Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dutch “Better Killed than Disabled” Bigotry

Wesley Smith
This article was originally published on Wesley Smith's blog.

By Wesley Smith

I have been reporting on the non-voluntary euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands for more than 20 years, the infanticide, euthanasia of the elderly “tired of life,” psychiatrists killing the mentally ill.

Often people hear this truth and yawn, “Oh, hum–but Brittany Maynard!”


Now, Gerbert van Loenen – a Dutch (once) euthanasia supporting journalist whose partner became disabled only to experience disdain from friends and doctors–has written a book that exposes a pronounced Netherlander death-is-better-than-disabled cultural attitudes. From a review by Barbara Kay in the National Post of Do You Call This a Life?
van Loenen found himself brooding over certain friends’ reactions to their situation. “It would have been better if he had died,” one said at the outset. 
Another told Niek when he expressed frustration, “You choose to go on living, so you have no right to complain.” Once “an average Dutchman who thought of euthanasia as one of the crown jewels of our liberal country,” van Loenen became “someone who was shocked by the harsh tone used by the Dutch when they talked about handicapped life.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Protect your right to ethical medical treatment in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Conscience rights for physicians are being challenged in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Conscience rights provide choice in healthcare for people who oppose patient killing.

If you live in Ontario you need to send a message to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). 
  • State that Physicians need to uphold their promise to "Do No Harm."
  • State that if euthanasia or assisted suicide is legalized that physicians must maintain their right of conscience to refuse to participate in any way.
  • Emphasize that you would not feel safe if your physician participates in euthanasia or assisted suicide.
  • Talking points, a link to some excellent articles.
The (CPSO), is asking for feedback, before February 20, on its draft policy on end-of-life care. Titled: “Planning for and Providing Quality of End-of-Life Care.

You need to respond. The (CPSO) has made it easy to provide feedback before February 20. You can make comments in the following ways:
  • Post to the CPSO's end-of-life care discussion forum;
  • Send an email to EOLpolicy@cpso.on.ca;
  • Fill out an online survey (there are text boxes in which you can explain your responses);
  • Send a letter to: (College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 80 College St., Toronto, Ont., M5G 2E2).
If you live in Saskatchewan the College of Physician and Surgeons of Saskatchewan are seeking your feedback on the Policy - Conscientious Refusal before March 6, 2015

If euthanasia or assisted suicide is decriminalized you will need a physicians who refuses to cause the death of patients. 
  • State that Physicians need to uphold their promise to "Do No Harm."
  • State that if euthanasia or assisted suicide is legalized that physicians must maintain their right of conscience to refuse to participate in any way.
  • Emphasize that you would not feel safe if your physician participates in euthanasia or assisted suicide.
  • Talking points, a link to some excellent articles.
Send your comments to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan before March 6. Further information.
  • Send an email to communications@cps.sk.ca.
  • Send a letter to: (College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan
  • 500 - 321A-21st Street E. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 0C1).
Silence benefits the euthanasia lobby. Keep your comments straight forward.

The 2015 HOPE International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.


The Fourth International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is hosted by HOPE Australia on May 22 - 23, 2015 at the Rydges Hotel South Park in Adelaide South Australia.



Register for the 2015 HOPE International Symposium.

The 2015 HOPE International Symposium is hosted by HOPE Australia, and co-sponsored by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - International, Euthanasia-Free New Zealand, the disability rights group - Lives Worth Living, and Doctors Opposed to Euthanasia.

Renee Joubert
The speakers include:

  • Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and Chair, EPC - International,
  • Paul Russell, Director, HOPE Australia and Vice Chair, EPC - International,
  • Renee Joubert, Director, Euthanasia-Free New Zealand,
  • Craig Wallace, Convenor, Lives Worth Living, a network of people with disabilities,
  • Nic Steenhout, Director, Vivre dans la dignité Quebec.
  • Nic Steenhout
    Henk Reitsma, Board member, EPC - International and an expert on the Netherlands Euthanasia statistics.
  • Tom Mortier, Chemistry professor in Belgium. His depresed mother died by euthanasia in 2012. 
  • Professor Theo Boer, former member of a Dutch Euthanasia Regional Review Committee.
  • Nancy Elliott, Board member, EPC - International and a past three term New Hampshire state representative.
  • Sue Hanson, co-chair NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation - Palliative Care Network
  • Dr Paul Dunne, a leading Palliative Care Medical Specialist in Australia.
  • Brendan Malone, from New Zealand, is a dynamic speaker on youth, culture and media.
This is the first International Symposium hosted in the southern hemisphere by EPC - International. Previous symposia were held in Toronto, Washington, Vancouver, Edinburgh.

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) Radio Campaign



If euthanasia comes to Canada will safeguards protect patients from being euthanized without their consent? 
In Holland and Belgium where euthanasia is legal, patients have been euthanized without their consent or explicit request in spite of supposed safeguards. 
Choice is an illusion, someone else may decide when you die. 
Euthanasia is not health care. Euthanasia is killing. 
You need to know the truth about euthanasia.
Your life may depend on it. 
Contact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: info@epcc.ca 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scottish Assisted suicide rhetoric is nonsense

This article was published on January 28 on the HOPE Australia website.

