Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Moral Disengagement – Mechanisms Propelling the Euthanasia/PAS Movement

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Fabian Stahle
Fabian Stahle, the Swedish researcher who recently uncovered hidden problems with the Oregon assisted suicide model, now explains the mechanism of the euthanasia lobby to change the concept of killing through the mechanism known as Moral Disengagement.

The Journal of Medical Ethics in Mental Health published (January 30, 2018) Stahle's research article: Moral Disengagement – Mechanisms Propelling the Euthanasia/PAS Movement.


It is difficult to write a summary of Stahle's substantial article. I encourage you to read it.

Stahle examines Albert Bandura's theory of Moral Disengagement to explain, based on social cognitive theory, how a social justification for acts that are otherwise considered inhumane become accepted over time.

The abstract to Stahle's article clearly explains the importance of the article:

The international movement that promotes the legalisation of euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is propelled by highly potent psychological mechanisms to overcome the resistance to its agenda. It is all about cognitive restructuring to justify inhumane actions. These are always in use when normal, well-socialised persons are coerced into accepting and participating in the killing of fellow human beings. Various scientific studies, pioneered by Albert Bandura, have shown that participators are able to endure their deeds by activating these powerful mechanisms of moral disengagement.

However, those who make use of such mechanisms pay a high price. These mechanisms have a personality-changing power that dehumanizes the perpetrators. For the society that has allowed itself to be manipulated by such mechanisms for the purpose of systematizing “death on demand”, there are also serious consequences. These consequences can be described in terms of dehumanization and brutalization of that society as a whole.
Fabian Stahle explains:
Osofsky et al.: “Operating at the behavior locus are three separate disengagement mechanisms that convert the construal of injurious conduct into righteous conduct. In moral justification, worthy ends are used to vindicate injurious means … Second, by the use of sanitizing euphemistic language, injurious conduct is rendered benign … Exonerative comparison with even more flagrant inhumanities is a third mechanism for cloaking injurious behavior in an aura of benevolence.

The second set of disengagement mechanisms operates at the agency locus by obscuring or minimizing the perpetrator’s agentic role in an injurious activity. Under displacement of responsibility, people view their actions as stemming from the dictates of authorities rather than being personally responsible for them … Because they do not perceive themselves to be the main causal agent of their actions, they are spared self-condemning reactions. The exercise of moral control is also weakened when personal agency is obscured by diffusing responsibility for injurious conduct…

The weakening moral control at the outcome locus is achieved by minimizing or disregarding the harmful consequences of one’s action. As long as the injurious outcomes are ignored, minimized, or disbelieved there is little reason for moral self-regulation to be activated.

The final set of disengagement mechanisms operates at the locus of the recipients or objects of detrimental acts through dehumanization and attribution of blame. Self-censure for injurious conduct can be disengaged or blunted by divesting people of human qualities, or by attributing demonic and bestial qualities to them ... Blaming the recipients of injurious treatment for bringing suffering on themselves also serves self-exonerating purposes.”
Stahle also comments on the social effect of medicalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.
For the euthanasia movement, this medicalization is a crucial disengaging maneuver in moving forward. But just this maneuver is especially harmful, by reason of the fact that it is aimed at the care-giving sector of our communities, which makes it a devastating stab wound in the very heart of a humane society.
The use of language is just as important for opposing assisted suicide. When our opposing to euthanasia and assisted suicide also leads to a medicalization, then we are in fact helping the euthanasia lobby.


Stahle ends his article by writing:
Albert Bandura's theory of moral disengagement has been applied for a long time in in-depth analyses of various harmful activities. Nevertheless, the theory has not received much attention in the study of the euthanasia movement's activities. This theory has great significance in explaining the euthanasia/PAS phenomenon, and might have the potential to publicly de-mask the euthanasia movement. 
This can be done by conducting an in-depth scientific analysis of the disengagement mechanisms in the euthanasia movement’s various activities. Such an analysis would provide much clarity and depth of insight into an activity that is shrouded in deep obscurity and could be a contributing factor in exposing the actual driving forces behind its progress. A more thorough study should also be undertaken concerning the dehumanizing effect on the functionaries in the practice of euthanasia/PAS. 
The results of the studies then need to be popularized so that they become digestible for mass media, politicians, authorities, and the general public.
But first and foremost, the medical profession should be informed about the implications of Bandura's theory on the entire euthanasia/PAS movement and of the harmful effect their participation will have on their personal and professional integrity.
Fabian Stahle first informed us of the uncovered hidden problems with the Oregon assisted suicide model, now Stahle explains the mechanism that the euthanasia lobby has employed to change the concept of killing through a mechanism known as Moral Disengagement.

I am taking Stahle's research seriously and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is responding to the respect, equality and integrity of the human person through the lens of Moral Disengagement theory.

Journal of Medical Ethics in Mental Health (January 30, 2018): Moral Disengagement – Mechanisms Propelling the Euthanasia/PAS Movement.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Belgian euthanasia dispute erupts over the killing of a person with severe dementia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Ludo Vanopdenbosch
A dispute has erupted in Belgium after a person with dementia was killed by euthanasia even though the person did not request death by lethal injection and was incapable of consenting.

The division has grown since Dr Ludo Vanopdenbosch, a palliative care specialist, resigned from the Belgian euthanasia commission. 


Maria Cheng wrote in an article published by the Associated Press that Vanopdenbosch explained in his resignation letter that:
The most striking example took place at a meeting in early September, ... when the group discussed the case of a patient with severe dementia, who also had Parkinson's disease. To demonstrate the patient's lack of competence, a video was played showing what Vanopdenbosch characterized as "a deeply demented patient." 
The patient, whose identity was not disclosed, was euthanized at the family's request... There was no record of any prior request for euthanasia from the patient.
According to Cheng, the dispute questions whether the hastened death was euthanasia:
Some experts say the case as documented in the letter amounts to murder; the patient lacked the mental capacity to ask for euthanasia and the request for the bedridden patient to be killed came from family members. The co-chairs of the commission say the doctor mistakenly reported the death as euthanasia.

Believe it or not, Dr. An Haekens, psychiatric director at the Alexianen Psychiatric Hospital in Tienen said:
"It's not euthanasia because the patient didn't ask, so it's the voluntary taking of a life,"
This appalling case of euthanasia without request is not the first dispute. Cheng wrote that:
The AP revealed a rift last year between Dr. Willem Distelmans, co-chair of the euthanasia commission, and Dr. Lieve Thienpont, an advocate of euthanasia for the mentally ill. Distelmans suggested some of Thienpont's patients might have been killed without meeting all the legal requirements. Prompted by the AP's reporting, more than 360 doctors, academics and others have signed a petition calling for tighter controls on euthanasia for psychiatric patients.
The euthanasia dispute among Belgian doctors is long overdue. A Belgium government sponsored study examining deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium (2013) concluded that 4.6% of all deaths were hastened without request. The data indicates more than 1000 people died by hastened death without request in 2013 in the Flanders region of Belgium.

Recent reports indicate that palliative care professionals in Belgium have resigned due to pressure to participate in euthanasia. 

Legalizing euthanasia gives physicians, the right in law, to end the lives of their patient.

The dispute relates to the fact that the Belgian euthanasia law gives doctors the power to decide, the power to act and the requirement to self-report their acts. The commission is only analyzing deaths that have already occurred.

By the way, the same system exists in Canada, the Netherlands, Oregon, Washington State, etc. All of these laws are designed to be abused.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Non - voluntary euthanasia/organ harvesting - Coming soon to the Netherlands.

This article was published by National Review online on February 15, 2018

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

It is legal in the Netherlands for doctors and psychiatrists to lethally inject the sick, disabled, elderly, and mentally ill who ask to die. 

It is not legal for them to kill patients who have not repeatedly asked to die. 

But that happens anyway, and not rarely. Various studies come up with different numbers, but it seems safe to say that hundreds of patients–431 in 2015–are killed each year non-voluntarily, which in Dutch euthanasia-speak is called ”termination without request or consent.” 

Technically, that’s murder under Dutch law, but so what? I know of no case in which any meaningful sanction was imposed on a doctor who killed a patient without consent. 

And now, in 2020 the Dutch are going to institute a “presumed consent” law, meaning that everyone is legally an organ “donor” unless they explicitly opt out. From the DutchNews.nl story
The Dutch senate on Tuesday narrowly voted in favour of a new law to change the Dutch organ donation system to a ‘yes unless’ register. The new system will apply to everyone over the age of 18 and registered as resident in the Netherlands with their local authority, including foreign nationals. 
The government plans to send letters to people with options they want regarding donation. Silence will be considered consent. 

So, that means a patient could very conceivably be both killed and harvested without having requested it. 

Oh Wesley! You alarmist! You slippery slope hysteric! That will never happen. 

Right. That’s what my critic also said when I predicted in 1993 that legalizing euthanasia/assisted suicide would eventually lead to conjoined killing and harvesting “as a plum to society.” 

For those with eyes to see, let them see.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

British Columbia (BC) Health Authority orders hospice to do euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sign the Petition: Killing Conscience Rights in BC Hospitals and Hospices.


 The recent edict by the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia ordering (non-religious) healthcare facilities to participate in euthanasia (MAiD) including hospices is an infringement on the conscience rights of the medical staff. I believe that:
Institutional conscience rights are about the rights of the workers within an institution to not participate in acts that they consider wrong.
Delta Hospice
The edict by Fraser Health directly effects institutions such as the Delta Hospice that is opposed to participating in euthanasia. 
Janice Strukoff, an administrative leader with the Delta hospice stated:
“Hospice palliative care is not about hastening death and we object to the bullying currently taking place in B.C.,”
Nancy Macey, the founder and executive director of the Delta hospice stated:
MAiD can be a traumatizing experience for staff, patients, and volunteers, and all groups might not want to stay or work there if the principals of palliative care are compromised. Hospices are already grappling with a shortage of health professionals so compelling the society to provide MAiD could exacerbate the problem.
Dr Neil Hilliard
In response to the order by the health authority, Delta hospice rejected the order and Dr Neil Hilliard, the medical director of the Fraser Health Palliative Care stated in his resignation letter:

Providing euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide is not in accordance with palliative care (which) “affirms life and regards dying as a normal process …”
Last weekend a meeting in Langley BC concerning the forcing of euthanasia upon medical facilities against the staff decision to not participate in MAiD. 

Sign the Petition: Killing Conscience Rights in BC Hospitals and Hospices.

The meeting attracted 300 people and featured federal MP Mark Warawa and provincial MLA Mary Polak, along with representatives from the Fraser Health Authority. At the meeting Warawa commented that the battle to protect conscience rights: "is not over. It's just begun." Warawa also stated:
“That (permitting MAiD) will destroy palliative care as it has developed,”
Mary Polak
Mary Polak was forthright in her comments by stating:

“To say that you are going to place medical assistance in dying — or let’s call it what it is, killing people. Sorry, but that is what it is — (and decide that) you’re going to put that into a hospice palliative circumstance, is to completely contradict what palliative care is to begin with,”
The decision of the Fraser Health Authority also affects plans to build a new hospice in Langley. Kathy Derksen, the executive director of the Langley hospice stated:
When MAiD was first law, Fraser Health consulted with stakeholders and agreed it would not be imposed on hospice and palliative care facilities.
Healthcare workers conscience rights have become a national issue in Canada. Recently, an Ontario Court decided that doctors who oppose euthanasia must participate by doing an "effective referral" for euthanasia.

Dr Will Johnston eloquently explained the pressures that are faced by medical professionals in his article: The alarming trend of forcing hospitals and hospices into doing assisted suicide.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Kevin Yuill - Assisted Dying: A failure of Psychiatry.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kevin Yuill
Kevin Yuill, who is an academic who has written extensively about euthanasia and assisted suicide wrote an interesting article that was published by Spiked titled: Assisted Dying: A failure of Psychiatry.

In his article, Yuill comments on the death of Aurelia Brouwers, the 29-year-old Dutch woman who died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons and the research by Fabian Stahle, from Sweden, uncovering hidden problems with the Oregon assisted suicide law.

Yuill comments on Brouwer's death:

Brouwers had carefully planned her death – in her pyjamas, listening to Hugh Laurie, with her beloved pink T-Rex cuddly toy, Dido – ‘[he] has been my support since I was four-years-old’, as Aurelia put it. She asked her parents to care for Dido, who is to get ‘a spot on the coffin’ at her funeral. 
Brouwers told an interviewer: ‘I think that after such a rotten life I am entitled to a dignified death – people who have a serious illness get a chance for a worthy ending, so why is it so difficult for people who are psychologically ill?’
Yuill asks the question: at what stage do psychiatric professionals admit defeat and sanction the death of a patient? Yuill states
In the Netherlands as it stands, nine per cent of requests for euthanasia due to ‘unbearable’ and ‘hopeless’ psychological suffering are granted, although it is rare that the patients are as young as Brouwers. Brouwers had decided long ago that her treatment was not working and that her suffering was too great to bear. And her doctors eventually gave her the green light. But when is psychological suffering deemed ‘unbearable’? When is it adjudged ‘hopeless’? These seem to be incredibly subjective criteria.
Yuill challenges the UK assisted dying group Dignity in Dying who have stated that Brouwers would not qualify for assisted death based on the proposed UK legislation.
In the UK, Dignity in Dying and other campaigners for assisted dying insist that cases like Brouwers’ could never happen under their proposed legislation. Citing assisted-dying legislation in Oregon, they claim that similarly ‘robust safeguards’ would be implemented in the UK, preventing cases similar to Brouwers’. 
But, if assisted dying is legalised, is it realistic to expect ‘autonomy’ and ‘compassion’ to be reserved only for those who suffer from life-shortening physical diseases? Although Dignity in Dying denies it, assisted-dying laws are always extended beyond their original justifications. Indeed, in every nation where euthanasia has been legalised, the parameters in which assisted dying is permitted eventually always stretch beyond those with ‘less than six months to live’.
Yuill comments on the recent research by Fabian Stahle, into the Oregon assisted suicide law based on the proposed safeguards in the UK as being similar to the Oregon assisted suicide law:

Stahle had asked the Oregon Health Authority whether a diabetic person who was only dying because they refused treatment would qualify for an assisted death. The OHA’s answer was a straight ‘yes’, and it admitted that this had always been the case. 
Indeed, Oregon oncologist Dr Charles Blanke noted a difficult case regarding a young woman with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who had a 90 per cent chance of survival with treatment but refused it. Blanke acceded to her demand for an assisted death, despite the fact she was likely to lose potentially ‘seven decades’ of life. Opportunities for self-induced terminal illness are numerous. Anyone with anorexia nervosa, for example, can bring themselves to a terminal condition, thus qualifying for an assisted death in Oregon. 
... In Oregon, for example, pain does not figure in the top five reasons why citizens choose assisted death. Instead, it is fear that dominates the reasoning of those seeking to end their lives: fear of not being able to participate in enjoyable activities; fear of loss of autonomy; fear of loss of physical capabilities; fear of loss of dignity; and fear of being a burden. Fear, however, is curable, even if the underlying physical condition is not.

Yuill ends his article by recognizing how legalizing assisted suicide corrupts society:
... But when society legalises assisted dying, it surely corrupts the fundamental belief in the value of life that underlies all medical treatment. Compassion in the past meant doing what we felt was best for a patient. It meant disagreeing with a suicidal patient who felt her life was worthless. Today, compassion seems to mean respecting someone’s requests, even when we don’t feel that those requests are in his or her best interests. As Brouwers declared in her blog in January: ‘Respect that I will die Friday.’ 
Brouwers’ sad case is a grim reminder that a society that sanctions suicide is a society that has given up on certain people. It is a society that has lost its moral bearings. An individual may lose all hope and may feel that life is no longer worth living. She may even take her own life, and there is little we can do to prevent that. But, surely, if a fellow human being expresses the wish to die, we must be loyal to her life, not her wishes.
Kevin Yuill teaches American studies at the University of Sunderland. His book, Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalisation, is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

2018 Conference of the Physician's Alliance Against Euthanasia

Physicians' Alliance Against Euthanasia

When: March 24th, 2018 9:00 am  to 5:00 pm
Location: Holiday Inn 999 Saint Urbain Street, Montréal, Québec H2Z 0B4 Canada
Event Fees: Physicans $200, Others $100, Students $25

With legal euthanasia and assisted suicide now a reality in Canada, we turn our attention to helping doctors and other health professionals improve their skills so as to better care for patients at risk of requesting death. This conference is an opportunity to learn from experts in palliative care and psychiatry, as well as to meet colleagues from across the country who share your concerns about the direction medicine is taking under these new laws.

The learning objectives for the conference are as follows:
  • Improve knowledge and skills related to analgesia at the end of life
  • Recognize existential distress in terminally ill patients
  • Knowledge of the indications and method for prescribing palliative sedation
  • Recognize and treat treatment-resistant depression in terminally ill patients
  • Recognize and address the biological, psychological and social factors underlying a patient's desire for hastened death
  • Understand the barriers to the development of palliative care at the societal level

Please note: If you would like to attend the French sessions, click here to register.

Veuillez noter: Ceci est la page d'inscription pour les sessions en anglais. Si vous souhaitez assister aux sessions en français, veuillez cliquer ici pour vous inscrire.

Click here to download a PDF document of the poster to share.


If you would like to register by mail, please download and fill out the registration form by clicking hereCheques may be sent to the address in the form.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Wisconsin bill AB216 forces doctors to participate in assisting a suicide.

Wisconsin AB216 sponsors want to put doctors out of business who will not Assist Suicide.

