Thursday, October 30, 2014

Latest research from Canada, USA and Europe on euthanasia and assisted suicide

The deVeber Institute Presents its free Annual Public Lecture

Latest research from Canada, USA and Europe on euthanasia and assisted suicide

With guest keynote speaker Alex Schadenberg

On Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

At Tyndale University, Rm 1008

25 Ballyconnor Court, Toronto, M2M 4B3

Doors Open 7:00 pm

Lecture Begins 7:30 pm
Spaces are limited - RSVP by phone to: 416-256-0555 

Alex Schadenberg is the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and is an internationally recognized expert on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

An open letter to Brittany Maynard from Maggie Karner

Maggie Karner, a Connecticut woman who has a glioblastoma brain tumor, has written a letter to Brittany Maynard expressing her hope that Brittany decides not to die by assisted suicide.

Since early October, Brittany Maynard, who also has a glioblastoma brain tumor, has captured the emotions of Americans while she considers dying by a lethal dose of assisted suicide drugs.

In her Youtube video, Maggie Karner reads her open letter urging Brittany not to take her life by assisted suicide.

The assisted suicide lobby has turned the Brittany Maynard story into a new campaign to legalize assisted suicide throughout the United States.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition hopes that Brittany Maynard will release herself from the grip of Compassion & Choices and find the necessary medical care that will enable her to fight her terrible disease, and if she dies, that she will die a peaceful death.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

David Mixner claims to have killed eight people.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

David Mixner, during his recent Oh Hell No! one-man autobiographical stage show, described how he killed eight people. Mixner stated:
A doctor would leave a morphine drip at the patient’s property for him. Mixner would insert it via an IV and hold his friend until the drip was completed. He would call that person’s friends and loved ones and tell them they should come and say goodbye. Before they arrived, he would remove the evidence, and when they did arrive he would leave and let the patient and their loved ones be alone to share those final moments. The effects of the morphine “could take four hours, it could take 12 hours.”
If Mixner is telling the truth, Mixner has killed eight people not by assisted suicide, but rather he has killed eight people by euthanasia.

Euthanasia as an act whereby one person kills another person. Euthanasia is a form of homicide. Assisted suicide is an act whereby one person assists another person in suicide.

There are no exceptions to homicide in all 50 US states and in nearly every country in the world.

In February 2010, Ray Gosling, a broadcast journalist in the UK confessed to killing his lover, many years earlier. After 32 police officers worked 1800 hours investigating Gosling's murder confession, it was determined that Gosling never killed a former lover.

Gosling was given a 90-day suspended prison sentence at Nottingham Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to wasting police time. The judge in passing sentence branded him: 
‘a sheer liar and fantasist’ guilty of ‘creating and maintaining this cruel fabrication’.
Based on the timing of Goslings "confession" he may have been wanting to increase public pressure on the UK government to legalize assisted suicide.

I have no idea whether or not Mixner actually killed eight people, but since he has confessed to the killings, it is incumbent on legal authorities to investigate the alleged crimes. 

Considering the timing of Mixner's "confession" in relation to the Brittany Maynard story, Mixner may also be wanting to increase pressure on US states to legalize assisted suicide.

I wonder if Mixner realizes that homicide is treated more harshly by the law than assisting a suicide?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why I’m afraid of Steven Fletcher’s assisted-suicide bill

This article was published in the Toronto Star on October 26, 2014.

Heidi Janz
By: Heidi Janz

Like many Canadians with disabilities, I have been following the renewed national debate on legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia with growing fear and trepidation.

I am at the point where, to put it bluntly, I am sick and tired of hearing about how TABS (temporarily able-bodied people) and former TABS want the “right” to die, lest they have to live with some of the limitations that I do. The (not so) implicit message is: People with disabilities have crappy lives, therefore, they should want to die.

It’s true that I have some significant advantages that many disabled people don’t: I have a PhD; I live in my own home, and I direct my own care. It’s also true that I live with some limitations that many TABS would deem intolerable — namely, I’m bladder incontinent and eat via a g-tube.

But my dignity/worth as a human being is neither defined by my advantages, nor diminished by my limitations. Rather, as a human being, my life has intrinsic dignity and worth. It is when my life is devalued by society as a “fate worse than death” that I am robbed of my rightful human dignity.

