As the provincial government of Quebec prepares to debate an assisted suicide and euthanasia bill under the guise of medical treatment, Alex Schadenberg reflects on why such proposals should be voted down.
Euthanasia is not safe: Quebec will introduce a bill to legalize euthanasia.
The Quebec government is expected to introduce a bill, to legalize euthanasia through the back-door.
After two government reports and input from its citizens, Quebec is considering the legalization of euthanasia (not assisted suicide) as a form of medical treatment by establishing prosecution guidelines stating that euthanasia will not be prosecuted under certain circumstances.
Opposition to euthanasia is based on three main concerns.
1. No person, institution or government agency should be give the right or power to take the life of a human person.
2. The power of one person, to cause the death of another person, will be abused. Human interaction often includes some level of abuse. In this circumstance the abuse results in the death of a human person.
3. Discrimination exists towards identified groups of people or individuals. Legalizing euthanasia, for instance, threatens the lives of people with disabilities.
Euthanasia is an action or omission that directly and intentionally causes the death of another person, usually by lethal injection, based on eliminating suffering. Therefore, euthanasia is a form of homicide.
When analyzing data from several recent studies from Belgium and the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, concerning facts emerge.
A study that was published in the CMAJ(June 2010) examining the responses to questionnaires by nurses regarding their experience with euthanasia in Belgium found that even though the Belgian euthanasia law does not permit nurses to assist death, 14 nurses admitted to doing so and two of those nurses admitted that they did it without consulting a physician. Clearly these acts are outside of the legal parameters of the Belgian euthanasia law. The data found that usually the patient was in the hospital and over the age of 80.
A second study that was published by the BMJ(Nov 2010)examining data by Belgian doctors to questionnaires, found that47% of all assisted deaths were not reported. The data also indicated that the legal requirement to consult a second physician was only done 73% of the time when the assisted death was reported and only 12% of the time when the assisted death was not reported. Unreported assisted deaths usually involved patients who were in the hospital and over the age of 80.
A third study was published in the CMAJ(June 2010) examining the responses by doctors in the Flanders region of Belgium to questionnaires found that 32% of the assisted deaths were done without explicit request. This study found that 91% of these assisted deaths were done to people who were unable to request an assisted death. Usually the patient was in the hospital and over the age of 80.
This same study concluded assisted deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium that are done without explicit request:
“fit the description of “vulnerable” patient groups at risk of life-ending without request.”
When considering the experience with assisted death in the Netherlands, the most recent analysis of the Netherlandseuthanasia law indicates that the number of unreported assisted deaths increased from 20% in 2005 to 23% in 2010, that the number of reported assisted deaths increased from 1923 in 2006 to 3136 in 2010 and on March 1, 2012, the Netherlands euthanasia lobby introduced mobile euthanasia teams in concert with their Amsterdam euthanasia clinic.
Without further analysis related to the opposition of theCouncil of Canadians with Disabilities to legalized euthanasia or concerns related to societal attitudes towards dying people when the law allows euthanasia, it is clear that legalizing euthanasia will result in the death of some people without request.
In September 1973, Dr. Balfour Mount, the father of palliative care in North America, began, in Montreal, to build a world renowned system of palliative care in Canada. Canada was known as a leader in the research and care of people with life-limiting conditions.
Canada needs to re-focus its effort on eliminating human suffering through caring means.
Killing is not healthcare. Killing is not caring.
The book, Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide uncovers data proving that unreported euthanasia deaths and the abuse of the euthanasia laws in jurisdictions, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, where it is legal, uncovers euthanasia deaths without request not only occur but represent a threat to vulnerable patient groups.
Order the book: Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition