Wednesday, December 31, 2008

UK prime minister opposes assisted suicide.

Hon. Gordon Brown
In a radio interview Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister stated his complete opposition to assisted suicide.

According to the Scotman newspaper, Brown stated his total opposition to relaxing the ban on assisting a person to commit suicide, suggesting such a change could force vulnerable people to end their lives early if they feared they would become a burden.

Brown stated:
"Well, I'm totally against laws on that. I think this debate about assisted suicide, it's not really for us to create any legislation that would put pressure on people to feel that they had to offer themselves because they were causing trouble to a relative. So I think we have got to make it absolutely clear that the importance of human life is recognised."
Gordon Brown is not a right wing Christian or a political conservative. Brown proves again that opposition to assisted suicide is not based on religious or political motivations but rather a concern about the way we treat people at the most vulnerable time in their lives. Do we believe in Caring or Killing?

Brown's concerns are well-founded. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia and assisted suicide have been practised for more than 30 years, it has now become acceptable to kill newborn infants with disabilities such as spina bifida.

A study done in the Netherlands and published in 2005 (vanderlee et al) found that people who were suffering from depression were 44% more likely to request and received euthanasia than people who were not showing signs of depression.

The leaders of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies expressed at their recent International conference in Paris that their new focus will be to promote euthanasia for people who are "Tired of Living". There isn't a big difference between someone being killed because they have expressed that they are Tired of Living and another person who feels they have a "Duty to Die" because of the social and family pressure that are experiencing as their personal needs increase.

The fact is that laws that prevent euthanasia and assisted suicide are needed to protect people at the most vulnerable time of their life from others and from a society that has devalued the lives of people who appear to lack a "quality of life" that is deemed acceptable by the social elites.

Link to Wesley Smith's commentary:
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/12/uk-prime-minister-gordon-brown-refuses.html

Link to the article in the Scotsman:
http://news.scotsman.com/uk/Brown-I39m---totally.4833429.jp

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crown seeks appeal in Quebec assisted suicide case

Crown Prosecutor, Denis Dionne, said that the Crown will appeal the acquittal of Stephan Dufour in the death of his uncle Chantal Maltais.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) reacted to the acquittal of Stephan Dufour on December 12, 2008 by challenging the comments by the euthanasia lobby that this case was a precedent setting case. EPC recognized that Dufour set-up the suicide device for Maltais, his uncle, but he did so under extreme duress and did not encourage his uncle to commit suicide. EPC also considered Dufour's diminished mental capacity as a mitigating factor, making him less capable of resisting the pressure from his uncle.

The Canwest news article on the appeal stated:
Dionne said his appeal will stress that Dufour had opportunities to dismantle the device after it was installed but that the court limited its focus to the installation of the device.

The following day "he could have neutralized the device," Dionne said, stressing the crime of assisted suicide went beyond the installation.

During trial the defence said Dufour was under his uncle's spell and that his limited intellectual capacities prevented him resisting Maltais' multiple requests to put an end to his life.

The article also stated that Dionne was questioning the mental capacity defense.

EPC welcomes the appeal, if the Crown brings new evidence into the case but without new evidence this will only be a re-trial of a questionable case.

This case did not put assisted suicide on trial but rather the defense was based on the capacity of Dufour to break the law. This cannot be a jury nullification of assisted suicide but rather a question of Dufour's mental capacity to commit the crime.

The Canadian Press article emphasized how this case is feeding the assisted suicide debate. The article stated:
Dufour's case reignited the country's assisted-suicide debate, which gained national attention in the 1990s when Sue Rodriguez took her battle for the right to kill herself to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Once again EPC does not consider this case to be a precedent setting case in Canada because it is riddled with mitigating factors that make its outcome uncertain under any circumstances.

The trial is unlikely to make it to court until the fall of 2009.

Link to the comments about Dufour's acquittal:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/12/stephan-dufour-found-not-guilty-in-alma.html

Link to Canwest news article:
http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Crown+seeks+appeal+assisted+suicide+case/1123598/story.html

Link to the Canadian Press article:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5ivIlsHXP6oDgpwAnr7USwgKSqfCw

Monday, December 29, 2008

Washington State: Seduced by Oregon's big lie

Rita Marker has written an excellent article about the Washington State I-1000 assisted suicide campaign.

Link to the article in the recent update from the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide:
http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/iua46.htm

Washington State: Seduced by Oregon's big lie

On November 4, 2008, Washington State voters passed Initiative 1000 (the Washington Death with Dignity Act) legalizing Oregon-style physician-assisted suicide by a margin of 58 to 42 percent. It took over ten years -- after right-to-die proponents failed to get 90 assisted-suicide bills passed in 23 states and were defeated in costly initiative drives in Maine and Michigan -- for another state to embrace assisted suicide after Oregon enacted its Death with Dignity Act in 1997.

Whether or not they realize it, Washington voters have opted to place their state squarely on the crest of an extremely slippery, ice-covered slope. But, they won’t be seeing any noticeable plunges down that slope in the near future -- that is if the assisted-suicide advocacy group Compassion & Choices (C&C) has its way. As the facilitator of the majority of assisted-suicide deaths in Oregon and as the group controlling what information, if any, is made available to the public, C&C’s plan is to get as many states as possible to approve assisted-suicide for only terminally-ill adults before there are any overt moves to expand the practice to the chronically-ill, the mentally-ill, those with a diminished quality of life, and those simply tired of living. Widening the categories of patients eligible for an induced death would make it very difficult for C&C and other groups to sell assisted suicide in states targeted for their "win" column.

But shortly after Washington’s I-1000 passed, another national assisted-suicide organization, Final Exit Network (a C&C splinter group), jumped on the bandwagon and issued a press release calling for the right-to-die movement’s real goal: death on demand for all, terminally ill or not. According to the group's president, Ted Goodwin,
Final Exit Network and its members supported passage of this landmark [Washington] initiative by donating to the advocacy effort…. However, the job is not finished….

Unfortunately, many patients do not meet I-1000's strict criteria. Individuals with neurological illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) and Alzheimer's disease often lose the reason and will to live long before their disease qualifies as “terminal.” For these individuals, neither I-1000 nor the Oregon law go far enough. That is why Final Exit Network pledges, until laws protect the right of every adult to a peaceful, dignified death, Final Exit Network will be there to support those who need relief from their suffering today! [Final Exit Network Press Release, 11/5/08. Emphasis added.]

The big lie
One might ask, if Final Exit Network (FEN) had released its death-on-demand comments before the Washington election, would it have changed the outcome of the I-1000 vote? Probably not, because C&C and the Death with Dignity National Center, the two groups which orchestrated the “Yes on I-1000" campaign, carefully honed their strategy and talking points to undermine, among other things, any attempt to get voters to see the reality of legalized assisted suicide. There was a reason that these two groups chose Washington as the state most likely to pass an assisted-suicide law. Voters there were seen as easy marks since they closely mirrored Oregon voters in being independent minded, valuing total control, and being largely un-churched.

The majority of voters bought the “Yes” campaign’s mantra that 10 years of legalized assisted suicide in Oregon proves that the practice is transparent, safe, abuse free, and even beneficial to overall health care -- despite proof to the contrary.

They ignored Oregon’s largest newspaper, the Oregonian, when its editorial board exhorted Washington voters to reject I-1000 because, “Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide program has not been sufficiently transparent.” “Essentially,” the board wrote, “a coterie of insiders run the program, with a handful of doctors and others deciding what the public may know.” [Oregonian, 9/20/08]

They ignored a recent Oregon Health & Science University study that found that one in four Oregonians who request assisted suicide may, in fact, be clinically depressed. The authors of the study, published in the British Medical Journal, concluded, “The current practice of the Death with Dignity Act may fail to protect some patients whose choices are influenced by depression from receiving a prescription for a lethal drug.” [Ganzini et al., “Prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients requesting physicians’ aid in dying: cross sectional survey,” British Medical Journal, 10/8/08]

When the Washington media reported on the study, the “Yes on I-1000" camp immediately spun the findings to their advantage:
The report proves that most patients who request death with dignity are not depressed, and the safeguards work so that those who are must be referred for counseling. Every single one of the many safeguards in the Death with Dignity Act is working. [Yes on I-1000 Report, 10/7/08. Emphasis added.]

Apparently, voters believed that spin job even though most of it was untrue. Neither the Oregon law nor Washington's I-1000 requires that depressed patients be referred for counseling. In fact, of the 49 assisted-suicide patients who died in Oregon last year, NOT ONE was referred for a psychological evaluation or counseling.

Given the study’s finding that one in four assisted-suicide patients is likely to be clinically depressed, not having even one out of 49 such patients with symptoms of depression is highly questionable. According to psychiatrist Linda Ganzini, lead author of the study, “What it means is that primary care physicians probably need to use more rigorous or well-validated instruments rather than just their gut impression about whether the patient is depressed.” [Oregon Public Radio, 10/7/08]

The campaigns
As previously reported in the Update, assisted-suicide advocacy groups Compassion & Choices and the Death with Dignity National Center spent most of last year preparing for the I-1000 campaign. They raised almost $250,000 as seed money in anticipation of launching their initiative in January 2008; they conducted extensive research, testing the best arguments to use to convince Washingtonians that they needed to legalize assisted suicide; and they did all this before the ink was dry on the final version of the initiative.

The opposition, on the other hand, was slow off the mark, perhaps because they hoped that the initiative wouldn’t get the needed signatures to qualify it for the November ballot. When it did qualify in July, the “No on I-1000" group had to ramp up its efforts quickly.

But the “No” campaign couldn’t compete with the large sums of money that initiative proponents were able to generate from assisted-suicide advocates and groups across the U.S. as well as from Australia and Britain. As of November 1, the “Yes on I-1000" committee reported receipts in the amount of $4,856,732. Over the same period, the “No on I-1000" committee received only $1,510,442.

Despite the lack of funds, the “No” campaign was able to produce two very effective TV ads. The first one featured actor Martin Sheen warning voters about the dangers legalized assisted suicide poses for poor and vulnerable patients. The second ad featured Barbara Wagner, an Oregon cancer patient whose health insurer, the Oregon Health Plan, had denied her payment for a cancer treatment drug prescribed by her doctor, but offered instead to pay for her assisted suicide. Unfortunately, the ads were aired during the latter part of the campaign and, in some cases, after many voters had mailed in their ballots.

Implementing a bad law
Washington’s new assisted-suicide law is scheduled to take effect on March 4, 2009. “We’re going to be gathering information over the next few weeks and expect to start the rulemaking process by the end of the month [November],” explained a spokesperson from the Washington Department of Health, the agency charged with compiling annual statistical reports on assisted-suicide deaths. [The Olympian, 11/7/08] Compassion & Choices of Washington plans to take an aggressive, combative role in that “rulemaking” process. According to the group’s web site,
Now the next battle begins. As the established leaders in end-of-life care in Washington State, Compassion & Choices of Washington (C&C) will be the protector and guardian of Initiative 1000. Our opponents will spare no expense in attacking I-1000, just as they did in Oregon. We need to prepare for a long and potentially costly fight to ensure that the law implemented is the same law that voters endorsed on November 4…. [C & C web site]

Indeed, there may be battles on the horizon. Even the Tacoma News Tribune, one of the many Washington papers that endorsed I-1000, is calling for changes in the new law:
The News Tribune editorial board endorsed I-1000, but we believe it needs stronger public disclosure and mental evaluation requirements. The Legislature should closely monitor implementation of I-1000 and make any needed changes. [News Tribune, 11/7/08]

The “No on I-1000" camp is also considering “every option on the table,” including a legal challenge. [AP, 11/7/08]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Hamphire lawmakers will debate assisted suicide in 2009

An Associated Press article has reported that the New Hampshire legislature will be debating assisted suicide in 2009.

The article stated:
New Hampshire lawmakers will debate next year whether to allow terminally ill people to get help from their doctors to commit suicide.

Rep. Charles Weed says his "death with dignity" bill is modeled after an Oregon statute. He says some terminally ill people feel good they have the option even if they don't exercise it.

The Keene Democrat says his bill would require applicants to go through a long procedure that includes getting approval from their doctor and a non-family member.

Weed says he doubts the bill will pass, but he wants to educate people through the debate.

Since Oregon's law took effect in 1997, more than 340 people — mostly ailing with cancer — have used it to end their lives.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition expects that many states will debate assisted suicide over the next 2 years. We hope that those debates will be based on facts and not the propaganda that is provided by the death lobby.

