Saturday, April 30, 2016

Declare Total Non-Cooperation With Assisted Suicide.

The article was published by First Things on April 29, 2016.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

I recently gave a speech to a group of conservative senior citizens in California, arguing against assisted suicide, which is due to become legal there in June. Assisted suicide is not an issue that allows for fence-sitting, so although I expected (and received) a friendly reception for the most part, I knew that at least a few people would use the Q & A to tell me that I was full of beans.

Sure enough. “You have made a cogent and reasoned presentation, Mr. Smith,” one of the first questioners told me, his voice rising in anger as he spoke. “But if I want to die, I want to be able to die, and I don’t want my family or me stigmatized by people saying I committed suicide!” In other words, nothing that I said mattered. The man was set in his opinion, and neither the facts about euthanasia practice nor the need for accurate terminology regarding self-killing would change that.

And so it went. Those who agreed with me—the majority of this particular audience—spoke of how their vulnerable loved ones would be endangered by the law, while the law’s supporters mostly made angry assertions about their right to die. Dialogue? What’s dialogue?

When I began advocating against assisted suicide twenty-three years ago, those on both sides of the debate used the same moral lexicon. That is no longer the case. Today, supporters and opponents of the culture of death have radically different and mutually exclusive worldviews, outlooks that do not necessarily track with the usual left-versus-right, religious-versus-secular paradigms that often roil our public controversies. In such a milieu, all that either side can do is hold a mirror up to the benefits and consequences of these divergent philosophies and wait for people to decide which path they wish society to follow.

Usually—still—that means defeat for assisted suicide. The more details people hear about the issue beyond emotional appeals and bromides of “choice,” the less people tend to support legalization. Indeed, Massachusetts voters rejected legalization in 2012 even though early polls showed popular support. Last year and this, more than half the states saw energetic and committed legislative attempts to allow assisted suicide, including in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Colorado. All were defeated decisively, with the awful exception of California. On the international front, the United Kingdom’s Parliament overwhelmingly rejected legalization in 2015, but the Canadian Supreme Court imposed a right to euthanasia across that country a year earlier.

What should opponents of the culture of death do if they—like I, a native Californian—live in a jurisdiction that legalizes assisted suicide? I suggest a policy of total and unequivocal non-cooperation with the suicide agenda.

1. Do not participate in efforts to regulate medicalized killing: After the Canadian Supreme Court issued its decision, I was particularly disheartened when a prominent opponent of legalization served on a panel to recommend regulatory guidelines to govern doctor-administered death. Her intention was to help limit the harm. Understandable as that is, I disagree vehemently with the approach. Participating as a colleague with pro-euthanasia believers in fashioning suicide rules validates euthanasia as a policy. It says that your previous opposition to legalization was not based on bedrock moral principle but was merely a matter of negotiable policy differences. It also makes you complicit in the workings of the policy. Moreover, the harm limitations that may be achieved will likely be short-lived, as the guidelines will eventually be expanded or ignored. Better to remain consistent in opposing the now-legal procedure as bad medicine and even worse public policy. Who knows? Such consistent opposition may help persuade some not to end their lives.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Advice to Canada from Belgium: "Safeguards Are An Illusion"

New Online Video Series
Advice to Canada from Belgium: Safeguards Are An Illusion.


The first video in the series: Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There! was released two days ago.

As Canadians debate the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 Supreme Court imposed legislation deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” from selected clips from our upcoming documentary film, The Euthanasia Deception

In January 2016, a film crew went to Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. Victims and advocates offer a stern warning to Canada and any country considering enacting laws that allow assisted death. 

The first video in the series was: Medical Assistance in Dying" - Don’t Go There!.

Vulnerable – The Euthanasia Deception is produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment

Upcoming Videos:
May 3: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada

EPC needs your financial support to complete this most important documentary film. Donate here.

www.vulnerablefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Link to the promo video: The Euthanasia Deception.
Link to the short video: Mark Pickup - The problem with assisted suicide.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Native leaders oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Francois Paulette
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The chair of Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Health Authority Elders' Advisory Council, Francois Paulette told CBC news that: 
Indigenous people are bound by spiritual law, not man-made law.
Robert Falcon Ouellette
Last week Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg Centre, said that he will vote against Bill C-14 the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide

According to the APTN report:
Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society. 
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat,” 
“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,”

“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”
Dr Alika Lafontaine
CBC reporter, Sonja Koenig reported that Canada's Indigenous community is concerned about legislation that legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill C-14 was introduced in the House of Commons on April 14

According to the Koenig report Indigenous leaders have not been consulted. Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the president of the Indigenous Physicians Association said, 
so far, there's been no meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups.  
Lafontaine says even though the new legislation has been tabled, it isn't too late. 
"Even if these regulations are written up, there is still an opportunity to create our own in-house solutions when it comes to medically-assisted dying in our communities." 
Paulette spoke to the issue at a Dene leadership meeting today in Yellowknife.

Canada's Indigenous communities need to organize in opposition to assisted dying before Bill C-14 becomes law.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Belgium warns: Medical Assistance in Dying - Don't Go There!

