Thursday, 17 April 2014

There is no law that can contain euthanasia - especially if the criteria is eliminating suffering

In November last year I attended a debate in Brussells between my Canadian colleague, Alex Schadenberg and two leading Belgian pro-euthanasia academics.

As I reported at the time, the comments made by Professor Etienne Vermeersch in not only
defending the Belgian laws but also in arguing that there was 'not enough euthanasia' in his country left many of us speechless. Vermeersch was very clear: his aim to eliminate all suffering is a program of eliminating all sufferers. His observation that 'not enough euthanasia' deaths were occurring followed by a pointed attack on an audience member where Vermeersch said, 'Wait until you are paralyzed' said it all.

No-one wants to suffer and no-one wishes suffering upon another. This point, at least, we can say that we share with Vermeersch. But once we make the elimination of suffering the criteria for killing people were spinning out of control in a vortex that has only one logical conclusion: totally unfettered and unregulated euthanasia - with or without request.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Assisted suicide would bring a culture of death.

The following editorial was published on March 25, 2014 by The Telegraph UK. This editorial was published after UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that he would be voting against the assisted suicide bill.

Legalisation leads to bureaucratisation, turning a matter of complex moral concern into one of legal box-ticking.

Prime Minister Cameron
David Cameron is right to warn of the dangers of legalising assisted suicide. Under the 1961 Suicide Act it is technically a criminal offence to help someone to die, but the Director of Public Prosecutions already issued guidelines four years ago to indicate that anyone who acted “out of compassion” would be unlikely to face charges. And yet Lord Falconer’s Bill to legalise assisted dying is before the Lords and the Government has indicated that it would permit a free vote on a measure that does not reflect a genuine need. Unless defeated, it could be the first uncertain step on a very slippery slope.

People with disabilities don't want your pity and we don't want your death

The following letter was published by Canada Free Press on April 14 and the Hamilton Spectator on April 15, 2014. This post taken from Alex Schadenberg's Blog.

By Steve Passmore

I was born with cerebral palsy and I have lived all of my life with pain. I now have scoliosis which affects my mobility and gives me further pain. My prognosis is living with a wheelchair.

Steven Fletcher MP has introduced euthanasia bills with language that specifically focuses on people with disabilities because his bills are about him dying by euthanasia.

Fletcher is saying that he does not value his life, but I value my life and the lives of others with disabilities. His “right to die” ends at the point where it affects other people. Don’t take me down with your death wish.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Private acts have public consequences

A Canadian man, Edward Hung, suffering from the ravages of advancing ALS, published a letter about his condition and experiences before dying in a Swiss death facility.

Former Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Emeritus Professor of the Disability Studies program at Ryerson University as well as a Co-director of Ryerson University's Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education, Catherine Frazee looks at Hung's situation and seeks to reframe the question in terms of public policy, disability and equality.

This article first appeared on March 30 in the Toronto Star newspaper.

A respectful postscript to Edward Hung’s end-of-life letter

What can be done to weaken the lethal grip of the notion that life must be lived full-strength or not at all.

Edward Hung’s compelling letter about his battle with incurable ALS and his choice of assisted suicide in Switzerland to end his life rekindles a debate that, on the surface, appears to pit reason and compassion against stubborn indifference.

A respected Toronto lawyer, Hung framed his closing argument skilfully and persuasively: better to permit hastening death than to require the prolonged suffering of terminal illness.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Why euthanasia slippery slopes can't be prevented

This article by Margaret Somerville was taken from the website Euthanasie Stop:

Advocates of legalizing euthanasia reject "slippery slope" arguments as unfounded fear-mongering and claim that its use will always be restricted to rare cases of dying people with unrelievable, unbearable suffering. But, as the Netherlands and Belgium demonstrate, that's not what results, in practice.

The logical and practical slippery slopes are unavoidable and inevitable, because those consequences are built into the act of legalization through its justification of inflicting death. Once we cross the clear line that we must not intentionally kill another person, there's no logical stopping point.

Does anyone really doubt the slide into euthanasia-anarchy in Belgium?

This report on the latest in a long list of Belgium's euthanasia woes from Michael Cook at Mercatornet:

Belgium: accelerating down the slippery slope

Involuntary euthanasia is acceptable medical treatment, according to a recent official statement by the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine. Although voluntary euthanasia is legal is Belgium under some circumstances, involuntary euthanasia is basically illegal.

The Society has decided (decreed may be a better word) that it is acceptable medical practice to euthanase patients in critical care who do not appear to have long to live -- even if they are not suffering, even if they are not elderly, even if their relatives have not requested it, even if they have not requested it and even if it is not legal.

Friday, 11 April 2014

WA MP critical of child euthanasia in raising parliamentary motion

This post first appeared on Alex Schadenberg's Blog:

Western Australian Legislative Motion: Opposing Euthanasia - Promoting Palliative Care

Today, Hon Nick Goiran, Liberal MLC from the Western Australian Legislative Council, who represents the South Metropolitan region presented the following motion and speech opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide and promoting palliative care.

Hon Nick Goiran is also the co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care in Western Australia.

HON NICK GOIRAN (South Metropolitan) [11. 37 am] without notice: I move: 
That this House:
(a) noting that:
(i) the Belgium Parliament has recently authorised the direct killing of children through euthanasia;
(ii) euthanasia or assisted suicide is now routinely performed in Belgium and the Netherlands on persons with no terminal illness but with psychiatric disorders such as anorexia or depression or with disabilities such as blindness; and
(iii) Dr Philip Nitschke during a recent visit to Perth offered instruction in methods of suicide including how to illegally obtain pentobarbitone, a schedule 8 poison, and how to use nitrogen as an undetectable means of ending life;
(b) condemns the practice of child euthanasia;
(c) commends palliative care as an appropriate response to terminal and chronic illness;
(d) affirms the value of every human life including those with mental illness or disability; and
(e) endorses suicide prevention as the appropriate response to all those who for whatever reason may think life is not worth living. 
Hon Nick Goiran:

When I last spoke on the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide in my contribution to the budget debate on 17 October last year, there was so much compelling evidence from Oregon on the dangers involved, there was insufficient time for me to address the situation elsewhere around the globe. On that day, the Tasmanian House of Assembly rejected the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2013, dismissing the claim by proponents that legalised euthanasia was working well in Oregon, the Netherlands and Belgium as unfounded.