The people in Washington State bought the "Big Lie" from the Oregon experience. Compassion & Choices (C&C)in Oregon would want you to think that everything is fine in Oregon. The fact is that C&C is directly involved with 73% of all the assisted suicide deaths in Oregon.

Further to that, there is no proof that physicians are following the guidelines in Oregon. The reporting system stipulates that a physician will submit a report after the death, which may be many months after the person obtained their prescription and usually the physician is not present at the death.

In other words, a self-reporting physician will not report whether or not the prescription was written for a person who showed signs of clinical depression or who was not terminally ill.

The fact that there is no requirement for a witness at the time of death means that there is no proof that people are not being coerced to take the drugs or that the death was really euthanasia and not assisted suicide.

Nonetheless, C&C has done an effective job at covering up the facts of the Oregon law and they are now pressuring the Oregon government to widen the interpretation of the statute.

New Hampshire residents need to say to there legislators, NOT IN OUR STATE.

Link to the article:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2008/12/26/school_funding_gay_marriage_on_nh_agenda/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Latest+news

Friday, December 26, 2008

Media incorrectly defines act by German doctors as euthanasia.

A recent article in the United Press (UPI.com) incorrectly defined euthanasia.

The article titled:German court clears euthanasia docs is wrong.

The article stated:
Paul Schoenle, the former head of neurology at a rehabilitation center in Magdeburg, Germany, and physician Frantisek Kovacic were cleared of charges Monday after a Hamburg court determined they had acted ethically in the case of Briton Timothy Sanders, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Schoenle had been charged with manslaughter while Kovacic was charged with being an accessory to manslaughter after they allowed the brother of the fatally ill and paralyzed Sanders to turn off his breathing apparatus in May 2004, the broadcaster said.

Sanders had been paralyzed since an accident in 2002 and could not breathe unaided. He died minutes after his brother Paul turned off the machines in a case of euthanasia, prosecutors said.

"The court found that the doctors behaved correctly both ethically and medically," a court spokeswoman said following the ruling, which determined that Sanders had already been terminally ill when his life was ended, Deutsche Welle reported.


According tot he article Dr. Paul Schoenle turned off the respirator that enabled Timothy Sanders to breath. But, turning off a breathing machine is not euthanasia.

Sanders died a natural death that resuled from his medical condition. Nobody denied Sanders oxygen, it was available, but due to his medical condition, he was unable to breath effectively. If Schoenle had put a bag over his head to deny him oxygen, then they would have caused his death.

There is a difference between killing and letting someone die. Sanders was not killed but let to die.

Euthanasia is the intentional cause of death, whereby the person dies from the action or omission that is done to cause death. When a person dies from a medical condition, then it cannot be euthanasia.

Since I do not know all the facts of the case I can only say that the charge of manslaughter was probably also incorrect.

UPI.com got the story wrong, the real question that the German court decided was whether or not their act was ethically correct or not. The court found that the doctors behaved correctly both ethically and medically. If there is any conflicting evidence in this case, I would certainly like to hear it.

Link to previous article about Killing or Letting Die:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/07/killing-or-letting-die.html

Link to the article from the United Press International:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/12/23/German_court_clears_euthanasia_docs/UPI-46571230058513/

Australia's Dr. Death designs new suicide device

Philip Nitschke, also known as Australia's Dr. Death, claims to have designed a new suicide device. Nitschke is also one of the early founders of the NuTech group and he is the leader of Exit International, a group that is devoted to suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Suicide devices and methods are nothing new to Nitschke who is also known for his work on the "peaceful pill", a pill that he once said could be used by troubled teens. He is also known for promoting suicide tourism and encouraging people to go to Mexico to obtain Nembutal from veterinary clinics.

Nitschke said the method - which uses legally obtaining household products including a barbecue gas bottle - is “flawless” and has the unique characteristic of being undetectable which will make it harder to prove suicide.

Nitschke is not concerned whether the person who is seeking suicide is depressed or whether his device may be unsafe due to the combustible nature of the gas that his device uses.

Nitscke stated that: “It’s hard to see how the Government could possibly restrict access to common cylinders, and certainly there’s no way they could restrict access to (the gas),”

In the past the Australian government has confiscated his suicide devices and "Exit bags", they have outlawed the suicide counseling service that he operated via the internet and his book that he wrote to promote suicide and assisted suicide methods.

Link to article on suicide manual:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/10/nitschke-launches-online-euthanasia.html

Earlier this year, Nitschke admitted that he did not disqualify Graeme Wylie from assisted suicide, even though he knew that he was suffering from dementia. Nitschke was willing to ignore the fact that Wylie was incompetent to make a proper decision in order to advocate for Wylie to die by suicide.

Link to previous article about Nitschke:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/nitschke-hell-bent-on-assisted-suicide.html

The government is right to protect vulnerable people from Nitschke, who is more concerned about providing the means for people to die than making sure people are actually mentally or emotionally stable.

I am convinced that the media gives Nitschke attention because he offers entertainment. He is constantly creating new ways to break the law, if not the spirit of the law. He is continually promoting suicide, as if it should be the goal of society to encourage people to kill themselves. He is a colorful character. Too bad his entertainment will lead to the death of many vulnerable people.

Link article:
http://www.entertainmentandshowbiz.com/euthanasia-pioneer-unveils-undetectable-suicide-device-200812267748

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Televised Suicide

Please read this excellent response to the assisted suicide death that was shown on British television recently and CTV television in Canada many months ago:
http://www.mlive.com/grpress/opinion/index.ssf/2008/12/letter_televised_suicide.html

This other commentary comes from a secular point of view. A point of view that doesn't oppose assisted suicide but does oppose the display of assisted suicide on television:
http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/content/hackney/gazette/whatson/story.aspx?brand=HKYGOnline&category=edcase&tBrand=hkygonline&tCategory=edcase&itemid=WeED22%20Dec%202008%2011%3A02%3A11%3A630

Friday, December 19, 2008

Luxembourg parliament backs euthanasia bill

Deputies in the Luxembourg parliament have approved the first reading of a bill to legalize euthanasia by a vote of 31 to 26. Last February the Luxembourg parliament approved the first reading of a different euthanasia bill that was significantly revised into the current bill.

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg has stated that he opposed euthanasia and he would not sign the euthanasia bill into law based. The Luxembourg parliament has responded by planning to change the constitution, removing the power of the monarchy to veto legislation that has been approved by parliament.

If Luxembourg legalizes euthanasia, it will become the third European nation to legalize the intentional killing of dying people or otherwise vulnerable people in Luxembourg.

When examining the experience of euthanasia in the Netherlands it is clear that their continues to be a significant number of people who die by euthanasia, who neither requested it or indicated a wish to die. The last study in the Netherlands indicated that 550 people died by euthanasia in 2005 without request.

The vanderlee study in 2005 in the Netherlands found that people with cancer who were depressed were 44% more likely to die by euthanasia than people with cancer who were not depressed.

In Belgium the government has indicated that they recognize that there is a problem with under-reporting.

A recently published Ganzini study in the state of Oregon found that 26% of those who had requested assisted suicide and participated in the study were depressed and 17% of those who died by assisted suicide had been depressed.

Luxembourg should be looking to improve their end-of-life care while recognizing the innate dignity of every human person.

They should be promoting care options and not killing.

The bill will go to final reading sometime around March. If approved Luxembourg will become the third country to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide and make all of the Benelux countries places where vulnerable people can be killed by euthanasia.
Link to the article:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hG23vs1nQzkNR-vr6ZxS4tVsQneg

Nitschke promotes his suicide machine in Australia

Philip Nitschke is once again promoting suicide. This time Nitschke is promoting a suicide machine that is able to be self-assembled at home.

Nitschke, known as Australia's Dr. Death, and a member of NuTech, an international organization of death lobby radicals who seek to develop new ways to commit suicide.

Nitschke, who has been working for years on the "peaceful pill", a pill that would be made from regular household products. Nitschke was quoted by the National Review online interview as stating that the peaceful pill could be used by troubled teens who wish to commit suicide.

Has Nitschke's lack of success with the suicide pill led him to producing a suicide machine?

At the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference in Toronto - September 2006, Nitschke emphasized the need for assisted suicide or euthanasia to be available for people who are "tired of living".

Nitschke sells his ideology as providing choice and control for people at the end of their lives. The reality is that Nitschke and his friends are trying to create a universal human right to die. Nitschke and his death lobby followers believe that death is the last freedom that everyone should have access to at any time.

Sadly, many people who are depressed or who live with mental illness, emotional or psychological difficulties, are victimized by death advocates like Nitschke.

Nitschke has created video's, books, websites, and also a suicide counseling service.

If society becomes duped into accepting Nitschke's philosophy of life, we will turn into a nihilistic, negative death obsessed culture that will turn in on itself. In the end it will create a duty to die for anyone who lives with significant disabilities or mental health issues. We only need to examine the Groningen Protocol in the Netherlands to determine the likely outcome of this destructive philosophy

We must reject Nitschke and his philosophy and promote and recognize the innate dignity of each human person. We must build an ethic of quality of life that is derived from the interdependent care for the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological needs of others.

Link to article on Nitschke's suicide machine
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/12/18/2449786.htm

Pope Decries Advance Toward Euthanasia in Luxembourg

This is a reprint of the article from Zenit.
Link to the article on Zenit: http://www.zenit.org/article-24615?l=english

Pope tells Luxembourg Envoy That Taking Innocent Life Is Wrong

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org)
Benedict XVI is expressing his "deep concern" for the advance of euthanasia legislation in Luxembourg, saying that politicians should remember that taking innocent human life is always wrong.

The Pope's words came today as the Luxembourg Parliament was reaching an initial narrow approval of euthanasia legislation after a five-hour debate. The vote was 31 in favor and 26 against, with three abstentions. The bill might still be defeated, keeping Luxembourg from becoming the third European Union nation to approve euthanasia, after Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Holy Father, meanwhile, was receiving the new Luxembourg ambassador to the Holy See, Paul Duh, and in his address to him, the Pontiff took the occasion to speak out against euthanasia.

Benedict XVI expressed his "most deep concern about the text of the law on euthanasia and assisted suicide."

He noted that the bill is accompanied by legislation that itself contradicts the text, foreseeing regulations to develop palliative care so as to make suffering more endurable in the final stage of illness and to favor appropriate human support of the patient.

Nevertheless the bill, the Pope lamented, "concretely legitimizes the possibility of ending life."

"Political leaders, whose duty is to serve the good of man, as well as doctors and families, must remember that the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always bad from the moral point of view, and can never be licit," he continued. "Love and true compassion embark on another path.

"The request that arises from the heart of man in his supreme confrontation with suffering and death, especially when he feels the temptation to let himself be overcome by desperation, and feels lost to the point of wanting to disappear, is above all a petition for someone to accompany him and a call to greater solidarity and support in this test.

"This call can seem demanding, but it is the only one worthy of the human being, and it opens to new and deeper solidarity, which enriches and fortifies family and social bonds."

Addressing the people of Luxembourg, Benedict XVI appealed to their "Christian and humanistic roots," and asked them to reaffirm the "greatness and the inviolable character of human life."

Today's Parliament approval was the first reading of the bill, which was significantly modified since an earlier version was approved. Another reading will most likely be scheduled.

Furthermore, the chief of state, Grand Duke Henri, has said that he will not approve the legislation. His position has brought a call to amend the Constitution, stripping the monarch of his power to approve laws, and giving the position a purely ceremonial rule. Such a Constitutional amendment would be necessary before the euthanasia legislation could become effective.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Italy's welfare minister intervenes to stop the dehydration death of Eluana Englaro

A CNS article is reporting that on December 16, Maurizio Sacconi, Italy's welfare minister, temporarily blocked Eluana Englaro's physician and family from carrying out an Italian supreme court decision to dehydrate her to death.

The article stated that:
Officials of the Citta di Udine clinic, which had agreed to accept Englaro as a patient and had formed an all-volunteer team of employees to care for her, suspended the transfer saying they had to study Sacconi's decree and determine whether they were obliged to obey it or if they could follow the supreme court's ruling.

Sacconi said denying nutrition and hydration to a patient in a persistent vegetative state "can be interpreted as discrimination based on judgments about the quality of life of a person with serious disabilities and in a situation of total dependence."

Italian law and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities make it illegal to refuse to care for or provide medical assistance to a person based on his or her disability, Sacconi said.


To withdraw hydration and nutrition from a person who is not otherwise dying is the cause of death for that person. It is always wrong to intentionally kill a person, especially one who is vulnerable and needing total care.

To intentionally dehydrate Englaro to death means that society has decided that her life is not only not worth living, but that her disability should be treated by killing her.

Death by dehydration is not a peaceful, dignified or compassionate death.

For a person who is dying and nearing death, there comes a time when the body is unable to assimilate fluids and nutrition and it becomes necessary to withdraw that care based on the fact that it is not providing any benefit and to continue it would likely harm the dying person.

In the case of Englaro, she is not dying but is being dehydrated to death because of her cognitive disability. Even though she is not likely to recover, we owe the human person basic care which includes fluids, nourishment, warmth, and basic physical care.

To deny her these basic measures of care will result in the acceptance and promotion of a eugenic discrimination against people with disabilities and other vulnerable people because society will assume that these people would not want to live in this way.

Social pressure will create a situation in which family members will be made to feel that to continue caring for these people is actually socially unjust based on societal costs and personal needs.

Link to the article:
http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0806311.htm

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Swiss "Suicide Tourism" Kevorkianism Proving an Embarrasment

Wesley Smith has nailed the issue of Suicide Tourism in Switzerland with this article that compares Kevorkian to Switzerland's Ludwig Minelli. Please read.

Link to Wesley Smith's blog entry
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/12/swiss-suicide-tourism-kevorkianism.html

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stephan Dufour found not guilty in Alma Quebec

Stephan Dufour has been found not guilty in assisting the suicide of his uncle Chantal Maltais (Alma Quebec).

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is convinced that this case is not a straight forward case, that there are questions as to whether Dufour intented or had the mental capacity to intend to participate in the death of his uncle - Maltais.

We are convinced that no precedent has been set in this case. The facts would lead one to question whether there was intention to break the law or whether the harassment by Maltais and his limted mental capacity was a reasonable limit on his intention.

This case should not be treated as a precedent setting case. This is another sad case of a man who was experiencing extremely difficult life circumstances who was depressed and experiencing suicidal ideation and in need of suicide prevention intervention.

We ask the question: Did Chantal Maltais receive proper care based on his life circumstances?

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Phone: 1-877-439-3348
email: info@epcc.ca

Quotes from the story:

A Quebec man was found not guilty on Friday of helping his disabled uncle kill himself.

During his trial, Stephan Dufour, 30, told the court he gave in to pressure from Chantal Maltais to help him commit suicide.

"I felt like I was in a prison," Dufour told the court during his trial. He said that Maltais had been asking him to help put an end to his life every day for several months.

Dufour testified at his trial that he tied a choke chain to a rope and installed it on a pole in his uncle's bedroom. Two days later, on Sept. 9, 2006, Maltais was found hanged in the wardrobe of his bedroom.

Dufour told the court he didn't want to do it, but that he finally gave in because he couldn't handle the pressure and the verbal abuse from his uncle.

"He was harassing me all the time," Dufour testified. "I couldn't take it any more," he added before breaking into tears.

The defence said Dufour was under his uncle's spell and that his limited intellectual capacities prevented him from resisting Maltais' multiple requests to put an end to his life.

Link to the article on Canada.com
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=1067338

Outdated Prejudices

A recent article in the Ottawa Citizen looks at the issue of equality for people with disabilities in Canada.

The article states:
The Canadian Association for Community Living is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and coinciding with the occasion is the Global Forum for Inclusion to be held in Ottawa next week. The association will release its National Report Card 2008, which uses Statistics Canada data to examine the inclusion of Canadians with intellectual disabilities.

There's a lot to celebrate. People with intellectual disabilities are no longer treated as shameful family secrets. But they are three times more likely to live in poverty than other Canadians. More than 70 per cent of adults with intellectual disabilities are unemployed or out of the labour force.

... It is foolish to judge a person's work ethic, creativity or temperament by his or her facial features, speech patterns or other superficial markers of difference. Disabilities do not inherently prevent people from contributing to society, making decisions about their own lives, or taking pride in their work.

... The most troubling statistic in the report is this one: 47 per cent of Canadians say they are "not very" or "not at all" comfortable being around people with intellectual disabilities.

If that were to change, it's likely that the lives of people with those disabilities would improve overnight. They would find it easier to realize their potential in their social relationships and in their working lives. They would be able to go about their business without pretending to ignore the stares.