Nancy Elliott
By Nancy Elliott
Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - USA

Wisconsin's assisted suicide bill AB216 will implement Assisted Suicide, and it will also revoke the licenses of doctors who are unwilling to participate in causing the death of their patients. 

AB 216 Section 156.21(a) states:
failure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester's care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication.
Therefore a physician could be found liable for unprofessional conduct if he/she refuses to prescribe lethal drugs or refer the patient to a willing physician. Referring your patient to another doctor, who you know will complete the death is the same as writing a prescription for that patient. Both are a dereliction of the physicians duty to do no harm.

The sponsors want to punish doctors who will not be a party to ending their patients lives and they want to force all doctors to have their hands dirty. 

Surprisingly the bill grants immunity to those who participate. In the same section it states no health care facility or health care provider may be charged with a crime, held civilly liable, or charged with unprofessional conduct for fulfilling the act and prescribing poison to end the life of their patient. The bill states that next of kin is not required to be notified, so you can find out that a family member took their life by a suicide drug prescribed by their doctor without input from family members and there is no legal recourse, not criminally nor civilly.

Not only do the sponsors harm innocent doctors and deny families input or justice, this bill takes away the choice of citizens who do not want to be treated by a doctor that kills their patients. 

As ethical doctors lose their licenses or flee the state, there will be only one type practicing. 

Wisconsin is not the first state to attempt to force doctors to refer for assisted suicide. Vermont also forced doctors to refer for assisted suicide but in May 2017, a Vermont court decision upheld physicians conscience rights.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2017 Oregon assisted suicide report. The number of deaths increase again.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 2017 Oregon annual assisted suicide report is similar to prior years. The report implies that the deaths were voluntary (self-administered), but the information in the report does not address that subject.

According to the 2017 Oregon assisted suicide report.

  • There were 143 reported assisted suicide deaths up from 138 in 2016. 
  • 129 of 130 people who reportedly ingested lethal drugs in 2017, died from it, 
  • one person survived and died of natural causes.
  • 14 of the deaths, the drugs were prescribed in previous years.
  • There were 218 lethal prescriptions obtained, up from 204 in 2016.
There may be more assisted suicide deaths.


According to the 2017 Oregon report, the ingestion status was unknown in 23 deaths. 

When the ingestion status is unknown the authorities do not know if the person died by assisted suicide. It is possible that some or all of the 23 unknown deaths were assisted suicide deaths. These deaths may represent unreported assisted suicide deaths.

Researcher uncovers hidden problems with the Oregon assisted suicide act.

In December, Fabian Stahle, a Swede who is concerned about assisted suicide, communicated by email with a representative of the Oregon Health Authority.
Stahle confirmed that the definition of terminal illness, used by the Oregon Health Authority includes people who may become terminally ill if they refuse effective medical treatment.
The responses to Stahle from the Oregon Health Authority also confirmed that their is no effective oversight of the Oregon assisted suicide law. 
The yearly Oregon DWD reports are based on data from the physicians who approved the assisted suicide death and the data is not independently verified. Therefore, we don't know if the information from these reports is accurate or if abuse of the law has occured.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Oppose New Hampshire assisted suicide study bill SB 490

Opposition to SB490 establishing a commission to study end-of-life choices.

I
Nancy Elliott
Chair of EPC - USA
am opposed to SB490 because it is a thinly veiled effort to study Assisted Suicide, also known as death with dignity, medical aid in dying, euthanasia and mercy killing, with the intent to legalize it in New Hampshire. Our state has a long standing bipartisan opposition to Assisted Suicide. This practice is discriminatory to the disabled and elderly, sending them the message that they are not as valuable as able bodied people. While young and healthy individuals receive suicide counseling, the elderly, sick and disabled are steered to take their lives.

I know this bill is for a STUDY, but studying things that would be harmful if passed is a waste of taxpayer money and runs the risk of giving legitimacy and momentum to this practice. If we look down the road where legal we see people's lives being ended who are not necessarily dying, such as an individual with diabetes, who refuses to take his insulin, using this on people with psychological problems and forcing this on people who object as in the Dutch woman who was held down by her family while her doctor forcibly euthanized her.

This particular study seems biased as to its makeup. Instead of having legislators who would be able to weigh the input from different points of view, this committee is made up of "stakeholders". I find it interesting that there are no grassroots organizations representing the disability or elderly communities, who this topic most affects. Why is there no representative from Not Dead Yet? And why is the elderly representative a lawyer, which tend to be more interested in wealth preservation for the estate. And the two religious members are coming out of a grouping of churches in which many support Assisted Suicide. By designating this organization the state is eliminating influence from churches that are not members and may be more in the best interest of our citizens.

I believe that this commission is dangerous to our citizens because the report that will come out, will indicate an imaginary mandate for Assisted Suicide. We all know that these reports are taken very seriously. This report could very well replace the scrutiny that typically takes place on a bill in committee. As legislators, do not replace your position as protectors of society with "Stakeholders". 

Please vote SB490 Inexpedient to Legislate. Thank you. 

Sincerely,
Nancy Elliott
Former NH State Representative
Chair of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - USA

Delaware assisted suicide bill amendment is a misdirect

This article was published by the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, on February 7, 2018

B
Diane Coleman
y Diane Coleman, President of Not Dead Yet

The sponsor of the Delaware assisted suicide bill introduced an amendment apparently designed to address disability related concerns. It’s always good to know that disability opposition has gotten their attention, but this amendment is a total failure and completely misses the point, any point we’ve made. A disability response to the amendment is below. The battle in Delaware wages on.
The IDD amendment is a “clever” but deceptive attempt to address concerns about assisted suicide and people with IDD. Here is the key provision:
“(b) If the patient has a documented intellectual disability, the attending physical shall refer the patient to a licensed clinical social worker who shall ensure that the patient fully understands the information provided pursuant to § 2504B(3). No medication to end a patient’s life in a humane and dignified manner may be prescribed unless the licensed clinical social worker has confirmed in writing to the attending physician that the patient understands the information provided pursuant to § 2504B(3).”
This indicates that people with IDD who are found to understand the (minimal) disclosures provided under the assisted suicide law are eligible.

First, nothing in the proposed bill ensures that people actually have access to the pain relief, palliative care and home and community based personal care services they need. Lack of access to services is a pervasive problem in the disability community.

Moreover, just like all of the proposed bill, it utterly fails to prevent coercion. Coercion to request lethal drugs, like any form of abuse, occurs behind closed doors. The Delaware bill, and the Oregon law on which it is based, do nothing to prevent or discover coercion, nor even to define it. The attending physician need not know the person well; the median duration of the patient-physician relationship in Oregon is 13 weeks. The witnesses to the lethal drug request form need not know the person at all, but can simply check their ID. Yet these are the people who “certify” that there is “no coercion.” Then the patient request form serves as an alibi, covering up any form of foul play and granting blanket legal immunity to the perpetrator(s).

Utah House passes bill criminalizing assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Utah is one of several states that does not have an assisted suicide law. States, such as Utah, prosecute assisted suicide under common law.

Yesterday the Utah house passed HB 86, a bill that criminalizes assisted suicide by placing it within the Utah manslaughter statute.

Representative Michael McKell, amended HB 86 to deal with the critics concerns that the bill may criminalize physicians or family members who accidentally overdosed someone.

HB 86 was introduced in response to the horrific death of a teenage girl:
It’s what one Utah lawmaker calls a “sick case” — a teenager is accused of encouraging a friend to kill herself, buying her the materials to do so and then filming the 16-year-old girl’s suicide on a cellphone. 
After the girl’s May 2017 death, prosecutors charged 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien with first-degree felony murder.
Bill HB 86 clearly defines the act of assisted suicide. The substituted version of HB 86 was passed by the House on a 51-18 vote even though Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D) who has introduced a bill to legalize assisted suicide in Utah, attempted to derail the bill.

Medical professionals have resigned due to euthanasia laws.

This article was published by HOPE Australia on February 2, 2018

In Belgium and the Netherlands, medical professionals are resigning in considerable numbers due to the lack of regulation surrounding the practice of euthanasia. This phenomenon is specifically peaking in the palliative care field, as nurses and doctors find their roles reduced to that of reluctant executioners.

Professor Benoit Beuselinck, a consultant oncologist, has been studying the corrupting effect of legalised euthanasia on Belgian medical care for years. He writes that hospital doctors, to avoid having to administer a lethal injection, will refer elderly or ill patients to a palliative care unit. The assumption is that, since palliative care professionals already deal with end-of-life issues, they will be more equipped to handle such a procedure.

However, this is far from the case. Instead, it has effectively driven away highly trained personnel, leaving palliative care units minimally staffed:

“Some Belgian palliative care units that have opened their doors to patients requesting euthanasia have seen nurses and social workers leaving the unit because they were disappointed that they could no longer offer palliative care to their patients in an appropriate way.” 
“They were upset that their function was reduced to preparing patients and their families for lethal injections.”
But medical professionals are not just upset about the change in job description. For many of them, euthanasia laws pose a moral quandary. According to Willems Lemmens, member of the Belgian Bioethics Advisory Committee:
More and more doctors are "testifying to the moral pressure they are experiencing. Since euthanasia is increasingly perceived by the general public as a right over the death of an individual and family members, the practitioners' therapeutic freedom and conscience are actually being put to the test".
Berna van Baarsen
The Netherlands faces similar challenges, as the definition of euthanasia is being more loosely interpreted in order to include dementia patients. During an interview, Berna van Baarsen, a Dutch euthanasia regulator, explained her reasoning for quitting her profession:

"I do not believe that a written declaration of intent can replace an oral request for incapacitated patients with advanced dementia…" 
“In people with a terminal illness like cancer, in whom euthanasia has already been agreed but who suddenly ended up in a coma because of their illness, that's fair.” 
"However, dementia is a very different kind of ailment. That disease is more erratic and patients often live longer. A lot of things can happen during that period. For instance, a patient might say that she would want euthanasia if she no longer recognises her relatives."

"This could happen. But at a next visit she can still recognize her partner or her children. What is the right moment to grant euthanasia?"
We anticipated that euthanasia and assisted suicide laws would drastically impact the most vulnerable of society, as in the cases that Berna van Baarsen described above. It is taking its toll.

Furthermore, with doctors and nurses fleeing their professions, the consequences of legalised euthanasia have started to affect all Belgian and Dutch citizens as their system of care crumbles before their eyes.

The fact that those who were once willing participants in euthanasia are fleeing because of how it is being practiced demonstrates just how dangerous and uncontrollable the process is.

It lends credence to the fact that, ultimately, euthanasia laws hurt everyone, regardless of their status. With this in mind, we must oppose this policy in all of our states and let our politicians know that legalised killing will never be safe.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wisconsin Prescribe or refer: Proponents of assisted suicide show their true nature.

This article was published by Choice is an Illusion on February 7, 2018

Margaret Dore
By Margaret Dore Esq., MBA

The Wisconsin bill seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia includes a provision requiring doctors to "prescribe or refer," i.e., to perform a requested assisted suicide or euthanasia, or to make an effective referral to another doctor, who will do it. 


The bill, AB 216, also says that the attending physician's failure to comply is "unprofessional conduct" such that the physician would be subject to discipline. The bill states:
[F]ailure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication [the lethal dose] constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester's care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication. (Emphasis added).*
A significance of prescribe or refer is that it's anti-patient, by not allowing doctors to use their best judgment for individual patients.

Think of Oregonian Jeanette Hall. In 2000, she made a settled decision to use Oregon's assisted suicide law in lieu of being treated for cancer. Her doctor, Kenneth Stevens, who personally opposed assisted suicide, thought that her chances with treatment were good. He stalled her request for assisted suicide and finally convinced her to be treated for cancer.

Dr Stevens with Jeanette Hall
Yes, Dr Stevens was against assisted suicide, but he also thought that Jeanette was a great candidate for treatment, and indeed she was. She has been cancer free for 17 years. In a article from last year, Jeanette states

I wanted to do our law and I wanted Dr. Stevens to help me. Instead, he encouraged me to not give up and ultimately I decided to fight the cancer. I had both chemotherapy and radiation. I am so happy to be alive!
With "prescribe or refer," Dr Stevens would have been risking his license or even his livelihood to help Jeanette understand what her true options were.

Is this what we want for doctors, to have them be afraid of giving us their best judgment, for fear of losing their jobs?

This is a particularly sensitive issue for me because it happened to me, but in another context.

When I was in law school, I went to an optometrist who knew what was wrong with my eyes and also where to refer me for treatment with another optometrist. He didn't refer me because he worked for ophthalmologists and had been disciplined for giving a similar referral.

I spent the next six months of my life on a wild goose chase trying to find someone to help me so that I could get back to school. I finally found an optometrist, but with the delay, I had further damaged my eyes. I graduated two years late.

As for assisted suicide, the proposed bill is promoted as safe, in part because it requires a second doctor to review each case.

But what is the purpose of the second doctor, if he or she can only say "yes." (Do or refer)

With "do or refer," assisted suicide proponents show us their true nature. They don't want to give us choice, they want to railroad us to death.

I hope that Wisconsin will reject the proposed assisted suicide bill.

Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. She is also president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia worldwide. See www.choiceillusion.org and www.margaretdore.org  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Oregon assisted suicide Act is designed to deceive.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Last month, a concerned Swedish citizen wrote - Oregon Health Authority Reveals Hidden Problems with the Oregon Assisted Suicide model.

Fabian Stahle became concerned with the Oregon assisted suicide model after the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics published the report, "Assisted death: A Knowledge Compilation which supported the legalization of "Oregon Model" assisted suicide.
Stahle communicated by email (December 2017) with Craig New, an analyst for the Oregon Health Authority. New states that the definition of "terminal disease" used by the Oregon Health Authority was wider than the regular definition of terminal disease and he confirmed that people who are chronically ill can be approved for assisted suicide in Oregon, even if they do not have a terminal disease when they refuse effective treatment.
 

New confirms that diabetics can be approved for assisted suicide if they refuse the insulin and he also confirms that even if the person became "terminally ill" by being denied effective medical treatment by an insurance company or state health plan, they could be approved for assisted suicide. (Link to the article).
But there is more. Recently Stahle shared the email conversation with the Oregon Health Authority. The email exchange confirms that Oregon citizens who voted for assisted suicide during the voter initiative, 20 years ago, were deceived.

Stahle asked:

Do you know if the meaning of terminal disease has been interpreted in the same way (without administration of life-sustaining treatment/medication) from the very beginning when the law came into force or is it an interpretation that has come gradually since one have realized the meaning of what the law actually says and does not say?
Craig New responded:
My understanding is that the language of the law has not changed since it was passed. There has been discussion and debate among advocates on both sides of the law, but none of this has materialized into changes (or clarifications) to the law itself.

We at the Public Health Division (which is directed by the law to monitor compliance) have always held this interpretation of “terminal illness.”
Stahle, then asks:
I happened to find the "State of Oregon Official Voters' Pamphlet November 1994". From page 123 I read about Measure 16 and find in the section Definitions that "terminal disease" means an incurable and irreversible disease, that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgement, produce death within six (6) months. In the absence of further definition in the pamphlet of the terms "incurable and irreversible disease" it seems to me as the most straightforward and immediate interpretation of "incurable and irreversible disease" should be a disease for which there is no treatment or medication - in the meaning that all hope is gone. Neither in the Explanatory Statement, nor in the Arguments - Favour or in Opposition, are there any language suggesting a wider interpretation. And then, looking at "State of Oregon Official Voters' Pamphlet November 1997", Measure 51 about repealing DWDA according to previous Measure 16, I cannot find among all Arguments in Favour of repealing the DWDA any suggestions that "terminal disease" could be interpreted wider than the obvious interpretation as stated above.
Craig New responds:
I think the key for us is that the patient is not compelled (by law or any other reason) to begin or continue treatment for any disease.
Craig New states that the definitions have not changed and then later states that the definition includes refusing treatment for any disease. A clear deception was perpetrated by the assisted suicide lobby to hide the wider application of the Oregon assisted suicide law.

Legislators are also being deceived because they are not being told the wider application of the assisted suicide legislation.

Another deception is the lack of oversight of the assisted suicide law. Stahle asks:

How does the Public Health Division/Oregon Health Authority check that the eligibility criteria are really fulfilled?
New responded:
The attending physician indicates whether the eligibility criteria have been met on his/her compliance form, which they submit to the Public Health Division as required by the law. The consulting physician does the same, and acts as a check on the first physician. We (the Public Health Division) do not independently verify the eligibility of the patients.
New responds to a later question by stating:
If a physician believes that a patient meets the criteria (and a second physician agrees), then (technically) that patient does meet the criteria.
The response from Oregon Health Authority confirm what I have previously stated, that their is no effective oversight of the Oregon assisted suicide law. The yearly Oregon DWD reports are based on information from the physicians who approved the assisted suicide death and the information is not independently verified. Therefore, we don't know if the information from these reports is accurate.

Stahle concludes his original article by stating:
Proponents want to sell the Oregon model along with the assurance that medically-assisted suicide only applies to dying patients where all hope is lost. But it is completely misleading. Surely vulnerable people in Sweden and all over the world deserve better than laws with such inherent dangers hiding beneath the surface.
Last year more than 20 US States debated the legalization of assisted suicide. Nearly all of those legislative proposals were based on the deceptive Oregon assisted suicide model. Legislators need to reject these assisted suicide bills, not only because they are dangerous, but also because these bills employ deceptive, ill defined and expansive language.

Thank you Fabian Stahle for uncovering Hidden Problems with the Oregon assisted suicide model.

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