NEW ONLINE VIDEO SERIES:



Testimonies from the upcoming film The Euthanasia Deception

As Canadians debate the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 Supreme Court imposed legislation deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” from selected clips from our upcoming documentary film, The Euthanasia Deception.

In January 2016, a film crew went to Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. Victims and advocates offer a stern warning to Canada- and any country considering enacting laws that allow assisted death. 

Vulnerable – The Euthanasia Deception is produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition  (EPC) in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment.

Upcoming Videos:
April 28: “Safeguards are an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 3: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada


EPC needs your financial donations to complete this most important documentary film. Donate here.

www.vulnerablefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Link to the promo video: The Euthanasia Deception.
Link to the short video: Mark Pickup - The problem with assisted suicide.

Not Dead Yet (NDY) Celebrating 20 Years in the Fight for Our Lives

This article was published by Not Dead Yet on April 26, 2016.
Dear Disability Rights Supporter:

Twenty years ago, on April 27th, at a disability rights gathering in Dallas, Bob Kafka, one of the leaders of ADAPT, said to me, “I’ve got a name for your group.” For years, ADAPT had been supportive of disability advocacy to challenge the assisted suicide movement and other deadly forms of medical discrimination. With the increasing popularity of “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian, whose body count was mainly people with disabilities who were not terminally ill, there had been growing talk of a street action group like ADAPT to address this critical threat to our lives. So, from a running gag in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Bob suggested “Not Dead Yet.” On that day, as over 40 disability rights leaders from across the country signed onto Congressional Subcommittee testimony co-authored by Carol Gill and myself, Not Dead Yet (NDY) began.
The struggle against assisted suicide was about to take a dramatic turn. On June 21, 1996, NDY activists held our first direct action, picketing outside the Michigan cottage where Kevorkian was known to stay. The AP newswire carried a photo of the protest, the first media notice of our opposition. Three years later, when Jack Kevorkian was finally back in a Michigan courtroom, on trial for one of his self-confessed assisted killings, disabled activists appeared for the first time to call for the equal protection of the law, to demand that the court and jury “Jail Jack,” and to declare before the court and the public at large that we were “Not Dead Yet.”
The presence of disabled activists at this fifth Kevorkian trial finally led to a murder conviction, and announced to the world the movement of disabled people against the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Supported by a 1997 position statement by the National Council on Disability, a Resolution adopted by the membership of the National Council on Independent Living, and positions taken by many major disability rights groups, Not Dead Yet continued the struggle against assisted suicide, euthanasia, and other discriminatory ending-of-life practices into the new millennium. According to the Patients’ Rights Council, more than 175 assisted suicide legislative proposals in more than 35 states were defeated between 1994 and 2015; only four such laws have passed. NDY has built a network of activists throughout the country that has responded, over and over again, to educate legislators about the dangerous public policy of state-sanctioned selective killing.
In addition to direct action tactics, Not Dead Yet has continued using the full array of advocacy strategies, including filing friend-of-the-court briefs in over ten cases, two with the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to briefs arguing against a constitutional right to assisted suicide, NDY has filed briefs in support of efforts to protect people with disabilities from involuntary withholding of life sustaining medical treatment by guardians or health providers, and in support of regulations protecting the right of disabled newborns to medical treatment.
Though less high profile, NDY’s more traditional efforts to influence public policy are an important part of our work, as well. By submitting detailed public comments on proposed governmental and quasi-governmental policies, NDY has opposed disability discrimination in protocols for procuring donated organs, physician orders on life-sustaining treatment, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, best practice guidelines in adult protective services, advance care planning and related educational materials, and much more.
NDY has made a lot of progress in 20 years. We are now a “go to” source for media outlets looking for quotes on the issue of assisted suicide. We have cultivated and lived up to our reputation for the highest standards of integrity and intellectual rigor. We have distinguished ourselves and our positions from that of the faith community, and earned the grudging respect of our opponents. And we remain the articulate and principled voice of disability rights opposition to the legalization of medical killing.
Though Kevorkian is gone, we still have to contend with death-advocates like Peter Singer and the mainstream bioethicists who agree with him, with the well-funded PR campaigns of assisted suicide advocates, and a never ending stream of public policy initiatives that need our perspective on living well with disabilities. Time has already taken from us many invaluable members and allies along the way, yet those still here will continue as long as we are Not Dead Yet.
On this, the 20th anniversary of the founding of NDY, we’re asking you to join us in renewing our pledge to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, through the courts, the legislatures, the ballot box, and public policy. There are many ways you can help.
  1. Donate to NDY. Five bucks or five hundred bucks. We promise to steward it well and put it right back into the fight!
  2. Pro Bono Attorneys. We have regular need for attorneys to help us file briefs, assist individuals whose life-sustaining care is threatened, and lend their smarts to other legal matters, and we would love to build up our network of supportive attorneys across the country. Let us know if you might be willing for us to call on you from time to time to see if you can help us out in your state!
  3. Community Organizers. Whether it’s advocacy at the statehouse or a protest at an assisted suicide or bioethics conference, we’d love to hear from you if you’re willing to join us as a participant or organizer when the rubber meets the road!
  4. Letters to the Editor. Has the assisted suicide fight come to your state in full swing? NDY’s got a great online toolkit to help you sound like the policy buff you really are on this topic and help give you fodder for writing a letter to the editor the next time your hometown paper touts the proposed bill’s virtues! (Be sure to write us and tell us if your letter is published!)
  5. Coalition Support. Do you lead a nonprofit that would love to partner with NDY on activities related to issues like assisted suicide, “futile care” policies, surrogate healthcare decision-making, equal rights in organ donation, or just learn more about them?
  6. Become an Online Foot Soldier. You already told us you love us, so like NDY on Facebooksubscribe to our blog, and follow us on Twitter to help signal boost our message to help us get the disability perspective out there on assisted suicide and other health care issues.
  7. Send Us Your Stories. S/he who hath the best arguments does not always prevail. We have always felt we have the data on our side in our arguments, but that doesn’t always sway policymakers. We need stories to share that will drive our points home and give them a personal face. If you have a story (yourself, a loved one, friend or client) you think could benefit our advocacy, please send it our way!
Together we can build a society where the threat of assisted suicide and euthanasia no longer hang like a sword of Damocles over the heads of disabled people seeking medical assistance, and where disabled people have truly equal life choices.
Sincerely,
Diane Coleman                                                Anne Sommers
Founder, President and CEO                            Board Chair

Canada’s euthanasia Leviathan

This article was published by Careful a Mercatornet blog on April 26, 2016.
Supporters invoke Thomas Hobbes in a proposal to crush conscientious objection to euthanasia. 
Michael Cook
By Michael Cook

Canada is soon to have legislation permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide, as decreed by its Supreme Court last year. One question, however, over which some uncertainty hovers is how much wriggle room should be left for doctors who have ethical objections to the new regime.

For one of the country’s most influential bioethicists, Udo Schuklenk, the answer is straightforward: none.

In an article published last weekend, he wrote that “conscientious objection has no place in the practice of medicine”. If doctors feel that they cannot practice euthanasia or refer patients to another doctor for euthanasia, they should find another job.

Dr Schuklenk is worth listening to. He is the co-editor of Bioethics, one of the world’s leading journals in the field, and a professor of philosophy at Queen’s University, in Ontario, Canada. He was one of the authors of an influential white paper commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada for the debate which eventually led to legalisation.

His stand on conscientious objection is not new, but the timing is significant. Bill C-14 was introduced into the Canadian parliament last week implementing the Supreme Court ruling.

Only doctors will be allowed to perform euthanasia, but it is still not clear whether they will have the option of conscientious objection. Dr Schuklenk’s essay in the Journal of Medical Ethics (written with a colleague, Ricardo Smalling, also from Queen’s University), is sure to influence the debate in the weeks before the Supreme Court’s June 6 deadline for passing legislation.

Some Canadian doctors already fear that they will be forced to perform the procedures or refer patients to more compliant doctors. Writing in the Canadian Family Physician, one general practitioner, Dr Nancy Naylor, declared that she was throwing in the towel:
"I refuse to let anyone or any organization dictate my moral code. For this reason I am not renewing my licence to practice medicine. I have practiced full scope family medicine, including palliative care for the past 37 years and solely palliative care for the past 3 years. I have no wish to stop. But I will not be told that I must go against my moral conscience to provide standard of care."
Such words will not move Schuklenk and Smalling. In a nutshell, they contend that medical professionals have made a contract with society. In return for a lucrative monopoly on the provision of an essential service, patients have a right to demand that they provide them with legal and socially acceptable services. “Forcing patients to live by the conscientious objectors' values constitutes an unacceptable infringement on the rights of patients.”

By withholding their services, doctors are also are exploiting the power differential between them and patients. They cite approvingly American bioethicist R. Alta Charo, who has said:
“claiming an unfettered right to personal autonomy while holding monopolistic control over a public good constitutes an abuse of the public trust—all the worse if it is not in fact a personal act of conscience but, rather, an attempt at cultural conquest”.
And finally, they believe that conscientious objection, based as it is on indemonstrable premises, is arbitrary and fickle. “Today it might be abortion and assisted dying, tomorrow it might be the use of the tools of personalised medicine or something else altogether.”

The original edition of Leviathon by Thomas Hobbes
Now here’s the interesting part: the writers cite Leviathan, a pioneering political tract by the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in support of their attack on the rights of conscience. It’s a tell-tale reference, for Hobbes is generally regarded as intellectual patron of the modern totalitarian state.

Hobbes was writing in a time of bitter religious conflict. A civil war in the middle of the 17th century divided England between royalist Cavaliers, mostly Anglican, and parliamentarian Roundheads, mostly Puritans and Presbyterians. For a decade armies crisscrossed Britain and Ireland. A hundred thousand people or more died in England; in Ireland, 40 percent of the population may have perished.

Hobbes had a gutful of pointless disputes by the king’s subjects over religion. Disagreement led to slaughter and anarchy; peace depended on obedience to the sovereign, or the government, which was, in his words, “that mortal god to which we owe, under the immortal God, our peace and defence”. Unanimity is the hallmark of Hobbes’s state: “seeing a Commonwealth is but one person, it ought also to exhibit to God but one worship”. In these words are the seeds of both the Nazi Leviathan and the Communist Leviathan.

With this in mind, it is astonishing that Schuklenk and Smalling open their argument by citing Hobbes on the question of freedom of conscience. They point out that the subject of Hobbes’s sovereign has no need of an individual conscience, for “the law is the public conscience by which he hath already undertaken to be guided”. Doctors and other healthcare workers in Canada ought to heed this ominous allusion. The euthanasia Leviathan will brook no opposition. And they admit quite candidly their admiration for Hobbes:
"Of course, Hobbes is not quite our archetypical defender of liberal democracies, but the point he is making here is valid, it applies to the case of conscientious objectors in liberal democracies, too."
Yes, there will be problems in trying to accommodate conscientious objectors to euthanasia, but the answer is not a new totalitarianism.

The problem with an ethical framework in which conscience has no rights is that it works too well – not just in Canada, but in, say, Saudi Arabia. If a doctor there refused to amputate the hand of a thief, would Professor Schuklenk argue that he should to get another job? If he shrank from female genital mutilation, would Professor Schuklenk write a white paper suggesting that refusniks be fired?

When William and Mary came to the throne in 1688, England faced much the same problem as Canada does today. Britain was a patchwork of antipathetic religions: Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Puritans, and a bewildering variety of non-conformists such as Quakers, Baptists, Socinians, Muggletonians, Ranters, Philadelphians, Levellers and Diggers. England’s great achievement was to repudiate the idea of the all-powerful sovereign and accommodate these opposing beliefs without too much friction.

In their call for the abolition of conscientious objection Schuklenk and Smalling are effectively turning the clock back to 1651, the year Hobbes published Leviathan. If Canadian MPs listen to them, 300 years of liberal democracy are at risk.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

Dutch horror dentist confessed to assisting the suicide of his wife.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr van Nierop
The Netherlands Times reported that the Dutch "Horror Dentist" was convicted of defrauding and mutilating more than 100 patients, while he practised in Chateau-Chinon France.

Dr van Nierop was originally arrested in Canada in September 2014 on an international arrest warrent and deported to the Netherlands after confessing to killing his wife. In January the Netherlands extradicted van Nierop to France to face trial on the charges of mutilating and defrauding his patients.

van Nierop was not tried in the Netherlands on the charge of assisting the suicide of his wife.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette will vote against euthanasia bill C-14

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Robert Falcon Ouellette (Liberal MP)
Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP representing Winnipeg Centre, said that he will be voting against Bill C-14 the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide


According to the APTN report:
Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society. 
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat,”
Attawapiskat is a Cree community in the James Bay region that is experiencing a suicide crisis. Ouellette stated to APTN:
“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,” 
“If grandma, grandfather decides they had enough in life…if they weren’t able to carry on, why should I carry on? If they weren’t strong enough, why should I be strong enough? 
I think that is a question that is asked in Attawapiskat more often than not and the ripple effect of assisted dying is not the same in Toronto as in other places.”
Ouellette explained that his position on the issue was influenced by a conversation he had with his Sundance chief about three years ago.
“We were talking about suicide and he was talking in the lodge about this and he said, ‘Never forget the spirit of suicide, you have to fight the spirit of suicide, make sure it doesn’t come into our lives,’” 
“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”
The Liberal government should use the Notwithstanding clause to give them more time, as Ouellette has said is necessary. The Notwithstanding clause would give the  government at least 5 years to determine how to handle this issue.

[1] Section 33 of the Canadian Constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, also known as the “notwithstanding clause,” is a legislative power that allows the Parliament or a Legislature to override certain Charter section.


Why on Earth is Anyone Surprised By the Rise in US Suicides? Advertising Works.

This article was published by True Dignity Vermont on April 22, 2016.

News sources are reporting with surprise and seeming alarm on the Center for Disease Control’s newly released statistics showing that deaths by suicide in the entire US are on the rise. Why the surprise? It has been common knowledge since the rise of mass media, and even before, that advertising works.

True Dignity has neither the expertise nor the time to analyze the CDC report’s statistics in detail. A few quotes will suffice to paint the picture of our current situation.

“The suicide rate in the United States increased by 24% from 1999 through 2014…among all groups. The increase in suicide rate has been steady since 1999, before which there was a consistent decline since 1986…” (USA Today, April 22, 2016).
The USA Today article speculates (which is all anybody can do) that the rise is linked to a poor economy. We at True Dignity cannot fail to note that the rise began just as the economic boom of the 1990s was beginning to wind down, and continued through the fairly affluent 2000s, admittedly rising at a higher rate beginning in 2006, on the brink of the Great Recession. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Though the economy may well have contributed to this rise, True Dignity calls everyone’s attention to a fact that is being ignored. 1998 was the year in which Oregon became the first state in the nation to put legalized assisted suicide into practice. This happened after a furious and widely publicized public argument between pro-assisted suicide forces and those opposing it, an argument waged in the courts and eventually decided by the US Supreme Court, which allowed it in Oregon but declined to make it a right nationally. 1999 was the first year for which the state of Oregon issued its annual report on its assisted suicide deaths. Ironically, this supposedly neutral government report called assisted suicide by the attractive name given to the law that made it legal: Death with Dignity.

The World Health Organization has warned the media that: 1) “Language that misinforms the public about suicide or normalizes it should be avoided”, and that the media should 2) “Avoid prominent placement and undue repetition of stories about suicide.” Yet, beginning in the period leading up to the implementation of the Oregon law and reaching a climax with Brittany Maynard’s picture on the cover of People, there has been relentless media promotion of suicide, relentless misinformation about laws that allow medical professionals to facilitate deaths of people who could have lived years and that contain virtually no protections against euthanasia or even murder of a person who, believing him or herself to be terminally ill, has obtained a lethal prescription. We have detailed the ways in which the laws allow this to happen so many times that we won’t repeat ourselves here, only urge you to search our topic list.


Bottom line: Compassion and Choices has engaged in an ad campaign, both paid and freely given by the media, and it has been effective. The only thing that should surprise us about the rise in suicide deaths is that it has not been even bigger. We hope that the efforts of many individuals and groups, including ours, have, by calling suicide exactly what the World Health organization has urged the media to call it, “a public health problem”, contributed to that fact, the only silver lining to a terrible cloud hanging over our nation and the world.

Will we be able to hold the line? California has been the only US state to [pass] assisted suicide legislation since the Maynard campaign, but legalization is a threat in multiple states. Canada’s highest court has ruled that assisted suicide is a right, and has ordered Parliament to write laws to regulate it.

A Letter From Australia to Canadian MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette

I was pleased to see you questioning the impact of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia on Canada's Indigenous people.

Robert Falcon-Ouellette MP
As Canada considers legislation to change the law on murder and assisted suicide to allow certain people to be killed with legal immunity it may be helpful to consider the fate of the world's first modern euthanasia law.

In 1996 the Australian Parliament overturned the Northern Territory's euthanasia law. This followed an extensive Senate committee inquiry in which one of the key issues canvassed was the deep opposition to the idea that a doctor could give a lethal injection from the indigenous community and its leaders. Chapter 5 of the committee's report detailed concerns that indigenous health, already seriously below par with that of other Australians, would be further set back as indigenous people were afraid and unwilling to go to a hospital where one of the "treatments" on offer was a lethal jab.

Attempts to revive the Northern Territory euthanasia legislation have been opposed for the same reason.

Richard Egan
Western Australia, Australia

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Deadly problems with euthanasia Bill C-14

This article was written by Dr Will Johnston and published in the Huffington Post on April 22, 2016.

Dr Will Johnston
Dr Will Johnston is the Chair of EPC - BC.

It is not surprising that many Canadians are concerned about the dangers of the new assisted suicide and euthanasia bill, C-14.

What is really not credible is how the word-benders who used the Charter "right to life" to legalize the intentional suicide or killing of some patients are now protesting that they have been cheated of total victory. While they were in court, they said that all they wanted was for competent consenting adults who were suffering terribly at the end of life to be able to have a doctor kill them, with no criminal consequences for anyone.

Now they are hopping mad that non-adults and those who are mentally incompetent, those unable to consent, those whose suffering is purely psychological, and those with years to live just might be excluded. They don't have to worry. The same semantic ju-jitsu which delivered the Carter decision to them will have no problem convincing the courts to invite whoever else to the death party.

"Even Kay Carter would not have qualified under C-14" , says the BCCLA organization, which wants assisted suicide and euthanasia to be widely available. This is hard to believe. An awful lot of people will qualify under C-14.

Are you eligible for your provincial medicare?

Are you an adult?

Do you have a grievous medical condition (like Kay Carter's spinal stenosis)?

Is it irremediable (if you decline surgery for spinal stenosis it automatically becomes irremediable)?

Are you in an advanced state (not defined) of irreversible decline (spinal stenosis won't go away without surgery)?

Is your situation intolerable (your call)?

Is your death reasonably foreseeable ( like it is for 89 year olds like Kay Carter)?

Do you want to die?

We just approved Kay Carter for assisted suicide. How hard was that?

Now let's say you have some money and some real estate and your heirs are waiting for you to die. Your doctor does some tests and thinks you have something - let's call it malignant sarcophagosis. You are duly impressed and share your story with your beneficiaries. Under C-14, your beneficiaries can tell you how you don't have to suffer and how OK it would be with them if you let a doctor, nurse practitioner, or anyone aiding them kill you . Blatantly urging someone to commit suicide remains illegal, but how do we enforce that against a quiet word, a wink and a nod?

One of your heirs can even sign the request for you, if you have difficulty writing.

