Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oregon offers terminal patients Doctor-Assisted Suicide instead of Medical Care

Fox news reported that Randy Stroup (53) of Dexter Oregon, who has prostate cancer, received a letter from the (LIPA) who administer the Oregon Health plan in Lane county that the Oregon Health plan would not pay for expensive chemotherapy but they would pay for physician-assisted suicide.

Stroup stated to Fox News: "It dropped my chin to the floor, (How could they) not pay for medication that would help my life and yet offer to pay to end my life?"

In the state of Oregon, assisted suicide has been legal for more than 10 years. It began as an option for terminally people who were suffering and it is now becoming a treatment offer for all people with terminal conditions.

This is not the first case like this that has been uncovered by the media.

On June 3rd I blogged the case of Barbara Wagner, who was prescribed a drug for her lung cancer but was told by (LIPA) that they would pay for palliative care or physician-assisted suicide, but not the chemo pills that her oncologist had noted was an effective treatment for her condition.

In Wagner's case the pharmaceutical company offered her free access to the effective drug for one year. She was truly given the gift of life by the pharmaceutical company.

Barbara Wagner story:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/06/woman-in-oregon-offered-assisted.html

How many other people have been denied effective, necessary, but expensive treatment for cancer or other conditions but offered payment by (LIPA) for palliative care or physician-assisted suicide.

Fox interviewed Dr. William Toffler, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

Toffler stated that:
"Oregon doesn't cover life-prolonging treatment unless there is better than a 5 percent chance it will help the patients live for five more years - but it covers doctor-assisted suicide, defining it as a means of providing comfort, no different from hospice care or pain medication.

"It's chilling when you think about it, It absolutely conveys to the patient that continued living isn't worthwhile," said Toffler.

Dr. John Sattenspiel, LIPA's senior medical director defends the measures by emphasizing preventative care and cost effectiveness.

"I have had patients who would consider knowing that this is part of the range of comfort care or palliative care services that are still available to them, they would be comforted by that," stated Sattenspiel.

Stroup has fought back. He said that suicide was never an option for him. The Oregon Health Plan eventually reversed its decision and is now paying for his chemotherapy. He has hope that he will be around a little longer for his 80-year-old mother and his five grandchildren.

Washington State voters need to read about Randy Stroup and Barbara Wagner before voting in favor of the I-1000 that would legalise Oregon style assisted suicide in that state.

The story:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,392962,00.html

Recent story about Barbara Wagner:
http://www.kval.com:80/news/26140519.html

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Janet Rivera's cousin granted her conservatorship

The Janet Rivera case appears to have made a turn for the better.

You may review the case at:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/07/janet-rivera-case-overview.html

Janet Rivera's cousin has been granted conservatorship, or power of attorney for Rivera. Since the family is united in their wish to have her provided hydration and nutrition, we hope that the cousin will fulfill that wish.

We hope this is a good ending to this case.

Read the update by Wesley Smith:
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/07/janet-riveras-cousin-granted-her.html

Vulnerable adults merit protection

Yesterday I reported on an excellent article written by columnist Joel Connelly in Seattle Washington about the I-1000 initiative to legalize assisted suicide in that state.

Today I received an important email concerning an article in the Olympian newspaper concerning elder abuse in Washington state.

The article in the Olympian is refering to the wrap up of Elder Abuse Prevention Month.

The article states:
"Protecting the state's vulnerable people is the responsibility of each of us," said Kathy Leitch, assistant secretary for the Aging and Disability Services Administration. "Our goal is to help the general public recognize abuse, neglect and financial exploitation, and to advocate for safety on behalf of vulnerable adults."
In 2007 the state agency received 13,553 allegations and it is estimated that only one in five cases of abuse is reported.

Elder abuse has become a growing problem in every country.

In September, 2005; the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition published a 48 page report study by Philip Prins, a labor negotiator, entitled: Elder Abuse, Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide: Must we consider the link?

Prins states in the concluding section of the study:
"That legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide is ... perceived as a threat by many, including people with disabilities and their advocates is clear. It is a point of view that must yet be examined by the elderly, and their own groups. There are many types of abuses that take place with respect to the elderly, as the elder abuse literature sets out. The fact is that the legalisation of euthanasia or assisted suicide will open the door to the ultimate abuse becoming common."
One way to prevent the ultimate elder abuse will be to oppose the legalisation of assisted suicide by voting against the I-1000 initiative in Washington state.

To report cases of suspected elder abuse in Washington state, call 1-866-363-4276. Children and vulnerable adults merit our attention and protection.

Copies of the Elder Abuse, Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide: Must we consider the link? that is written by Philip Prins and published by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition can be ordered for $15.00 by contacting the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: info@epcc.ca or calling 1-877-439-3348.

The unnecessary dangers of assisted suicide

Gordon MacDonald has written an excellent response today in the scotsman newspaper to Margo MacDonald's campaign to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.

Gordon MacDonald writes:
"Assisted suicide is unnecessary because effective palliative care is available to ease pain and distress associated with terminal and chronic illness. Evidence shows that the majority of pain and other symptoms experienced by the terminally ill can be relieved through spcialists providing expert palliative care. Most people, who start off expressing a wish for assisted suicide or euthanasia change their minds once their pain is relieved. The logical next step therefore is to extend palliative care training and services."

MacDonald then states:
"Assisted suicide is ethically wrong because it denies the presence of human dignity, the concept that underpins human rights legislation. Being dependent on others does not remove dignity. We do not think of a baby as having less dignity than an adult, despite he/she being totally dependent on his/her parents. Similarily, a person with a terminal or chronic illness has no less dignity than anyone, but society needs to show this."

MacDonald continues:
"Finally, assisted suicide is dangerous because vulnerable people will feel pressurised into taking the option. In the state of Oregon, where assisted suicide for the terminally ill is legal, 11 per cent of patients who took this option did so because they perceived themselves to be a financial burden and another six per cent did so because of a lack of social support."

MacDonald concludes:
"Many of those who would opt for assisted suicide are suffering from untreated depression or have a psychiatric illness. It is estimated that 80 per cent of terminally ill patients suffer from associated depression or other psychological and/or psychiatric problems. It should not be assumed that medical staff will diagnose and treat these illnesses during the process of facilitating assisted suicide."

The article:
http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/The-unnecessary-dangers-of-assisted.4333298.jp

Monday, July 28, 2008

Assisted suicide gets push from out of Washington state

Joel Connelly, a columnist with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has written an excellent column about the national push by the Death With Dignity (DWD) National Center to organize and support the campaign to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State.

On July 24, the I-1000 ballot initiative to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State was certified for the ballot. The Washington Death With Dignity group needed 224,800 certified signatures to have their initiative approved for the November ballot.

Connelly reports that the(DWD) National Center carefully choose Washington State as the place to revive their movement that is lately on “life support.”

Connelly uncovered that: The DWD national center stated in their 2007 annual report that they: “spent the last year actively researching and collecting data to determine the state which is most likely to adopt a Death with Dignity law.”

Further to that Connelly discovered from the same DWD annual report that: “In 2006-2007, we invested (time, effort and money) ... in planning for a 2008 ballot initiative. We raised nearly $250,000 to provide seed money to the campaign, and we participated in extensive early research efforts.”

"The movement has provided cold hard cash, as well, more than $440,000 in out-of-state contributions to get I-1000 on the ballot; $300,000 has come from the Oregon Death with Dignity PAC" states Connelly.

Connelly then compares the media reports to the reality of the behind-the-scenes manipulation that has been candidly laid out:

Connelly states: “We have read glowing profiles of the “last campaign” of ex-Gov. Booth Gardner, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. ... the campaign has linked reporters to signature-gatherers who have lost a loved one, or see a relative racked with pain.” He concludes that the sophisticated string-pullers have stayed backstage.

The DWD annual report also states that: “(We) have never had such great odds of success as we have in Washington in 2008. That is why we will be directing $1.5 million over the next year and a half to the efforts in Washington.”

Connelly then goes on to explain that he is voting against I-1000 because of his personal experience and his understanding of an underpinning of democracy. “Its purpose (a democratic society) must be to safeguard and enhance life, especially among the youngest, the weakest and the suffering.”

Connelly concludes by stating that: “The job of Washington voters is fourfold. Do they agree, in principal and belief, with assisted suicide? If so, do they feel safeguards - modeled after Oregon’s law - are sufficient?”

He then asks two more questions: “Should Washington be a launching pad for a movement that seeks to transform a crime into a “medical treatment?” Will the movement next seek to expand conditions for the legal ending of life, as has been done in the Netherlands?”

I take heed from Connelly and thank him for an insightful, well researched and honest article.

The article:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/372417_Joel28.html

Janet Rivera: Case overview.

Wesley Smith has blogged a story about Janet Rivera that is written by Barbara Anderson for the Fresno Bee titled: Schiavo debate relived in Valley - Sanger woman in coma center of wide dispute.

Please link to Wesley J. Smith's blog comments at:
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/07/janet-rivera-case-overview.html

The original story:
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/755203.html

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tracy Latimer - Some of the Facts

By Alex Schadenberg,
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

This article is an edited version of an article that I wrote in January 2001 that was published on the DAWN (Disabled Womens Network) website.

On January 18, 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal giving Robert Latimer the mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree murder of 25 years in prison 10 years before parole eligibility.

Vulnerable people across Canada can be assured that they will be equally protected under the law.

There are many misconceptions pertaining to the Latimer case that need to be cleared.

Tracy Latimer was born with a severe form of cerebral palsy. She was unable to walk, or talk. She had many seizures and was cognitively disabled. She depended on others for all of her basic needs in life. 

Even though she was unable to do many things, she would smile, laugh, and cry. She could think, communicate and recognize the people she knew. She loved music, and campfires. She was fed with a spoon, and went by bus everyday to school.

Robert Latimer killed his daughter Tracy on October 24, 1993, by putting her into the cab of the family pickup truck, connecting a hose from the exhaust into the cab of the truck and gassed her to death. Robert Latimer confessed to killing Tracy and allowed the police to videotape his explanation. He claims that his motive for killing his daughter was that he had no other choice because of how much he loved her.

Tracy Latimer
Robert Latimer was convicted twice and found unanimously guilty of second-degree murder by all 24 jurors. All Robert Latimer needed was 1 sympathetic juror to have been acquitted of second-degree murder.

In the trials, both Robert and his wife Laura claimed that Tracy was experiencing constant and uncontrollable pain. If this were true then why were they allowing Tracy to suffer when her pain was medically controllable?

Their testimony conflicted with the writings in Laura's own diary pertaining to the daily condition of Tracy. Laura's diary stated that Tracy was often happy and smiling, and lately she had been eating well. Tracy's teacher described her as a happy and loving person who did not show signs of extreme and uncontrolled pain, even though she had a dislocated hip. Tracy was scheduled for surgery to repair her dislocated hip which would have alleviated the pain and discomfort she was experiencing. In fact, Robert Latimer was charged with homicide on the same day that her surgery was scheduled to happen (November 4, 1993).

Many people are under the impression that the Latimers were overly burdened and lacking in support and respite care for Tracy. In fact, Tracy had lived in a respite home in North Battleford from July until early October, 1993. Tracy had returned home because she was scheduled for surgery. Tracy was also at school everyday.

On October 12, just twelve days before Tracy was killed, Robert Latimer was offered a permanent institutional placement for Tracy in North Battleford. He rejected the placement because he said he had ‘other plans'. He later admitted to police that he had already decided to kill Tracy.

Generally, Tracy was a happy girl with a significant disability and serious health problems. Tracy did not die from her condition, but because of her condition.

I ask the question, did having a severe disability make Tracy any less human? The Supreme Court has upheld Tracy as an equal citizen.

There are thousands of people in Canada who have physical and mental disabilities. The Latimers are not the only family who struggle with the care of a family member.

For some people, pain and symptom management is a normal part of their life. These people are often dependant on the care of others and need the support of community. These people also need to be protected from those people who question their "quality of life" or their right to live. Able-bodied people cannot judge the "quality of life" of a person with a disability. Tracy needed care and protection, not death. The care and protection we grant to people with disabilities may be positively affected by the punishment that is served by Robert Latimer.

I have sympathy for the Latimer family and all people in society, like my family, who care for a family member with a disability. I also have sympathy for Tracy Latimer and people like her who are cared for by people who would rather see them dead.

We call on the Federal and Provincial governments to re-examine the level of care that is provided for people with disabilities, the elderly, the chronically ill, and all other vulnerable people who are highly dependant on others for their basic care. Canada must now become a leader in the care and equality of people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable citizens to prevent other Latimer type cases.

A just society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.

All of the facts are directly taken from testimony at the actual trials of Robert Latimer.

Link to article by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities:
http://www.ccdonline.ca/publications/latimer-watch/0500e.htm

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Parole Board Changes Latimer's Release Conditions

An article printed in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on July 25th is significant, not because of the news that Robert Latimer will be granted an unescorted 5 day pass every month but how the article described Tracy.

The article states that:
"Latimer, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his pain-ridden disabled daughter, Tracy"

First: It is easy to de-humanize pain-ridden people with disabilities. It is not easy to dehumanize a daughter who went to school everyday and loved music. I guess that is why the Star Phoenix doesn't describe her for who she was but rather by what they want us to think.

Even if it were true that her pain was not being adequately controlled, is that a reason to kill her? A caring person would have found ways to control her pain.

Second: Robert Latimer was convicted of second-degree murder. The sentence for second-degree murder is 25 years in prison, 10 years before parole.

Tracy Latimer is the prime-example of how the social acceptance of euthanasia would directly effect the most vulnerable people in society.

The Story:
http://www.canada.com:80/reginaleaderpost/news/story.html?id=f1954790-ca28-463b-a4c9-44dcd39822ad

Please read the recent media release by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities:
http://www.cwd-o.org/cwdo/activities/activities.php?activities=427

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dr Iain Kerr suspended in Scotland

Dr. Iain Kerr (61) has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) for 6 months after prescribing sodium amytal to a woman who he knew was suicidal. The GMC could have struck him off the list of physicians.

Kerr was known to have told patients that he was once a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland.

Kerr first revealed his views on assisted suicide during his annual appraisal in 2004 where he had admitted to prescribing patients with sodium amytal to help them kill themselves.

After the appraisal the local health authorities and the Strathclyde Police opened an investigation the resulted in no charges due to insufficient evidence.

During the 9 day hearing by the (GMC) in Manchester Kerr told the panel that the:
"law is an ass and it was out of step with what a significant minority of people thought."

The GMC ruled that his fitness to practise was impaired by virtue of his misconduct and branded his actions
"inappropriate, irresponsible, liable to bring the profession into disrepute and not in your patient's best interest".

John Donnelly, the chairman of the GMC Fitness to Practise Panel said:
"The panel considers it necessary to send a message to the medical profession that this behaviour is unacceptable".

Donnelly also stated:
"You made a serious misjudgement and embarked on a potentially criminal act."

After the hearing the GMC decision Dr. Kerr stated:
"I very much regret the circumstances that brought me here before the General Medical Council and regret any inconvenience to my patients as a result of the investigation. The Fitness to Practise Panel has carefully considered all the facts and the evidence and I am grateful to them for taking into account the exceptional and unusual circumstances advanced on my behalf."

It is very important that the GMC has given this case the appropriate attention rather than remaining silent our of fear of offending the politically correct.

Comments by the Care Not Killing Alliance in the UK:
http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/?show=500

The story:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article4393401.ece

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4340204.ece

Killing or Letting Die

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
When reading about cases such as Janet Rivera or Terri Schiavo the question appears to be the ethical considerations of withholding or withdrawing life-support from end-of-life patients.


There is no problem with respecting a person's informed and free wish to refuse unwanted medical treatment (medical treatment in the traditional sense). But in the cases of Rivera and Schiavo, the issue is not withholding or withdrawing medical Treatment but rather the withdrawing of hydration (fluids) and nutrition (food) from a person who is not otherwise dying.

The case of Rivera is further nuanced because her family is united in their opposition to dehydrate her to death. The decision was made by an appointed guardian.

The problem is that bioethicists have defined fluids and food as medical treatment.

When someone is cognitively disabled, such as Rivera, they often need to be given fluids and food via a PEG or feeding tube.

It is a simple and minimally invasive procedure to put a PEG into a person who is unable to eat without assistance. Once the PEG is in place the only requirement is to keep the person clean and to regularly provide fluids and food through the PEG.

Providing fluids and food to someone through a PEG is not a difficult act can be done by family in their home without problems.

To deny fluids and food from someone who is not otherwise dying will cause the person to die from dehydration in usually 10 to 14 days. Terri Schiavo died of dehydration 13 days after all fluids and food were withheld.

To withdraw fluids and food from someone who is dying and nearing death and who is unable to effectively assimilate fluids and food or in the rare circumstance where its provision causes physical suffering, is not causing the person's death but rather recognizing the limits of life and letting the person die.

The real question: Is the witholding or withdrawing of fluids and food from a person with a cognitive disability and who is not otherwise dying an act of killing or is this simply an act of letting a person die?

Since the person is not otherwise dying, the cause of death is not their underlying disease or condition.

One may say that Terri Schiavo died because her condition caused her to be incapable of eating or drinking without assistance. If this were the case, then everyone who requires assistance to eat and drink could also be denied this basic necessity of life. Many people with disabilities and very young children are dependant on assisted feeding.

A side-effect of having a cognitive disability is not the inability to assimilate fluids and food. Therefore you cannot say that death by dehydration is simply an act of letting a person die.

There is a difference between killing and letting die. If this difference is completely negated by post-modern bioethics, then we should all be concerned. Many people, who are not dying, need assisted feeding for long periods or time.

The concern is not respecting a persons right to refuse unwanted medical treatment. If a person dies as a result of legitimately refusing medical treatment, their death is the result of their disease or condition. In other words they died a natural death.

The concern is with intentionally and directly causing death.

Clearly to withhold fluids and food from a person who is not otherwise dying, such as Rivera, will intentionally and directly cause her to death from dehydration and not her underlying disease or condition.

This is an intentionally caused death and not simply letting a person die.

This is ethically the same as euthanasia.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fighting for Janet Rivera's Life

Janet Rivera (46) is the center of a new battle over the ethics of intentionally dehydrating a person to death.

Rivera has been in coma for the past two years, resulting from a heart attack.

Rivera's husband was recently replaced as her public guardian, after he experienced difficulties. The appointed Fresno County Public Guardian, David Hadden, decided that because she is unlikely to recover, that her fluids and food would be removed.

This decision is against the wishes of the Rivera family and Janet's husband.

Yesterday, Judge Debra Kazanjian granted an injunction and ordered medical staff to resume fluids and food for Rivera through a tube and to provide ventilator support, if necessary.

The case will return to court next week when a hearing will determine who has the right to make medical decisions for Rivera.

This is a very important case.

If the courts decide that the Public Guardian has the right to make medical decisions for Rivera, and that the Public Guardian can dehydrate Rivera to death against the wishes of the family, then everyone who does not have a legal advanced directive will be able to die by dehydration.

Remember, Rivera is not otherwise dying, she is cognitively disabled and unlikely to return to a cognitive condition. If people who are cognitively disabled can be dehydrated to death, then the lives of many people with cognitive disabilities will be directly threatened when they experience significant health problems.

From Wesleyjsmith.com
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/07/janet-rivera-case-medicalized-tyranny.html

The story:
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/749537.html

http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=6280841

http://www.cbs47.tv:80/content/special_features/story.aspx?content_id=75e6269d-321a-405e-906d-3ce72f3d277d

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Euthanasia still a dilemma for Dutch doctors

I was going through my emails and found this article from May 7, 2008 that was written by Emma Thomasson and published in Reuters.

The article starts by referring to a play that is called "The Good Death" that appears to be very popular in the Netherlands. It is a play about a doctor who injects an old friend, who has cancer, and all the agonising decisions that revolve around the question of euthanasia.

The article then goes on to assess the statistics related to euthanasia in the Netherlands, now that it has been officially legal for 6 years.

The article shows how the number of official euthanasia deaths appears to be dropping while the number of deaths by terminal sedation have skyrocketed. In the Netherlands euthanasia is strickly defined as a voluntary and intentional action. To dehydrate someone to death may be voluntary and intentional but it is an omission.

The article quotes Dr. Rob Jonquire, the leader fo the Right to Die society in the Netherlands who said:
"It is more than a coincidence that euthanasia has gone down and palliative sedation has gone up."

Jonquire then states:
"We hear anecdotal evidence from families that patients actually wanted euthanasia but the doctor instead gave palliative sedation."

The article states that a survey published this year in the Journal of Medical Ethics showed that almost half of the Dutch doctors try to avoid euthanasia because it is against their own values or was difficult to deal with.

Jonquire stated at the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference in Toronto - September 2006, that the final goal of the Right to Die Society in the Netherlands is the legalization of the "Last-Will-Pill".

The article explains that recent polling shows that 74% of the Dutch people support the concept of the "Last-Will-Pill"

Politically it seems unlikely that such a concept would gain support at the present time especially since certain members of parliament are pushing for better pain relief and less euthanasia.

Dr. Stans Verhagen, a cancer specialist who serves about 800 patients every year said:
"We started with euthanasia in Holland because people were suffering so much pain -- it's what makes us afraid of dying, he said. He likened the end of life to landing a plane."

He then stated:
"We should give less attention to emergency exit and more to how not to crash. It is possible to have a good death."

Bravo Dr. Verhagen.

We should care for people and not kill them.

The story:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUKGRI72656320080507?sp=true

History of Eugenics in America

I was cleaning up my emails today and I found a recent email from Dick Sobsey on the Ashley X story, the case of the girl with a disability who was given surgery to deny her the ability to change through puberty.
The article
http://whatsortsofpeople.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/ethics-of-pediatric-prophylactic-mastectomy/

While reading the blog entry I noticed the other topics that were that were covered.

One of those topics was eugenics.

This is an excellent 10 minute You Tube video by Liam Dunaway entitled War on the Weak. The You Tube video:
http://whatsortsofpeople.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/eugenics-history-in-10-minutes/

An International Review of Hastened Death

A July 21, 2008 blog entry on the Pallimed blog looks at issues and current events related to euthanasia and assisted suicide on a world-wide basis.

The authors are not advocating for the legalization of assisted suicide, but rather explaining that there may be a need to discuss these issues with their patients.

The authors conclude by stating:
"Good hospice and palliative care practices can help people discover hastened death does not have to be the easy way out. If the lines are too blurred between the legal and illegal our field has significant trust to lose with the public and our peers. Being educated and aware of the public debate over hastened death is a responsibility for palliative medicine to ensure the safe, ethical, and legal care of the patients and families entrusted to us."

I think that the authors touch on, but miss two important points.

1. By emphasizing that their patients are thinking about euthanasia does not mean that a discussion about euthanasia is necessary, but rather a re-inforcement that the patient will be properly cared for, and that the patient does not need to fear the possibility of uncontrolled suffering.

2. Palliative physicians are always focusing on the medical aspects to dying a good death. The physician should be focusing on the social, psychological, and spiritual issues related to end-of-life care. People rarely want euthanasia because they are experiencing uncontrolled pain, usually requests for euthanasia are related to a sense of hopelessness, a feeling of being a burden on others, or a loss of purpose in their life.

There needs to be a new focus on the way that euthanasia directly threatens the lives of the most vulnerable in our culture. We cannot separate the effect on society if it becomes legal to intentionally cause the death of others. Those who are socially devalued will be treated differently.

The article:
http://www.pallimed.org:80/2008/07/international-review-of-hastened-death.html

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Veternarian euthanasia drug used on people

Believe it or not, the right to die activists have been promoting a drug used by veternarians to euthanise animals as the drug of choice for euthanasia of people.

Many people do not believe that this could be true. Read on:

Pentobarbital, a barbituate commonly known as Nembutal, is a drug that is used by veternarians to euthanize animals and is now being bought in Tijuana Mexico as the drug of choice to euthanise people.

Philip Nitschke, Australia's Dr. Death, has been promoting death tourism via Tijuana Mexico, where euthanasia activists have been able to obtain Pentobarbital from pet shops.

Nitschke's book "The Peaceful Pill Handbook" explains how to obtain and kill yourself using pentobarbital. The cost for a dose of Pentobarbital is as little as $30.

The recent article in the New York Times states that:
'Pet shop clerks throughout Tijuana acknowledge that foreigners regularly inquire about the drug. "We've probably had 100 people come in asking for the drug in the last couple of years," said Pepe Velazquez, a veternarian and pet shop owner.

Nitschke estimates that 300 Exit International members, world-wide, have gone to Mexico to buy Pentobarbital in the past few years.

The New York Times article states:
"But now that word is out that the drug is being used for human consumption, local authorities are seeking to clamp down on unauthorized purchases. Shops are now supposed to sell the drug only to licensed veternarians who present a prescription."

In January, Australian Don Flanders went to Tijuana to get Pentobarbital. He said: "I went to the first shop that was advertised as being a vet, and I showed the photo and they handed it over. ... Getting it home was more of a challenge."

Australian, Caren Jenning, was convicted in June of accessory to manslaughter because she acquired Pentobarbital from Tijuana for her friend Graeme Wylie who had advanced Alzheimer's disease.

The article stated that: "All the publicity over the unauthorized use of pentobarbital has made it somewhat harder to find alond Mexico's northern border." ... "At the seventh shop, however ... the clerk said the drug was in stock. ... The package bore photos of a dog and a cat and said in bold letters that it could be sold only with a prescription."

"Asked if she would sell it, the clerk gave a confused look. "Of course," she said, ringing up a bottle for $45.00

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/21/world/americas/21tijuana.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Czech minister views proposal to legalise euthanasia unfortunate

Dzamila Stehlikova, the Czech government minister in charge of human rights and minorities said that she considered the bill to legalize euthanasia in the Czech Republic was unfortunate.

Senator Vaclava Domsova (for the SNK ED) introduced the bill in the Czech parliament.

Stehlikova stated that: "the situation of seriously ill and dying patients could not be viewed as a choice between suffering and a doctor-induced death. Quality and affordable hospice and palliative care is a solution."

Stehlikova commented that: "euthanasia contradicts the very meaning of a doctor's profession, and that current the current medicine had possibilities to provide care capable of effectively alleviating the pain of seriously ill and dying patients."

She is also concerned that legalisation could lead to its abuse.

Stehlikova is correct. We need to care for people, not kill them.

The story: http://www.ceskenoviny.cz:80/news/index_view.php?id=324110

MacDonald claims that most Scots support assisted suicide

Margo MacDonald an Independent Lothian MSP in the Scottish parliament claims that a majority of Scots support assisted suicide.

MacDonald, who has Parkinson's Disease, has declared her wish to die if her condition becomes intolerable. She has indicated that she wishes to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Jeremy Purvis, a Liberal Democrat MSP, introduced a "Right to Die" bill in the last parliament that was defeated.

MacDonald has indicated her intention of introducing another attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Scotland and claims that support for such a bill is dependent on the language of the bill.

MacDonald said: "Every indication I have is there is majority support for the principle.

Once again, another euthanasia campaigner who is more concerned about their personal wishes than the common good of their nation.

MacDonald, like Booth Gardner in Washington State, is interested in legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide based on their own personal fears of living with a disability.

MacDonald and Gardner both have the same non-terminal Parkinson's Disease. Both are seeking euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who are not terminally ill.

Maybe Macdonald and Gardner should speak to leaders of the disability community to inquire whether they support euthanasia or assisted. They would probably indicate that euthanasia and assisted suicide represents a direct threat to the lives of people with disabilities.

They would may also explain how negative attitudes toward people with disabilities have become so ingrained within our culture that living with a disability is viewed as being worse than death.

The article in the Scotman:
http://news.scotsman.com:80/politics/MacDonald-claims-most-Scots-support.4310941.jp

Monday, July 21, 2008

Suicide Epidemic Grips Japan

Another insightful article has been written about the suicide epidemic in Japan.

Paul Wiseman in USA Today writes about how the suicide epidemic has changed now that suicide websites that in fact - aid, abet and counsel suicide, are available.

Wiseman writes:
"The 517 self-inflicted deaths by hydrogen sulfide poisoning this year are part of a bigger, grimmer story: Nearly 34000 Japanese killed themselves last year."

Wiseman explains that one of the reasons that authorities are alarmed that suicide has reached epidemic levels (among others) is:
"The internet has allowed young, depressed Japanese to get suicide tips and find others with whom they can enter into death pacts."

Wiseman also quotes Koji Tsukino, a anti-suicide activist who is a recovered alcoholic and drug user who attempted suicide 10 times before his 30th birthday.

Tsukino says:
"the latest suicide craze is even scarier than those in the past."

He then says:
"Hydrogen sulfide is dangerous even to those who don't wnat to kill themselves. The toxic gas can carry into neighboring buildings and apartments. In April 80 people were injured and another 120 had to be evacuated after a 14-year-old girl killed herself with hydrogen sulphide in southern Japan's Kochi prefecture. She'd left a note on the door of her family's apartment that said, "Gas being emitted. Don't open," according to the kyodu news service."

Wiseman finishes his article by stating:
"Police have asked internet providers to ban websites the promote suicide - but with only only mixed success."

There needs to be a world-wide ban by all nations on suicide promoting websites. Aiding, abeting and couseling suicide via the internet directly threatens the lives of people who are depressed, mentally incompetent or experiencing a sense of hopelessness.

We need to protect depressed people in the same way as we are protecting children from being victims of child porn websites.

To link to the original article: http://www.usatoday.com:80/news/world/2008-07-20-japan-suicides_N.htm

To link other blog postings on the issue:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/06/uk-government-discussing-closure-of.html
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/internet-providers-urged-to-remove.html

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dr. Jeff Blackmer muses about CMA opening debate on euthanasia

The Canadian Medical Association's blog today, features an interview with Dr. Jeff Blackmer, the executive director of the Canadian Medical Association's (CMA) Office of Ethics.

It appears that Blackmer may be willing to open the debate among the CMA on euthanasia in response to Bill C-562, if it appears that Bill C-562 has legislative support.

Blackmer needs to consider how legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide directly threatens the lives of people with disabilities and other vulnerable Canadians. Vulnerable people often experience social inequality and they are often viewed by many as lacking full human dignity.

While palliative care and symptom management is centrally important to the care of people who are dying or experiencing chronic pain, the central reason for opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide is how it effects the way society perceives and treats other people.

We need to care for people and not kill them and we need to recognize that euthanasia and assisted suicide represents an abandonment of a person in their time of need a person who is so devalued that they are sometimes viewed as "better off dead".

The CMA's current policy:
The CMA's official policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide is unequivocal: "Canadian physicians should not participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide."

The policy reads: "a fundamental reconsideration of traditional medical ethics would be required" if the CMA were to change their policy.

Blackmer states that:
"We have put a lot of focus on palliation and symptom care in end-of-life care, and we are doing a better job than five years ago on pain control. That focus will decrease the need for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, but we also realize there may be exceptional cases where we cannot have symptom control for various reasons. There is sympathy among physicians and public that there are cases where you can understand why people would request this. I have a relative in Nova Scotia who is dying of end-stage leukemia, and he is ready to go. His family says, 'Isn't it a shame that, if he were a pet, we could end his suffering?' His family is saying they can now understand why there are proponents of people having more control over that dying process."

He later states:
"On these types of issues -- that is, a serious potential bill coming before the House or a serious development publicly -- we would reevaluate this policy closely."

...He then states: "We have a policy that is very clear, and we have no plans at the current point in time to change that policy. We wouldn't change that simply based on a public opinion poll, but at this point we are watching to see what is happening, to decide when and if we wnat to reopen that debate. My sense is we are not there in the very near future, but things could happen that would cause us to have to go through some introspection."

To read the full interview with Dr. Jeff Blackmer, go to:
http://canadianmedicine.blogspot.com/2008/07/interview-cma-ethics-director-dr-jeff.html

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Swiss Justice Minister is against "suicide/death tourism"

The Swiss Justice Minister - Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf says she would like to end the practice of people travelling to Switzerland to die, commonly know as "suicide/death tourism".

Widmer-Schlumpf told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper "Today someone can come to Switzerland and already the next day can have an assisted suicide through one of these assisted suicide organisations. This should not be possible."

The Justice Minister would like to introduce a waiting period betwee the first contact made with the organisation and the assisted suicide death. The person would then undergo counselling during the waiting period, either from the organisation or from a third party.

She also called for assisted suicide groups to be financially transparent and she criticised the use of helium bags for death, known as "Exit Bags".

Link to the original article:
http://www.swissinfo.ch:80/eng/news_digest/Minister_against_death_tourism.html?siteSect=104&sid=9326513&cKey=1215950196000&ty=nd

Link to a related article on death tourism: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news_digest/Polls_show_opinions_differ_over_death_tourism.html?siteSect=104&sid=8290055&cKey=1192448436000&ty=st

Dis-Graced Winnipeg hospital seeks new name

Samuel Golubchuk died a natural death on June 24, 2005; at Grace Hospital in Winnipeg, only after his family got a court order to stop the doctors at Grace Hospital from pulling the feeding tube and respirator from Golubchuk, against his wishes and the consent of his family.

More information on the Golubchuk case: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/06/more-on-samuel-golubchuk.html

Comments after Golubchuk's death: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/06/samuel-golubchuk-dies-on-june-24.html

Grace hospital has now decided to seek a new name. This may be because of the media attention from the Golubchuk trial, or this may be because the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has taken over control of the hospital from the Salvation Army.

The proposed names include:
St. James General Hospital
Sturgeon Creek General Hospital
Assiniboine Trails General Hospital
Winnipeg West General Hospital.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is seeking input into choosing a new name.

The Grace Hospital has operated under that name for more than 100 years.

Go to the article at: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2008/07/15/grace-hospital.html

Woman Who Begged for Euthanasia Has a Change of Heart

Alison Davis, who has spina bifida, a disability rights activist and leads No Less Human in Britain said:

"The story of Mrs. Seema Sood explains in a nutshell why allowing legalised killing of vulnerable people by euthanasia is wrong. Mrs. Sood, who is now 37, longed for death two years ago, and even petitioned the President of India for euthanasia. She had lost all movement of her limbs for 15 years following a severe attack of rheumatoid arthritis, and was in despair. Now two years later, after surgery paid for by the Government of her state and her university alumni association, she says 'I regret the letter to the President. Everything was so dark for me ealier, but I'm excited about my mobility now and I'm confident I will improve.'

"Euthanasia would have robbed Mrs. Sood of the chance to recover her love of life, and to benefit from the surgery which revolutionised her life, and no one would have known that life held something better for her in the future. She is not the only vulnerable person who has changed her mind about wanting to die. I've been through the same experience myself.

"But euthanasia allows for no changes of mind. It is the philosophy of despair. What sick and disabled people who want to die really need is the sort of help and support which Mrs. Sood received both from politicians and her friends. Note well, politicians. Your actions could save a life like Mrs. Sood's rather than condemning her and others to death."

Taking sides on branding the right to die

Before social change, comes a change in language.

Language expresses what we believe as a culture. Language is not neutral.

A couple of years ago there was a controversy over the language used to define legal acts of assisted suicide in the State of Oregon.

Compassion and Choices, the leading euthanasia lobby group in the United States, launched legal action to force the Oregon Department of Health Service to replace the term assisted suicide with the term "Aid in Dying".

The same debate appeared last year as the American Public Health Association accepted the term "Aid in Dying" in place of the term assisted suicide.

In Canada Dr. Larry Liebrach, a leading palliative care physician, has been pushing for a discussion over the issue of assisted suicide. He also uses the term "Aid in Dying" and he also wishes to have the Palliative Care movement in Canada become neutral on the question of assisted suicide.

In September 2006, I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies bi-annual conference in Toronto. One of the speakers was Steve Hopcraft, who was one of the organizers of the campaign to legalize assisted suicide in California. He stated that their polling information found that when the term assisted suicide is replaced by "Aid in Dying" that they gained 15% greater support for their cause.

The term "Aid in Dying" has not been created to bring greater clarity to the assisted suicide debate, but rather to give the assisted suicide lobby a term that confuses the public into supporting their position.

The problem with the term "Aid in Dying" is clear. We all want "Aid in Dying" but most of us do not want assisted suicide. Clearly the term "Aid in Dying" is an inaccurate term for an action of assisting another person's suicide death.

This brings us to the controversy over language in relation to Initiative 1000 in Washington State to legalize assisted suicide.

The Dying With Dignity folks recognize that the term "Aid in Dying" will gain them significant ground. The Initiative will be settled by the voters and if only a small percentage of voters remain confused about what Initiative 1000 is actually about, then that will gain them the precious extra votes to put them over the top.

Remember, a similar initiative failed in the state of Maine only a few years ago by a margin of 51% to 49%.

At least the style writers in Washington State have currently sided with accuracy and are continuing to use the term assisted suicide. But the battle is not over.

For more information on the question of language please refer to an article written for the national review by Rita Marker and Wesley Smith: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NGYwNWM4Y2EwODRjOTViZjI4ZTJjZTQ0M2Q4NWRhZjI=

To read the article about the Washington State controversy click on: http://www.politickerwa.com/wallyedgewa/1612/taking-sides-branding-right-die

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dehydration of a Conscious Patient in Florida

Please read the comments by Wesley Smith about Bradley Whaley (26)who died in Florida by dehydration. He died at the same hospice that Terri Schiavo died at.

I am sure most of you will say that if he was at a hospice, doesn't that mean that he was dying?

Please read Wesley Smith's comments related to the article in the St. Petersburg Times
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/07/dehydration-of-conscious-patient-in.html

Article from the St. Petersburg Times: http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/article683284.ece

Anatomy of a campaign: Washington’s Initiative 1000

Kathie Durbin from the Columbian Newspaper in Washington state has written a very interesting article about the Washington state Initiative 1000 campaign to legalize assisted suicide in that state.

You should note several important comments:
1. The Washington Death With Dignity campaign is organized and has a united effort with the national campaign run by the Compassion and Choices lobby group centred in Oregon.
2. The I-1000 Initiative is intended to legalize assisted suicide for the terminally ill. The long-term plan is to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who are not terminally ill.
3. The Washington Death With Dignity campaign is raising money from sources throughout the United States.
4. The Washington Death With Dignity campaign expects the Catholic Church to be the primary group to oppose the campaign.

Response.
1. People from across the United States who oppose assisted suicide need to join a unified effort to defeat Initiative 1000 by supporting the Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide.
2. Recognize that the assisted suicide information out of Oregon has been controlled by the Compassion and Choices lobby group who are responsible for facilitating 73% of the assisted suicide deaths in that State. The government reports are based on the information provided by the physician who prescribed the death and their is no third party follow up to assure their accuracy.

In other words, we do not know what is actually going on in Oregon.
For more information: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/physician-assisted-suicide-pas-in.html
3. People and groups from across the United States who recognize that assisted suicide directly threatens the lives of the most vulnerable in society need to send money to the Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide - P.O. Box 11974, Olympia WA 98508 Website: http://noassistedsuicide.com/
4. The Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide is supported by the Washington State Medical Association, Nurses, Democrat Senator Margarita Prentice (and others), Disability Rights Groups including NOT DEAD YET and the State Independent Living Council, minority groups, pro-life groups, Church groups, and many others. The issue of assisted suicide cuts through political lines because it is a direct threat to the lives of vulnerable people.

Do not expect the Catholic Church will drop millions of dollars on a media campaign. The money will need to come from grassroots supporters. The Death With Dignity propaganda about the Catholic Church is mean't to lull you into not taking action.

I have abridged her article. The complete article can be found at: http://www.columbian.com:80/news/localNews/2008/07/07132008_Anatomy-of-a-campaign-Washingtons-Initiative-1000.cfm

In February 2006, a month after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, right-to-die activists from Seattle and Portland met at an east Vancouver hotel to lay the groundwork for a Washington initiative modeled on the Oregon law.

“Everybody agreed that we needed our friends and colleagues from Oregon,” said Dr. Tom Preston, the retired Seattle cardiologist who organized the meeting. Preston founded Washington Compassion in Dying in 1993, two years after the first Washington initiative went down in defeat.

“In our minds, Washington was the logical next state,” said Peg Sandeen, the center’s executive director. “People in Washington could see that no one was rushing to Oregon to die.”

The states are similar demographically. Both have large numbers of independent voters. “And there is the same sort of distaste for government intervention in health care decisions” in both states, she said.

Preston and other members of Compassion in Dying had helped the Oregon group wage its political campaign. Now it was payback time. “They wanted our political strategy and our financial resources,” Sandeen recalled. “Our board said, ‘Absolutely.’ It has always been our mission to get other state laws passed.’”

While these behind-the-scenes efforts were under way, former Gov. Booth Gardner, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, announced that he would campaign for a right-to-die initiative in Washington. But what Gardner had in mind initially was not a carbon copy of the Oregon law.

The former governor wanted a law that would allow him and others with Parkinson’s, a nonterminal illness, to end their lives at a time of their choosing if their suffering became unbearable.

Preston said he and others explained to Gardner that the Oregon law, with its safeguards, represented good politics as well as good medicine.

“If someone who wasn’t terminally ill could use the law, I would vote against it,” Preston said. “It would lead to abuses.”

Ultimately, Gardner agreed to campaign for a law nearly identical to Oregon’s, though it would not benefit him personally. He has called the campaign a “first step” toward passage of a more far-reaching law one day.

As of June 11, Yes on 1-1000 had raised nearly $1.2 million, including in-kind contributions — more than half from out-of-state donors and organizations. About $440,000 came from two Oregon advocacy groups, Oregon Compassion and Choices and the Death With Dignity National Center. Gardner has given $120,000 to the campaign so far.

The opposition campaign, Coalition Against Assisted Suicide, had raised $95,600, mostly from Washington donors.

Although proponents of Washington Death with Dignity have raised far more money to date, Sandeen expects the Catholic Church to contribute as much as $6 million to the campaign to defeat the measure.

“This issue has popular support,” Sandeen said. “People from all over the country have seen a loved one facing a prolonged death. I think people give money because it’s profoundly personal. They want it in their state.”

Still, that’s no guarantee that I-1000 is headed for an easy victory, said Oregon attorney Eli Stutsman, who led the legal team that defended the Oregon law before the U.S. Supreme Court.

More than half of Americans would rather die than be disabled

Reuters newsagency reported 11 July 08: More than half of Americans would rather die than live with a severe disability, according to a survey.

The eugenics ideology is alive and well in our culture. Results of a recent poll represent a reality that negative attitudes towards living with a disability or people with disabilities is part of the deeply held beliefs within our culture. I can understand that a person would not want to live with a disability, but this shows how important it is to protect people with disabilities because they are a targeted group who face social and cultural isolation. People fear disability and so react by believing that they would be better off dead. If euthanasia and assisted suicide were to become culturally approved by society, it would result in a direct threat to the lives of people with disabilities.
See Story

Monday, July 14, 2008

Should I have Died?

This is an excellent article by William Atwell and his response to Initiative I-1000 the initiative to legalize "Oregon Style" assisted suicide in Washington State.

What is so captivating about Atwell is the personal nature of his suffering, and yet he gives us all hope. If I-1000 is approved in Washington State, people who suffer, as Atwell suffered, will often "choose" to die based on a misguided mercy.

We need to care for people not kill them.

Should I Have Died?
by William Atwell
6/25/08

During certain stages of my life I have suffered serious depression from a deadly disease. Having endured treatments and surgeries from being diagnosed with cancer twice in my life by the age of 20 years old, I can tell you exactly what grief and despair are all about. It is important for me to qualify myself because I am concerned about an initiative called I-1000 that is gaining steam in Washington State. The initiative will be placed on the November ballot that would make assisted suicide a legal practice. There are various religious justifications for why I appose this legislation, but I have sufficient grounds to make this claim from a position of pure reason as well.

The primary reason I oppose I-1000 is because I have experienced tremendous pain while undergoing my cancer treatments. I endured endless chemotherapy which caused me constant nausea, vomiting of blood for days (literally), exhaustion, a loss of 25 pounds per week during treatment, and an utter lack of hope. My physical condition played a major role in my desire to end everything. During a particularly difficult moment in the hospital I told my father and mother, “I just want to die. I just want it to be over.” I meant every word of it.

Proponents of this legislation say, “Oh no! We don’t want just anyone to have the option, only people who are terminally ill.” They are lying. If you look at Oregon or the Netherlands (beacons of hope for those who want pesky sick people out of their way) they both began with similar pieces of legislation and are now furthering their movement to expand this “freedom” to anyone in too much pain to tolerate. Seattle Times reporter Carol M. Ostrom stated, from an interview with ex-Governor Booth Gardner, “Gardner says he'll push to go beyond the Oregon law, which allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication patients must take themselves. He wants a law like the 1991 initiative, which would have allowed doctors to give lethal injections to patients.”

How strategic groups like the Death with Dignity National Center are when they display pictures on their website of smiling, peaceful faces—not of a doctor pumping deadly medication into the body of a patient or handing them a virtual cyanide tablet. Picture this as well: a 16-year-old cancer patient with a 14 inch incision down his abdomen, coughing so hard from the fluid in his lungs that the incision oozes blood. He feels his stitched abdominal muscles and tissue tear with each heave. He screams in pain but the doctors can not stop the coughing, because his lungs need to be relieved of the fluid. Would he be a good candidate to ask, “Would you like me to end this pain for you?” That picture was my reality in 2002. Now I am a college senior, a college athlete, and a cancer survivor. How many cancer survivors will exist if those in pain are given a quick way out?

My points are simple: (1) do not be deceived by assisted suicide proponents when they say they will be satisfied with assisted suicide for the terminally ill, when in fact they want to exploit people when they are in serious pain, sickness, and depression. (2) do not let the pictures of smiling elderly people and others give you a different mental image of assisted suicide than what it really is: the putting down of the useless in the name of “freedom.”

I disagree with I-1000 because of its inherent problems and the fact that it will segue the path for other “death bills” that continue to degrade the moral fabric of this country. All life has value. Let us not humiliate our sick by offering them what they so dearly want, but asking them to suffer an alternative sacrifice they are in no position to give: their lives.

Germany's new doctor of Death

I have just returned from meetings in Washington and then one week of camping with my family.

Jane St. Clair has written an excellent commentary on Roger Kusch, the German politician who has now become a euthanasia activist.

The article is called Germany's new doctor of death. The article can be found at:
http://janestclair.net/articles/germanys-new-doctor-of-death-roger-kusch/

Jane St. Clair is the author of several books including the book about euthanasia and assisted suicide called: "Walk me to midnight".

Friday, July 4, 2008

German Chancellor Merkel Remains Strongly Opposed to Assisted Suicide

Comments from http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3456813,00.html states:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out in the strongest terms against euthanasia as the heated debate over a former Hamburg government official's involvement in the assisted suicide of a pensioner gathers pace.

Merkel, said that she was against "every form of assisted suicide" regardless of the circumstances.

Merkel’s stance was echoed by Germany's Health Minister Ulla Schmidt. "I reject this path categorically," she said. "The correct path is to offer assistance to those who are dying instead of helping those free from terminal illness to commit suicide.”

The debate was prompted by the revelation this week that a 79-year-old Wurzburg woman chose to end her own life on Saturday despite not having any life-threatening diseases or suffering great physical pain. What added an extra angle to the story was that former Hamburg justice senator Roger Kusch, a proponent for the right to die, advised her of the best way to do it.

Merkel’s (CDU) party wants to introduce a bill in CDU controlled states that would make the involvement in an assisted suicide a new criminal offense which carries a prison term of up to three years for the commercial or otherwise organized offering of suicide assistance. The CDU is expected to put the bill to the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, on Friday.


It is likely that the German government understands the threat euthanasia is for people with disabilities, better than other European nations, due to their past which included the Euthanasia deaths of at least 70,000 people with disabilities or mental conditions.

Professor wants to witness assisted suicide for research

For more information about the Russel Ogden controversy please go to this link at the surreyleader.com

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/22883914.html

It should be noted that euthanasia is a criminal offense in Canada and is dealt with under section 222 of the criminal code.

To aid, abet or counsel suicide, whether suicide occurs or not is a criminal offense in Canada and is dealt with under section 241 of the criminal code

Response to Russel Ogden

Dear Russel:

I apologise for any comment that was made that may not be fully correct. I have edited the blog entry and I have posted your comment to ensure that everyone knows your concern.

Thank you

Alex

Response from Russel Ogden

Dear Alex,


I am following up on my telephone message to you a few minutes ago.


Your blog of today’s date makes statements that are untrue, defamatory and injurious to me. The attributions to your “under-cover” source are false. As of September 2006 I had never been called to attend any euthanasia or assisted suicide death. I had not attended any such event.


I am demanding that you immediately submit to me a draft of a clear and unequivocal apology and retraction of your statements about me, to be publicly distributed on your blog. If you fail to do this, such failure will be referred to as having aggravated the damage that you have already caused to me in any claim made against you in respect to your defamatory comments.


Thank you for your immediate attention.


Yours,

Russel Ogden

Kwantlan University College ordered Russel Ogden to stop euthanasia research

Russel Ogden is a criminologist at Kwantlan University College in British Columbia Canada, who has been researching suicide and euthanasia methods.

The National Post reported:

"Our due diligence included obtaining two opinions from one of Canada's foremost criminal lawyers about the legal implications," read a statement issued by the school's director of marketing and communications, Peter Chevrier.

"Based on our due diligence, including the lawyer's opinions, we concluded that there were real and unacceptable legal risks associated with the proposed research."

Kwantlen's decision has upset and dumbfounded some Canadian academics and their representatives. Demanding that Mr. Ogden terminate his research, already approved and underway, "seems like a gross violation of academic freedom," says James Turk, executive director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Association of University Teachers, which represents 65,000 instructors.

Apparently, he adds, "Kwantlen obtained a legal opinion that because euthanasia is illegal in Canada, what Mr. Ogden is doing [witnessing suicides] could be illegal. But we don't think that it follows, necessarily. [Post-secondary] researchers examine illegal acts all the time."

Ogden has always claimed to be a researcher and not a euthanasia activist.

In September 2006, I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies bi-annual convention in Toronto with two under-cover supporters. Ogden was an active participant.

One of the under-cover attendees of the conference sat beside Ogden at the banquet. Ogden explained to this person his involvement with his research. The under-cover attendee had a very difficult time digesting food as Russel explained his experiences.

Recently, the video that was produced by Jon Ronson on the death activitist George Exoo, showed how Ogden was a central part of the underground death culture as he attended the meetings and asked Exoo questions about his intention to commit suicide if he was to be extradited to Ireland in connection with his death actitivities.

Ogden is not a dispassionate researcher but rather a euthanasia activist.

In my opinion, in the past, when Ogden has made presentations to Canadian parliamentary committees, those presentations need to be viewed as Ogden acting as a lobbyist rather than a researcher.

Kwantlan University College was right to be concerned about his activities.

The National Post article can be found at: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=630214

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Washington State gets 320,000 signatures

It appears that the Washington State I-1000 Initiative will be on the ballot in November. The I-1000 initiative is attempting to legalize Oregon Style assisted suicide in Washington State.

If Washington becomes the second state in the United States to legalize assisted suicide, there will be massive shift throughout the United States.

If assisted suicide is legalized in Washington State, it will also make a difference in Canada.

For more information go to my previous blog entry at: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/06/washington-state-initiative-i-1000.html

Assisted Suicide Advocate Shows Ugly Truth of the Movement's Ideology

Now Germany is surprised at the crassness of assisted suicide advocate - Roger Kusch. A German official assisted the suicide of an elderly woman--and a la Kevorkian, filmed it and then showed it on television.

Not only is Roger Kusch following the same play-book as Jack Kevorkian, but also Dr. Philip Nitschke in Australia has been promoting euthanasia, assisted suicide and suicide via the internet by producing video's and offering counseling services.

For more information go to: http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/07/assisted-suicide-adcocate-shows-ugly.html

Good: Delaware Didn't "Learn the Lesson" of Schiavo

The Delaware House of Representatives has passed a resolution in support of protecting the life of Loren Richardson, who like Terri Schiavo before her, is the subject of a bitter court fight over removing her feeding tube.

For more information go to: http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/07/good-delaware-didnt-learn-lesson-of.html