Indeed, like most people born with disabilities, I have had a lifetime of encountering temporarily able-bodied people who automatically assume that the fact that I need other people to assist me with personal care means that I have neither personal dignity nor quality of life. In latter years, I have developed a swallowing disorder that has made it necessary for me to receive part of my daily nutrition via a g-tube. This further lowers my perceived quality of life in the eyes of many people.

Sadly, this includes medical practitioners, as they are not immune to the same able-ist biases which afflict the general public. Consequently, I already live with the fear that, the next time I’m admitted to ICU in severe respiratory distress, a physician could read my medical history, see my feeding-tube, conclude that I have a poor quality of life already, and therefore deem further treatment as “futile.”

The legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide would inevitably, exponentially increase my social vulnerability, along with the social vulnerability of every single disabled and elderly Canadian, thus putting our lives in real and present danger.

Scotland's anyone assisted suicide bill.

This article was published on Wesley Smith's blog on October 26.

By Wesley Smith

So much for “aid in dying” as a “medical treatment.”

In Scotland, a bill is pending to authorize anyone-assisted suicides. From the honestly named–as opposed to US proposals--”Scottish Assisted Suicide Bill:”

No criminal liability for assisting suicide (1) It is not a crime (of any kind) to assist a person to commit suicide.
That basically means anyone can assist.

The person who wants to die has to be age 16 or higher, have two doctors state that he or she has a terminal or “life-shortening” illness–which,when you think about it, could be almost anything:

(5) The kind of illness or condition referred to in subsection (4)(a) is—(a) an illness that is, for the person, either terminal or life-shortening, or (b) a condition that is,;for the person, progressive and either terminal or life-shortening.
That’s a wide enough gap to drive a hearse through. Many conditions are far from terminal but could be considered “life shortening,” including diabetes, asymptomatic HIV infection, MS, plugged arteries in the heart, bi-polar disease, Lupus, perhaps even, obesity or nicotine addiction.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Former Montana legislator now opposes assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jim Shockley, a former member of the Montana legislature, was published in the Revalli Republic newspaper in response to a pro-assisted suicide letter. Shockley explaining that, in the past, he had supported assisted suicide but he changed his mind after looking at the evidence.

Shockley, a lawyer and a former candidate for Attorney General in Montana first commented on the legality of assisted suicide in Montana. He wrote:

William Clarke is wrong about the legality of assisted suicide, and his definition of suicide, as described in his letter of Oct. 15, 2014. Physician assisted suicide is against the law in Montana and killing oneself is suicide regardless of your health. The present law is the Baxter case which says that under certain circumstances a physician who assisted someone to kill herself/himself has a defense to a charge of homicide. It is a defense if the doctor is charged with homicide, that does not make it legal. If the doctor is charged with homicide and can convince a jury of certain facts, he will not be convicted. If he fails to do so, he is convicted of a felony. Of course, there is the civil liability of the doctor, which is not addressed at all by Mr. Clarke.
Shockley then commented on why he now opposes assisted suicide. He wrote:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Brittany Maynard - Don't rob them of hope.

This article was published on October 24 by Mercatornet.

Brittany Maynard is a 29-year-old woman who learned not long after her wedding that she had an aggressive brain tumour. She has announced that she has chosen to die on November 1, by assisted suicide in Oregon. A video that she made by the leading assisted suicide organisation in the US, Compassion and Choices, has been a huge hit on YouTube. Dennis Strangman is an Australian whose wife died of a similar disease.

By: Denis Strangman the former chair of the International Brain Tumour Alliance.
Dennis Strangman (middle)
I am very sorry to read that you have a brain tumor, and especially that you plan to kill yourself.

Although we live on different continents thousands of miles apart, and belong to different generations, I sympathise with your situation, though not with your plans. I am glad that you say your proposed suicide date is not “set in stone.” I sincerely hope you will quietly forget about it and choose life. Do not be stampeded in trying to meet your “deadline” by “Compassion and Choices” or other advocates for assisted suicide.

You say you are speaking to fellow “millennials.” I don’t think they have yet invented a catchy title for us septuagenarians but you and I are fellow humans, and I would like to tell you about my own experiences in the world of brain tumors. You see, we have something in common – those terrible words “glioblastoma multiforme,” the most lethal of the primary, malignant brain tumors. I lost my wife Marg, aged 55, to this same type of brain tumor some years ago.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dr Ira Byock: Brittany Maynard is being exploited by Compassion & Choices, ... And I think that’s a tragedy.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Ira Byock
In a debate format interview on the PBS Newhour, Ira Byock, a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care for the end of life debated Barbara Coombs Lee the leader of the assisted suicide lobby group Compassion & Choices.

Byock, with reference to the Brittany Maynard story stated on PBS Newshour that:

My heart goes out to Brittany Maynard. It’s a heart-wrenching story. But I want to assure ... people watching that she could get excellent whole person care and be assured of dying gently in her bed surrounded by her family. 
It’s ironic that we know how to give extremely good care, not only comprehensive medical care, but tender, loving care. But ... as the Institute of Medicine report shows, we’re just not doing it in this country. And it really is a national disgrace. 
And giving doctors now authority to write lethal prescriptions fixes really nothing, none of the deficiencies in practice or medical training. It’s really a socially dangerous thing to do.
Byock then examined the reality of legalized assisted suicide.
You know, Oregon’s law was modeled after Holland and Belgium. And in Holland and Belgium these days, people are being euthanized, by their own volition, for things like depression or ringing of the ears, not just pain. 
You know, Compassion & Choices actually sold to the public the legalization of physician-assisted suicide because of unremitting pain. But we can control pain. What’s happening now is that over 85 percent of people who use Oregon’s law and end their life do so because of existential or emotional suffering, feeling of being a burden to their families, feeling the loss of the ability to enjoy life, feeling the loss of meaning. 
Well, once those become criteria, there are a lot of problems and human suffering that then becomes open to assisted suicide and euthanasia. It’s an undeniable fact that the slippery slope exists.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Scotland: Assisted suicide plan 'unethical and uncontrollable'

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sign the CNK Scotland online petition against the assisted suicide bill.

The BBC reported that the Care Not Killing (CNK) in Scotland has launched an online petition calling on MSPs to reject a bill that would allow people to end their life by assisted suicide.

This bill represents the second attempt to pass assisted suicide at the Scottish Parliament, the first having been voted down by MSPs in 2010. The justice committee is due to take evidence on the practical application and legal aspects of the bill at its meeting on Tuesday October 28.

The BBC reported that CNK, which includes disability and human rights groups, healthcare providers and faith-based bodies, said the current law making assisted suicide illegal is "clear and right". CNK stated that:
Proposals to legalise assisted suicide are "unnecessary, unethical and uncontrollable", according to campaigners opposed to the move.
Gordon Macdonald
The BBC stated that CNK Spokesman Dr Gordon Macdonald said: 
Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others. 
This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed. 
The Scottish Parliament rightly rejected the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia just four years ago out of concern for public safety. 
In every free democratic society, there are limits placed on human freedom in order to protect the common good and vulnerable people. 
The law must not be changed to accommodate the wishes of a small number of desperate and determined people at the expense of the rights of others." 
Once any so-called 'right-to-die' is established, we will see incremental extension with activists applying pressure to expand the categories of people who qualify for it. The right to die will become a duty to die."

What will happen to Brittany Maynard?

This article was published on the Choice Is An Illusion blog.

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

Margaret Dore
The suicide advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, is running a public relations campaign featuring the story of Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman with a brain tumor. According to media reports, she intends to take her life under Oregon's assisted suicide law in the near future. [1]

Lovelle Svart

In 2007, there was a similar case in Oregon involving Lovelle Svart, which was also promoted by Compassion & Choices. Svart, who had cancer, died at the end of a party in which she had been having a great time. The party was reported in the Seattle Times, which described her as being in control. [2] When it was time for her to die, however, she engaged in stalling behaviors ("a hugging line" and a cigarette break). 

There was also this exchange between her and George Eighmey, a member of Compassion & Choices:
“Is this what you want?” 
“Actually, I’d like to go on partying,” Lovelle replied, laughing before turning serious. "But yes."
The situation was similar to a wedding when it’s time to take your vows. Everyone is watching and it's the thing to do. Even if you're having second thoughts or would rather “go on partying,” you go forward. If Eighmey had wanted to give her an out, he could have said:
“You're having so much fun, you don’t have to do this today or even next week.”
Instead, he closed her by guiding her to take the lethal dose, which killed her.

Will Ms. Maynard get her choice?

It may be hard to know.

Compassion & Choices, regardless, will have an interest in getting the best promotional material possible from her death.