Then two independent doctors will agree that malignant sarcophagosis will work for you just like spinal stenosis would have for Kay Carter. It is not surprising that they will agree, because one of those independent doctors is the one who will kill you with an intravenous injection or provide you with suicide pills. The other doctor will reliably concur, not least because there is no limit to the doctor shopping to locate a compliant one.

But what if your sarcophagosis is of milder sort, the semi-malignant kind? No problem, because your "natural death" just has to be "reasonably foreseeable", and no need to specify "the specific length of time."

But what if the physicians goofed, and you don't have malignant sarcophagosis, or the mental competence to consent, or an uncoerced wish to die? No worries, because a blanket protection called "reasonable but mistaken belief" about "any fact" protects them even if you are dead as a result.

Oh, by the way, absolutely anyone is allowed to "assist" you to administer your suicide dose, with no oversight yet mentioned in this law. If you had changed your mind and struggled, who would know?

Meanwhile, aboriginal leaders, including Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette , are justified in wondering where the intensity required to prevent suicide among youth is going to come from.

If one ounce of the effort that has been put into assisted suicide and euthanasia had gone toward suicide prevention, or of course palliative care, it would be easier to take the howls of outrage from the extremists for whom C-14 will never go far enough.

So what should be done? Ideally, throw out the law, and strengthen the wording of the current law against assisting suicide (because the Supreme Court played games with the old wording about needing to protect only the "vulnerable"). Make palliative care access, not suicide access, mandatory in law.

But failing that, at bare minimum ensure independent third party review before all proposed deaths. Don't let any two wannabe Kevorkians wave these things through. Defend the rights of all Canadians by guaranteeing that no doctor or institution will be coerced to participate, and say so loud and clear in the law.

We must not leave such a pillar of our freedom to an uncertain fate inside Ministry of Health regulations, which, "for lack of time," have not yet been revealed.

Will Johnston is a Vancouver family physician and Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Assisted Suicide Advocacy & the Increase in Suicide.

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on April 22, 2016

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

There has been a huge and alarming increase in the U.S. suicide rate. From the CDC announcement
From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006… 
Suicide is increasing against the backdrop of generally declining mortality, and is currently one of the 10 leading causes of death overall and within each age group 10–64…  
This report highlights increases in suicide mortality from 1999 through 2014 and shows that while the rate increased almost steadily over the period, the average annual percent increase was greater for the second half of this period (2006–2014) than for the first half (1999–2006). 
Color me decidedly not surprised. We are becoming a pro-suicide culture. 

I believe the assisted suicide movement bears partial responsibility. Suicides have increased at the very time the assisted suicide movement has been vigorously and prominently promoting self-killing as a proper means to alleviate suffering

Moreover, assisted suicide is often portrayed sympathetically in popular entertainment and the media is completely on board the assisted suicide bandwagon. Don’t tell me that doesn’t give despairing people lethal ideas. 

At the same time, suicide prevention campaigns usually ignore this toxic elephant in the room. 

It is also noteworthy that the suicide rate increased faster after 2006–the very time when the assisted suicide movement has become the most vigorous and made its most dramatic advances. 

There is no question that assisted suicide advocacy is not the only factor causing this alarming increase in suicides. But I am convinced that the correlation could also be at least a partial causation. 

Look at it this way: If we say that suicide is okay in some circumstances–but not others–at best we are sending a mixed message, making it more difficult for the anti-suicide message to sink in. 

In this regard it is like telling someone, “Don’t smoke, but if you do, use filter cigarettes.” 

One study has already found a weak linkage. I would like to see a more concerted investigations that aren’t afraid of making a controversial connection.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Assisted suicide makes us complicit in another's death.

Andrew Coyne, a former editor of the National Post, published another excellent article, today, in the National Post - Assisted Suicide makes us all complicit in another's death.

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Andrew Coyne
oyne begins by defining assisted suicide:
By now it should be clear what assisted suicide is not about. It is not about the right of mentally competent adults to end their own lives, or to refuse treatment that might save it: that right has long existed, and is not in question. 
Indeed, it is not about mentally competent adults, suffering unendurable pain at the end of their lives, at all. That may be how most people imagine the issue, and may be how it is still justified by those who have not been paying attention. It may even be, for now, the limits set out in Bill C-14, federal legislation authorizing “medical assistance in dying.”
Coyne comments on the political turmoil related to Bill C-14.
But it is equally clear this is just the start. What once was the furthest limits of the imaginable, something permitted in only a few other countries on Earth, is now the baseline. The senators who, armed with a democratic mandate from exactly no one, are vowing to delay or defeat the bill are not doing so because it goes too far: because, say, it does not require the patient’s consent in all cases, but allows another adult to sign on their behalf; or because the 15-day waiting period is optional, at the doctor’s discretion; or because it does not require that death be imminent and inevitable, but only that it be “reasonably foreseeable.” 
No, the reason the bill is under fire is because, in the view of its critics, it does not go nearly far enough: specifically, because it does not allow for the termination of children, the mentally ill and those who book their demise in advance, in fear of finding themselves unable to consent at the time. Even worse, the bill would still require that death be somewhere in the offing, however vaguely: physical or psychological suffering on its own would not be sufficient. This was not a stipulation of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, which has lately become Holy Writ, or at least the parts that do not mention competent adults.
Coyne uncovers that the government intends to expand euthanasia over time.
For its part, the government gives every indication of being amenable to these changes. Asked on CTV how the government could have brought in “such a conservative” bill, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould replied, in effect, give us time. At which point it will become even more clear this is not about “end-of-life care” or “dying with dignity” or “assistance in dying,” or any of the other pleasant euphemisms in which the issue is now swaddled. It is not about easing the pain of dying, but easing the pain of living. It is about helping people to kill themselves who are not in any danger of dying, but find their lives, for a variety of reasons, intolerable. 
Again, this is explicit among its advocates. For the writer Sandra Martin, for example, author of The Good Death, “I might want to say if I can no longer speak, if I no longer can recognize my family, if I can no longer take care of my own bodily functions — then it would be unacceptable for me to carry on living.” Others have argued that it should apply to those suffering from depression. In Belgium, as Rachel Aviv writes in The New Yorker, doctors have been authorized to kill not just in cases of depression, but also “autism, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis, blindess coupled with deafness, and manic depression.”
Coyne then opens the question - does assisted suicide effect our attitudes towards suicide?
Very well. Suppose we legalized assisted suicide in all the ways demanded. Suppose we were then presented with children, suffering from a mental illness — severely depressed, perhaps — but non-terminal, who expressed a strong desire to kill themselves. Suppose, that is, we were dealing with the situation reported in Attawapiskat today. On what basis would we deny them their request? 
That has been the convention to date. We do not accommodate people, let alone children, who want to kill themselves. We try to stop them, by force if necessary, a desire to kill oneself having been seen until now as prima facie evidence of mental incapacity. You see a guy standing on a ledge, you pull him in. But assisted suicide asks us to invert that convention: not merely to allow the suicide to proceed, but to facilitate it, indeed to subsidize it. Doctors who refuse to provide this “service,” or at the least to refer patients who request it to others, may face disciplinary action. 
This is what it means to normalize suicide. While the preamble to Bill C-14 takes pains to affirm the “inherent and equal value of every person’s life” and expresses a desire to avoid “encouraging negative perceptions of the quality of life of persons who are elderly, ill or disabled,” that is the unmistakable message we would be sending: some lives are not worth living. Suicide prevention advocates, likewise, are adamant that suicide not be presented as a rational alternative to suffering. Yet that is exactly what we would be doing.
Coyne finishes by explaining how assisted suicide makes us complicit in another's death.
We seem powerless, nevertheless, to resist. Arguments for assisted suicide are couched in the language of personal autonomy, of the inviolable rights of the individual. But if it were only a matter of an individual wishing to take his own life, there would be no debate. The difference between assisted suicide and suicide is the involvement of another individual, or individuals, and so far as we permit their involvement it implicates us all. 
Do we not see what a fundamental change is entailed — not merely in our attitudes to death but to life? Perhaps this is a step we wish to take, as a society. But we are just as entitled to decide not to.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rallies against Bill C-14 at your local MP's office (April 27) and on parliament hill (June 1).

Caring Not Killing - Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide are not the answer.


Local rally at MP's local offices on Wednesday, April 27 from 12 noon to 1 pm.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is urging supporters across Canada to organize rallies opposing Bill C-14 at your Member of Parliament's (MP) local office on Wednesday April 27 (12 noon to 1 pm). MP's will be in their ridings that week.

Contact EPC at: info@epcc.ca or call: 1-877-439-3348 to inform us of your rally. We will send you poster designs that you can download and print, and talking points for the media.

Bill C-14 legalizes killing by euthanasia / assisted suicide (assisted dying) by creating an illusion of safeguards while employing double language and poorly defined terminology that simultaneously undermines its own supposed safeguards.

Bill C-14 is the perfect cover for acts of murder by providing legal immunity to any person by stating:

"any person who does anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying."
Ottawa rally: Parliament Hill on Wednesday, June 1, from 12 noon to 1:30 pm.

Make plans to join EPC for a peaceful rally opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide on parliament hill on Wednesday June 1 (12 noon to 1:30 pm).

The theme of the rally is: Caring Not Killing: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide are not the answer.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Jean Echlin: Letter to the Minister of Justice on euthanasia.

Jean Echlin RN, MScN
As a nurse consultant for 36 years in palliative care & gerontology I believe that hospice palliative care for every Canadian must be the priority. 

How dare we ask our doctors and nurses to put patients to death when a safer option exists. Healthcare providers must never assume the role of killers or refer to another who will provide the "death management." Trust and legal issues will make more problems for our sick and elderly. 


Abuse of the elderly and "copycat" suicides will increase. If economics are driving this movement and if we are honest cost-savings will be an outcome, we are a society bereft of moral and ethical values. 