The report puts it this way: "Everyone wishes to feel and be safe within our communities. To be able to go about our daily lives, without fear, without prejudice, without being an object of ridicule, discrimination or violence."

Parents of children with disabilities need more than understanding, of course. They need medical support, access to appropriate child care, access to transportation, good teachers and flexible employers. But understanding is more important than anything else. The sight of a child playing happily with others at the neighbourhood park is probably worth more to a parent than any government program could ever be.

Link to the article:
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=7a9f8606-0f60-4553-b577-ab442b824488

The leaders of the disability community in Canada oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, because they recognize the social devaluation that exists for many people with disabilities. That social devaluation will lead to the pressure to die, whether subtle or upfront.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Haleigh Poutre Video Shown At Stepfather's Trial

Haleigh Poutre is a young girl who was brain injured from the alleged abuse of her father.

In 2006 it was suggested that Poutre should be dehydrated to death.

Poutre has now testified against her father.

In this video you will see that Haleigh Poutre is feeding herself.

Link to article with video:
http://wbztv.com:80/local/Haleigh.Poutre.right.2.868129.html

This is a link to Wesley Smith's blog entry concerning Haleigh Poutre: http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/11/haleigh-poutre-in-video.html

Germany to compile list of Nazi euthanasia victims

A group of German historians are compiling the names of the victims of the Nazi Euthanasia program to remember the terrible actions in the past.

The article that can be linked to at: http://in.reuters.com:80/article/worldNews/idINIndia-36612220081120?sp=true

The article indicates that at least 100,000 people with disabilities and the incurably ill died in six centres by euthanasia between 1940 - 45 with at least 70,000 people dying between January 1940 to August 1941 alone. These people were referred to as “useless eaters”

Many people are unaware of the historical fact that the T4 Euthanasia Program was the precursor to the ethnic cleansing that took place in the German concentration camps. The methods that were perfected in the mental institutions were exported to the concentration camps.

Link to the website by Mark Mostert entitled: Useless Eaters
http://www.regent.edu/acad/schedu/uselesseaters/

Link to another article on this subject:
http://www.dw-world.de:80/dw/article/0,2144,3811572,00.html

What's in a name? A look at the Dignitas 'clinic'...

This is an article that was published on the Care not Killing website in the UK. It is
http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/?show=590

One of the most depressing aspects of the current furore being stirred up in the media by the pro-euthanasia lobby is the misuse of language. Take, for instance, the Dignitas suicide facility in Switzerland, which is constantly referred to as a 'clinic'. Roger Boyes, in a thoughtful article in The Times, has tried to nail this one: the term 'clinic', he says, 'conjures images of crisp Swiss efficiency, mountain air, a kind of peace'.

'The reality', observes Mr Boyes, 'is rather more shabby. While the organisation maintains a solid air-conditioned head office in a dormitory suburb of Zurich, the location of the assisted suicides is constantly changing. The present address is a second-floor apartment at Ifagstrasse No 12, an urban wasteland about 15 km (9 miles) from Zurich. Down the road is the Globe brothel, which is garlanded with a dozen flags representing the different nationalities of the girls inside. Near by, a Caribbean club, a Greek internet café and, next to the suicide apartment, a place where you can change your car oil'.

Another example is to be found in references to the defeat of the last 'assisted dying' bill in Parliament. We are frequently told that the bill was 'blocked' by the House of Lords. It wasn't: having been debated for eight hours on the floor of the House, it was defeated by a substantial margin (148 to 100 votes). We are told that assisted dying involves doctors giving 'medication' to patients to enable them to commit suicide. Like the word 'clinic', 'medication' has an aura of professionalism and comfort about it. But it's not 'medication' at all – it's a lethal overdose!

Of course, the very term 'assisted dying' is itself a classic example of this process of obfuscation. It has replaced 'euthanasia', which was itself originally a euphemism but has now acquired something of a bad name; and in the same way, what was until 2006 the Voluntary Euthanasia Society has now re-branded itself as 'Dignity in Dying'.

There is an old saying that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. That ought to make us wary when we hear some of the sanitised and comforting phraseology emanating from the pro-euthanasia lobby. There is a need to recognise their product for what it is and not be taken in by new packaging.