News-Press

Dan Evans' recent op-ed, “Start the presses: Debating doctor assisted death,” avoids any mention of the serious and permanent collateral damage that accompanies physician-assisted suicide laws.

Assisted suicide offers no second chances. Terminal diagnoses are often wrong. Countless patients have been given “six months to live,” only to continue living for years.

Additionally, people who may technically be “mentally competent” but who are experiencing depression and decreased mental capacity are at great risk. Studies have found that a large percentage of those with dementia, for example, remain undiagnosed. Do we doubt that such people are at great risk of greedy family members or caregivers?

Wherever assisted suicide is legalized, too often, patient choice and control over one's healthcare is removed. Assisted suicide pills cost much less than the medical treatment for a chronically ill patient, or someone living with a disability who may need greater-than-average care. Do we really trust insurance companies to do the right thing — or the cheapest thing?

As disability rights advocates, we fear that family pressure, misdiagnosis, doctor-shopping, and meaningless safeguards will put our colleagues, friends and clients at grave risk. The stigma of severe disability — and the desire to die rather than live with a disability - is sadly real and rampant. Every major disability rights organization in the nation that has taken a position on this issue is opposed to physician-assisted suicide. While well-meaning at first glance, the debate loses sight of the very people it claims to help — the ill patients who stand to be permanently harmed.

Twelve states have rejected assisted suicide bills this year alone. California should follow suit.

Christopher Knauf
Santa Monica

Christopher Knauf is a disability rights litigation and special education attorney. He is a board member of the Westside Center for Independent Living, and was a Founding Member and Former Chair of the Santa Monica Disabilities Commission.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Belgium euthanasia promoters attack man whose mother died by euthanasia.

This article was written by Professor Tom Mortier and published on his blog.

T
Professor Tom Mortier
he Flemish newspaper De Morgen has been discrediting me for three years now. 

Today this newspaper gave Bernheim & Vermeersch the opportunity to publish an ad hominem viewpoint where they show no empathy at all and where they attack me enormously. 

I have never spoken with these two people although I have questioned the work of Bernheim in the scientific literature because I don't think that what he has published is a good example of true science. And yes, I do think now that Vermeersch is not practicing scientific thinking. He has no other arguments than to attack me personally without ever having had a conversation with me. From now one, I will continue to question these nihilistic thinkers who can't bear criticism and I will continue to ask questions about what's truly happening in my country. 


Professor Tom Mortier's depressed mother died by euthanasia on December 19, 2012.
Dr's Jan Bernheim and Etienne Vermeersch are long-time promoters of euthanasia in Belgium.

Belgium: ‘Euthanasia leads to the decline of a society?

This article was published on the HOPE Ireland website.

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick is the director of HOPE Ireland.

Hermann de Dijn, emeritus professor of philosophy at the Belgian University of Leuven, says: ‘Once the law is there, you have people asking themselves new questions… ‘Do I really have quality of life? Am I not a burden on others?’

De Dijn believes that ‘human dignity should include not only respect for personal choices but also for connectedness to loved ones and society.’ The concept of human dignity in Belgium has been ‘reduced to the ability to have certain experiences’.[1]

He is absolutely right of course. The concept has been stretched beyond its limits. It has lost all meaning in Belgium.

We must now, ever more urgently, return to clear ground, to be sure we are really speaking about dignity, not some corrupted notion which has no actual bearing on what should be our proper concerns.

If the questions are not exactly new, the locus of them is: Belgium’s veneration of death – the lazy moral thinking in a whole society which has allowed itself to be led on a leash to accept the idea that death is, and should be, the default ‘treatment’ for all ailments. This is the societal tectonic shift that allows a young woman, just 24 years old, with apparently serious mental health issues, to apply for and be granted a euthanasia death (believed to be scheduled for August this year), and to say she finds ‘euthanasia a nice idea’.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Healthy 24-year-old Belgian healthy woman is scheduled to die by euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Belgian euthanasia insanity continues with the case of a 24-year-old healthy woman "Laura" who is scheduled to die by euthanasia this summer for psychological reasons, now the Inquisitr has provided more information on this horrific story. (Original article). Laura is not her real name.


"Laura"
The June 19 DeMorgen article by Simone Maas explains (google translated):
She has good friends, loves good coffee and theater. And she has felt that she wanted to die ever since childhood. Laura (24): "Life, that's not for me." This summer, euthanasia will end her life full of inner conflict, depression and self-destruction. 
I met the West Flemish Laura at the presentation of the book 'Libera me' euthanasia for psychological reasons. Writer Lieve Thienpont is one of the psychiatrists who gave Laura a positive opinion for euthanasia.
Today the Inquisitr published an interview with Laura that explains the story in an even more shocking manner. According to the Inquisitr, Laura experiences suicidal thoughts, otherwise known as suicidal ideation.
Laura, a 24-year-old woman is planning on dying this summer via euthanasia. Unlike many cases before, Laura is not sick with cancer or dying. She simply has had suicidal thoughts since childhood and claims, “Life, that’s not for me.”
Laura claims that she has been living with suicidal ideation since kindergarten. The medical news defines suicidal ideation as:
Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation are thoughts about how to kill oneself, which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing oneself. The majority of people who experience suicidal ideation do not carry it through.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts contact Your Life Counts.

According to the Medical news suicidal ideation can be triggered by other suicides.

Researchers reported in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) that suicide can be contagious.

Dr. Ian Colman, from the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Epidemiology, explained that one person's suicide can have an impact on another's suicidal thoughts or behavior, especially among teenagers. 
He adds that the teenagers do not necessarily have to be associated with the person who died by suicide to start having suicidal thoughts or attempting to end his/her own life.
It appears that Laura's suicidal ideation may be linked to the euthanasia death of Sarah. The Inquisitr stated:
Due to these issues, she began seeking treatment in a psychiatric institution over the last three years. Laura says she first began considering euthanasia when she became friends with another woman named Sarah, who also ended her life about a year and a half ago. Now, Laura is also a candidate for euthanasia for psychological reasons, which is when a patient is in mental pain and wants to die.
Euthanasia for psychological reasons is done when a psychiatrist agrees that the psychological pain that a person is experiencing cannot be relieved in a way that the individual finds acceptable.

Godelieva De Troyer
That means, Laura may be treatable, but she has decided to only accept death as a "treatment."

Similar to the euthanasia deaths of Godelieva De Troyer (64), a healthy Belgian woman who was living with depression or Ann G (44) who asked for euthanasia for psychological pain after being sexually exploited by her psychiatrist, Laura has been approved for lethal injection, even though she is physically healthy and only 24-years-old.

In March, the chairman of the federal euthanasia commission in Belgium admitted that 50 to 60 euthanasia deaths are done on psychiatric patients each year.

Similar cases are occurring in the Netherlands, where a report indicated there were 42 euthanasia deaths for psychiatric reasons and 97 euthanasia deaths for people with dementia in 2013.

France Senate rejects Euthanasia by Dehydration.

This article was published by Wesley Smith's on his blog on June 23.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith


Recently I wrote about how the French Senate was considering legalizing terminal sedation as a way to kill the terminally ill.

That column also distinguished between the slow motion euthanasia by dehydration/starvation and terminal sedation and the legitimate and ethical pain controlling technique of palliative sedation. 

I won’t repeat it here. If you are interested, hit this link

In any event, the French Senate wisely said no to slo-mo killings. From the AP story
France’s senate has voted against a bill allowing the sedation of terminally ill patients, fearing it would lead to allowing euthanasia, which is illegal in the country. Senators in Paris rejected the law by a vote of 196 - 87. 
Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of it as the National Assembly has passed the bill. Under the French system, that means more legislative process, with the Assembly apparently having the final say...

But the Senate’s overwhelming rejection is good news for ethical medicine–at least for now.

Dutch Pediatricians Want to Euthanize Children.

This article was published on Wesley Smith's website on June 19.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

There is no limit to the culture of death once it is fully off the leash. 

Dutch law allows euthanasia for children age 12 and over. But now a prominent pediatrician wants the age limits erased. From the AFP story
Terminally ill children in unbearable suffering should be given the right to die, the Dutch Paediatricians Association said on Friday, urging the suppression of the current 12-year age limit. 
“We feel that an arbitrary age limit such as 12 should be changed and that each child’s ability to ask to die should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” said Eduard Verhagen, paediatrics professor at Groningen University who is on the association’s ethics commission. 
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill! 

And don’t think the “terminal illness” restriction would last two weeks. Dutch law does not require that people be dying to be euthanized. 

It should be noted that Verhagen–who co-authored the Groningen Protocol–commits infanticide. (The GP is a bureaucratic protocol under which doctors kill newborn babies born with disabilities and terminal illnesses.) 

Think that will never happen? It’s already the law in Belgium. 

As I said, there is no limit to the culture of death once it is fully off the leash.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Assisted suicide for disabled people – democracy in Britain?

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE, Director of Hope Ireland, published on the Hope Ireland's blog.
Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor’s recent research results[1] are extremely important.

As Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said in a public debate (Southbank, January 28 2012), ‘This is about the kind of society we want to live in’.

Cohen-Almagor’s paper reprises a truth Baroness Jane Campbell, founder of Not Dead Yet UK, has spent years trying to help people understand. We have clear evidence that assisted suicide/euthanasia laws are aimed primarily at disabled people. Lord Falconer has now openly admitted this on the Daily Politics show (BBC 9 June 2015).

Pain, we have repeatedly said, is not the primary reason for asking for assisted suicide. Falconer agrees: ‘…pain…can be dealt with…it is the sense of people losing independence and being reliant on other people…there’s a small number of people who…find that an intolerable position…’ Yes, 61% of people in Washington State US say they want to die because they feel themselves ‘to be a burden on others’.[2] No small number that.

Rob Marris, MP is now determined to bring forward in the House of Commons the Assisted Dying Bill. But this softened language is mere disguise according to page 39 of Lord Falconer’s own ‘commission’ report: ‘assisted dying’ just means ‘Assisted suicide/euthanasia’.[3]

Marris topped the ballot for a Private Member’s Bill. Falconer came twenty-first. Suddenly, Marris had adopted Falconer’s Bill as his own project. I cannot help but wonder how the other nineteen who came out of the hat before Falconer now feel. Is this really democracy in action? So that people may die if they fear the kind of ‘dependence’ millions of us disabled people accommodate every day?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Assisted-suicide shouldn’t be for those in the fog of depression.

This article was written by columnist Rosie DiManno and published June 22 in the Toronto Star.

Rosie DiManno
By Rosie DiManno

The attempted suicide came onto the ward in the middle of the night direct from emergency.

For several days she remained in a private room, on 24-hour watch by an attendant privately engaged by her family. One morning, she appeared in the patient's lounge, bandaged wrists protruding from the sleeves of her silk kimono.

She was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen.

And she wanted to die.

It was a declaration she made repeatedly — impossible not to overhear — to her visitor, a man who placed her stocking feet in his lap and rubbed them continuously, as if trying to restore feeling, not to the feet but to the woman's spirit.

"I'll do it again," she stated flatly. "I will. You can't always be there to save me."
By the end of the week she was gone, presumably transferred to some other facility for the mentally fragile.

Many years later, at a cocktail party, I saw her again. She was laughing, a glass of wine in her hand, like in the Rolling Stones song. Her green eyes sparkled with amusement. Another man, not her hospital visitor, had his arm wrapped around her slim waist. This, I would learn, was her husband. They had three young children.

When I drifted towards the group with whom she was conversing, the woman turned in my direction. There wasn't a flicker of recognition in her face. That was for the best.

We often don't recognize even ourselves, the people we once were, when we were broken and despairing. That's how you get beyond the pain, not being able to remember what's faded away. If it returns – as is frequently the case for people with mood disorders, the "black dog" clinical depression that locks on with pit bull jaws – it always feels like the first time. And you forget that it will pass or at least abate. In the moment, it feels unendurable.

Sometimes, you want to die.

I once had a heated debate with a psychiatrist esteemed as Canada's leading expert on suicide. He's spent a lifetime trying to prevent it. "Why do you think people don't know their own minds?" I argued.

I was wrong. Descending into that dark place where hopelessness – and psychical fatigue, really, just so damn tired of misery – renders rational thought impossible.

Yet the irrational, what has long been viewed as moral anathema, is starting to take hold in the medical and ethical establishments. That can be traced directly to momentum of the "right to die" movement. Canada's Supreme Court unanimously struck down the law against assisted suicide in February, although the ban won't be lifted until next year.

And this is where such thinking leads: In Belgium, second country in the world (after the Netherlands) to decriminalize euthanasia – and the first (in 2014) to legalize euthanasia of children by lethal injection—the law allows physician-assisted suicide in non-terminal cases of "lasting and unbearable suffering'' that "cannot be alleviated''.

As in the Netherlands, it permits doctor-assisted suicide for patients suffering from severe and incurable distress, including psychological disorders.

These are people where death is not inevitable, which is the core requisite for countries (and in some American states) where euthanasia is permitted. Not death with dignity but death with a push.

In Belgium, euthanasia and assisted-suicide deaths has increased by more than 150 per cent in the last five years. Among those "approved'' for death have been people with autism, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis, manic depression, Alzheimer's and a 24-year-old transgender man devastated by the failure of his sex-change surgery.

None of these patients was dying. They just feel real bad and don't want to take it anymore.

They were — as explored in a profoundly disturbing article in the current edition of The New Yorker — morbidly disconsolate and frail of mind. Which is a far sight from terminally ill and dying.

We're getting dangerously close to erasing those distinctions, those boundaries.

In Belgium, a nation that has the second highest suicide rate in Western Europe (excluding euthanasia), five people a day now breathe their last in doctor-assisted suicide. Some ethicists, at least, are alarmed by both the flourishing culture of death and a loose interpretation of the law which, in cases of non-terminal illness, requires agreement from three doctors. As Rachel Aviv, author of The New Yorker article writes: 

"The laws seem to have created a new conception of suicide as a medical treatment, stripped of its tragic dimensions."
It seems a contradiction that the right-to-die ascendancy globally is promoted primarily not by an aging population contemplating unpleasant end-of-life issues; rather by, as Aviv notes, "the concerns of a younger generation, whose members derive comfort from the knowledge that they can control the end of their lives." A professor of geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York — a leading palliative-care physician — tells Aviv that 
"the movement to legalize assisted suicide is driven by the 'worried well', by people who are terrified of the unknown and want to take back control."
This is the slippery slope that so many, including Canada's top justices, have discounted as a consequence of assisted suicide, with its purportedly rigid guidelines.

Knocking off the depressed, because that's what they want, as if the deeply disconsolate can possibly make an informed decision.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A healthy, 24-year-old woman to be euthanised in Belgium.

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
International Chair: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The Belgian euthanasia insanity continues with the case of a 24-year-old healthy woman (Laura) who will die by euthanasia this summer for psychological reasons.

The June 19 DeMorgen article by Simone Maas explains (google translated):

She has good friends, loves good coffee and theater. And she has felt that she wanted to die ever since childhood. Laura (24): "Life, that's not for me." This summer, euthanasia will end her life full of inner conflict, depression and self-destruction. 
I met the West Flemish Laura at the presentation of the book 'Libera me' euthanasia for psychological reasons. Writer Lieve Thienpont is one of the psychiatrists who gave Laura a positive opinion for euthanasia.
Godelieva De Troyer
Euthanasia for psychological reasons is done when a psychiatrist agrees that the psychological pain that a person is experiencing cannot be relieved in a way that the individual finds acceptable.

That means, Laura may be treatable, but Laura has decided that the only acceptable "treatment" is death.

Similar to the euthanasia deaths of Godelieva De Troyer (64), a healthy Belgian woman who was living with depression or Ann G (44) who asked for euthanasia for psychological pain after being sexually exploited by her psychiatrist, who was treating her for Anorexia, Laura has been approved for lethal injection, even though she is physically healthy and only 24-years-old.

In March, the chairman of the federal euthanasia commission in Belgium admitted that 50 to 60 euthanasia deaths are done on psychiatric patients each year.

Similar cases are occurring in the Netherlands, where a report indicated there were 42 euthanasia deaths for psychiatric reasons and 97 euthanasia deaths for people with dementia in 2013.


Canadians should be concerned.

On February 6, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada's assisted suicide law. The Supreme Court decision allowed assisted dying for people who experience physical or psychological pain.

Similar to Belgium and the Netherlands, the Supreme Court indicated that assisting death for psychological reasons could be based on personal subjective reasons.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is urging the federal government to establish a committee to properly examine the issues and to use the notwithstanding clause to Give us time to legislative on assisted suicide.

Texas bill is model legislation to prevent Death by Dehydration.

By Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Governor Abbott signed
HB 3074 into law.
On Friday, June 12, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott overturned 16 years of legal forced dehydration and starvation in Texas by signing House Bill 3074. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) was present for the historic moment and presented a commendation to Representative Drew Springer on his skillful passage of this landmark legislation, and EPC briefly explained the significance of this bi-partisan, unanimously-supported, model disability rights bill. HB 3074 is a critical first step in EPC’s national and worldwide efforts to restore the rights of persons with disabilities to receive nutrition and hydration (ANH). Therefore this vital win in Texas is anticipated to save lives not just within the Lone Star State but throughout the United States and even globally as EPC prepares to explore this issue with standing at the United Nations.

Rep. Drew Springer
receives EPC award.
Under Rep. Springer’s leadership, HB 3074 moved Texas from the one state to allow healthcare providers to remove food and water in any circumstance to joining five other states that explicitly protect patients in need of ANH. The Texas law was an anomaly in that it allowed the medical community authority to remove ANH in any circumstance. In contrast, five states have passed laws to ensure that food and water is not forcibly withheld by a healthcare provider to kill a patient. Now that HB 3074 is signed into law, Texas no longer ranks as the worst state for patients in need of ANH but ranks among the best.

EPC believes that HB 3074 is model legislation. Representative Springer brokered an unprecedented compromise that cleared a 12-year stalemate on this issue. HB 3074 began in committee with opposition, but Springer was able to find language agreeable to all parties and foster unity to enable the bill to be passed in all committees and chambers of both House and Senate with no opposition.

Belgian Death Doctor Wins Humanist Award.

Wesley Smith
This article was published by Wesley Smith on June 21.

By Wesley Smith

I keep saying that humanism has metastasized into anti-humanism. 

Case in point, the notorious euthanasia death doctor William Distelmans–an oncologist–killed the healthy but depressed Godelieva De Troyer because she wanted to die. The first her son Tom Mortier heard of the deadly endeavor was when the hospital called and curtly told him to pick up her body. 

One would think that even euthanasia supporters would oppose death doctors killing patients with conditions outside their medical specialties. 

But then, treatment isn’t the point of euthanasia. Killing is, which is why supporters of Jack Kevorkian shrugged at his killing “patients,” even though he was a pathologist who hadn’t treated living people for decades. 

Now, the Belgian Liberal Humanism Society has given this killer its Liberal Humanist Prize. From the announcement (Google translation): 
This prize is awarded every two years by the Liberal-Humanist Association to “an eminent humanist who has demonstrated in his life and work of a genuine and sustained liberal humanist engagement.” 
De Troyer wasn’t Distelmans’ only liberal humanist engagement. Among his other humanist triumphs, the killing of a trasgendered person upset at the outcome of sex change surgery and deaf twins who were losing their eyesight. 

What next? The Euthanasia of the Year Award?

Iola deVeber passed away on Friday June 19.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



On Friday June 19, 2015 Iola deVeber, the beloved wife of Dr L.L. (Barrie) deVeber died in her 87th year.

Link to the obituary.

Dr Barrie deVeber is the founding President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

This picture was taken on November 10, 2012 at the EPC dinner organized to honour the leadership of Dr deVeber and to thank his family for their years of support.

The book: Barrie: Memoirs of Dr L.L. deVeber will be released in October 2015.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Give us time! Euthanasia Prevention Coalition campaigns to protect people from assisted suicide.

This article was published in the Ottawa Citizen on June 19.

On Feb. 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s assisted suicide law, giving Parliament 12 months to replace the law. That ruling opened the door to physician-assisted suicide.

But this is an incredibly complex topic, one fraught with moral and ethical issues.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, wonders how the Supreme Court of Canada thought it possible to pass a new law on such a difficult topic within a 12-month time frame.
“Considering the complexity of the issue — the reality is that we are talking about a life and death issue — and that there will be a federal election in October, it will simply not be possible for Parliament to fill the legislative gap in 12 months,” said Schadenberg.
Alex Schadenberg
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is calling on Justice Minister Peter MacKay to establish a commission to make clear recommendations on a legislative framework. The Coalition is urging the government to use the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution of Canada to gain the necessary time to pass a new assisted suicide law. The Coalition is also concerned that clear language must be used in the future assisted suicide law in order to protect people from euthanasia.

Schadenberg is warning Canadians about the effect of legalizing euthanasia upon our culture, reflecting what has occurred in other countries. He referred to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (March 19, 2015) indicating that 4.6 per cent of all deaths in Belgium in 2013 were euthanasia. What is even more concerning is that another 1.7 per cent of all deaths (or more than 1000 deaths) in Belgium in 2013 were hastened without explicit request, an act that is illegal in that country.