Just study the statistics from the Netherlands, especially Belgium and you will understand the fatal results of this death promotion. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in 2013, more than 1000 deaths were hastened without explicit request and more than 2800 died by euthanasia in Belgium. Does that promote a feeling of safety and security when we require acute or chronic care? Certainly many will fear institutional admission when the future reveals the magnitude of the coming "death tsunami." 


I fear that the "true north strong and free" is no longer a democracy if those who help us get cures and stay well are also denied their conscience rights. Please think how you would feel if society (government) stripped you of your rights and freedoms under our Canadian Charter? Would you quietly acquiesce or demand fair treatment under your Charter Rights? Please consider these thoughts. 


Thank you.

Jean Echlin RN, MScN
President - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Friday, April 15, 2016

Liberal MP, Robert-Falcon Ouellette questions euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Robert-Falcon Ouellette MP Winnipeg Centre
CBC News, Kristy Hoffman, reported that Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg Centre, is questioning whether to support Bill C-14, the bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. Ouellette told CBC news:

"Once we make a decision on this, there will be no going back,"
Ouellette continued:
"I'm concerned that we haven't thought out the complete ramifications that a decision like this might have on indigenous communities that seem to be suffering greatly," 
"This will be a right that will become entrenched and the impacts on vulnerable groups will become entrenched and it's very hard to stop."
Ouellette has not decided how he will vote on Bill C-14. He said:
"When I go to my Sun Dance ceremonies, when I go to meet with the elders and we are in our lodges, I have my Sun Dance Chief, David Blacksmith, who said, 'We must fight the spirit of suicide. We must work each and every day to defeat it.' That, to me, is important." 
Studying different people who could access doctor-assisted dying is the next step. 
"I don't think we've consulted with everyone and the impacts this might have."
Help Ouellette with his consultation by sending letters to:
Robert-Falcon Ouellette MP 
House of Commons
Ottawa ON  K1A 0A6

Charles Lewis: Resist falling prey to a system of legalized murder.

By Charlie Lewis

Most everyone has heard of the notion that if you put myriad monkeys in a room with typewriters, pens, paper and computers eventually one of our simian friends would produce a work akin to Hemingway, St. Augustine or Judith Krantz.

I think what they would end up with would be closer to Bill C-14, the Liberal government's bill on euthanasia and assisted suicide — or as I call it, killing of patients — released Thursday.

As Kelly McParland wrote in the National Post, the only beneficiaries will be lawyers who should be able to buy a beautiful cottage or two from the legal fees that will be generated by the confusion generated by this bill.

It raises so many questions you wonder whether adults wrote it or their young progeny during a “bring your kids to work” day. The bill is so unclear it leaves open critical questions: Who will be considered terminal? Will a physician have the right to exercise his or her conscience and refuse to refer a patient to someone who would kill him or her? Does it allow for non-medical personnel to administer the poison?

Try to figure this cryptic clue about who is eligible: 

“[N]atural death has become reasonably foreseeable (precise proximity to death is not required).”
No one can define what “reasonably foreseeable means” and nor could anyone of average intelligence or greater even begin to unravel the clause that “precise proximity to death is not required.”

The one good thing we can say about Bill C-14 is that it has upset activists on both sides of the debate. That would normally be good politics because it demonstrates independent thinking on the part of the government and a refusal to pander. But in this case the government does not deserve credit.

This bill is simply inept. It does not follow the odious recommendations of its own fact-finding committee and nor does it follow the Supreme Court of Canada decision of February 2015 which declared our ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia void.

For example, the court decision allowed for the killing of psychiatric patients and those with non-fatal chronic pain. The government follows none of this.

We who have fought against the killing of patients should be happy, right? We appear to have won some battles, right?

For the most part we are not happy at all.

Most of us have said for years that any bill will be a starting point for greater calamity. A conservative, restrictive bill would grow over time as citizens became more used to it, which was the case in Holland and Belgium. A few years ago the doctor who was the architect of Quebec's euthanasia law said the province's effort was just a beginning and over time the law would encompass more ailments and younger patients. It was awful to hear but at least honest.

Now we have been left with a mess. A good lawyer, Supreme Court decision in hand, will easily be able to challenge the "restrictions" in the new law and crush them like a bug.

For those of us fighting the killing of patients our job will be harder. My fear is that even anti-euthanasia audiences will start to think this bill is really not so bad and that the government seemed to have listened to our concerns.

That is delusional.

The bill is the way it is because of incompetence. It leaves a giant legal vacuum in which any "violation" of the bill will easily be contested because the language is so vague.

We are going to have at some point a law that will be much broader than what the government has proposed. It may take a few years but it will happen. In the meantime, many more Canadian will buy into the lie that Bill C-14 is a perfect compromise that is safe and responsible. 

By the time the law allows children, psychiatric patients and those who are simply tired of life to end their lives with state approval and assistance most Canadians will have been lulled into a false sense of safety and simply will not notice as the beast grows.

At least a clear bill would have made it easier to fight. It might have alarmed enough people who would have resisted falling prey to a system of legalized murder. 


Who would have thought this government would have been this sneaky?

Charlie Lewis writes a regular column for the Catholic Register and is a former reporter for the National Post

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