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Euthanasia and Related Issues

Table of Contents for This Page:

The Carter Case

Barbara Kay: Better dead than disabled?

Supreme Court declines to hear infanticide cases

Changing infanticide law up to MPs: court

As U.S. groups rush to aid baby Joseph, lawyers seek to broker deal

Assisted Suicide Ad by Australia's 'Dr. Death' Set to Air in New Zealand

Breakthrough! Injured pastor given food, water Endured 9 days without sustenance after feeding tube removal authorized

New Grassroots Group Calls Quebecers to Action against Euthanasia

Sharp Growth in Dutch Euthanasia Deaths

 . .Euthanasia Bill Defeated in Canada 228 - 59

An Appeal from ARPA Canada to write MP's Regarding the Euthanasia Bill Due to be Voted on April 21st in the CanadianParliament 

A Press Release from the World Congress of Families:  "Canadian Bill Could Open Pandora's Coffin"

Martin Amis calls for euthanasia booths on street corners

Baxter v. Montana: Assisted-Suicide Lobby Group Does Not Get What it Wanted

November 13, 2009: Encouraging News from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Meet the real Jack Kevorkian

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada

Euthanasia bill passes first step

Quebec physicians tentatively propose legal euthanasia 

Euthanasia Bill a Threat to Canadians

‘Death with Dignity’: What Do We Advise Our Clients?

Canadian Doctors Do Not Have the Right to Remove Life-Sustaining Treatment against the Wishes of the Patient

RCMP Opens Investigation into Nova Scotia Woman’s Assisted Suicide

Doctors: let us kill disabled babies

Draft policy would give Manitoba docs power to stop treatment

Princeton Professor Singer: And I repeat, I would kill Disabled Infants

UK Man Goes to European Court Asking that He not be Starved to Death in Hospital

European Court Refuses To Guarantee Ill British Man Won't Be Dehydrated to Death

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon's Suicide Law

Physician-Assisted Suicide Opponents Marshal Arguments

A Letter Opposing Assisted Suicide to Send to All Members of the 
  House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament


'Historic' change as opposition to euthanasia ends  [U.K. physicians]

"The big lie about euthanasia"

"Only God grants death with dignity"  [excerpt from a Mark Pickup article]

Assisted Suicide Bill Denounced

"The English Patient"

Action in Wake of Terri's Death Saves Grandmother From Starvation and Dehydration Death

Legal Options to Prolong Schiavo's Life Fade [Mar. 24, 2005]

Florida Governor Bush Appeals Schiavo Case to US Supreme Court

Terri Schiavo "Very Much Alive and Responsive" according to Schindler Attorneys

British Medical Association "Preferred Bioethicist" Says Infanticide Justifiable

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Insists that Ontario Ministry of Culture Take Action on Suicide Grant [Media Release from EPC:  April 23, 2003]

Australian MD to Make New Suicide Machine"

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Demands [July 10] an Investigation into the Production and Distribution of the Exit Bag-Homicide Bag in Canada

Victoria Woman Faces Assisted Suicide Charge

Supreme Court Denies Latimer Appeal

In Hawaii:  Senate Kills Euthanasia Bill

BCPTL Life Views - Home Page

Netherlands Legalises "Mercy Killing"

"Dutch medics back 'euthanasia' doctor"

Princeton University Professor Justifies Infanticide--Associated Press Report

Professor Claims Robert Latimer Started a Trend

"Eloquent Defense of Life Delivered in [Canadian] Parliamentary Debate"

"Dutch Doctor Convicted in Euthanasia Test Case"

"Holland: Bending the Rules?"

Euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada

The Carter Case

A demonstration in front of the courthouse in Vancouver, British Columbia, will be held by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition from 9:30 to 10:30 on November 14th, 2011.  
The address of the courthouse is 800 Smythe Street, Vancouver, B.C.  V6Z 2E1.

We are glad to publish this media release from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition:

The Carter case seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

By Alex  Schadenberg, executive  director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On November 14, the BC Civil Liberties (BCCLA) Carter case, a case that intends to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada will begin to be heard in Vancouver by Justice Lynne Smith.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) obtained intervenor status in the BCCLA Carter case. EPC intends to defend the right of people with disabilities, those with chronic conditions and mental illness and the elderly from having euthanasia or assisted suicide imposed upon them.
Some people have questioned EPC over the statement that the BCCLA Carter case intends to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. The media continues to state that the case would legalize assisted suicide, with no mention of euthanasia.

Euthanasia is prosecuted in Canada as a homicide. Euthanasia is a deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person to relieve that person’s suffering where that act is the cause of death. (1)

Assisted Suicide is the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both (2) and is prosecuted under Section 241 of the Criminal Code. The assisted suicide statute is designed to protect a person from having another person aid, abet (encourage) or counsel that person to commit suicide.

The Carter case intentionally creates confusion by redefining the language of the debate.

The Carter case defines their term “Consensual Physician Assisted Death” as: “the administration of medication or other treatment that intentionally brings about a patients death by the act of a medical practitioner … or by the act a person acting under the general supervision of a medical practitioner, at the request grievously and irremediably ill patient.” Clearly Consensual Physician Assisted Death includes euthanasia.

The definition of Consensual Physician Assisted Death is not limited to the act of a medical practitioner. The person who does the lethal injection only needs to be “under the general supervision of a medical practitioner.”

The person who dies does not need to be terminally ill but grievously and irremediably ill. What conditions fulfill the definition of grievously and irremediably ill? Certainly chronic conditions, physical disabilities and mental pain qualify under this definition.

To further confuse the court, the Carter case “Notice of Claim” states: “For the purpose of this claim, “Physician-Assisted Suicide” and “Consensual Physician Assisted Death” will be collectively defined as “physician-assisted dying.”

Since the term “physician-assisted dying” is similar to the term “physician-assisted suicide” many commentators have missed the fact that this case intends to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Carter case is being promoted by the suicide lobby as the Rodriguez II case. This means that the case intends to overturn the Supreme Court Rodriguez decision (1993). The Rodriguez decision (5 – 4) stated that the assisted suicide statute was constitutional and preventing assisted suicide was a necessary protection for vulnerable Canadians.

The BCCLA Carter case argues that there has been a change in public opinion in Canada since 1993 and that “physician-assisted dying” can be legalized with safeguards.

The EPC is arguing that:
• There has not been a significant change in public opinion since 1993. For instance, last year parliament defeated Bill C-384, a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada , by a vote of 228 to 59. Polling shows that similar numbers of Canadians appear to support assisted suicide, but very few Canadians strongly support the legalization of assisted suicide.

• In jurisdictions where euthanasia has been legalized, the safeguards that have been developed in those places have been abused.

• Negative social and cultural attitudes towards people with disabilities, those with chronic conditions and the frail elderly are such that legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide will result in some level of abuse for vulnerable groups.

The lived experience expressed by people with disabilities and the growth in the scourge of elder abuse indicates that negative social attitudes have resulted in abuse and forms of overt and subtle pressure may lead to death by euthanasia or assisted suicide.

EPC needs your support. The Carter case seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada by the edict of the courts. If Justice Smith agrees with the arguments of the BCCLA, then we will require the Attorney General of Canada to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

EPC needs your support to:
  • Create awareness of the fact that the Carter case may result in the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada .
  • Our petition campaign intends to give the AG the support that is needed to confidently appeal a potential bad decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Link to the petition campaign.

  1. Report of the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, “Of Life and Death”, Senate of Canada , June 1995.
  2. Report of the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, “Of Life and Death”, Senate of Canada , June 1995.

 

Barbara Kay: Better dead than disabled?

Nov 14, 2011 in "Full Comment," National Post online

In B.C. Supreme Court today, B.C. Civil Liberties Association lawyers working on behalf of Lee Carter, and four others, who have or represent family members with incurable diseases, are launching a challenge against laws that make it a criminal offence to help people afflicted with incrementally physically incapacitating conditions to terminate their lives.

Twenty years ago the same challenge was heard on behalf of Sue Rodriguez, who brought the right-to-die movement into the headlines. Her application for the right to assisted suicide was rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1993 in a 5-4 decision that served, in its pointed ambivalence amongst Canada’s top legal minds, to encourage redoubled efforts amongst both assisted-suicide and euthanasia advocates in gaining credibility for their closely-linked causes. . . . .

Much has happened in this bio-ethical domain in the following decades. European countries – and a few American states – that have long histories of acceptance of euthanasia have helped move the idea from the fringes into Canada’s cultural mainstream. The media, which can generally be counted on to lean favourably toward “progressive” cultural causes, has been disproportionately represented by pro-euthanasia advocacy. Coincidentally – actually more likely in anticipation of – today’s challenge, for example, CTV’s W5 ran a documentary at the end of October called “Let Me Go.” A number of advocacy groups, including terminally ill and/or disabled people who loathe the idea of legal euthanasia, and who rarely if ever see their perspective reflected in widely-distributed media outlets, reacted with visceral horror to what they perceive as its biased perspective.

Albertan Mark Davis Pickup, “advocate for life and disability issues,” lodged a complaint against W5 and its animator, Victor Malarek. The reasons for the complaint are outlined in an email to the CTV News President Wendy Freeman. In it Pickup describes the program as “thinly veiled assisted suicide propaganda disguised as journalism.” Pickup alleges that in his interview with Lee Carter, the daughter of Kay Carter, who ended her life at Dignitas in Switzerland, Malarek accepted without challenge Carter’s assertion that her mother’s travel arrangements were complicated because of Canada’s laws, and that arrangements had to be made “under cover.” Pickup rebuts this: “All they had to do was book a flight to Switzerland and go. There are no police at our airports waiting to stop people from travelling abroad.”

That “gross exaggeration…should have been challenged by Mr. Malarek.”

There were also no challenges, Pickup writes, to Kay Carter’s statement that “there is no quality of life in a wheelchair.” Pickup himself is totally dependent on a wheelchair and chastises the program for not interviewing him or any other disabled, wheelchair-dependent individual who feels they do have quality of life and passionately want to live their lives, however constrained, to a natural conclusion. . . . .

One of the people copied on Pickup’s email to CTV was Toronto lawyer Hugh Scher, former chair of Human Rights for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. He wrote back: “I also share concerns about the kind of devaluing and misleading statements made to the W5 program. They are an affront to people with disabilities everywhere.”

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, responded as well: “If the [bias of the] show ‘Let Me Go’ is not redressed, I am especially concerned considering the effect that this propaganda could have on the upcoming court case in BC.” To date, CTV has not replied to Pickup’s complaint or email.

The fears of Mark Pickup and other advocates beating against the pro- euthanasia current are entirely justified on “slippery slope” grounds. A review of what is currently going on in Europe should give even the most enthusiastic pro-euthanasiast pause. In 2002 Belgium legalized euthanasia. Only six years later, euthanasia and organ harvesting are now coupled. This from a 2008 issue of the journal Transplant International

“[O]rgan harvesting after euthanasia may be considered and accepted from ethical, legal and practical viewpoints in countries where euthanasia is legally accepted.”

Anyone who believes that legalization of euthanasia won’t lead to  pressure on our society’s most vulnerable individuals to do the right thing and die, and who think legalization won’t make the disabled feel guilty about living on even when they become an economic burden to society is just not paying attention

[See the full article in the National Post site.]

 

 

Infanticide conviction nets Alberta woman suspended sentence

The Wetaskiwin, Alta., woman convicted of infanticide for killing her newborn son, was given a three-year suspended sentence Friday by an Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench judge.

Katrina Effert was 19 on April 13, 2005, when she secretly gave birth in her parents' home, strangled the baby boy with her underwear and threw the body over a fence into a neighbour's yard.

She silently wept as Justice Joanne Veit outlined the reasons for the suspended sentence. Effert will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won't spend time behind bars for strangling her newborn son.

In her judgment, the judge rejected arguments from the Crown that the single father and the grandparent also face "the same stresses of the mind" as a mother who kills her own baby.

The fact that Canada has no abortion laws reflects that "while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childrbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support," she writes. . . . .

[To read the whole article, go to CBC online.]

 


 

The Canadian Press

Oct. 13, 2011

Supreme Court declines to hear infanticide cases

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada has decided not to hear two cases involving infanticide provisions in the Criminal Code.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario had earlier considered the case of a Guelph woman who was convicted of infanticide for killing two of her young children — one in Guelph and one in Kitchener — even though the Crown proved the essential elements of first-degree murder.

The Appeal Court ruled that infanticide can be advanced as a defence for murder, and that if the elements of infanticide are met beyond a reasonable doubt, the woman must be found not guilty of murder but guilty of infanticide.

Alberta’s Appeal Court made a similar ruling about infanticide being used as a partial defence to murder, saying where the facts support both a conviction for murder and infanticide, the jury should be instructed to enter a verdict of infanticide.

Infanticide is defined as a woman wilfully killing her newborn child when her mind is disturbed as a result of childbirth or lactation and carries a maximum five-year sentence, as opposed to a life sentence for murder.

The Guelph woman at the centre of the Ontario case, known as L.B., was 16 when she decided to get pregnant with her boyfriend. She smothered the baby when it was 10 months old and four years later she smothered another one of her babies at about two months old.

The woman, who cannot be identified under law as she was 17 at the time of the first death, was sentenced in 2008 to one more year in jail, on top of the five years credit she was given for time spent in pretrial custody. . . . .

[Read the whole GuelphMercury.com article online.]

 

Changing infanticide law up to MPs: court

A spokeswoman for Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, left the door open for a review of infanticide but declined to specifically address the issue.

Adrian Humphreys, National Post · Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2011

A young mother who “did not take well to motherhood” and killed two of her four children three years apart has avoided significant punishment after “infanticide” was upheld as a defence, even when evidence points to murder. The only way out, the Ontario Court of Appeal said Wednesday in a landmark ruling, was for Parliament to revisit a law the Crown prosecutor suggested was outdated and unsound.

The emotional case of the double killing, one of a child who did not stop crying and another who had minor medical issues, was the first thorough appellate examination of the 57-year-old wording of the law.

The ruling noted that Crown prosecutor Jennifer Woollcombe had argued that the concept of infanticide “rests on discredited medical opinions and assumptions about the plight of young unwed mothers that do not accord with present reality, and constitutes an unacceptable devaluation of the worth of a newborn child.”

And although the court upheld it, the infanticide law — based on a 1922 English provision that has itself since been abandoned — did not emerge unscathed.

The woman, who cannot be identified because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, had a troubled childhood and had previously received mental health treatment before becoming pregnant while in high school.

In 1998 she gave birth and, as the court of appeal notes, “did not take well to motherhood.” Six weeks later, her son’s crying made her angry. When he would not stop, she smothered him in his crib with blankets and a plastic bed sheet. She left the room and turned up some music.

The killing went undetected, with the cause of death being attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

In 2001 she had a second child with a different father. There appeared to be no problems associated with that experience.

About a year later, she gave birth yet again. When the third child was 10 weeks old, she smothered him in his crib as well and again her culpability went undetected after another finding of SIDS.

She had a fourth child in 2003. That seems to have gone well.

A year later, however, when she was in a mental health treatment centre, she confided to a doctor she had killed two of her children. She also described the incidents in her journal.

She was charged with first-degree murder.

At trial, the judge acquitted her of murder, instead finding her guilty of infanticide for both killings. She was sentenced to 18 months in custody, followed by three years probation and an order that, for the next 20 years, she notify a child welfare agency if she becomes pregnant.

The Crown appealed the murder acquittals, saying that all essential elements of first-degree murder had been proved. The Crown argued infanticide should only be applied if the elements of murder are not proved.

The appeal focused on parsing the wording of the Criminal Code detailing what constitutes murder, manslaughter and infanticide, the three categories of culpable homicide. The Crown also, however, attacked the validity of the infanticide provision itself.

The court of appeal noted that position, but concluded they must work with the words of the Criminal Code that are passed by the government.

“If the Criminal Code makes infanticide a partial defence to murder, it is not for the court to decide whether that partial defence reflects sound criminal law policy or should be reconsidered in light of advancements in medical knowledge and/or changed social circumstances. Those are matters for Parliament,” said Justice David Doherty, who wrote the judgment on behalf of a unanimous panel of three judges.

A spokeswoman for Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, left the door open for a review of infanticide but declined to specifically address the issue.

[Click here to read the whole of the above article from the National Post online.]

 


 

As U.S. groups rush to aid baby Joseph, lawyers seek to broker deal

Patrick B. Craine

 

Feb 24

To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.

Note: This article originally stated that the Maraachli family would be pursuing an appeal of last week’s court decision. However, there was a last minute change prior to this afternoon’s press conference, and now the lawyer for the family will be seeking to broker a deal with the hospital rather than filing an appeal.

LONDON, Ontario, February 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The family of dying one-year-old Joseph Maraachli, whose hospital is seeking to remove his life support against his parents’ wishes, announced this afternoon that their lawyer is working to broker a deal with the hospital.

The legal fees covered by Euthanasia Prevention Coalition are mounting quickly.

To make a donation to cover the legal costs please click here.

At the same time, the case is drawing attention from major pro-life and anti-euthanasia groups in the U.S. who hope to find a hospital willing to take over Joseph’s care.

Bobby Schindler, executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, traveled to Ontario Thursday by invitation from the family to advocate for Joseph.  “We’re educating ourselves about what’s going on and maybe ways that we can help the family in their plight,” he said.

Schindler told LifeSiteNews that he is struck by the “similarities” with the case of his sister Terri Schindler Schiavo, who was starved to death by her husband’s wish in 2005, despite impassioned pleas from her family, political leaders, and a horrified public.  Terri had suffered brain damage from an accident ten years before, and was conscious, able to breathe on her own, and required nothing but a feeding tube to receive food and hydration.

“The family wants to bring their baby home and they’re being denied,” he explained.  “That’s what our family - we were fighting for the same thing, really.  To bring Terri home and to care for her and show her the compassion that really only a family can do.”

In a statement, the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network said “it is unacceptable for Canadian Health Allocation Officials and/or the Canadian Government to make decisions for baby Joseph and his family.”

“Every patient, regardless of age, has a right to proper and dignified health care. It is frightening to once again see government usurp the God given rights of parents to love and care for their child at home,” it added.

Schindler was joined on the trip by Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., who called Joseph’s case a “human rights issue.”

“We’re going to be working with thousands of activists and organizations in America to try to get baby Joseph into a hospital in the United States,” he said.

He said they’re also trying to get the family legal assistance, and have connected them with the American Center for Law and Justice, which has won 13 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is an issue that goes to family, this is an issue about who decides at the end of life issues, and we clearly believe that should be with the family, with the parents,” he told LifeSiteNews.  “So we’re here to support them, we’re here to stand with them, and we’re here to encourage them.”

Sam Sansalone, a spokesman for the family, informed LifeSiteNews that they are working with U.S. pro-life groups about the possibility of getting Joseph’s family refugee status in the U.S.  They’ve also been contacted by concerned citizens in New York who have begun looking for a hospital in that state that would take Joseph in.

The family was planning today to appeal last Thursday’s decision by Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady, which upheld the January verdict of the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario that supported the doctors’ move to take Joseph off life support.  But they said at a press conference this afternoon that the lines of communication have opened and now leaders will meet Thursday in an effort to find a middle ground.

The hospital had appeared set to remove Joseph’s life support on Monday at 10 a.m., but that got delayed when the family hired expert lawyer Mark Handelman over the weekend with the financial support of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Justice Rady’s decision was based on doctors’ testimony that he is in a permanent vegetative state with no brain stem reflex.  But the family says that footage released Thursday by LifeSiteNews belies the doctors’ claim.  The videos, taken over the weekend, show him flailing and being tickled.  They also show that his hands have been tied down - a measure the hospital took after Joseph removed the tube from his throat on at least two separate occasions.

Joseph suffers from a severe neurological disorder, but his specific condition remains undiagnosed.  Doctors have given him no chance of recovery, so his parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, have asked them to perform a tracheotomy which would enable him to breathe on his own, so that they could take him home.  The doctors have refused, saying the procedure is too risky.

Their daughter died from similar complications eight years ago, but in that case doctors performed a tracheotomy and they were able to take her home.

The family has been trying to have Joseph transferred to a hospital in the U.S., where they believe he’ll get better care or at least a reassessment, and possibly the tracheotomy they need to bring him home. 

The family has also expressed concerns that hospital security is following them around and denying them private visitations with Joseph.

On Tuesday, Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where the family had hoped to have Joseph transferred, refused to take him despite previous assurances that they would.  The family says, however, that they are far from out of options.

The clock is ticking for the family, however, as Joseph’s current hospital has asked Ontario’s Office of the Public Guardian to assume decision-making power after the family refused to have Joseph’s life support removed on Monday.  The public guardian could order it removed at any point.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, warned in a Fox news interview that the court decision facilitates a system where doctors are authorized to force life and death decisions on patients.  He has said he believes it is far worse than the “death panels” recently debated in the U.S. as part of the federal health care law.

“It’s the hospitals and the doctors once again usurping their power over the people,” he said.  “That’s what’s happening.  And they have significant power - they have the money and the courts behind them.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Over 9,000 people have rallied behind the parents through the Facebook page “Save baby Joseph”.

To make a donation to cover the legal costs please click here.

To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.

Three more related LifeSiteNews stories:
Detroit hospital refuses Baby Joseph, but family still optimistic
EXCLUSIVE: Videos show ‘vegetable’ Baby Joseph reacting to parents
Parents of dying one-year-old fight hospital, courts to bring son home


Contact Information:

Bonnie Adamson
President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre
800 Commissioners Road East
London, Ontario Canada N6A 5W9
Phone: 519-685-8462
E-mail: bonnie.adamson@lhsc.on.ca

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Fax: (416) 325-3745
E-mail: Use this form.

Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
The Ontario PC Party
19 Duncan Street
Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Phone: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Fax: 416-861-9593
Email: tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

 


 

 

Assisted Suicide Ad by Australia's 'Dr. Death' Set to Air in New Zealand

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

AUCKLAND, November 12, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A video promoting assisted suicide by Dr. Philip Nitschke, Australia's "Dr. Death," has been approved for broadcast by the New Zealand Commercial Approvals Bureau (CAB).

New Zealand Right to Life has blasted the CAB’s decision, saying that Nitchke’s video is "contrary to the common good and destructive of the social fabric."

"Are the broadcasting standards in New Zealand lower than those in Australia and Canada where the video was previously banned for screening, because it was classified as objectionable and in breach of broadcasting standards?" the pro-life group questioned.

Nitschke, who heads up the pro-euthanasia organization “Exit International,” is scheduled to give a pair of talks this weekend in New Zealand, in Wellington and Auckland.
He has been on a tour recently promoting his suicide manual "The Peaceful Pill Handbook," which is banned in Australia and New Zealand, and holding seminars on how to commit suicide. Last months’ tour through Canada was reported to have been poorly attended.

Alex Schadenberg, director of Canada's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, noted, "People who attended Philip Nitschke’s suicide seminars in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal indicated that Nitschke didn’t seem happy with the response.” According to Schadenberg about 85 people attended the three seminars combined.  “We hope that the Canadian government will make it more difficult for him to enter Canada in the future," he said.

In a press release about Nitschke’s video, NZ Right to Life noted the inconsistency of the state-owned broadcaster showing a video promoting suicide while the government is spending millions of dollars on its Suicide Prevention Strategy to reduce suicide.

The group also observed that with an average of 500 suicides reported each year in New Zealand, and with one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world, "the screening of Dr. Nitschke’s suicide video would be socially irresponsible and result in an increase of suicides," which would have "a profound effect on families and whole communities."


Contact information:

TVNZ Television Centre
100 Victoria Street West
PO Box 3819
Auckland
Phone: +64 9 916 7000
Fax: +64 9 916 7934
Email: news@tvnz.co.nz

Commercial Approvals Bureau
PO Box 1298
Shortland Street
Auckland 1140
New Zealand
Phone: +64 9 373 2907
Fax: +64 9 373 2912
Email: advice@commercialapprovals.co.nz

See related LSN articles:

‘Plan Now for Suicide’ Australia’s Dr. Death Encourages Elderly Irish
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/mar/10032302.html

Vancouver Library Denies Venue to Suicide Group
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09092207.html

Euthanasia Provider to Alzheimer's Patients: The Best Remedy is Death
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08062008.html

 

 

 


 

Breakthrough! Injured pastor given food, water

Endured 9 days without sustenance after feeding tube removal authorized

August 27, 2010

By Thom Redmond
WorldNetDaily

 

Nine days after his food and water were halted in the hospital where he is being treated, and less than 24 hours after WND highlighted the plight of Pastor Joshua Kulendran Mayandy, he has been fed.

A report from Alex Schadenberg, director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, today confirmed the patient who has been hospitalized since a heart attack in May was given sustenance.

"After meetings with our legal counsel, several doctors and a lawyer from the Christian Legal Fellowship, a major breakthrough happened today," Schadenberg reported. "The court-appointed Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) has given permission for a nurse, who is a member of the church, to feed Joshua orally.

"Today, Joshua was fed orally and I was told it went very well," he reported.

Schadenberg still remains cautious about the pastor's future, however, since the original agreement instituted by a government board that found that the best case result would be for physicians to take Mayandy off life support systems, including food and water, and allow him to remain hospitalized until his death, remains.

[Click here to read the whole WorldNetDaily story.]

 


 

 

New Grassroots Group Calls Quebecers to Action against Euthanasia

June 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new grassroots group in Quebec is urging Quebecers to join the campaign to stop euthanasia and assisted suicide from being “smuggled” into the public health care system under the guise of medical treatment.

Vivre dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity), a grassroots group network that officially launches its campaign on Tuesday, says that Quebecers must tell the Charest government that euthanasia and assisted suicide must be rejected as “unnecessary and dangerous.”

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are killing, plain and simple. We cannot allow killing to be confused with health care in Quebec,” said Linda Couture, director of Living with Dignity.

Couture said the provincial government must direct its efforts and resources to offering Quebecers the best possible end of life care, including ready access to palliative care, rather than encouraging euthanasia and assisted suicide just to save money.

Dr. André Bourque, president of Living with Dignity, said that is a key point the organization will make in its submission to a travelling parliamentary commission that will hold hearings in late summer or early fall to hear the views of Quebecers on the issue.

Living with Dignity says, however, that it is concerned that the hearings may be a public diversion to rubber stamp a decision the Charest government has already made to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec hospitals.

While euthanasia and assisted suicide are prohibited under the federal criminal code, the Charest Liberals could effectively legalize both forms of medical killing by directing provincial Crown prosecutors not to lay charges against doctors who end the lives of the terminally ill, elderly or profoundly disabled.

However, Dr. Marc Beauchamp said he believes it is important to assume the commission is acting in good faith and that euthanasia and assisted suicide can be stopped by public outcry.

Beauchamp, a prominent Montreal orthopedic surgeon, is an outspoken critic of the leadership of the Federation of Quebec Specialists and General Practitioners for what he calls their attempts to “manipulate” public opinion in favor of euthanasia and assisted suicide. He dismissed as “embarrassing rubbish” a much-publicized survey the federation of specialists released showing 75% of its membership supporting euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“The response rate to the specialists survey was only 23 per cent – less than the turnout for municipal elections on a matter that is of fundamental professional importance to doctors. The questions were so amateurishly biased that most of the doctors I know looked at it and refused to respond to such rubbish,” he said.

Dr. Bourque and Dr. Beauchamp are two of a number of doctors and citizens from diverse fields who have worked for the past year as an informal group concerned about what they label euthanasia “propaganda and misinformation.” Living with Dignity was formed when a broad cross-section of ordinary Quebecers, including business people, lawyers, pharmacists, and health care professionals expressed a need to expand the anti-euthanasia fight.

Living with Dignity network director Linda Couture stressed the group is politically nonpartisan, and is open to all who share its mission. She said it is focused solely on end of life issues.

"We realize euthanasia often gets included among other controversial social issues, but our entire concern is stopping euthanasia and assisted suicide by working to ensure that all Quebecers facing end of life have access to palliative care,” she said.

For further information
Visit the website: http://www.vivredignite.com/
Contact: info@vivredignite.com
(514) 639-6814

 

 

Sharp Growth in Dutch Euthanasia Deaths

Commentary by Alex Schadenberg, Chairman, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

June 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Netherlands' 2009 euthanasia statistics were reported today in the Dutch media. The number of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands has been significantly increasing on a yearly basis. The most recent report suggests that there were 2636 reported euthanasia deaths, a 13% increase over the 2008 statistics.

It should be noted that media reports about euthanasia in the Netherlands do not include all categories of direct and intentional reported deaths. The Netherlands has separate categories for assisted suicide and deaths without explicit request or consent.

The most recent full report concerning euthanasia in the Netherlands (2005) stated that there were approximately 400 assisted suicide deaths and 550 deaths without explicit request or consent.

Therefore a more accurate number of reported deaths would be 2636 reported euthanasia deaths, plus 400 reported assisted suicide deaths, plus 550 deaths without explicit request or consent.

The number of reported euthanasia deaths has grown significantly. In 2008 there were 2331 reported deaths, in 2007 there were 2120 reported deaths, in 2006 there were 1923 reported deaths, and in 2003 there were 1815 reported deaths.

The number of deaths by euthanasia continues to escalate. Consider the fact that the 2005 official study of euthanasia in the Netherlands indicated that 7.1% of all deaths were by sedation and dehydration. These are often euthanasia deaths because the death is direct and intentional and the method of death is dehydration. A 2007 report suggested that up to 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands were by sedation and dehydration.

There is a clear ethical difference between intentionally withholding fluids from a person who is near death and dies a natural death, and a person who was not otherwise dying and dies by intentional dehydration.

The yearly reports from the media also exclude the number of infant eugenic euthanasia deaths, killed via the Groningen Protocol. (See an article concerning the number of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands here.)

Meanwhile, a study by Anthropologist Anne Marie The suggests that many of the reported cases of euthanasia were not voluntarily requested by the person who died. Anne Marie The interviewed physicians who participated in euthanasia and asked them about specific circumstances. She found that often the decision to go ahead with euthanasia was made by the physician.

Anne Marie The stated to the NRC Handlesblad: "There is the euthanasia law and then there is the euthanasia reality. To think that we have neatly arranged everything by adopting the euthanasia law is an illusion. Reality is more complicated than that: every patient, every situation and every doctor is different."

Leaders of the Dutch euthanasia lobby, including Eugene Sutorius, the former leader of the NVVE, are now urging parliament to legalize euthanasia for people who are 70 years old and "tired of living." This concept is ridiculous if you consider the reality of elder abuse in the Western culture.

An article in the Dutch news stated that: "The 2008 increase led the health ministry to set up an investigation into the increase. That investigation is due to start this month."

The reality is that euthanasia is out of control in the Netherlands.

At the same time, momentum is shifting against the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in other parts of the world. In January, the New Hampshire legislature voted 242 to 113 to defeat a bill to legalize assisted suicide. In April, a bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide was defeated in Canada by 228 to 59. Most recently, the Connecticut court rejected a legal challenge by Compassion & Choices to strike down the State assisted suicide law.

 

 

. . .Euthanasia Bill Defeated in Canada 228 - 59

By Patrick B. Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 21, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian Parliament overwhelmingly defeated today the private members bill seeking to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The House of Commons rejected Bill C-384, proposed by Member of Parliament Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l'Île, BQ), by a vote of 228 to 59, with two additional members noting immediately afterwards that they mistakenly voted for the bill when they had intended to vote against it.

In a point of order after the vote, Conservative Member and Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Stephen Fletcher, wished it to be recorded that he abstained from the vote. Fletcher urged that all possible support be given to patients in need, but also stressed that he believed "the individual is ultimately responsible" for his fate. Fletcher is a quadriplegic MP confined to a special motorized wheel chair.

Lalonde's campaign to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide began in 2005 when she first introduced her bill into the House of Commons.  Her first two attempts failed when her private members bills were shut down by the 2006 and 2008 federal elections.

This round, her third attempt, began when she introduced Bill C-384 into the House of Commons on May 13th, 2009.  The bill received first reading with an hour of debate in October, but Lalonde has delayed a vote by trading back second reading three times.  It was also delayed by the government's decision to prorogue Parliament late last year, which meant the bill had to undergo first reading again.  The first hour of debate was March 16th and the second hour took place yesterday.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that the defeat of Lalonde's bill means that Canada should now move on to finding better ways of offering true health care to Canada's vulnerable patients.

"Now that the bill's defeated, this gives us the chance in Canada to continue to improve care for the vulnerable, to examine issues around elder abuse and how to prevent elder abuse in Canada, to look at issues around suicide prevention, and ... to ask Canadians to make sure that people with disabilities are offered true dignity and equality in Canada," he said.  "This is the way Canada needs to be going, not to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide."

He did stress, however, that "there's always a need for vigilance on the euthanasia issue."  "There will be another bill in the next Parliament," he predicted.  "That's just what's going on.  Our goal is to get ready for the next battle, which will be in a couple years after the next election."

 

 

 

An Appeal from ARPA Canada to write MP's Regarding the Euthanasia Bill 
Due to be Voted on April 21st in the CanadianParliament 

[We are happy to pass on this message, as received on April 19th from the Association for Reformed Political Action.]

After many delays, it looks like Bill C-384 (which aims to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide) is coming to a vote on Wednesday. Unless you have already brought this matter to the attention of your MP recently, please do so now.

Click here for your MP's contact information. CC the Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson Nicholson.R@parl.gc.ca.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has sample letters that you can refer to. Here is a sample email from ARPA Canada:

Dear Member of Parliament

Bill C-384 is scheduled to come to a vote on Wednesday. I ask that you please vote against this legislation and work to promote a society in which all people are valued, regardless of their age or health. We should be promoting care, not killing. If this bill or one similar to it passes, the onus shifts to the aged and terminally ill to justify their existence. That is wrong. The onus is on each of us, as family members, neighbours, and society in general, to care for those who need it and show them that they are loved for who they are.

Please go beyond voting against this motion. Promote a culture of life in Canada.

Thank you for your continued work on behalf of our riding.

Sincerely,

[NAME, ADDRESS]

---

Please take a few seconds to record this on the ARPA Canada action meter, so that we know that MP's are receiving this message. You are also encouraged to forward this on to friends so that they take action as well. If you receive a reply from your Member of Parliament by email, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition would appreciate it if you could forward it to them for their records. info@epcc.ca

We have been calling you to action a few times in the past month. Please remember that this is not the norm. It is rare that our Parliament deals with issues like abortion and euthanasia and we don't want to be silent now that these matters are front-and-centre in our nation.

Thank you for standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves.

ARPA Canada - www.ARPACanada.ca


 

We are glad to pass on the following important message:

 A Press Release from the World Congress of Families

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 19 April 2010, Rockford, Illinois

CONTACT: Don Feder at 508-405-1337, dfeder@rcn.com or THC at 815-964-5819, media@worldcongress.org

WEBSITES: www.profam.org, www.worldcongress.org, www.worldcongress.pl or www.familymanifesto.net

 

 

WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES WARNS: CANADIAN BILL COULD OPEN PANDORA’S COFFIN

The Canadian Parliament could vote as early as Wednesday (April 21) on Bill C-384 which would legalize both euthanasia and assisted-suicide in Canada . World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs warned that passage of the bill would open a Pandora’s coffin.

“What’s being sold as compassion – death with dignity – will open the door for involuntary euthanasia or mercy killing,” Jacobs warned.

Among other perils, the bill doesn’t limit euthanasia or assisted suicide to the terminally ill. (It doesn’t even define “terminal illness.”)  If it becomes law, it could be used to hasten the deaths of the chronically depressed and others who should be treated for mental illness, instead of killed.

For the purposes of the law, competence would be based on “appearing lucid,” whether or not the patient was actually competent. It would also apply to individuals who were clearly incompetent at the time of their deaths, if they were competent when they expressed their intensions.

Jacobs warned: “In the Netherlands (site of World Congress of Families V, August 10-12, 2009), euthanasia was allowed by the courts in the mid-1980s. By 1995, euthanasia and assisted suicide were responsible for 3 percent of all deaths in the country. According to a 2005 study, while there were 2,300 cases of ‘authorized euthanasia,’ and 400 cases of assisted suicide in that year, a doctor acted without patients’ specific consent in an additional 550 cases. In other words, the physicians decided on their own that their patients would be better off dead and acted accordingly.”

Canadians need to consider the natural evolution of such a law, Jacobs urged. “Once so-called death with dignity gains a foothold in Canada, what horrors will follow – elderly parents being put to death for financial gain, the bedridden being pressured to end their lives to conserve medical resources, parents killing their handicapped children (to spare themselves the burden), mass distribution of suicide pills?”

World Congress of Families urges Canadians to consider the ramifications, both long and short-term, of the vote on Bill C-384.

The Congress also commends the Canadian-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (a World Congress of Families Partner) and its Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg, for their tireless work in alerting Canadians to the real consequences of C-384.

For more information on World Congress of Families, go to www.worldcongress.org. For more information on the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, go to www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca, e-mail info@epcc.ca. 1-877-439-3348.

To schedule an interview with Larry Jacobs, contact Don Feder at 508-405-1337 or dfeder@rcn.com

The World Congress of Families (WCF) is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and people of goodwill from more than 60  countries that seek to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the ‘seedbed’ of civil society (as found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948).  The WCF was founded in 1997 by Allan Carlson and is a project of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, Illinois (www.profam.org).  To date, there have been five World Congresses of Families – Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004) and Warsaw, Poland (2007).  The fifth World Congress of Families was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, August 10-12, 2009 (www.worldcongress.nl and www.worldcongress.org).

 


 

From
January 24, 2010

Martin Amis calls for euthanasia booths on street corners

Amis: fears 'silver tsunami'

THE novelist Martin Amis has called for euthanasia booths on street corners, where elderly people can end their lives with “a martini and a medal”.

The author of Time’s Arrow and London Fields even predicts a Britain torn by internal strife in the 2020s if the demographic timebomb of the ageing population is not tackled head-on.

“How is society going to support this silver tsunami?” he asks in an interview in The Sunday Times Magazine today.

“There’ll be a population of demented very old people, like an invasion of terrible immigrants, stinking out the restaurants and cafes and shops. I can imagine a sort of civil war between the old and the young in 10 or 15 years’ time.”

[Click here to read the whole of the above article.]

 

 

Baxter v. Montana: Assisted-Suicide Lobby Group Does Not Get What it Wanted
The Montana Supreme Court Denies Constitutional Right to "Aid-in-Dying"

By Alex Schadenberg
(Executive director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition)

January 2, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Dec. 31, the Supreme Court of Montana issued a split decision in which it denied victory to Compassion & Choices on its quest for a right to "aid in dying" based on the Montana State Constitution. "Aid in dying" is more commonly known as physician-assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court instead focused on issues of statutory construction to determine that Montana state law has no public policy against "aid in dying" because the final death causing act lies in the patient's hands. 

This holding ignores the practical realities of ensuring patient safety from over-eager heirs, new "best friends" and others who might benefit from the patient's death. For example, physicians who malpractices and who wants to hide their mistakes can now say: "It was what the patient wanted." The evidence against the physician dies with the patient. If the patient has no family or other advocate, who will know?

A bright spot in the decision is that it does not give physicians the "right" to prescribe a lethal dose, but only suggests that circumstances may exist to give them a defense to prosecution for homicide.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is hopeful that Montana's legislature will now take the lead to protect its citizens in the next legislative session.

 

November 13, 2009: Encouraging News from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

We appear to have won in New Hampshire. A committee of the New Hampshire legislature rejected the bill to legalize assisted suicide by a 14 to 3 vote. This is a significant victory. Our people informed and persuaded politicians in the Democrat controlled legislature to reject assisted suicide. This does not mean that the bill is completely dead, the legislature might reject the recommendation of the committee and approve the bill, but considering the lopsided vote at the committee level, it is unlikely that the bill in New Hampshire will be approved.

Margaret Dore from Washington State and the team (which includes the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) was instrumental in the success in New Hampshire. Thank you Margaret and others

The next victory will be in Canada.

Bill C-384, the bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada is scheduled to receive its second hour of debate on Tuesday, December 1 at 5:30 pm with the vote on December 2.

You still have time to send a hand-written letter to members of parliament opposing Bill C-384. Information and sample letters can be found at: http://www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca/Analysis-BillC384.htm

Steve Passmore, a disability rights advocate who was born with cerebral palsy, will once again protest Bill C-384 on the date of its debate - December 1 from 4 - 5:30 pm. People with disabilities and all people of good-will should join him in person or spirit.

 


Meet the real Jack Kevorkian

Susan Martinuk, Calgary Herald, Friday, September 18, 2009

The infamous Dr. Death is back. After eight-and-a-half years in prison and a parole period of relative silence (except for a ridiculous attempt to run for Congress that, not surprisingly, went nowhere fast), Jack Kevorkian is speaking out.

This month, he will release a book called GlimmerIQs, a collection of paintings, research proposals and musings from his time in the ol' Grey Bar Hotel. He also chose this particular month to grant his first in-depth interview to Fox News and to hit the university lecture circuit. He now wants to focus his rhetoric on the younger generation because, unlike older folks, "their minds are still pliable."

That's just the start. An HBO documentary called "You Don't Know Jack," starring Al Pacino in the leading role, will be televised early next year. Since the news release proclaims that Kevorkian "walks in the footsteps of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela," we can assume he will be portrayed as a hero;a man of compassion who is driven to alleviate pain and champion the public's right to, as supporters say, "die with dignity."

The irony is that's not Jack. The real Jack is revealed by Kevorkian's own writings, actions and words. If he is about to go on campuses to mould the pliable minds of our youth and unleash another campaign to gain support for state-sanctioned euthanasia, then it's imperative that we know the real Jack.

Kevorkian killed more than 130 people. Compassion had nothing to do with it since many had no physical illness. The chief medical examiner who autopsied 69 of Kevorkian's victims found that only 16 were terminally ill. Forty-eight suffered from non-terminal illnesses and five had no evidence of any disease. No wonder he calls Kevorkian "a serial executioner."

These executions were the culmination of Kevorkian's lifelong obsession with death and experimentation on the dead(and almost dead).

His Dr. Death nickname stems from the 1950s when, as a pathology student, he made regular "death rounds," searching for patients about to die and taping their eyelids open so he could photograph corneal changes at the time of death. No word on if he obtained their consent. In the 1960s, he experimented with blood transfusions from fresh corpses, a venture that transmitted hepatitis C to a willing, but naive friend serving as a recipient. . . . .

[Read the whole of the above article  in the Calgary Herald online.]

 

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada
[from Today's Family News July 28, 2009]

Written by Derek Miedema, a researcher at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Member of Parliament Francine Lalonde is currently engaged in her third attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. Her private member’s bill, Bill C-384, would see doctors fulfilling requests to die for those over age 18 who “appear lucid.”

Introducing her bill into the House of Commons on May 13, Ms. Lalonde began by saying:

“Mr. Speaker, the time has come for this Parliament to find a way to decriminalize medical assistance in dying, which is of such vital importance to those whose suffering can no longer be relieved except by this ultimate compassion”. The question is this: Why is death the “ultimate compassion”? And how does agreeing that a loved one should die sooner fill a compassionate role?

While advocates for doctor-assisted death make the compassion argument sound compelling, there are many internationally-respected specialists in end-of-life care who say a truly compassionate response is not death, but improved palliative care.

Dr. José Pereira, an Ottawa-based palliative care doctor who worked for three years in Switzerland (where assisted suicide is allowed), told journalist Lorna Dueck recently on ListenUp TV about his experience in Switzerland. The number one lesson he learned there was “the importance of ensuring that there’s excellent access to palliative care for anyone who has a progressive, incurable illness.”

Dr. Pereira’s experience in palliative care also led him to call for the term “dignity” to be removed from discussions of assisted suicide, since “around the world, thousands of people die receiving palliative care in a very dignified way.”

Another expert who contributes to dignified death through palliative care is Dr. Harvey Chochinov, a palliative care specialist in Winnipeg. He has designed a therapeutic method to restore dignity to terminally ill patients in whom it has been weakened. “Dignity therapy” has been shown in research trials to restore the dignity of terminally ill patients while decreasing their suffering and depression, with no death involved.

Understanding that depression is treatable is vital to our understanding of end-of-life issues for the terminally ill. A 2005 study in the Netherlands found that “the risk of a request for euthanasia by patients with depressed mood was 4.1 times higher than that of patients without depressed mood” when the study began. A 1995 Canadian study found that “The prevalence of diagnosed depressive syndromes was 58.8 per cent among patients with a desire to die and 7.7 per cent among patients without such a desire.”

Advances in palliative end-of-life care show that pain can be treated. Physical pain can be eased. Chaplains and other specialists can help a person through spiritual and emotional pain. Death, in effect, short-circuits that natural process.

Or, as Dr. Margaret Cottle, a palliative care physician and a clinical instruc¬tor at the University of British Columbia puts it:

“Euthanasia kills the patient twice. The first time is when you look at the patient’s life and say, ‘Yeah, you’re right. Your life really isn’t worth living.’ And the second time is when you actually do it.”
The terms “physician-assisted death” or “death with dignity” do not reflect the reality that Lalonde’s bill is largely about attempting to control death by identifying the time, place and method. Advocates then add the compassionate label, saying such control is the only way to achieve dignity . . . . 


[Read the whole of the immediately-above article on Today\s Family News.]

Euthanasia bill passes first step

 Next up, MPs to debate measure in Commons

By HUGH ANDERSON, Freelance - Montreat Gazette & Vancouver Sun - July 10, 2009

Wrapped in euphemisms and double-talk, another long step toward making it legal in Canada for doctors to deliberately end the life of patients in certain circumstances has been taken.

Bloc Québécois Francine Lalonde's private member's bill to accomplish that has received first reading in the House of Commons. It is likely within the next month or two to receive the standard one hour of debate by MPs at second reading, unless an election is called. A majority vote in favour could send her startlingly brief bill for study by a Commons committee.

Startlingly also, among those eligible to be legally killed by a doctor might be depressed 18-year-old teenagers who refuse their medications. A doctor would also no longer commit a crime by supplying a lethal dose to enable such depressed teenagers to kill themselves. That could be your grandchild if Lalonde's bill became law in its present form.

It's all a long way from what many people think of as a suitable case for euthanasia: an elderly person who is terminally ill and in excruciating pain who repeatedly and unmistakably asks for death. There is probably the support of most Canadians for exempting your doctor from a murder charge in that strictly limited case.

This kind of obfuscation is a striking characteristic of campaigners for the so-called "right to die with dignity," which in reality means making it legal for somebody else to kill you or to help you commit suicide. . . .

In Oregon , state officials have conceded that they really don't know how many people have been prescribed a lethal dose of drugs to kill themselves, only those that have been reported by doctors.

Universally among existing and proposed euthanasia and assisted-suicide laws, what the legislation actually says is not at all what the supporters of it campaigned on, and what they said the safeguards would prevent. Lalonde's bill is no exception. Here are examples:

-- The bill says any person age 18 or over who "appears to be lucid" and who has tried or refused available treatments and "continues to experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief" would be eligible to be assisted to commit suicide if the rules are followed. Note that "mental pain." Seniors who have lived through periods of deep depression will recall that at the time there seemed to be no prospect of relief.

-- The bill says that certifying the person is suffering such pain or is terminally ill would be up to medical practitioners, defined as "a person duly qualified by provincial law to practise medicine." Does this include my dermatologist, my podiatrist? For "mental pain," there should surely be a requirement to consult a psychiatrist?

-- The bill's wording means that people living with disabilities or with chronic conditions would be vulnerable. Such sufferers can be considered by others, and often are, as having no prospect of relief and wishing to die. The sufferers themselves may well have a different opinion.

-- The bill's wording would allow you to be killed legally when you have become incompetent to make the choice, if you had earlier given written authority while you appeared to be lucid to another person to act on your behalf when you no longer appear to be lucid. Better be careful about the wording of your mandate or advance directive.

-- The bill's wording has no definition of terminal illness. A diagnosis could become an immediate death warrant, no matter what your chances of survival might be or if the diagnosis is wrong.

-- The bill's restriction of eligibility based on age would probably be ruled unconstitutional if it became law and was legally tested. As in the Netherlands - where it is now legal for doctors to kill infants, if parents agree, if they believe their patients' suffering is intolerable or incurable- this might mean that eventually babies could become eligible.

Canada 's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has urged Canadians to contact their federal MP to oppose Lalonde's bill.

Its website (www.epcc.ca) provides sample letters you can download and use as a model.

"This bill is not about choice," coalition director Alex Schadenberg warns. "It's protection for doctors."

 

Quebec physicians tentatively propose legal euthanasia

College's task force on ethics believes province's society has evolved to the point that it would be acceptable in limited circumstances

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-physicians-tentatively-propose-legal-euthanasia/article1219957/

Rhéal Séguin

Quebec City From Thursday's Globe and Mail - July 16, 2009

With great caution, the Quebec College of Physicians is prepared to cross the line on the controversial debate over euthanasia and propose that it be included “as part of the appropriate care in certain particular circumstances.”

After examining the issue for three years, the College's task force on ethics concluded that Quebec society has evolved to the point where it could tolerate euthanasia in specific circumstances. The task force's recommendation will likely be part of a “reflection” document the College will release next fall, hoping that a public debate on the issue will pressure the federal government to eventually amend the criminal code.

“We are being very cautious in our approach,” said the College's secretary, Yves Robert. “Avoiding the debate contributes to the general hypocrisy around this issue. To say that it doesn't happen because it is illegal is completely stupid. … We have to stop hiding our head in the sand,” Dr. Robert said.

It is common knowledge that physicians often have no choice but to constantly increase medication such as morphine to alleviate the pain and suffering of terminally ill patients.

Sometimes, the pain is so unbearable that the amount of painkillers or analgesics used to control it can be fatal. And this, according to the Quebec College of Physicians, can be viewed as a form of euthanasia.

“The question here is to decide whether a drop in dosage or an increase in dosage constitutes a criminal act,” Dr. Robert said. “We may go as far as to recommend that in certain cases, where the pain is unbearable, the amount of analgesic required could correspond to a form of euthanasia.”

The College wants to avoid a divisive confrontation between those who are for or against euthanasia, saying such a debate would solve nothing. Instead, the debate should be about the doctor's role in accompanying a terminally ill patient toward the inevitability of death, offering as much dignity and medical assistance as possible. “There's not a politician or a lawyer that can tell me what that entails,” Dr. Robert said.

The College says there are three conditions required in order to amend the criminal code, which currently defines euthanasia as a criminal act. The first would require that the decision be made in accordance with the patient's will. A physician alone could not decide, Dr. Robert said. The second condition would require that clear rules be established to protect society from abuses. And thirdly, the doctor has to be part of the decision-making process and not someone who simply carries out orders.

Quebec physicians are adamant in stating their position excludes assisted suicides, which is practised in Switzerland and in some parts of the United States . There have been a few rare cases where Canadians have died at the assisted-suicide clinic Dignitas in Switzerland , but the College opposes the practice.

Right-to-die groups in Quebec believe the province's College of Physicians has taken a “bold, cautious and realistic” approach that will have considerable impact on the rest of the country. . . . .

The College of Physicians is expected to table its final proposal in November.

 


Euthanasia Bill a Threat to Canadians

APress Release from Signal Hill
June 25, 2009

 Euthanasia Bill a Threat to Canadians

 Euthanasia should not be permitted in Canada because the practice would put at risk Canadians who are already in a weak position, says a B.C.-based educational organization.

 “This issue is very troubling,” says Yvonne Douma, Executive Director of Signal Hill.  “It would place many Canadians who are vulnerable through illness, depression or disability to the risk of making an irreversible, life-threatening choice.” 

 In May of this year, Quebec Member of Parliament Francine Lalonde introduced Bill C-384, a bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.  It proposes adding an amendment to the Criminal Code, exempting from criminal prosecution doctors who help a patient to die.  Those eligible for euthanasia would be at least 18 years of age.  They would suffer from terminal illness or "experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief," whether or not they had received treatment.

 Signal Hill is a human rights organization that provides women and families with supportive education on life issues, helping them make informed and life-affirming decisions.

 The group believes that a medical culture that views euthanasia as a legitimate treatment for pain and terminal illness will effectively undermine the commitment to care that all physicians must have.

  “In these trying economic times, will those who are ill or disabled feel a subtle pressure to save the system from the burden of caring for them?” Douma asks. “There is no assurance that ‘safeguards’ will eradicate abuse by physicians.  We need to err on the side of life and never take the chance of granting a privileged few the power to take it.”

 For more information on the issue contact us at 604-853-3425 or visit our web-site at www.thesignalhill.com.

Natalie Hudson
Director of Education and Outreach
Signal Hill
#112 -- 32868 Ventura Avenue
Abbotsford, BC  V2S 6J3

 





Death with Dignity’: What Do We Advise Our Clients?

 [The following is an excerpt from an article by Margaret Dore that was published on the website of the Washington State Bar Association.. Margaret Dore is a lawyer in Washington State.] 

July 2009

Death with Dignity

What Do We Tell Our Clients?

. . . .

by Margaret Dore


A client wants to know about the new Death with Dignity Act, which legalizes physician-assisted suicide in Washington state. Do you take the politically correct path and agree that it's the best thing since sliced bread? Or, do you do your job as a lawyer and tell him that the Act has problems and that he may want to take steps to protect himself? I would hope the latter.

Not What the Voters Were Promised

The new Act was passed by the voters as Initiative 1000 and has now been codified as Chapter 70.245 RCW. During the election, proponents touted it as providing "choice" for end-of-life decisions. A glossy brochure declared: "Only the patient — and no one else — may administer the [lethal dose]."[1]

The Act, however, doesn't say this anywhere. The Act also contains potentially coercive provisions. For example, it allows an heir who will benefit from the patient's death to help the patient sign up for the lethal dose.

How the Act Works

The Act has an application process to obtain the lethal dose, which includes a written request form with two required witnesses.[2] The Act allows one of these witnesses to be the patient's heir.[3] Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight.[4] The death is not required to be witnessed by disinterested persons.[5] Indeed, no one is required to be present.[6]

A Comparison to Probate Law

When signing a will, having an heir act as one of the witnesses creates a presumption of undue influence. The probate statute states that when one of two required witnesses is a taker under the will, there is a rebuttable presumption that the taker/witness: "…procured the gift by duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence." RCW 11.12.160(2). The Act's lethal dose request process, which allows an heir to be a witness on the lethal dose request form, does not promote patient choice. It invites coercion.

No Mental Standard or Consent Is Required at the Time of Administration

Under the Act, an "attending physician" and a "consulting physician" are required to determine whether the patient is competent at the time of the lethal dose request.[7] The Act does not, however, require that the patient be competent or even aware when the lethal dose is administered.[8] There is also no language requiring the client's consent at the time of administration.[9] Without a requirement of competency, consent, or even awareness when the lethal dose is administered, the stage is set for undue influence and worse.

"Self-administer" Does Not Necessarily Mean that a Patient Administers the Lethal Dose to Himself

The Act does not state that "only" the patient may administer the lethal dose.[10] The Act instead provides that the patient "self-administer" the dose.[11] In an Orwellian twist, the term "self-administer" does not mean that administration will necessarily be by the patient. "Self-administer" is instead defined as the act of ingesting. The Act states:

"Self-administer" means a qualified patient's act of ingesting medication to end his or her life . . . . (Emphasis added). RCW 70.245.010(12).

In other words, someone else putting the lethal dose in the patient's mouth qualifies as "self-administration."[12] Someone else putting the lethal dose in a feeding tube or IV nutrition bag would also qualify.[13] "Self-administer" means that someone else can administer the lethal dose to the patient.

In summary, someone other than the patient is allowed to administer the lethal dose. The Act contains no requirement that the patient be competent or even aware when the lethal dose is administered. There is no requirement that the patient consent when the lethal dose is administered.

Intentionally killing an incompetent person, or intentionally killing some other person without his consent, is homicide.[14] The Act, however, allows this result, as long as the action taken is according to the Act. The Act states:

Actions taken in accordance with this chapter do not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing, or homicide, under the law. (Emphasis added).   RCW 70.245.180(1).

The Right to Rescind Is Not a Substitute for Requiring Consent

The Act's proponents may counter that consent is actually required because patients have a right to rescind a request for the lethal dose "at any time."[15] A right to rescind is not the same thing as a right to consent when the lethal dose is administered. Consider, for example, an incompetent or unaware patient who obtained the lethal dose on a "just-in-case basis" and has not consented to taking it. He would not have the ability to rescind because he is incompetent, sedated, or simply sleeping. Without the right to consent, someone else would, nonetheless, be free to administer the lethal dose to him. Without the right to consent, the client's control over the "time, place, and manner" of his death is an illusion. 

No Witnesses at the Death

If, for the purpose of argument, the Act does not "allow" a patient's death without consent, patients are, nonetheless, unprotected from this result, due to the lack of required witnesses at the death. Without witnesses, the opportunity is created for someone other than the patient to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent. Even if he struggled, who would know? The lethal dose request would provide the alibi. This scenario would seem especially significant for patients with money. A California case, People v. Stuart, 67 Cal Rptr. 3rd 129, 143 (2007), states: "Financial reasons [are] an all too common motivation for killing someone…."

. . . .

What to Tell Clients

1.  Signing the form will lead to a loss of control
 By signing the lethal dose request form, the client is taking an official position that if he dies suddenly, no questions should be asked. The client will be unprotected against others in the event he changes his mind after the lethal prescription is filled and decides that he wants to live. This would seem especially important for patients with money. There is, regardless, a loss of control.
 
2. Prognoses can be wrong
 The Act applies to adults determined by an "attending physician" and a "consulting physician" to have a disease expected to produce death within six months.[22] But what if the doctors are wrong? This is the point of a recent Seattle Weekly article: Even patients with cancer can live years beyond expectations.[23] The article states:


Since the day [the patient] was given two to four months to live, [she] has gone with her children on a series of vacations . . . . "We almost lost her because she was having too much fun, not from cancer" [her son chuckles].[24]

Conclusion

As lawyers, we often advise our clients of worst-case scenarios. This is our obligation, regardless of whether it is politically correct to do so. The Death with Dignity Act is not about dignity or choice. It is about enabling people to pressure others to an early death or even cause it. The Act may also encourage patients with years to live to give up hope. We should advise our clients accordingly. 

Margaret Dore is an attorney admitted to practice in 1986. Her practice has included probate, guardianship, and appeals. She is the immediate past chair of the Elder Law Committee of the ABA Family Law Section. She is a former chair of what is now the King County Bar Guardianship and Elder Law Section. She is also a former law clerk to both the Washington State Supreme Court and the Washington State Court of Appeals. For more information on Ms. Dore, see www.margaretdore.com.

NOTES
 1. I-1000 Pamphlet, "Paid for by Yes! on 1000."
 2. RCW §§ 70.245.030 and .220 state that one of two required witnesses to the lethal dose request form cannot be the patient's heir or other person who will benefit from the patient's death; the other witness may be an heir or other person who will benefit from the death.
 3. Id.
 4. See Entire Act, Chapter 70.245 RCW.
 5. Id.
 6. Id.
 7. RCW 70.245.040(1)(a) and RCW 70.245.050.
 8. The following Act provisions address the issue of competency in conjunction with the lethal dose request, not later. See: RCW 70.245.010(3); RCW 70.245.010(5); RCW 70.245.010(11); RCW 70.245.020; RCW 70.245.030(1); RCW 70.245.040(1)(a); RCW 70.245.040(1)(d); RCW 70.245.050; RCW 70.245.120(3) & (4); and RCW 70.245.220 (regarding the patient's appearing to be of "sound mind"). There is no provision that requires the patient to be competent or even aware at the time of administration. See Entire Act, Chapter 70.245 RCW.
 9. The following provisions require that a determination of whether a patient is acting "voluntarily" be made in conjunction with the lethal dose request, not later. See RCW 70.245.020(1); RCW 70.245.030(1); RCW 70.245.040(1)(a); RCW 70.245.040(1)(d); RCW 70.245.050; RCW 70.245.120(3) and (4); and RCW 70.245.220. There is no provision that requires the patient to be acting voluntarily and/or give consent at the time of administration. See Entire Act, Chapter 70.245 RCW ("consent" not mentioned).
 10. See Entire Act, Chapter 70.245 RCW.
 11. See RCW 70.245.010(7); RCW 70.245.010(12); RCW 70.245.020(1); RCW 70.245.090; RCW 70.245.140; RCW 70.245.170; RCW 70.245.180(1); and RCW 70.245.220.
 12. Webster's New World College Dictionary at www.yourdictionary.com/ingest defines "ingest" as: "to take (food, drugs, etc.) into the body, as by swallowing, inhaling or absorbing." Someone putting the lethal dose in the patient's mouth qualifies as "self-administration" because the patient will thereby "ingest" the dose.
 13. Someone putting the lethal dose in a feeding tube or IV nutrition bag qualifies as "self-administration" because the patient will thereby "ingest" the dose.
 14. Cf. RCW 9A.32.010 (defining "homicide"); RCW 9A.32.020 (regarding premeditation); and RCW 9A.32.030 (defining "murder").
 15. RCW 70.245.100.
 . . . ..
 22. RCW 70.245.040(1)(a); RCW 70.245.050; and RCW 70.245.010(13).
 23. Shapiro, Nina, "Terminal Uncertainty — Washington's new 'Death with Dignity' law allows doctors to help people commit suicide — once they've determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they're wrong?" Seattle Weekly, January 14, 2009, www.seattleweekly.com/2009-01-14/news/terminal-uncertainty.
24. Id.

Click here to read the whole of the article immediately above on the website of the Washington State Bar Association.

Canadian Doctors Do Not Have the Right to Remove Life-Sustaining Treatment against the Wishes of the Patient

By Alex Schadenberg, President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

WINNIPEG, June 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Jocelyn Downie, the Canada Research Chair of Health Law and Policy said at an End-of-Life Ethics & Decision-Making conference at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg yesterday that doctors do not have the legal right to withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment against a patient's wishes.

Downie, who is Canada's foremost player in interpreting health law issues, stated that there is no legal precedent in Canada that gives doctors the authority to remove a feeding tube or issue a do-not-resuscitate order against a patient's wishes.

Downie directly contradicted a notice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, who asserted in their February 1, 2008 policy statement that a physician could unilaterally decide to remove life-sustaining treatment, including fluids and food, in certain circumstances.

The statement said that even when a patient is likely to regain a level of self-awareness, the physician could still withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment if the doctor obtains agreement from at least one other physician. The doctor also must seek agreement with the family, but if agreement cannot be achieved, the doctor must give a 96-hour notice before removing life-sustaining treatment, including fluids and food.

Downie said that the guidelines need to be revised because they go too far. Doctors can't medically determine whether a life is worth living. "I think it's taking too much authority for physicians and I don't think it's legally acceptable or ethical," stated Downie.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons stated in turn that Manitoba courts have recognized a doctor's power to pull the plug on a patient without the consent of the patient or their family. The college's registrar said: "Basically, we disagree with her."

The comments made by Downie may also affect the case of Samuel Golubchuk, an orthodox Jewish man, whose family is seeking to have his life-sustaining treatment continued while Grace Hospital in Winnipeg is seeking to withdraw it.

Jocelyn Downie is also one of Canada's leading proponents of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

 

 

RCMP Opens Investigation into Nova Scotia Woman’s Assisted Suicide

By Hilary White

HALIFAX, June 27, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – At the request of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, RCMP in Halifax are investigating the death of a Nova Scotia woman at the infamous euthanasia ‘clinic’ in Switzerland, called “Dignitas.” Depending on the outcome of the investigation, charges of aiding or counselling to commit suicide may be laid against the woman’s husband, . . . , who was with her when she died of an overdose of barbiturates in the Zurich facility.

Elizabeth Jeanette MacDonald of Windsor, 38, who died June 8, suffered from severe multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair. MacDonald told the Halifax Chronicle Herald in an interview that she had attempted suicide a year ago.

In a public statement, RCMP said, “On or about the 8th of June 2007 Elizabeth MacDonald a terminally ill patient from Windsor N.S. was euthanized at a clinic in Zurich, Switzerland which is legal to do in that country. Southwest Nova Major Crime will conduct an investigation to determine if there are any grounds for an offence to have been committed in this country.”

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition asked the RCMP to investigate last week after her obituary appeared in the local paper, in which the family thanked the operators of the assisted suicide facility. “Last, but not least, we would like to thank Herr Ludwig Minelli, and the members of Dignitas in Zurich (Bernard and ‘Gaby’, in particular), for helping Elizabeth deliver herself from the burden of a life which had become too great to bear,” the obituary ran.

Coalition executive director, Alex Schadenberg, told LifeSiteNews.com that their concern is simple: Was Elizabeth MacDonald counselled in this country to commit suicide?

“In Canada, it is against the law to aid and abet suicide,” said Schadenberg. “Who says she wasn’t aided or counselled to commit suicide? I have no idea whether [the family] have broken the law. Our argument is simple and to the point. These laws exist to protect vulnerable people; that’s what the law on assisted suicide is about.”

[Her husband] told the Halifax Herald that he has done nothing illegal. “She asked me to accompany her. It was the last loving thing I could do for her.” He called the coalition “a bunch of busybodies.”

“We just believe due process should happen,” Schadenberg said. “Without this process, whatever the outcome of this case, vulnerable disabled people are at risk of a no-holds barred situation where they are not adequately protected under the law.”

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Obituary Notice Leaves Evidence That Canadian Woman Was Killed at Zurich's Assisted Suicide Clinic
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/jun/07062107.html

 

 

 


Doctors: let us kill disabled babies
[from The Sunday Times online


ONE of Britain’s royal medical colleges is calling on the health profession to consider permitting the euthanasia of seriously disabled newborn babies.

The proposal by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology is a reaction to the number of such children surviving because of medical advances. The college is arguing that “active euthanasia” should be considered for the overall good of families, to spare parents the emotional burden and financial hardship of bringing up the sickest babies.
“A very disabled child can mean a disabled family,” it says. “If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome.”

Geneticists and medical ethicists supported the proposal — as did the mother of a severely disabled child — but a prominent children’s doctor described it as “social engineering”.

The college called for “active euthanasia” of newborns to be considered as part of an inquiry into the ethical issues raised by the policy of prolonging life in newborn babies. The inquiry is being carried out by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.
[Click here to read the whole article on The Sunday Times online]

Draft policy would give Manitoba docs power to stop treatment

CBC News online, October 13, 2006

The body overseeing Manitoba's doctors is considering giving physicians the authority to stop or withhold medical treatment, even if the patient or family disagrees.

CBC News has obtained a draft document from Manitoba's College of Physicians and Surgeons that sets out proposed policies surrounding end-of-life decisions in hospitals.

The draft policy spells out the process that doctors must follow when deciding whether to withhold or withdraw respirators, breathing tubes and feeding tubes, or continue with treatments like dialysis.

It concludes doctors have the authority to make the final decision concerning treatments, but would give families 96 hours notice of the decision and the right to appeal it through a second opinion or court intervention.

College registrar Dr. Bill Pope said physicians make these kinds of decisions every day.

"This actually puts some boundaries around the ability of physicians to, as you put it, play God," said Pope.

"The fact remains that these decisions are being made all the time, so this gives some direction to them and to patients as to how they may access assistance."

Precedent-setting policy?

Some patient advocates across the country are worried the proposed policy could set a precedent that other provinces will eventually follow.

Jocelyn Downie, a law and medicine professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says the final decision should rest with patients and their families.

"At stake is decision-making at the end of life. Deciding when we should stop treating and recognizing the decision doesn't belong to physicians," said Downie.

People with disabilities say the draft policy goes beyond end-of-life care to include patients who are conscious and can speak for themselves.

Jim Derksen, who has had polio since he was a child, uses a respirator at night.

"I have friends who use respirators, who have had feeding tubes for decades. That a document would give a doctor the power to withdraw the respirator or the feeding tube, this is a concern to people who are aware of how fragile life is and who depend on these kinds of systems."

Patients need time, says B.C. family

The daughter of a Vancouver man says she's concerned the Manitoba proposal will cause doctors to make patient-care decisions too quickly.

Last year, 62-year-old Harvbhajian Bath had a heart attack. Within 12 hours, doctors said he was brain dead and recommended he not be given life support.

The family called a lawyer and eventually, Bath rallied to the point that he was sent home.

His daughter, Ruby Bhullar, said Bath still has serious brain damage, but that he shows emotions and hugs his grandson. Two weeks ago, he attended a family wedding.

"Maybe there could be someone like my dad that recovers somewhat or could recover fully if they had the time to do so," said Bhullar.

"That's what I would be afraid of, that those families aren't going to have the time to see that family member could have made some sort of recovery."

 

 


Princeton Professor Singer: And I repeat, I would kill Disabled Infants
He is consistent. States "there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby"

By John-Henry Westen

PRINCETON, September 12, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a question and answer article published in the UK's Independent today, controversial Princeton University Professor Peter Singer repeats his notorious stand on the killing of disabled newborns.  Asked, "Would you kill a disabled baby?", Singer responded, "Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole."

People who oppose Singer's position have maintained that Singer is the logical extension of the culture of death and that society will eventually embrace his stance if there is no shift to the culture of life.  Alex Scadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition commented to LifeSiteNews.com about Singer saying, "at least he's consistent."  In fact, Singer himself uses the abortion debate to justify his murderous stance. 

"Many people find this shocking," continued Singer, "yet they support a woman's right to have an abortion."  Concluding his point, Singer said, "One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby."

Singer's position, similar to the culture of death, is that there is no inherent dignity in man, there is no sanctity of human life.  Man deserves no special treatment since, Singer rejects that man was created in the image and likeness of God. 

Asked about the choice between killing 10 cows or a human, Singer said he would kill the cows, but not because they were of less value, but because humans would mourn the death more.  "I've written that it is much worse to kill a being who is aware of having a past and a future, and who plans for the future. Normal humans have such plans, but I don't think cows do. And normal humans have family and friends who will grieve their death in ways more vivid and longer-lasting than the way cows may care about other cows. (Although a cow certainly misses her calf for a long time, if the calf is taken from her. That's why there is a major ethical problem with dairy products.) If I really had to make such a decision, I'd kill the cows."

Schadenberg commented saying, "Once again Singer is making distinctions between human beings he would consider normal and those he would consider not normal, thus he is deciding who is a person and who is not.  Non-persons are allowed to be killed."  The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition leader concluded, "even though Singer does not like to be compared to the Nazi's especially since his parents died in the Holocaust, his philosophical position is identical to what the Nazi's proposed.  The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is primarily concerned for the lives of people with disabilities and other vulnerable persons."

See the whole interview:
http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article1466409.ece


UK Man Goes to European Court Asking that He not be Starved to Death in Hospital

By Gudrun Schultz

LANCASTER, England, May 3, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A 45-year-old man who fears his doctors may refuse him food and water has taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights, reported the BBC today.

Les Burke suffers from a brain illness, cerebella ataxia, which may result in his eventual paralysis. He faces a likely future of being unable to move or speak, but with full mental capacity.

Under General Medical Council guidelines, his doctors would be permitted to withdraw food and water from him once his condition deteriorates. Mr. Burke is trying to ensure that does not happen.

A British High Court ruling that would have prevented his doctors from withdrawing essential nutrition from him was overturned last year when the GMC appealed the ruling. Mr. Burke was refused the right to appeal to the Lords.

Mr. Burke’s lawyer, Muiris Lyons, told the BBC, “We were very surprised that the Lords said the case did not have a significant public interest.” Mr. Lyons said denying Mr. Burke food and water would be a denial of his human rights.

Health officials said the original ruling left too much room for patients to make further treatment demands, and the GMC said doctors would be in an impossible position if Mr. Burke wins his case.

A proposed amendment to a Mental Capacity Bill that would have prevented common removal of food and water from terminal patients was defeated in the UK parliament in December 2004.

The pro-life group LIFE warned at the time that the bill as it stood could “open the floodgates” for euthanasia, describing the bill as “[an] underhand attempt to licence euthanasia by omission – which would surely be the first step to licensing euthanasia by a direct action, i.e. by commission.”

European Court Refuses To Guarantee Ill British Man Won't Be Dehydrated to Death

By Hilary White
 
LANCASTER, August 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Leslie Burke, a 46 year-old Lancaster man suffering from a degenerative neurological disease, has no reason to fear that he will be dehydrated to death when his illness renders him unable to speak.

The court has rejected Burke's attempt to ensure that he will not be dehydrated or starved to death in the final stages of his ultimately fatal illness. This in spite of the growing number of instances of death by dehydration in Britain and abroad – most notably the dehydration death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo in 2005 – and the growth in influence in Britain of the euthanasia movement.
 
Burke had taken his fight all the way through the British court system, which ruled last year in favour of the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC argued that it must reserve the right to dehydrate patients to death at a doctor’s discretion. Burke argued that GMC guidelines left too much latitude to individual doctors to decide when a patient’s life was no longer worth living.
 
The European court has ruled that there are adequate protections in British law against the premature removal of “artificial nutrition and hydration.”
 
Burke told the BBC, however, that he had no confidence in the assurances of the British public health system in which doctors regularly decide that continuing a person’s life is no longer in his “best interests”.
 
“I only hope that if I am lucky enough to be in hospital, that the doctors treating me will not believe at some stage that it will be in my best interests for ANH to be withdrawn,” Burke said.
 
Britain, with a number of European countries, classifies nutrition and hydration as “medical treatment” that can be withdrawn at a doctor or a patient’s request, when life no longer seems sustainable. Anti-euthanasia activists warn that this ethics policy, added to the pressure of increasingly cash-strapped socialized medical systems looking for ways to remove patients from beds, places the onus on vulnerable patients to prove that their lives should be sustained.
 
While Mr. Burke was fighting in the British courts for his right to life, a bioethics expert for the British Department of Health, Elizabeth Woodeson, filed a brief with the appeals court saying that Burke’s request of a guarantee undermines the authority of doctors to make the “clinical judgment,” according to the government-approved guidelines.
 
Woodeson said the government had established National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), a bioethics think tank, to create guidelines for cases such as Mr. Burke’s, based partly on economic considerations.
 
Woodeson, wrote, “An assessment is made of the cost of the treatment per additional year of life which it brings, and per quality adjusted life year (QALY)...which takes into consideration the quality of life of the patient during any additional time for which their life will be prolonged. The clinical and cost effectiveness of the treatment under review is then used as the basis for a recommendation as to whether or not...the treatment should be provided in the NHS.”
 
The government’s conclusion was that it should be free to follow the NICE guidelines, “without being obliged to accede to patient demands...If that principle were undermined, there would be considerable risk of inefficient use of NHS resources.”
 
The head of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews.com that the European court “erred significantly,” and that with this decision, patients all over Europe are at risk.
 
“Leslie burke was fighting not only for himself, but for others. He was trying to set a precedent that if you did not want to die that you had the right to make sure of that,” Schadenberg said.
 
Schadenberg said that it is the longstanding custom in medicine that doctors can withhold treatment that they consider futile or burdensome and that there does come a point when a patient who is very close to death can no longer assimilate food or water.
 
The problem now is that doctors are no longer required to limit that judgement to purely medical considerations. “Modern bioethics philosophy has rejected the concept of purely medical futility. The treatment is not considered futile; the patient is considered futile,” Schadenberg said.

 

In the U.S.A.:

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon's Suicide Law

Says federal law regulates illicit drug dealing and trafficking, not "medicine."  [Excerpt from article by Ted Olsen | posted 01/17/2006 on Christianity Today website]

The United States attorney general overstepped his bounds when he tried to stop the state of Oregon from implementing its 1997 physician-assisted suicide bill, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a 6-3 decision.

In 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a directive "that assisting suicide is not a 'legitimate medical purpose' … and that prescribing, dispensing, or administering federally controlled substances to assist suicide violates the CSA [Controlled Substances Act]."

Using such drugs to assist with suicide could lead to "suspension or revocation" of a doctor's medical license, Ashcroft wrote.

Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Controlled Substances Act did not give Ashcroft "such broad and unusual authority." The attorney general, the Court said, has no expertise in medical matters.

"The statute and our case law amply support the conclusion that Congress regulates medical practice insofar as it bars doctors from using their prescription-writing powers as a means to engage in illicit drug dealing and trafficking as conventionally understood," Kennedy wrote. "Beyond this, however, the statute manifests no intent to regulate the practice of medicine generally."

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the CSA's "legitimate medical purpose" clause is not limited to the regulation of illicit drugs.

"If the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death," Scalia wrote.

Scalia was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts, for whom this was his first dissent. ....



Physician-Assisted Suicide Opponents Marshal Arguments
From an article by Deboral Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News, Ottawa,  Western Catholic Reporter, 
last updated Oct. 26, 2005

In advance of the Oct. 31 House of Commons debate on assisted suicide, opponents are searching for the best strategies to defend the rights of the disabled and the elderly.

Politicians had some help from disabled rights activist Mark Pickup, who told an Oct. 25 Parliament Hill luncheon gathering any attempt to legalize euthanasia represents blatant discrimination against disabled people.

Pickup, who lives with multiple sclerosis, said nobody would consider allowing able-bodied people to seek assisted suicide.

In fact society would advocate hospitalizing them until the crisis is past, he said.

"Only when we talk about disability, do we talk about the right for self-determination," he told about 30 MPs, staffers and advocates.

Pickup said Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde's Private Members' Bill C-407 would give people "the right to kill the sick and depressed with impunity."

Sponsored by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), the luncheon drew about a dozen MPs, mostly from the Conservative Party of Canada, Hill staffers and representatives from pro-life organizations.  [More of this article in the Western Catholic Reporter online]

A Letter Opposing Assisted Suicide to Send to All Members of the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament

[The letter that follows is written in such a way that it is suitable for sending to  members of parliament who either oppose or support assisted suicide. ]

Members of Parliament
Canadian House of Commons

Dear Members of Parliament:

In view of proposals to legalize assisted suicide, I am writing to you to urge you to vote against any bill that may be forthcoming to make so-called "mercy-killing" legal.

The proposal to legalize assisted suicide poses a danger to the disabled, to the elderly, and ultimately to all Canadians.   It should be noted that in the Netherlands the toleration of assisted suicide has resulted in the deaths of many, even without their consent.   Any law to legalize this practice in Canada can be expected to create a slippery slope in this country similar to the situation in the Netherlands.

I would appreciate a reply to this letter stating your position on proposals to legalize assisted suicide.

Sincerely,

________________ [name of person sending the letter]

[address  of person sending the letter]


 



 

In the U.K.:

'Historic' change as opposition to euthanasia ends
(Filed: 01/07/2005)

Long-standing opposition among doctors to euthanasia was effectively dropped by the BMA yesterday.

Doctors voted at their conference to change the association's policy and adopt a neutral position, which means, in practice, that they will neither campaign for nor against any future change in the law.  [More]

Excerpt from an article by Licia Corbella in 

The Calgary Sun, Nov. 6, 2005:

The big lie about euthanasia
Legalizing the right to kill in the name of mercy threatens our children's lives

. . . . Canada's Justice Minister Irwin Cotler mused last week that he won't support Bill C-407, the private member's bill of Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde, because it is too broad and didn't have enough controls.

Unfortunately however, he still believes Canada should look at legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

But the reports out of Holland prove that despite strict controls, many innocent people are killed against their will at the whim of their doctor.

The first of these reports that prove this was called "Medical Decisions About the End of Life," also known as The Remmelink Report -- named after Prof. Jan Remmelink, attorney general of the High Council of the Netherlands, who led the study committee.

The Remmelink Report was released in September 1991.

It made shocking revelations. It found that in 1990 alone:

n 1,031 people were killed "without the patient's request."

In other words, an average of three people a day were actively killed by their doctors without the patient's consent or knowledge.

Of those 1,031 people:

n 14% were found to be fully competent;

n 72% had never expressed that they would want their lives ended;

n and in 8% of the cases, doctors performed "involuntary euthanasia," even though they believed other options were still possible.

In 1990, there were 128,824 deaths in Holland. According to the Remmelink Report, 2.9% of those deaths were caused intentionally by doctors and fully 0.8% of people who died were killed without the patient's request.

This was all done prior to euthanasia being legal in Holland and not one doctor was sent to jail for killing their patients without their consent.

So-called right-to-die advocates often claim euthanasia is an issue of "choice."

But the experience in the Netherlands shows that when voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are accepted practice, an alarming number of people end up having no choice at all -- ever again.

Just in case you're thinking 1990 was an anomaly, another extensive and similar report was conducted in Holland in 1995. Of the 135,676 people who died in Holland that year, 0.7%, or 950 people, were killed without the patient's request.

A slight improvement by one-tenth of a percent, but still totally and utterly unacceptable.

Dr. Margaret Somerville, founding director of McGill University's Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, who is both a professor of law and a professor in the faculty of medicine, points out that at first euthanasia in Holland was restricted to people in terrible pain. No more.

"In the Netherlands, euthanasia was initially allowed to be performed on only those suffering from unbearable, intractable pain and the terminally ill. The patient had to be adult and competent at the time of euthanasia. Now none of those conditions any longer apply," said Somerville, from her office in Montreal.

Just this past Sept. 29, the Dutch government announced it would establish guidelines for when it is acceptable to kill infants who are born less than perfect -- including babies born with spina bifida, cerebral palsy and Down's Syndrome.

This is not a slippery slope, it's Niagara Falls. It is a cliff. . . . .

[To read the whole article in The Calgary Sun online, click here.]


Excerpt from an article by Mark Pickup in Western Catholic Reporter, Week of October 10, 2005:

Only God grants death with dignity

Proposed euthanasia law gives licence to kill

. . . .

Bill C-407 is officially dubbed "An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity.)" It is a dangerous bill. It is not an act for the right to die with dignity; it is an act for the right to kill the sick and depressed with impunity. The bill proposes to:

  • Allow anyone to kill a suicidal depressed or sick person, not just the terminally ill.
  • The suicidal person only needs to be suffering from severe physical or mental pain. (Depression could easily qualify.)
  • The suicidal person to be killed must be at least 18 years of age. (That opens the door for killing depressed teenagers.)
  • The suicidal person does not need to have tried all suitable therapies. They can have even refused available treatments.
  • The suicidal person must "appear" to be lucid (not necessarily be lucid). The person making the assessment of lucidity need not be psychologically or medically qualified to decide on such matters.
  • The suicidal person must request suicide twice over more than 10 days apart. It doesn't even need to be in writing. The only thing that needs to be in writing is who the suicidal person wants to kill themself. And that designated person does not need to be a doctor, only assisted by a "team of persons entitled under the laws of a province to provide health services."
  • If the person to be killed does not appear to be lucid, then he must be euthanized by a physician. 

    . . . .  [Click here to read the whole article in Western Catholic Reporter online.]

Assisted Suicide Bill Denounced

By Mary-Jane Egan, London Free Press Reporter, July 5, 2005

Canadians should be vigilant in battling a bill that would legalize assisted suicide in this country, a meeting of the London City Kiwanis heard yesterday.

"Make no mistake that this bill introduces the slippery slope we’ve seen in the Netherlands where people who don’t want to be euthanized are," warned Jean Echlin, a longtime palliative care nurse and vice-president of the national Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

"Canadians have to wake up because it’s coming."

Echlin said Bill C-407 — a private member’s bill tabled late last month by Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde — should be met by a strong lobby effort to stop it.

The bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it legal to help a person die.

To illustrate her concern, Echlin asked for a show of hands from any Kiwanians who had heard of the bill.

Not a hand was raised in her audience of about 30.

"I worry they’re going to rush this through without consultation with all Canadians," said Echlin.

"Of course, when a person’s in pain that isn’t properly managed, they’re going to ask for euthanasia.

"But people need to understand they have the right to good palliative care and good pain management."

Echlin, a palliative care pioneer, called it "unconscionable" the bill has been introduced now — "just as palliative care is coming into its own."

She noted Ontario medical schools such as the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine have just introduced a one-year fellowship training program in palliative care that will ultimately go nationwide.

The program will help abolish the myth, Echlin said, that offering sufficient pain control through narcotics such as morphine could lead to addiction.

"There is absolutely no excuse in 2005 for a person to face the end of life with pain when so much can be done now to relieve that pain," Echlin said.

She said the bill has the potential to lead to out-and-out murder of the poor, powerless and vulnerable.

Under Lalonde’s bill, the patient must "appear to be lucid" and make two requests more than 10 days apart stating their "free and informed will to die."

The person who aids the patient must be a medical practitioner or be assisted by a medical practitioner.

Echlin said the bill is rife with flaws: "Must appear to be lucid — what does that mean?"

She said the Netherlands, where some elderly wear armbands asking not to be euthanized if rolled into emergency, should serve as a warning to Canadians.

Echlin, whose coalition has appealed to federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler to oppose the bill, urged the group to lobby their MP’s to do the same.

You as a group of Kiwanians, have tremendous power to lobby," she said

 

 

The English Patient


Leslie Burke wants to live; the National Health Service has a second opinion.
By: Wesley J. Smith
The Weekly Standard
May 30, 2005


Original Article

London
THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOETHICS LITIGATION in the world today involves a 45-year-old Englishman, Leslie Burke. He isn't asking for very much. Burke has a progressive neurological disease that may one day deprive him of the ability to swallow. If that happens, Burke wants to receive food and water through a tube. Knowing that Britain's National Health Service (NHS) rations care, Burke sued to ensure that he will not be forced to endure death by dehydration against his wishes.

Burke's lawsuit is even more important to the future of medical ethics than was the Terri Schiavo case. Schiavo was dehydrated to death--a bitter and profound injustice--because Judge George W. Greer ruled both that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and (based on statements she allegedly made during casual conversations some 20 years ago) that she would not want to live under such circumstances. In other words, Terri Schiavo lost her life in order to safeguard her personal autonomy, though she never made the actual decision to die.

But Burke, who is fully competent, worries that his wishes will be ignored precisely because he wants food and water even if he becomes totally paralyzed. Receiving food and water when it is wanted certainly seems the least each of us should be able to expect. But, it turns out, whether Burke lives or dies by dehydration may not be up to him. According to National Health Service treatment guidelines, doctors, rather than patients or their families, have the final say abo
ut providing or withholding care.  [Read the whole article on the "Centre for Science and Culture" Website.


Action in Wake of Terri's Death Saves Grandmother From Starvation and Dehydration Death

LaGrange, GA., April 11, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A repeat of the Terri Shiavo death was averted on Friday when Mae Magouirk, an 81 year old Georgia widow who had undergone 10 days of being deprived of food and hydration, was airlifted to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center where, according to her nephew, she is receiving food, fluids, cardiac care and neurological help.

Magouirk, who was not terminally-ill, comatose, nor in a persistent vegetative state, was a patient at Hospice-LaGrange in Georgia. Her guardian, 36 year old granddaughter, Elizabeth ("Beth") Gaddy of Hoganville, Ga., had requested that the hospice begin withholding food and water from the patient. When WorldNetDaily (WND) first broke this story it quoted Ms. Gaddy, an elementary school teacher and holder of Magouirk's power of attorney who had been taking care of her grandmother for 10 years, as saying "Grandmama is old and I think it is time she went home to Jesus, … She has glaucoma and now this heart problem, and who would want to live with disabilities like these?"

Ms. Gaddy's decision, which was in direct contravention of Mae Magouirk's living will, greatly disturbed Magourik's nephew, Ken Mullinax, prompting him to contact WND with the story. The subsequent response by readers saved his aunt's life and in gratitude Mr. Mullinax called WND and stated:

"Because of your articles and all of the friends of Terri, my Aunt Mae Magouirk is now in the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center and is receiving food, fluids, cardiac care and neurological help. We are overjoyed.

Praise be the name of the Lord, praise be all of the friends of Terri Schindler [Schiavo]. We could never have mobilized public sentiment and pressure on these people in LaGrange, Ga. - at Hospice, the LaGrange, Ga., doctors or the probate judge - unless the friends of Terri and the wonderful media of WorldNetDaily.com had become involved. Thank you all."

Reminiscent of the family struggle that surrounded the Terri Shiavo case there were legal struggles between Magouirk's grand-daughter and her sister Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, 74, of Birmingham, and her brother, A.B. McLeod, 64, of Anniston, Ala..  Mae's siblings protested and attempted to have their sister removed from the hospice and transported to UAB Medical Center for treatment.  However. Ms. Gaddy and her brother, Michael Shane Magouirk obtained an emergency injunction from Troup County Probate Judge Donald Boyd to prevent the planned air transport.

Thankfully, in this case, those who sought to preserve life prevailed.

Granddaughter yanks grandma's feeding tube
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43688
'Grandma' airlifted to medical center
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43723

 


Thursday, Mar. 24, 2005

Legal options to prolong Schiavo's life fade




The Orlando Sentinel

(KRT) - Barring any unprecedented action by Gov. Jeb Bush, it appears that no person, no court and no law stands in the way of Terri Schiavo's death.

The U.S. Supreme Court quickly rejected Bob and Mary Schindler's desperate plea to reinsert their daughter's feeding tube Thursday morning. Hours later a state court judge did the same, ratcheting up the pressure on Florida's governor.

But as activists turned their anger on the Schindlers' most public advocate, assailing the governor for failing to use his executive powers to take their daughter into protective custody, Bush indicated his hands were tied.

"I cannot go beyond what my powers are, nor would I want to," he said from Tallahassee, where he had canceled plans for a state tour to work on the Schiavo case.

On Thursday, her sixth full day without food or water, Schiavo, 41, was described by distraught family members as looking like an Auschwitz survivor, and by an attorney for her husband, Michael, as "peaceful."

The terse one-page order from the nation's highest court may not be the last word in the gut-wrenching legal saga that has divided her loved ones and polarized the nation, but it was the most definitive. Justices did not indicate how they voted, or why, but since the full court considered the Schindlers' request, the order is final.

As news of the Supreme Court's ruling reached the hospice where Schiavo is dying, some protesters who have kept a round-the-clock vigil wept. Others were visibly shaken. Addressing them with a bullhorn, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, summoned them to pray for the governor.

"At this point and time, it appears that every legal option has been exhausted. Gov. Bush is now the only practical hope for Terri Schiavo," Mahoney said. "We pray you will give him the strength and courage to resist this judicial action. Father, we pray for Governor Bush."

Issued less than 12 hours after the Schindlers filed their appeal, the high court ruling was followed by a state court hearing and two back-to-back orders from Pinellas Circuit Judge George W. Greer that dealt more setbacks to the governor and the Schindlers.

Each had hoped new evidence of abuse and of Terri Schiavo's medical condition alleged by the state Department of Children & Families on Wednesday would allow the agency to take her into protective custody and resume her artificial feedings. But, it did not

Greer, who has consistently agreed with Michael Schiavo that his wife is in a persistent vegetative state and would chose to end the artificial feedings that have kept her alive for 15 years, ruled that the agency's attempted intervention "appears to be brought for the purpose of circumventing" his court orders.

As Greer conducted hearings on other matters, a group of about 30 protestors gathered outside the Clearwater courthouse and prayed for a change of heart.

"Lord, let your mercy triumph over this wicked judge's unjust judgments," said Natalie Patton, kneeling outside the courthouse.

Court deputies refused to allow a smaller group to gather outside his courtroom, citing recent death threats against the judge, who is escorted to and from work by armed deputies.

DCF appealed Greer's order to the Florida Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal Thursday night. Meanwhile, Michael Schiavo's lawyer urged a cease-fire in the legal war, and a peaceful end for Terri Schiavo as Easter approaches.

"This case is over," George Felos said, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled. "Her wishes should be carried out and, in that spirit, I hope that the parents do not continue pursing fruitless legal options to the end. I think their time would be better served in reflection."

Distraught and desperate, Bob and Mary Schindler, however, would not give up. Following the setbacks in state court, their attorneys returned to federal court in Tampa Thursday evening, begging the same judge who once already this week refused to order their daughter's feeding tube reinserted to change his mind. U.S. District Judge James Whittemore had not ruled late Thursday.

The Schindlers won the right to take their case to the federal court after Congress passed an extraordinary act on Palm Sunday in the hope that it would force a federal judge to order the tube's reinsertion.

The whirlwind of unsuccessful legal activity left activists to rest their fleeting hopes on the governor. Florida lawmakers are no longer players in this epic struggle. They recessed for Easter after the Senate narrowly rejected a bill Wednesday that would have prevented the removal of feeding tubes from patients in vegetative patients who, like Terri Schiavo, did not leave written instructions about their wishes.

In Tallahassee, conservative activists Alan Keyes, a commentator and frequent Republican candidate, and Larry Klayman, the former president of Judicial Watch, met briefly with a Bush aide to press their views that the governor had a constitutional obligation to defy court and legislative actions that could result in Terri Schiavo's death.

"The judges don't get to tell the governor what is constitutional in his use of executive power," Keyes said outside the state Capitol. "He is oath-bound to make that judgment for himself."

But Joseph Little, a constitutional law expert at the University of Florida, said Bush has no constitutional authority to defy court rulings. . . . .

Still, Terri Schiavo's supporters were not giving up. Randall Terry, a longtime anti-abortion activist and a spokesman for Schiavo's parents, rounded up a bus load of people that left Pinellas Park late Thursday for Tallahassee in order to protest in front of the governor's mansion today.

"I promise you, if she dies, there will be hell to pay," Terry said.

As night fell and Terri Schiavo's seventh day without ustenance or hydration approached, hundreds stood outside the hospice chanting, "Give Terri water! Give Terri water!"

. . . .

--

(Orlando Sentinel correspondents John Kennedy and Tamara Lytle contributed to this report.)

---

© 2005, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).

Visit the Sentinel on the World Wide Web at http://www.orlandosentinel.com. On America Online, use keyword: OSO.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.



Florida Governor Bush Appeals Schiavo Case to US Supreme Court

CLEARWATER, October 25, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Florida Governor Jeb Bush is appealing a Florida Supreme Court decision to overturn the Florida electorate-created Terri's Law.

The Florida high court ruled last month that the Florida legislature overstepped its authority by creating the Law, enacted last year to halt brain-damaged Terri Schiavo's euthanasia by her estranged husband, Michael. At the same time, Terri's parents are appealing a separate ruling by a local court, to examine Terri Schiavo's true wishes to be kept alive in her current condition.

"This case is not only about Terri Schiavo, but also about the role of the courts and the Legislature and the governor," attorney for Bush, Ken Connor, told The Tampa Tribune news. "Who is going to be the chief architect of policy in this state?" he said. "The largely unelected judiciary or the elected branches with the most accountability?"

Connor also asked local judge, George Greer, for a stay of the order allowing Michael Schiavo to remove Terri's feeding tube, which Michael Schiavo said he would do as early as Friday. Greer said the feeding tube must remain until December 6, allowing Terri's parents time to appeal a separate ruling made by Greer Friday, denying the Schindler's a new trial regarding their daughter's wishes.

Bob and Mary Schindler requested an appeal of Greer's order, to impart proof that -- assuming Michael Schiavo's charge that Terri said she would not want to be kept alive in the event of her disability was true -- Terri would have changed her mind about being kept alive if she had knowledge of Pope John Paul II's March address to an international congress on the subject.

See the related LifeSiteNews.com Special Report:
Commentary on the address by Pope John Paul II to the participants in the International Congress on "Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemmas"
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/apr/040420b.html

See Friday's LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Schiavo's Life at Risk: Gov Bush Denied Appeal to Save Her
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/oct/04102206.html

tv
 

Terri Schiavo "Very Much Alive and Responsive" according to Schindler Attorneys

PINELLAS PARK, Florida, January 5, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Terri Schiavo, the now famous, brain-disabled daughter of Robert and Mary Schindler, is "very much alive and responsive," according to the attorneys of Schiavo's parents.

The Schindler's were allowed a rare visit Christmas Eve; they were accompanied by their new attorneys, David Gibbs III and Barbara Weller. Gibbs and Weller, of Gibbs Law Firm in Seminole, FL, took on the role of lead counsel for the Schindlers in September of 2004.

The Christmas Eve visit was the first time either of the attorneys had been able to see Terri since taking the case. They made the visit with Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and members of her immediate family.

Counsel was able to personally verify the fact that Terri is not in a coma or even in a comatose state. She was purposefully interactive, curious and expressive with her parents during the entire 45-minute visit. Mrs. Weller wrote a moving narrative describing in detail her reactions and observations during this visit.

"When she heard their voices, and particularly her mother's voice, Terri instantly turned her head towards them and smiled," Weller said. "Terri established eye contact with her family, particularly with her mother, who spent the most time with her during our visit. It was obvious that she recognized the voices in the room with the exception of one."
Read Weller's narrative online.

British Medical Association "Preferred Bioethicist" Says Infanticide Justifiable

WESTMINSTER, UK, January 26, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - John Harris, the British Medical Association's "preferred bioethicist" and Manchester University professor of ethics revealed yesterday that he felt infanticide was justifiable for disabled children.

During an unreported debate last week on sex selection, Harris told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that he did not see a difference between killing a child at 40 weeks gestation versus killing the child after it was born. He also said that infanticide is accepted in most countries and that it was for families to decide the fate of their child. "I don't think infanticide is always unjustifiable. I don't think it is plausible to think that there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the birth canal," he said.

The comments sparked fury from Pro life groups. Spokeswoman for the UK ProLife Party, Julia Millington, who posed the question, said "It is frightening to think that university students are being educated by somebody who endorses the killing of new-born babies, and equally worrying to discover that such a person is the establishment's 'preferred' bioethicist. Prof. Harris is a member of the Human Genetics Commission, and has acted as ethical consultant to the Department of Health and to numerous international bodies. In such a climate is it any wonder that a baby has been aborted in the UK at seven months for a cleft palate?"

Reverend Joanna Jepson, curate of the Church of England, who is going to the High Court to try to block late abortions for trivial reasons such as a cleft palate, said "It is frightening to hear anyone endorsing infanticide but it is shocking when the person is responsible for teaching others."

Read local coverage at:
http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=93982004

Australian MD to Make New Suicide Machine"

"SAN DIEGO Jan. 12 [2003] —  An Australian doctor plans to build a new machine for people to kill themselves with carbon monoxide after his prototype was seized as he left his native country, he told a euthanasia conference Sunday."  [See abcNews.com story.]

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Demands an Investigation into theProduction and Distribution of the Exit Bag-Homicide Bag in Canada.

A statement issued on July 10, 2002 by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. in the wake of the Evelyn Martyns case,  reads in part:

  "The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is disappointed with the lack of enforcement by Canadian legal authorities concerning the production and distribution of the Exit Bag - Homicide Bag by the Right to Die Society of Canada.

  "The Exit Bag is a suicide/homicide bag that is made of heavy-duty plastic that has been designed for optimum effectiveness in killing persons who wear the bag. The Canadian made Exit Bag is distributed with an instruction booklet entitled: The Art & Science of Suicide

"The Exit Bag is not only tailor-made for committing suicide, but it is also a device that can be put over the head of an unsuspecting elderly person or person with a disability. The production and distribution of the Exit Bag directly threatens people with disabilities and other vulnerable Canadians who are pressured by their "care-givers" or killed without their consent because they are considered a burden.

"In August 2001, Wesley Smith, lawyer, consumer advocate, and author of the award winning book: Culture of Death, exposed Australia’s Doctor Death, Philip Nitschke, and his Voluntary Euthanasia Research Foundation for breaking Australian law by promoting the Canadian made Exit Bag. Australian law states that it is illegal to Counsel or Aid someone to commit suicide. Australian authorities acted by banning the import of the Exit Bag into Australia because it contravened their criminal code.

"Canada and Australia share the same laws concerning the counselling and aiding of suicide. Section 241 of the Criminal Code states: Every one who (a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or (b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide, whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

"In September 2001, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition collected and disseminated information concerning the Right to Die Society of Canada’s involvement in producing and distributing the Exit Bag on a world-wide basis. We then sent all of our information to the RCMP with a formal letter requesting that an investigation be done into the production and distribution of the Exit Bag in Canada. No response was ever received.

"In October 2001, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition produced a 10 minute video concerning the Exit Bag that featured Wesley Smith, Richard Marchak, a Canadian attorney, and Adrian Dieleman, a disabled Canadian who had a friend who used an Exit Bag to commit suicide. After we had the video professionally produced and copied we sent copies (December 2001) to members of parliament, as well as the Solicitor General and the Department of Justice. Minimal response has been received.

"On January 15, 2002 we took part in a one hour call-in television show concerning the Exit Bag. The show featured Ruth von Fuchs from the Toronto chapter of the Right to Die Society of Canada; Hugh Scher, Constitutional lawyer and former chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Human Rights Committee; and Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Copies of this programme have been distributed throughout Canada.

"On that program Ruth von Fuchs clearly explains how and what the Exit Bag is used for and consequently reveals how her organization is disregarding Canadian law. Hugh Scher explained that the only reason the Right to Die Society is getting away with breaking the law is that those who use the Exit Bag do so quietly. Hugh Scher stated that: "These are criminal code offenses for good reason. Particularly they are there to protect the vulnerable, they are there to protect victims whose lives will be taken with or without consent."

"Statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention show that 95% of all people who attempt or commit suicide are experiencing severe depression. Depression is treatable.

"Last week, researchers in Oregon released a study that found that almost 90% of those who request assistance in suicide in Oregon, change their minds when they are provided the proper care. Dr. Susan Tolle, director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care stated that: "most seriously ill people who ask about doctor-assisted suicide are actually afraid of pain or other issues and need to be reassured. Doctors should ask ‘What are you afraid of? What are you worried about?’" They should then provide the necessary care.

"We are concerned that vulnerable and/or depressed Canadians who have been abandoned or who fear medical treatment or have not received the best medical care, may be counselled, pressured, aided or abetted by the Right to Die Society to commit suicide with assistance. The Right to Die Society has shown disregard for Canadian law and is politically motivated rather than compassionately based.

"The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition asks Canadian legal authorities why the production and distribution of the Exit Bag by the Right to Die Society of Canada has not been stopped? . . . .

"We question why the judge placed a publication ban on the facts concerning the deaths of Leyanne Burchall of Vancouver and Monique Charest of Duncan BC  . . .       "

"The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition demands that the current laws be enforced in order to protect every Canadian and that the full weight of the law be used to stop the death activists from killing or pressuring others to kill themselves.

"The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will continue to support and direct people toward the compassionate care that they need."

Alex Schadenberg

Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tel: (519) 439-3348 or 1-877-439-3348

E-mail: info@epcc.ca

 

Victoria Woman Faces Assisted Suicide Charge


from an article by Louise Dickson, Vancouver Sun, Saturday, June 29, 2002

VICTORIA -- A Greater Victoria woman has been charged with helping
64-year-old Monique Charest of Duncan commit suicide.

Evelyn Marie Martens, 71, has also been charged with counselling Charest, a
former nun, to commit suicide on Jan. 7.

Martens was arrested on the Patricia Bay Highway on Wednesday evening after
getting off the ferry from Vancouver. She appeared in Duncan provincial
court on Thursday and remains in custody.

Duncan RCMP Sergeant Derek Crawford said he could not release details of the investigation because a publication ban on the proceedings had been imposed in court.

Regional coroner Lisa Lapointe said her office had been investigating the
case along with the RCMP from the date of Charest's death. An autopsy had
been performed but Lapointe said she could not release the cause of death or
any finding while the criminal investigation was still under way.

Martens is to appear in Duncan provincial court again for a bail hearing on
July 2. Her sister said she did not want to speak about the case.

Counselling a person to commit suicide and aiding and abetting a person to
commit suicide are indictable offences. If found guilty, a person is liable
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

Martens' name is mentioned in a brief published on the Internet by John
Hofsess, founder of The Right to Die Society of Canada. The society was
formed in 1991 to give Canadians a practical means of changing the law to
permit choice in dying. . . . .



Supreme Court Denies Latimer Appeal


By SUE BAILEY-- Canadian Press
Tuesday, May 14, 2002

OTTAWA (CP) -- The country's highest court won't reopen the Robert Latimer
case.

The Supreme Court of Canada offered no reasons Tuesday as it dismissed an
application to rehear the emotionally charged case of the Saskatchewan
farmer who killed his disabled daughter in what he maintains was an act of
mercy.

Letters which Latimer sent the top court were treated as a motion to revisit
a verdict handed down in January 2001. Judgments are rarely reconsidered,
and usually only if a new issue has come to light.

Latimer, 48, entered prison almost 16 months ago after losing his court
fight for a lesser sentence in a ruling that still stirs powerful and
conflicting responses.

The high court said Latimer must serve the minimum, mandatory sentence for
second-degree murder -- life with no full parole for 10 years.

He can apply for day parole in six years.

Latimer held to the end that he killed 12-year-old Tracy with exhaust fumes
in 1993 to spare her further agony from surgery to ease severe cerebral
palsy.

Tracy's mental age was about three months and she could not walk, talk or
feed herself. Chronic pain from a dislocated hip and previous operations was
intense in her final months and death was "the best thing for Tracy," her
mother testified.

Latimer started writing to the top court last June about its decision to
deny his appeal. He wrote on at least three other occasions, including a
request for information on court processes.

The Supreme Court informed Latimer last February that his letters would be
treated as a motion for re-hearing the case.

Latimer has inspired campaigns both for his early release and in support of
the minimum, mandatory jail term.

To some, he is the victim of unjust minimum sentences that prohibit
compassion in special circumstances. To others, he is a murderer who must be
jailed to the extent of the law as a strong signal that society's weakest
will be protected.

After Latimer's 1997 conviction, the jury recommended one year in jail and
another year of house arrest on his farm near Wilkie, Sask.

The trial judge allowed the reduced sentence by giving Latimer a rare
constitutional exemption from life in prison without chance of parole for 10
years, as required by law.

To do otherwise would be "cruel and unusual" given the facts of the case, he
said.

But the trial judge was overruled by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. It
restored the mandatory minimum sentence and was later upheld by the top
court.  n

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In Hawaii:  Senate Kills Euthanasia Bill 

Thursday, May 2, 2002 Star Bulletin
"A bill to legalize assisted suicide in Hawaii failed . . . ." [article in Honolulu Star-Bulletin]

From Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 09:36 GMT  BBC News:
Netherlands Legalises "Mercy Killing"


". . . . The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia, giving terminally ill patients the right to end their lives. 

"The new law means that doctors no longer face prosecution for carrying out mercy killings if they are performed with due care."  [Read the BBC article.]

  

                      "Dutch medics back 'euthanasia' doctor"


"About 5,000 Dutch people are helped to die each year"
By Geraldine Coughlan at The Hague 

"In the Netherlands a group of doctors have announced that they have set up
a fund to pay the legal costs of one of their colleagues who is appealing
against a murder conviction for assisting the death of a patient who had not
requested euthanasia. 

"The case widens the debate on mercy killings in the Netherlands, which
became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia on the 1
January. 

"A Dutch court found Dr Wilfred van Ooijen guilty of murder last year but did
not sentence him. 

"The doctor helped an 84-year-old woman to die in a Christian nursing home
in 1997." 

"Legal criteria" 

"The patient was terminally ill and in a coma, but had not requested
euthanasia - one of the conditions required for a doctor to end a patient's
life. 

"Dr van Ooijen also failed to meet another requirement when he did not seek
a second medical opinion. 

"The doctor's supporters claim the case is not about euthanasia but medical
ethics, and that doctors encounter similar situations regularly. 

"An estimated 5,000 people die from euthanasia in the Netherlands each
year, but only half of these cases are reported. "

"Ongoing fears" 

"Under the new law doctors can no longer be prosecuted if they perform
euthanasia with due care. The authorities hope this will encourage more
openness. 

"But some doctors like Dr van Ooijen do not always adhere to the strict
medical guidelines, when they take the decision to help a patient with a
humane death. 

"And some experts feel the cases of many mercy killings will continue to go
unreported, while doctors fear that they, like Dr van Ooijen, could end up
being labelled a murderer.  . . . ."  [BBC article]

Princeton University Professor Justifies Infanticide
--Associated Press Report


By Harry R. Weber, Associated Press, 10/5/2001 

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) Bioethicist Peter Singer got a respectful reception
Friday as he told advocates for the disabled it is morally acceptable to kill
severely disabled newborns. 

The Governor's Commission on Disability was harshly criticized for inviting
Singer to Friday's conference because of that stance, first enunciated in a
1979 book. 

But only about 20 people protested outside, and few in the audience of
about 200 heeded requests from critics that they refrain from applauding
when Singer spoke. 

Many of the protesters defended Singer's right to his views, but said it was
outrageous for a state agency to sponsor his visit. 

''Singer has a right to say what he wants. That doesn't mean we have to give
him a forum,'' said Daniel Itse, a Republican state representative from
Fremont. 

Singer acknowledged the controversy over his appearance and the
underlying issue of free speech by quoting Voltaire: ''I may not agree with
what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'' 

The Princeton University professor then lived up to his reputation as a
provocative thinker and speaker. 

''I do think that it is sometimes appropriate to kill a human infant,'' he said,
adding that he does not believe a newborn has a right to life until it reaches
some minimum level of consciousness. 

''For me, the relevant question is, what makes it so seriously wrong to take
a life?'' Singer asked. ''Those of you who are not vegetarians are responsible
for taking a life every time you eat. Species is no more relevant than race in
making these judgments.''  
[emphasis added by BCPTL website editor]

Singer said society condones other efforts by parents to influence their
future children's attributes. On some Ivy League campuses, ads in student
papers offer big money to entice female students to donate eggs. 

''This is clearly the genetic supermarket at an early stage,'' he said. 

If it is all right for people to try to breed children with high IQs and other
desirable characteristics, Singer asked, what is wrong with euthanizing
newborns who would suffer throughout their lives because of a severe
disability? 

Before the speech, Itse held a sign saying, ''Singer's got the wrong tune.'' 

He said his 7-year-old son, Jarrod, was born with a severe brain injury, and
doctors gave him only a few weeks to live. But he said the boy has
persevered. 

''Though he can't communicate, he grunts and groans and makes himself
known and, remarkably, he's quite effective at it,'' Itse said. 

Another protester, Tom Cagle, 50, of Henniker, wore a T-shirt with the name
of a disability rights group, ''Not Dead Yet.'' 

''Peter Singer is absolutely notorious for misquoting disabled people,'' said
Cagle, who has multiple sclerosis. ''He's a bad scientist because he's not
consistent.'' 

Commission Director Michael Jenkins said his group abhors Singer's
positions, but wanted him as a speaker to prompt debate on important
issues. When the Executive Council, an elected body that reviews
contracts, refused to approve Singer's $2,000 fee, Singer agreed to speak
without payment. 

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Gordon Humphrey, who arrived after Singer
entered the conference, criticized Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for not
rescinding Singer's invitation. 

''It's an outrage she let in this cruel crackpot who advocates killing infants,''
Humphrey said. 

''No civilized government in America should give him an honored place to
speak.'' 

Shaheen's spokeswoman Pamela Walsh said the governor doesn't support
Singer's views, but believes he had a right to express them. She said the
commission wanted a chance to confront Singer. 

''I have no idea why Gordon Humphrey is making this an issue,'' Walsh said.
 

Humphrey lost to Shaheen last year but is expected to run again next year.
His vote against the Americans with Disabilities Act when he was a U.S.
senator in 1990 became an issue in last year's campaign. 

Other speakers at the conference said Singer's views are a sign that the
struggle for equal rights for the disabled is far from over, especially in the
workplace. 

''I do know that I don't want others judging me by my genetic predisposition,
and I don't want others to have access to that information,'' said Paul Steven
Miller, a lawyer with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Miller, who has a form of dwarfism, added, ''No employer should ever review
your genetic records along with your resume.'' 

On the Net: 

Not Dead Yet: http://www.notdeadyet.org 

Governor's Commission on Disability: http://webster.state.nh.us/disability 

Princeton's Center for Human Values: http://www.princeton.edu/(tilde)uchv 



                                *************************
We are indebted to Pro-Life E-News for the immediately foregoing article.  We repeat below the statement from that list-serve:

'The material contained in this file is made
available courtesy contributors and editors of
Pro-Life E-News. 

"Copying of this material is free for non-commercial
educational and research use.  Unless explicitly stated,
copyright of this material is owned by the author
and/or sponsoring organization, and/or newswire services."

PRI Weekly Briefing 16 October 2001 Vol. 3/ No. 26 


Professor Claims Robert Latimer Started a Trend.

A University of Alberta psychologist says that Robert Latimer's killing of his daughter started a trend.  After the start of his trial, "altruistic filicide" rose 54%.  Lawyers who defended Latimer expressed skepticism regarding the professor's conclusions  [See April 3, 2002, article in the National Post Online.]


"Eloquent Defense of Life 
Delivered in Parliamentary Euthanasia Debate"


OTTAWA, October 30, 2001 (LSN.ca) - In a debate in the House of Commons
Friday, Canadian Alliance MP Jason Kenney made a spirited defense of the
right to life in remarks against euthanasia. Kenney spoke to a private
members bill on the issue of lenient penalties for those who claim to
murder the disabled out of misguided sympathy. 

The bill was presented by NDP MP Wendy Lill, with Kenney, Grant McNally and
Karen Kraft Sloan speaking in favour of the motion.  The official
government response delivered by Lynn Myers (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Solicitor General of Canada), obfuscated by talking around the motion
rather than addressing it. She outlined the history and nature of the Royal
Prerogative of Mercy, which the bill asks not be given to those who kill the
disabled out of supposed "mercy".

Kenney said, "we cannot and must not make distinctions between human
persons and their right to life."  He called the "sanctity of human life,"
the "first principle" of "our entire legal structure, legal system and, I
would suggest, western civilization."  Thus "to take the life of
individuals because of the circumstances of their life, be it their
ethnicity, religion, age, social or economic condition or their physical
and mental condition is to violate the very first premise upon which a
society founded on the rule of law exists," he said.

Kenney interpreted the preamble to the Constitution "Whereas Canada is
founded upon principles which recognize the supremacy of God and the rule
of law" to mean that "the rights which we possess, the rights of which the
charter speaks, are not rights granted by the state, by a legislature or by
a court, nor are they rights that can be abrogated by any of those
institutions. Rather, these are rights that are inherent and inalienable in
the human person. No man, no parliament, no father, even a father in great
emotional turmoil and confusion, has the right to suspend and to violate
the inalienable dignity of the human person."

He reminded the House that a "horrific example" of a state which "made a
qualitative distinction between different human beings based on arbitrary
criteria" was the Nazi system.  He recalled that the "Nazi movement started
its reign of terror and death, not with the execution of Jews in the
Holocaust but rather with the eugenics program which sought to eliminate
those who were deemed imperfect because of some condition of life, such as
being mentally or physically disabled."

"Dutch Doctor Convicted in Euthanasia Test Case"


(By Jana Sanchez, Yahoo News, December 7, 2001)

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch doctor was convicted on Thursday of
assisting suicide in a test case that sought to define the limits of
euthanasia in the Netherlands, the first country to make it legal. 

An appeals court in Amsterdam found physician Philip Sutorius guilty but
did not give him a jail sentence, court spokeswoman Liesbeth Dubois told
Reuters. 

Euthanasia supporters criticised the verdict, saying it too narrowly defined
the medical justification for euthanasia, and hoped the doctor would appeal
to the country's highest court. 

Sutorius aided former Senator Edward Brongersma in taking his life in 1998.
Brongersma was suffering from incontinence, dizziness and immobility and
said he was tired of life. 

``The reason he was found guilty was because he did not act for medical
reasons, but rather because the patient was tired of life,'' Dubois said. 

``But the court did not sentence him because he acted out of compassion
for his patient and because the court viewed this as a test case by the
prosecutor,'' she added. 

The prosecution hopes to use the case to define the limits of euthanasia,
she said. The prosecution had appealed against an earlier judgment from a
Haarlem court which acquitted Sutorius. That court found the doctor had
fulfilled all the criteria for assisting Brongersma in ending his life. 

Although the assisted suicide happened before the law was enacted, the
court considered the current law in its judgment, Dubois said. 

UNBEARABLE SUFFERING 

Under the new law, passed in April, doctors can still be prosecuted if they
fail to follow strict rules which insist that adult patients must make a
voluntary, well-considered and lasting request to die. 

Patients must face a future of unbearable suffering and there must be no
reasonable alternative in order to be allowed to die. A second doctor must
be consulted and the assisted suicide must be carried out in a medically
appropriate way. 

Supporters of euthanasia said the ruling was wrong. 

``Mr Brongersma's death was according to the law now and in 1998,'' said
Rob Jonquiere, managing director of the Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia
Association (NVVE). 

``He didn't have a real illness like cancer, but he was tired of life and he had
minor physical problems. He suffered from his situation,'' said Jonquiere.
Sutorius is now deciding whether to appeal to the nation's highest court,
Jonquiere said. 

``We hope he will appeal, but it costs a lot emotionally.'' 

The Dutch Medical Federation (KNMG), which represents 33,000 Dutch
physicians, said that although it found the court's judgment a little harsh, it
did not think the doctor's actions were within the bounds of the current law. 

``We think it was beyond the bounds of the current law. There was no
unbearable physical or psychiatric suffering. We don't think being fed up
with life is a reason for euthanasia,'' Paul de Vries, spokesman for the
KNMG told Reuters.   [source]



"Holland: Bending the rules?"

[A] . . . study found that in 1995 almost two thirds of cases of euthanasia and physicial-assisted suicide went unreported." [from BBC News Online: background briefings,  Nov., 2000]  

 
 

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