Category Archives: euthanasia

If That’s The Logic…

This short clip features interviews with Canadians about assisted suicide. Unfortunately, no one presents any reason to oppose it, but what’s particularly interesting  is how the third person arrives at a perfectly logical conclusion based on society’s premises. Indeed, we don’t give preborn children a choice when we end their lives, so what is there to stop consenting adults from ending their own? (Though of course in practice the sick would feel coerced into ‘choosing’ euthanasia because they don’t want to be a burden and disabled children would be candidates for euthanasia because adults deem their life, the only one they have, not worth living by an able-bodied person’s standards.) And really, why do we have suicide prevention programs and hotlines when it all boils down to an individual deciding whether his or her life is bearable? This is not to be provocative – it’s a natural extension “if that’s the logic,” as the young man in the video says.

CareNotKilling

Many people genuinely believe that being compassionate requires supporting abortion and euthanasia, even when they feel in their heart of hearts that it’s wrong. Active compassion, however, means staying by a friend or family member’s side even when their life takes an unexpected turn, for however long that might take. Isn’t it worth considering that we might not know when the best time for death is? For instance, there are many cases of people on their deathbed who hold on until a family member arrives to say goodbye. Moreover, isn’t it strange that it’s at this time in history, when medicine advances at incredible speed and we can do more than ever to manage pain, that there’s this desire to have death on demand available? The idea that there could be value in suffering and sacrifice, that there are some things that we can’t choose and plan, has become so completely foreign to our society that the general sentiment is that they are to be avoided at all costs, up to and including death. Life is already short, so let’s get out there and respond by educating people with life-affirming logic!

Like the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition on Facebook or follow Alex Schadenberg’s blog to learn more and keep up to date. We should all be able to give an articulate defense of life!

Dying: A Question of How, Not If

Margaret Somerville contributes her usual clarity and sound reasoning to this written debate on euthanasia/assisted suicide. Have a look and vote! As a bonus, in this interesting two-minute video Margaret Somerville suggests that though their white coats lead us to think they can do no wrong, doctors are mere mortals too.

While we’re on the topic, follow this link to sign the Declaration of Hope opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide legislation. For news about the push for euthanasia in different countries, read Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

 

Call to Action on Assisted Suicide

From NCLN:

Action Needed: BC Court Strikes Down Assisted-Suicide Ban

On Friday June 15th, the B.C. Supreme Court passed judgment on the Carter v. Canada Case. As Will Johnston, Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of B.C., stated in a National Post opinion piece, the decision “purports to create constitutional immunity for those who provide assistance to those seeking to kill themselves — a judgment that stands at odds with the Supreme Court of Canada’s Rodriguez ruling in 1993. …. Current law will stand for at least a year (the sole exception being the plaintiff in this case, 64-year-old ALS patient Gloria Taylor)”.

Allowing euthanasia and assisted suicide in our country directly threatens the lives of people with disabilities as well other vulnerable people in our society, and opens up further avenues for elder abuse.

A recent press release from the Canadian Association for Community Living concerning the Carter case decision stated, “Our concern, therefore, is that rather than advancing equality rights for Canadians with disabilities, this ruling will have quite the opposite effect. We fear that by embedding in Canadian law the message that some forms of human life are less worth living, the historic disadvantages faced by Canadians with disabilities that the equality rights provisions of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms were to address, will only be more deeply entrenched.”

We need you to raise awareness about the harms of legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide:
Sign this petition to the Attorney General of Canada, requesting that he adopts the strongest possible opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia
Read these talking points provided by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and send letters to your local media outlets outlining your opposition to the court’s ruling as it is a recipe for elder abuse, and creates a slippery slope which discriminates against people with disabilities and leaves them at risk
Contact the Justice Minister, the Honourable Robert Nicholson, asking him to stay the Carter decision and appeal it to the BC Court of Appeal
Become educated on this issue by checking out some of these articles and resources.

We hope you will do all you can to make your voice known in this matter. Our society has ultimately failed if our solution to problems is to eliminate the sufferer, rather than find measures to alleviate their suffering.

“What does it mean to give informed consent to one’s own death?
Is it meaningful to say that we can appreciate and understand the nature and consequences of that decision, when that decision means that we will no longer be here?
Isn’t autonomy about the right to non-interference, in the name of protecting one’s integrity, not undermining it?
Doesn’t the right to self-determination only find meaning because we wish to lay claim to our future?”
~Michael Bach, Executive Vice-President,
Canadian Association for Community Living

Also, check out the personal, thought-provoking piece by NCLN’s Executive Director, a uOSFL alumnus.

To Care or to Kill?

by Kelden Formosa

On Friday, the BC Supreme Court moved Canada one step closer to legalized euthanasia.

But legalizing euthanasia won’t solve the real problems.

Instead of making it easier to kill the weak and the vulnerable, we should recognize all human beings as having dignity and value and start making serious efforts to ensure their needs are provided for.

That means making serious investments in palliative care and strengthening the institutions of the Culture of Life.

To learn more, or to take action, please visit our friends at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and check out their press release.

Personhood: Why All Human Beings Qualify

by Marissa Poisson

 

From our neighbours to the south at Abort73:

There have been at least two other instances in American history in which specific groups of human beings were stripped of their rights of personhood as a means of justifying horrific mistreatment. African-Americans and Native-Americans both felt the brunt of a system which tried to create the artificial classification: human, non-person. This distinction wasn’t based on an honest evaluation of the evidence, but with an eye towards justifying a specific action. In the case of Native-Americans, they had land. In the case of African-Americans, they had labor. Classifying them as non-persons (even property) provided a moral framework for those in power to forcefully take what they wanted without compensation. Today, “unwanted,” unborn children don’t hold anything as tangible as land or labor, but their claims on those who would eliminate them are no less significant. They stand in the way of an unencumbered, more self-absorbed lifestyle. Once again, this notion that human beings can be classified as “non-persons” is not built on an objective assessment of the facts, but with an eye towards justifying abortion.

Check out the poster on the right about the denial of personhood from NCLN.

95% of Canadians Want Better Palliative Care

by Alana Beddoe

An Environics poll commissioned by Life Canada found that 95% of Canadians think palliative and hospice care should be a high (66%) or medium (29%) priority for the government. Only about a third of Canadians have good access to palliative care. Palliative care focuses on pain management, emotional and comfort care at the end of life.

Close to three-quarters (74%) of those polled were worried that if the law against euthanasia is changed a significant number of elderly and disabled persons would be euthanized without their consent.

More information can be found here: Canadians’ Attitudes Towards Euthanasia

End of Life or Ending Life?

Check out this article on assisted suicide in the University of Ottawa’s English-language student newspaper, The Fulcrum: http://thefulcrum.ca/2011/11/assisting-the-suicidal/

Assisted suicide conveys a brutal message as to who our society really cares about. It tells the elderly, the weak, and those in pain that we are unwilling to foster their well being. Instead, we propose an easy alternative: Death. Easy for the rest of us, at least.

Lessons from the Swiss Experience

by Dante De Luca
Every so often, we at uOSFL invite a speaker to come share with us their experiences in the pro-life movement. Such speakers have included Stephanie Grey, Andrea Mrozek, Vicky Green, MP Maurice Velacott, Dr. Rene Leiva, and many others. There is one man, however, whom we have wanted to have as a speaker but have never been able to get hold of. That man is Dr. José Pereira.

Dr. Pereira is a professor at the University of Ottawa and head of the palliative care program at Bruyère Continuing Care and the Ottawa Hospital. You can read more about him here. And now you can go hear him speak, courtesy of the Ethics in Medicine club.

Dr Pereira will be giving a lecture, entitled Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from the Swiss Experience, on Thursday, January 13, 2011 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in RGN 3248 (Amph D). I encourage you all to go listen to what he has to say since this promises to be an event well worth attending.

 

Update: Bill C-384 Defeated

by Garnet

The motion to move the Private Members Bill C-384 to committee stage was defeated today in a vote of 59 in favour and 228 opposed, which means this bill is defeated.

This issue, however, is far from being decided in Canada. We must continue educating our peers about the dangers of euthanasia and assisted suicide. We must remain steadfast and resolute in our fight for the dignity of human life — from conception to natural death!

Bill C-384 Vote Today

by Garnet

Our elected Members of Parliament will vote this evening on Bill C-384, the “Right to Die with Dignity” bill proposed by Bloq MP Francine Lalonde.  This vote will decide whether the bill is suitable to move to the next stage in Parliamentary procedure: the committee stage.  Five or six of us were in the House of Commons yesterday to hear the final debate on this bill during Private Members’ Hour.  Here are a few reflections.

The house was a lot emptier than I expected it to be.  Very few cabinet ministers attended the debate, but we did see two of our pro-life heroes MPs Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott.  After a discussion about representation by population (or something) was finished, the speaker of the house was asked to recognize that the clock was at 5:30 p.m., which meant the Private Members’ Hour was to begin.

Liberal MP Mauril Belanger from Ottawa-Vanier spoke first. He called for more dialogue on the issue, and will vote in favour of the bill going to the committee stage.  He also called for clearer definitions of terms like euthanasia, assisted suicide and “dying with dignity”.

Next was NDP MP Bill Siksay from Burnaby, BC.  He pledged his support for the bill, insisting that the right to die would not turn into the duty to die.  He is committed to providing choice for those that wish to end their lives.

Bloq MP Nicole Demers from Laval, QC also spoke about providing choice.  She said,

As long as one has a life to live and wants to live it, life should go on. However, when an individual can no longer endure the pain they are suffering, I want them to have choices.

MP Nicole Demers

After hearing just about enough choice rhetoric, Conservative MP Tim Uppal from Edmonton spoke with the voice of truth.  He is opposed to the bill and does not believe that doctors should be given the authority to end a life.  I was waiting for him to mention the Hippocratic Oath, but he didn’t.  He also expressed concerns with the bill itself, saying the scope was much too broad, and the safeguards for informed consent were not sufficient.

Liberal MP Mike Savage from Dartmouth, NS, spoke next.  He told an emotional story about his parents, who both died of cancer six weeks apart. Even though his parents suffered, he said, they were still able to be in control of their lives until the end.  I liked his emphasis on palliative care:

Let us focus on palliative care and home care. Let us provide the supports that people need in their time of need. Let us be very mindful of people with disabilities, particularly people who are not always able to make decisions on their own and who rely upon others for support, guidance and the everyday aspects of their lives.

MP Mike Savage

NDP MP Jim Maloway from Winnipeg, MB also spoke against the bill.

I am concerned about the point made by some members that if we were to adopt this measure, it would cut back the impetus to improve palliative care. As long as assisted suicide is illegal, the pressure will still be on governments and jurisdictions to develop palliative care as quickly as possible. If we passed legislation like this bill, then the pressure would be off.

MP Jim Maloway

He also expressed concerns with the way the issue has developed in Holland, where the minister who introduced the euthanasia bill to the Dutch Parliament has since changed her mind.  He advocated for increased support for palliative care programs.

The last MP to speak before Ms Lalonde had the floor to respond was NDP MP Charlie Angus from Timmins, ON.  He also opposes the bill.  He also advocated for increased support for palliative care.

It is possible to treat people with dignity right through the final moments. However, that has to be a decision we make as a society and a commitment we make to each other that we will be there as a society, we will be there with the medical system, we will be there as family and we will be there as a community.

MP Charlie Angus

Then Francine Lalonde had an opportunity to respond.  She spoke quite passionately about the issue.  For Lalonde, someone who has fought cancer herself, this issue is somewhat personal.  She concluded with this:

I can tell you that when I wrote that [newspaper article in 2005], I did not know what unbearable pain was. Now I do and I have learned that medicine, with all its progress, can only provide help with side effects such as hallucinations or other terrible effects to the body. We have to have the right to choose. I am speaking on behalf of the vulnerable. They are the ones who need this type of legislation the most because only this type of legislation will allow them to be the people they choose to be. There are currently many places where people can die and with all the instruments available to doctors, it is possible to help people die without them having to ask.

MP Francine Lalonde

It is the vulnerable that have the most to fear if this bill passes. As is seen in European countries who have legalized euthanasia, the “right to die” can easily become “the duty to die” and “the expectation to die”.  This is symptomatic of a devaluing of human life.  I hope this is not happening in Canada, but so much of what I hear and see tells me it is happening.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier in a letter to the editor in the National Post yesterday says it best.

. . . the slippery slope has definitely materialized in jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is administered routinely to patients who are not terminally ill but rather have chronic diseases or psychological distress; to patients who are incapable of consenting or who are capable but were not consulted; and to children, including newborns. Dying with dignity should indeed be a right for all Canadians, but Ms. Lalonde’s proposal of allowing doctors to kill patients is the worst possible way of reaching this goal.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier

We will be going back to the House this evening to witness the vote.  I hope our politicians will have the courage to stand up for the dignity of human life and oppose this bill.

*quotes taken from a transcript of the debate on OpenParliament.ca.