B
Paul Russell
y Paul Russell, the Director of Hope Australia


An assisted suicide bill is slowly making its way through various committees of the Scottish parliament before ultimately being debated in the Scottish Parliament itself.

This bill is something of a ‘legacy bill’ following as it does the death last April of the former champion of this cause, Margo MacDonald MSP who had sponsored an earlier, failed attempt.

It is certainly worth a hat-tip to the Scots inasmuch as both MacDonald’s bill and this new bill by Green MSP Patrick Harvie take some radically different approaches to the issue, presumably to attempt to make these efforts more palatable than other failed initiatives. However, the same concerns arise as with all legislation on euthanasia or assisted suicide: vulnerable people are not protected; the legislation is unsafe and open to abuse.

I want to focus, however, on some of the rhetoric and suggestions from the pro-assisted suicide lobby on this bill that are as dangerous as they are facile and errant. Slogans and catch phrases are fine in so far as they highlight and encapsulate a policy position or campaign thrust, but when they attempt to lead the reader to a simplistic and patently false conclusion, they deserve scrutiny.

This from a submission to one of the inquiries conducted on the Scottish bill:

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Mexico Court of Appeals heard assisted suicide case.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The New Mexico Court of Appeals is hearing the assisted suicide case of Morris v New Mexico.

This case is essentially based on a word game and a replay of the Blick v Connecticut case that was thrown out by the Connecticut court in 2010

Similar to the Connecticut case, the New Mexio case, that was heard in December 2013, claimed that "aid in dying", which is also known as assisted suicide, is not prohibited by the New Mexico assisted suicide law because "aid in dying" is not suicide.

The case continued by claiming, that if "aid in dying" is assisted suicide, then the New Mexico assisted suicide law is unconstitutional because it undermines the right to privacy and autonomy.

Judge Nan Nash decided last year:
that the right exists under the New Mexico Constitution, which prohibits the state from depriving a person of life, liberty or property without due process.
Nash then applied this principle to assisted suicide and legislated from the Bench that doctors in New Mexico had the right to prescribe lethal drugs.

But "aid in dying" is assisted suicide and assisted suicide does not constitute medical treatment. Therefore prohibiting assisted suicide does not undermine the right to privacy or autonomy. 

The Albuquerque Journal reported on March 13 that Attorney General King, who appealed the decision, was concerned with the integrity of the law. The article reported that King said:
“Our position is we’re defending the integrity of the statute. If people are interested in changing state law, they should propose new legislation."
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) considers the decision by Judge Nash to be an extreme case of judicial activism. This is a case that Nash should have thrown out and a decision that the Court of Apeal must overturn.

Links to more information:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lawyer who lives with cerebral palsy comments on assisted suicide.

The following is the speech by Martin Benton, a lawyer who lives with Cerebral Palsy, on the issue of assisted suicide.

Martin Benton
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on such an important topic. While I am not representing any particular organization or disability group, it is important that you hear a perspective shared by millions of Americans who live daily with a variety of disabilities.

Although my cerebral palsy makes my speech somewhat difficult to understand at times, some people have observed that my southern accent acquired from growing up in a small rural Georgia town is the real barrier to clearly understanding what I am saying. To make it easier to follow my remarks, I have provided a handout, sans the southern accent. I am not the least bit offended if you find reading along on the handout much easier than listening to what I am saying. What is more important is that you hear from persons with disabilities like me on this topic.

Over a dozen major grassroots disability organizations whose members are self-advocates living with a range of disabilities are on record in strong opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide. These various groups recognize the grave threat that assisted suicide poses to persons with disabilities like me and many others.

I ask you to ponder what the motivating forces are for many people who are adamant proponents for the legalization of assisted suicide. Is it primarily to provide a means of alleviating intractable pain or to establish a semblance of control over the dying process, in other words, “death with dignity”? I would suggest to you that from the experience from Oregon and Washington States where assisted suicide is the law of the land, it is neither. Rather, reports from these states show that the primary motivation of many individuals advocating for assisted suicide is the fear of disability, a fear grounded on some basic stereotypes prevalent in our society that living with a disability is a life not worth living, i.e., living a life that is lacking in wholeness or somewhat less than whole. It is a fear of being vulnerable, of losing autonomy, of losing the ability to engage in activities that they take for granted, and even the fear of loss of bodily functions. Along with this fear of vulnerability is a fear of dependence or being a burden to their loved ones and society in general. In other words, a fear of living with a disability like mine.


It may shock some people to know that our lives are rewarding and exciting. My disability of cerebral palsy is a life-long reality, and I have acquired additional disabilities along the way, including a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder shortly before my first wedding anniversary, and chronic pain due to aging with CP. Additionally, in 2000 I successfully underwent prostate cancer surgery, and thus consider myself a cancer survivor. I am happily married to a loving, supportive woman, and we have two beautiful adult children, and a wonderful son-in-law. 

By profession I am an attorney, retired after thirty-two years of service with the U.S. government and several years in private practice. I am also a potter, and currently spend my time in the studio when I am not traveling nationally and internationally. This does not negate the fact that my disabilities have presented obstacles along the way. I would be lying to myself, and to you, to say that my life has been without difficulties, as has each person faces their own trials.

I am very concerned about the ramifications untreated depression can have in situations where assisted suicide is a ready option. From my own experience looking into the abyss of darkness caused by depression, I personally feel that it is very dangerous to make readily available lethal drugs that may be used to provide a false and irreversible solution to a sometimes undiagnosed and treatable illness. Once the abyss of taking the prescribed lethal drugs is crossed, there can be no turning back or seeking effective treatment.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Disability rights leader, Marilyn Golden speaks out against California assisted suicide bill

This article was written by Diane Coleman, the President of Not Dead Yet, and published by Not Dead Yet. 
Diane Coleman
A bill to legalize assisted suicide is being introduced in California. Fortunately, Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, is already working to ensure that the disability rights opposition to this bill is being heard.

The Los Angeles Times published an article in advance of the bill introduction, and included quotes and paraphrases from Marilyn:
And some disability rights advocates are vehemently opposed. Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, warns that heirs and caregivers would have opportunities for abuse, and that legislative safeguards for people suffering from depression and other mental disorders are hollow.
Golden also told me the marriage of a profit-driven healthcare system and legalized aid in dying sets up dangerous possibilities. She warned of a scenario in which insurers might deny or delay life-sustaining treatments and a patient “is steered toward assisted suicide.”
Marilyn Golden
The inclusion of Marilyn Golden and DREDF is important and obviously columnist Steven Lopez is well aware of the opposition of disability groups. Yet, two days ago, the LA Times Editorial board issued their support for legalization and failed to mention – or chose to omit – any reference to disability groups. This is what the editorial had to say about opponents of assisted suicide:  ”The Roman Catholic Church and other groups will almost certainly have strong objections to such a law, but their moral codes should not be imposed on those with different beliefs.”  But Marilyn was clearly not talking about “moral codes” and “beliefs.”

Assisted suicide: doctors should think twice before signing on

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr Paul McHugh
Dr Paul McHugh, wrote a response to the recent push by the assisted suicide lobby to legalize assisted suicide, in an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal.

McHugh, a former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, points out that legalizing assisted suicide has gained some momentum, that previous momentum was crushed.

With backing from financier George Soros —a longtime supporter of “right to die” legislation—proponents are intent on expanding beyond Oregon, Vermont and Washington the roster of states where the practice is legal. Legislation to allow assisted suicide is moving through New Jersey’s statehouse, last month a New York legislator vowed to introduce a similar bill, and in California state Sens. Bill Monning and Lois Wolk are working to legalize the practice. 
... often in fights for good ideas, the bad ones—even when crushingly defeated, as when Michigan sent Kevorkian to prison in 1999—sidle back into the ring and you have to thrash them again.
McHugh points out that historically, assisted suicide has been pushed back:
Since ancient Greece physicians have been tempted to help desperate patients kill themselves, and many of those Greek doctors must have done so. But even then the best rejected such actions as unworthy and, as the Hippocratic Oath insists, contrary to the physician’s purpose of “benefiting the sick.” For reasons not too different, doctors traditionally refuse to participate in capital punishment; and, when they are inducted into military service, do not bear arms. 
Also, as Ian Dowbiggin showed in “A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America” (2003), physician-assisted suicide was periodically championed in the 20th century yet rejected time after time by American voters when its practical harms were comprehended. As recently as 2012, Massachusetts voters defeated an initiative to legalize assisted suicide.
McHugh then offers three reasons for opposing assisted suicide:
First: Once doctors agree to assist a person’s suicide, ultimately they find it difficult to reject anyone who seeks their services. The killing of patients by doctors spreads to encompass many treatable but mentally troubled individuals, as seen today in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. 
Second: When a “right to die” becomes settled law, soon the right translates into a duty. That was the message sent by Oregon, which legalized assisted suicide in 1994, when the state-sponsored health plan in 2008 denied recommended but costly cancer treatments and offered instead to pay for less-expensive suicide drugs. 
These intractable, recurrent drawbacks are but one side of the problematic transaction involved with assisted suicide. The other, more telling side is the way assisting in patients’ suicides hollows out the heart of the medical profession.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Assisted Suicide lobby group loses its charitable status

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Alex Schadenberg

The leading assisted suicide lobby group in Canada, has lost its charitable status.

In Canada, charities are allowed to allot 10% of their financial and time resources to political activities. The charities act defines political activity as lobbying and working to change Canadian law. 

The Canadian Press falsely inferred that Dying With Dignity lost its charitable status based on its opposition to government policies. Revenue Canada defines political activity, not based on whether they advocate for a particular political point of view, but rather because they are actively lobbying government for political change.

The Ottawa Citizen report appears more balanced: