Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Netherland Euthanasia Statistics Not Even Telling half the story.

Please go to Wesley Smith's Blog for his excellent commentary on the newest euthanasia statistics in the Netherlands.

The link is http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/04/netherlands-euthanasia-statistics-not.html

Monday, April 28, 2008

Discussion at WSU challenges need for legalizing physician-assisted suicide

In Washington State, a campaign is underway to legalize assisted suicide -- Initiative-1000 is led by Booth Gardner, the former Governor of Washington State who has Parkinson’s disease.

Chris Wesen - a 19-year-old recently attended a presentation titled “Euthanasia: A Disability Perspective,” sponsored by the WSU Disability Awareness Association.

Wesen came to the presentation supporting assisted suicide but left the presentation opposed.

People in Washington State need to listen to those who speak for the disability rights movement -- those who would be directly affected by legalized assisted suicide.

For more information go to article "Discussion at WSU challenges need for legalizing physician-assisted suicide" (http://www.dnews.com/breaking-news/443/)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saltspring, B.C., deaths ruled murder-suicide

Another sad story about a violent murder-suicide was reported by Canwest News Service.

On November 24, 2007 the bodies of David (63) & Nancy (75) Denovan were found in their home on Saltspring Island, B.C.

The article states that "At the time, many in the close-knit island community speculated she had somehow chosen to end her life with the help of her husband."

The article also states that "However, detectives said autopsies concluded there were no long-term health problems with either person."

Nancy died from blunt-force trauma to her head, caused by a weapon, and her neck was cut.

David purchased a rope a few days before the act and used it to hang himself. The act appears to have been planned.

In March 2005, a study done by Julie Malphurs & Donna Cohen on 20 cases of homicide/suicide in Florida showed that so called compassionate spousal homicide/suicide deaths are in fact spousal murder-suicide. In every instance Cohen found that the husband had killed his wife and in nearly all cases the death was a violent death without any connection to assisted suicide.

(A Statewide Case–Control Study of Spousal Homicide–Suicide in Older Persons, Julie Malphurs, Donna Cohen - http://ajgponline.org/cgi/content/abstract/13/3/211)

People often jump to conclusions when they hear about a murder-suicide and they associate these deaths with assisted suicide. Rarely are these cases ever connected to supposed acts of “compassion”.

This case shows again that most of these crimes are based on planned, violent actions of one spouse, usually the husband, against the other spouse.

These cases rarely, if ever, have anything to do with assisted suicide.


"Saltspring, B.C., deaths ruled murder-suicide"
Canwest News Service, Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dying alone - greatest fear

For many years I have been saying that the problem that is leading society towards demanding euthanasia is the fear of dying alone and feeling abandoned in one's time of need.

The feeling of loneliness and abandonment often leads to further feelings of hopelessness and depression.

According to a recent study by the British euthanasia lobby group Dying in Dignity, 32% of British people who were surveyed (2,246 adults) stated that their greatest fear about dying was being alone.

Why is it that the fear of dying alone is precipitating an interest in euthanasia or assisted suicide?

I am convinced that a caring culture is the antidote to a culture of death. People need to care for the other, to journey with, or "be with" the other in their time of need.

When people feel alone and lonely they often become depressed and vulnerable. These people need to be supported and protected, not offered death.

The Dying in Dignity study should concern us that if euthanasia were legal that people might be killed because they felt abandoned and alone with no reason to live.

We need to become a caring society that care for people, and not kill them.

See article Dying alone 'greatest fear' - poll

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The development of palliative care and legalization of euthanasia in Belgium

The British Medical Journal has recently released an analysis by Jan Bernheim and colleagues concerning the: Development of palliative care and legalization of euthanasia in Belgium. http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/april/ac864.pdf.

Just because the article is published in the British Medical Journal does not mean that it represents a research study or that it represents a scientifically proven point of view.

The article on the development of palliative care and the legalization of euthanasia in Belgium is the story of how a group of people worked to build the palliative care movement and simultaneously worked to legalize euthanasia in Belgium.

Bernheim states that two of the founders of palliative care in Belgium, Karel Roelants and himself, were also euthanasia activists.

The article attempts to prove that euthanasia and palliative care do not represent opposite medical models and both models can work effectively together.

The real purpose for the article appears to be the story of how certain members of the euthanasia movement in Belgium were able to co-opt the palliative care movement by taking it outside of its natural roots and making it a model for killing rather than care. It may also be a story associated with the pride of these individuals who effectively made palliative care into something it is not.

When palliative care is based on a model of caring for dying persons, affirming their life and their gifted-ness until their natural death, then it leads to a society that cares for its weakest members.

When palliative care is connected to euthanasia or assisted suicide, it stops being a model of care and becomes a medical model that is concerned with ending the lives of individuals using medical means that may provide comfort but are essentially oriented to dying rather than living until a natural death.

This article only proves that certain people effectively transformed the concept/practice of care for the dying into a medical model for effectively killing the dying.

http://www.huliq.com:80/57273/palliative-care-legal-euthanasia-can-be-mutually-beneficial

Monday, April 21, 2008

Euthanasia trends in Europe

Recently there have been some disturbing trends in Europe towards fewer restrictions on euthanasia and assisted suicide and pressures that appear to be establishing a “right” to be killed.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide were legalized in the Netherlands and Belgium in 2002. The Netherlands had effectively legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide by the decree of the courts in 1984 with the 2002 legalization simply codifying accepted practice into law.

Recently the country of Luxembourg moved closer to legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide with legislation passing second reading and going into hearings. It is widely expected that Luxembourg will be the third European nation to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Switzerland has tolerated assisted suicide for many years. Suicide groups have been assisting suicide within Switzerland based on a legal interpretation of their 1918 suicide law. In other words, Switzerland never legalized assisted suicide but tolerates the practise based on a legal interpretation. The Dignitas Suicide clinic is probably the best known of these groups.

In 2003 a group of “ethicists” at the Groningen University Hospital began looking at the question of infant euthanasia in the Netherlands. The 2002 law allowed euthanasia of consenting adults over the age of 12. The problem that the committee at Groningen University were attempting to solve is: what should be done with the newborns that are born with anomalies?

The Groningen Protocol was promulgated in 2005 and established a set of guidelines to be followed for the purpose of euthanizing infants in the Netherlands. The Groningen Protocol was based on the reports from Dutch physicians concerning the deaths of 22 infants who were born with spina bifida. Dutch physicians were not being prosecuted when they ended the life of newborns with spina bifida based on the Prins case in 1997. Prins was a physician who escaped prosecution after he killed an infant with spina bifida.

The Groningen Protocol allows euthanasia of infants when the parents give consent and when the child is considered to lack an “acceptable” quality of life. These decisions are made based on quality of life judgements that are connected to the new eugenics ideology that is promoted by Peter Singer of Princeton University and becoming more prevalent in our current culture.

At the World Federation of Right to Die Societies Conference in Toronto - September 2006 - Dr. Rob Jonquiére, the President of NVVE the leading euthanasia lobby group in the Netherlands explained that their goal was the legalization of the “last-will pill”. This is a prescription that would be given to healthy individuals (usually elderly or people with disabilities) who were tired of living.

In March, legislators in Belgium announced their intention to change the euthanasia law in their country to include infants, teenagers, and people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

The euthanasia law in Belgium was based on the Netherlands statute. It is recognized that the (so-called) safeguards in the Netherlands and Belgium laws were based on court precedents and political compromise. Now that the law has been in place for several years, there is an interest in changing the law towards gaining a universal “right” to die.

In Switzerland, the Dignitas suicide clinic has now changed its suicide technique from the use of a prescription to that of the plastic bag with helium (Exit bag). The Dignitas clinic is known for its encouragement of suicide tourists who go to Switzerland to die. It is estimated that 2 out of 3 people who die at their suicide clinic are suicide tourists.

Ludwig Minelli, the founder and director of Dignitas stated that they have changed their technique to using the plastic bag with helium method to eliminate the need for a physician to agree to assisting the death. Even physicians who support assisted suicide would often refuse to write lethal prescriptions for people who weren’t dying or suffering.

In France the case of Chantal Sébire, a woman who had tumors in her head that had caused her to become significantly deformed, and who had lost her sense of smell, her hearing and her sight. Sébire requested that she be allowed to have assistance with suicide. Her case was so emotionally compelling that 87% of the French population supported her request for assisted suicide.