Further to that, euthanasia in Belgium has become accepted for psychological reasons, and many concerning cases have occurred where euthanasia for this reason was employed. For instance, in December 2012, a depressed woman died by euthanasia, even though her family was not informed of the impending death and her psychiatrist had opposed it. In April 2014, a 20-year-old woman formally complained that her mother died by euthanasia for psychological reasons without receiving any treatment for her depression.

Further cases include those of Nathan Verhelst, who asked for euthanasia for psychological reasons after a failed sex change operation, and those of Marc and Eddy Verbessem, who asked for euthanasia for psychological reasons because they feared becoming blind.

In March, the chairman of the federal euthanasia commission in Belgium admitted that 50 to 60 euthanasia deaths are done on psychiatric patients each year.

There has never been an attempted prosecution for abuse of the euthanasia law in Belgium.

Similar cases are occurring in the Netherlands
, where a report indicated there were 42 euthanasia deaths for psychiatric reasons and 97 euthanasia deaths for people with dementia in 2013.
“Euthanasia deaths are increasing by 15 per cent annually in the Netherlands and even more in Belgium,” said Schadenberg. “Considering the expanded reasons for euthanasia in these two countries, it is incumbent upon the Parliament of Canada to bring forth legislation that uses precise language and definitions, and enables protection in law for all Canadians on this vital issue.”

Follow the Money: Oregon pays for assisted suicide but not suicide prevention for adults.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Wesley Smith
Bioethicist, lawyer and cultural commentator, Wesley Smith, examines the Oregon policy of paying for assisted suicide in an article that was published, today, in the Weekly Standard.

In his article, Smith first comments on the celebration of Brittany Maynard's death, that became a massive campaign by the assisted suicide lobby, as compared to the near silence surrounding the life and death of Lauren Hill, who had the same condition but choose to live, continue to play basketball on her college team and raise money to fight cancer.


Smith examines the policies that have led to 859 Oregonians dying by assisted suicide, a state that also has the second highest "other suicide" rate that is 41% higher than the national average. Smith states:
A government’s priorities dictate its spending choices. Oregon uses federal and state money for youth suicide prevention. But even though one in five suicides in Oregon occurs among “older adults,” the anti-assisted-suicide Physicians for Compassionate Care found that the Oregon Health Authority does not fund adult suicide prevention services. As an OHA bureaucrat responded when answering an inquiry from a state legislator, “Staff resources to work on older adult suicide development have not been developed in OHA.” 
In contrast, Oregon does fund assisted suicides under Medicaid, using state funds (federal Medicaid dollars cannot legally pay for assisted suicide). So Oregon taxpayers pay the costs of terminally ill adults seeking death, but no state funds are dispensed to prevent adults from killing themselves. 
Not only that, but Medicaid is explicitly rationed under Oregon law. As one example, some poor patients with late-stage cancer are denied life-extending (as opposed to curative) chemotherapies, but assisted suicide is never rationed. Indeed, readers might recall that Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup​—​two terminally ill cancer patients​—​were denied Medicaid coverage for chemotherapy in 2008, but told in their rejection letters that the state would fund their suicides.
In fact, the Oregon Health Authority has explicitly stated that assisted suicide is "covered" for the poor. Smith quotes:
It is the intent of the Commission that services under [the Oregon Death with Dignity Act] be covered for those that wish to avail themselves to those serv­ices. Such services include but are not limited to attending physician visits, consulting physician confirmation, mental health evaluation and counseling, and prescription medications.
As Smith says, the message is obvious:
No poor Oregonian will ever be rationed out of assisted suicide​—​after all, what “end of life treatment” could be more cost effective? The message is unequivocal: The state will always pay the tab of the poor wanting to kill themselves, but will not necessarily pay for their fight to remain alive.
Smith concludes his article by re-stating Oregon's spending priorities:
Asked about Oregon’s funding priorities, oncologist Dr. Kenneth Stevens, president of Physicians for Compassionate Care, lamented, “You would think with the concern about the state’s high geriatric suicide rate and the similar crisis among military veterans, the state would fund suicide prevention for adults and the elderly.” 
That would be true in an anti-suicide culture. But that isn’t Oregon. By following the money, we can see what the state cares most about: facilitating some​—​rather than preventing all​—​adult suicides.

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