After the courts refused Sébire, she committed suicide. We now know that Sébire had refused effective medical treatment for her condition from the very beginning. Her physicians explained that she could have had treatment in 2002 that would most likely have returned her to full health. She also refused pain management help that would have effectively relieved her pain and symptoms.

In Germany, Roger Kusch, a former German government minister, announced that he was planning to loan-out suicide machines to people who wished to die. This is not a new concept. When Jack Kevorkian first began his campaign in Michigan he was using a simple contraption to allow the person to commit suicide.

In Europe the Euthanasia lobby is becoming bolder and more extreme. They have let go of their traditional anthems of voluntary euthanasia for the competent and suffering; now they use language that would lead to euthanasia as a human right.

Remember, the issue of euthanasia is not about terminal illness, compassion for the dying, or ending suffering. Euthanasia is about having someone end your life at the time of your choosing or for society to allow someone to end the lives of incompetent vulnerable people who are unable to realize that they are better off dead.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bloc MP Francine Lalonde continues to fight to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Last month during an interview on the CBC radio show Cross Country Checkup Jocelyn Downie, the Canada research chair in Health, Law and Policy from Dalhousie University stated that she knew that new legislation was being drafted to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. Downie also stated that a new test case had been drafted to challenge the criminal code prohibitions of euthanasia via the courts.

On April 13, 2008, Canada Press published an interview with Francine Lalonde, the Bloc Quebecois MP who had introduced bill C-407 in 2005, a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. Lalonde stated that she intends to introduce new legislation to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide soon.

Lalonde, who has been battling cancer for the past 2 years is “pushing ahead with plans to force the House of Commons to relaunch the debate on assisted suicide.”

Bill C-407 would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide for people suffering chronic physical and mental pain. Chronic physical and mental pain can be effectively treated.

Bill C-407 did not require that a person at least attempt effective treatment for their chronic physical or mental pain. The bill stated that a person qualifies for euthanasia even if they have refused to try effective treatments.

Bill C-407 did not limit euthanasia to competent people. Bill C-407 legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who “appear to be lucid”. What did it mean to appear to be lucid?

Bill C-407 did not limit euthanasia to physicians alone. Bill C-407 allowed anyone to carry-out euthanasia or assist a suicide of anyone, as long as they are “assisted by a medical practitioner”, and act in the manner indicated by the person who wishes to die.

Bill C-407 did not even provide the typical “safeguards” that we have seen in other jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide have been proposed.

Even if Lalonde tightens up the wording in her new proposal, we already know her intentions based on the wording of Bill C-407.

Lalonde stated to Canada Press that: “I am not worried about abuse, I am worried, however, about what is going on in Quebec. People are suffering and can’t find help and they are putting moral pressure on people they know to help them die. I find that a slippery slope.”

Whereas the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is equally concerned about people who are suffering and can’t find help, we recognize that this is more related to our failure to effectively provide good end of life care rather than our need to legalize the killing of the vulnerable.

Bill C-407 allowed a person a kill another person. Once society allows one person to kill another it becomes impossible to protect those who are made to feel like a burden upon society. Bill C-407 directly threatened the lives of people with disabilities and other vulnerable Canadians. People who need to be treated with equality and dignity and who often need to be protected by society.

http://canadianpress.google.com:80/article/ALeqM5jwYIMTwsWUrluG2yypw09VsWXw2g
Canadian Press - Ottawa - April 13, 2008

For more information or commentary on euthanasia and assisted suicide please contact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: 1-877-439-3348 or Email: info@epcc.ca

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mum steps up war on suicide sites

A British woman, Liz Stephenson is hoping the new research on suicide websites will add weight to her campaign for the Government to shut down websites that promote suicide.

Stephenson’s daughter Carina committed suicide two years ago after spending significant time reading and surfing how-to-suicide web-sites.

Stephenson blamed the sites “wholly” for what happened to Carina and said she had since felt like “a lone voice” in her campaign to stop them providing suicide advice.

There is no regulation of suicide sites in the UK because they are not illegal, the researchers added.

In the UK “A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We are actively looking at what we can do to control so-called suicide websites. There are inherent difficulties, because many of them are based overseas, but we are considering whether the law could be strengthened or clarified and will announce conclusions shortly.”

Similar to Canada, the UK prohibits aiding, abeting and counseling suicide. These laws need to be updated to explicitly outlaw suicide counseling by internet or other communications medium in a similar manner as the law in Australia. In the United States, laws prohibiting suicide counseling are regulated by the State.

Dr. Philip Nitscke, Australia’s Dr. Death, who has operated a suicide counseling service, made it clear in an interview in the national review (http://www.nationalreview.com/smithw/smith200411150826.asp) that once he develops a suicide pill - peaceful pill - that it would be available to troubled teens.

Society needs to recognize that vulnerable people need to be protected from predators, including suicide predators who claim to be solely concerned about “choice” but who are in fact promoting information that directly threatens the lives of vulnerable people.

http://www.thestar.co.uk:80/doncaster/Mum-steps-up-war-on.3974488.jp
Published Date: 12 April 2008 Source: Doncaster Star, Sheffield

Renowned oncologist changes position on euthanasia after contracting cancer

The Spanish magazine Huellas has published an interview with Sylvie Menard who is one of the most renowned oncologists in Europe. Menard changed her position from supporting euthanasia to now opposing euthanasia in response to her battle with bone cancer.

Menard stated to Huellas that: “those who promote euthanasia do so for two reasons: they don’t want to suffer and they don’t want to lose self-sufficiency, thus becoming a burden for others.”

She agreed that people who are ill “do not want to experience pain” and that “they have a right to alleviate it”. She also emphasized that “pain therapy has advanced considerably in recent years.”

Menard appears to indicate that her new opposition to euthanasia is partially due to a change in her perspective on the dignity of life.

She stated “Even if you do not have complete use of your faculties and you cannot get up because you are confined to bed, but you still have the affection of your family members, in my opinion, even in those conditions, it’s worth it to keep living,”

Dignity is related to how we interact and care for others. People who feel abandoned in their time of need will often feel that they are a burden on others or that their life has become hopeless.

The antidote to the culture of death is a culture that cares for and supports the most vulnerable in their time of need.

The culture that we live in needs a radical shift towards a commitment by society and individuals to care for people and not kill people.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com:80/new.php?n=12314
http://www.huellas-cl.com
Madrid, Apr 11, 2008 / 03:21 pm (CNA).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Suicide Promotion more common than Prevention in web searches.

New laws to discourage aiding, abeting and counseling suicide on the Internet are necessary to discourage suicide among teenagers and other vulnerable groups.

A recent article published in British Medical Journal and reported in Insidermedicine proved that when web searches are done on the major search engines for suicide information the main sites that come up are suicide promotion sites.

The author of the report stated: 
“Overall, the searches uncovered 240 unique sites about suicide, just under half of which provided information about how to commit suicide. Nearly one-fifth of the hits as well as the top three most frequently occurring sites were for pages that promoted suicide. Only 13% of the sites were dedicated to suicide prevention and support, and only 12% actively discouraged suicide. Most of the sites -- even some of those dedicated to suicide prevention -- provided information on methods of suicide.”
According to the article statistics show that:
• Worldwide, about one million people die from suicide every year. It is a leading cause of death in teens and young adults.
• Most people who commit suicide are suffering from a mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Euthanasia activists, such as Philip Nitschke - Australia’s Dr. Death, who promoted suicide information on the internet for years that resulted in legislation in Australia a few years ago to ban aiding, abeting and counseling suicide via the internet and other communications medium.

People who contact these suicide information services are mainly vulnerable people who society should be trying to help and protect. These people are victims of radical activists rather than people who are "freely choosing" to die.

Most people who seek assisted suicide meet a similar profile as people who attempt suicide. People who are seeking assistance in suicide need good mental health care and support and not suicide assistance.

http://www.insidermedicine.ca:80/archives/Suicide_Promotion_More_Common_Than_Prevention_in_Web_Searches_2380.aspx

Suicide Promotion More Common Than Prevention in Web Searches
(April 10, 2008 - Insidermedicine)

Monday, April 7, 2008

It appears that Hillary Clinton supports assisted suicide

In a comment (below) to the Register-Guard editorial board Hillary Clinton makes a statement that would suggest that she supports assisted suicide.

Even-though she is guarded in her comments she does say that "I think it's an appropriate right to have."

It shouldn't surpise people that she would support assisted-suicide but it must be considered a factor when people are deciding who to vote for in November.

Excerpt from Hillary Clinton's conversation with the Register-Guard Editorial Board (Eugene, Oregon- 04/05/08) -

Find this article at http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=89060&sid=4&fid=1

Sebire's refusal of effective medical treatment

When I first heard about the case of Chantal Sébire, I was mystified that her condition was so extreme. Since I was not informed of her personal condition I assumed that her tumors were inoperable.

Now I learn that Sébire had constantly refused treatment for her condition that would have likely returned her to a healthy condition. Nearing the end of her life, Sébire was suffering from significantly painful conditions but she continued to even refuse treatment for pain. Morphine would have effectively controlled most of her painful symptoms.

Sébire had the right to refuse medical treatment, and I would never argue otherwise, but it is disingenuous to refuse effective medical treatment or care and then claim to the public that you need to die by euthanasia because there was nothing that could be done for you.

Similar issues were central to the Latimer case. Robert said that the only way to stop Tracy Latimer’s suffering was to kill her. In fact, Robert had a phobia with medical treatment. This may be why the Latimer’s refused to have a feeding tube for Tracy and the reason why Robert finally refused surgery on Tracy’s hip by gassing her to death in his pick-up truck.

Just the facts.

French Euthanasia Case Rumbles On
By Bruce Crumley/Paris, Tuesday, Apr. 01, 2008

Find this article at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1726787,00.html

Friday, April 4, 2008

Suicide machine sparks outrage

This is a very sad and yet important article.

I ask the question: how does the public react to people who take the law into their own hands, such as Roger Kusch with his suicide machine. Some suggest that it leads people to become concerned, while others say that it forces the question into the political arena.

Some people argue that since assisted suicide happens already, therefore it should be legalized and regulated by the government. This is a false arguement. Many things happen already that threat individuals in society, and it would threaten the common good to simply regulate certain acts that must be prohibited.

Their is a gap in our western culture between radical individual autonomy and the need for the common good. Their is another gap in society based on the view of the nature of the human person - whether human life has inherent dignity, or humans are simply a higher animal.

The question that people fail to consider is: "Why is homicide(euthanasia), and assisted suicide illegal in the first place?" Some people say that it is just connected to a religious intolerant past.

The reality is that society must not allow one person to have the legal right to take the life of another person. The protection of the individual and the basis of equality of all human lives depends on a prohibition of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

To allow the killing of people, even for the most difficult circumstances leads to the direct threat to the lives of vulnerable persons, whose lives are already considered by many to be not worth living. The sad reality is that many of these people have been so abandoned by the attitude of radical individual autonomy that they themselves have even been made to feel that they are better off dead and they can succomb to the false ideology of compassion and choice which is neither compassionate or truly a choice.

Society needs to protect the lives of vulnerable persons, people with disabilities, the frail elderly, people who live with chronic conditions or depression. The common good for all in society demands that we care for people and not kill them.

April 4, 2008

Suicide machine sparks outrage

By CNN's Berlin Bureau Chief Frederik Pleitgen

Find this article at:
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/04/04/germany.euthanasia/index.html

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

We need to care for people and not kill them

The cases of Chantal Sebire and Clara Blanc will naturally affect the emotions of every person. One may say, that if euthanasia were legal, these would be cases that many people would feel qualify for the act.

The question we need to ask is: "What does it mean to be a human person?"

I contend that a human person is not merely a physical being. Our dignity and quality of life is not determined by our physical characteristics alone.

Intentionally and directly causing the death of people by euthanasia or assisted suicide, even for the most difficult cases, results in a change within our social fabric that will only lead to furthering the social conditions that lead to the hopelessness and despair that is connected to calls for euthanasia.

What we really need is to change our attitudes by becoming a more caring society. People need to care for others, in such a way as to eliminate the abandonment that exists within society that leads people to consider euthanasia.

Whether it be the health care system, or people of good-will extending themselves to others, we need to create a culture that encourages people to care for others.

Clara Blanc should be experiencing true dignity by being cared for by her friends, family, and community. She should feel that her community values her even when she is living with a rare genetic condition.

As a society we need to develop new and better methods of controlling physical pain but we primarily need to recognize that the human person is a social, psychological, emotional and spiritual being.

The most effective way to care for the other is by "being with" the other. It is when we feel alone, abandoned and unwanted that we experience depression and lonliness that directly create the demand for euthanasia.

We need to care for people and not kill them.

Find this article at http://www.agi.it:80/world/news/200804011833-cro-ren0081-art.html