|Steve Passmore on|
This article was originally printed on the blog - Context with Lorna Dueck under the catagory - If Assisted Suicide was legal in Canada.
On Friday, June 15, Justice Lynn Smith in Vancouver BC, decided in the Carter case, to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. She decided that the current laws that prohibit assisted suicide infringe upon the Charter of Rights and Freedoms section that ensures that my life, liberty and security of the person is protected in Canadian law.
Smith not only got it wrong, her decision is the opposite of reality.
I have lived my life as a person with Cerebral Palsy. My experience as a person with a visible disability is that people do not treat me with equality value and acceptance.
As a child I experienced more than a dozen surgeries. These surgeries were incredibly difficult, but they gave me a chance to live.
I now have a scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and I suffer with pain everyday. If suffering becomes a reason for euthanasia, then I will fear for my life.
I have been involved with opposing euthanasia since the death of Tracy Latimer in 1993. I am an advocate who opposes euthanasia because I love vulnerable people. Many people with disabilities, like Tracy Latimer are vulnerable and lack a voice. I have a voice.
Justice Smith stated in her decision that she found “no evidence of inordinate impact on vulnerable populations.”
Justice Smith must have been very selective in her research because she obviously missed the study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal (May 2010) that found that 32% of euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were without request or consent.
In Oregon the assisted suicide law contains a provision to safe-guard physicians who practice assisted suicide. The provision states that no person will be subject to any form of legal liability, whether civil or criminal if they act in good faith. In an ironic twist, assisted suicide physicians in Oregon are safer from liability if they cause a patients’ death than if they provide his or her medical treatment.
I am convinced that if euthanasia becomes accepted by society, that over a short period of time the attitudes will go from voluntary euthanasia for people who suffering to euthanasia to end the lives of the sufferer.
When euthanasia was legalized in the Netherlands, it was supposed to be a rare event to be resorted to only in the most unusual cases of intolerable suffering. The guidelines were designed specifically to keep euthanasia occurrences few and far between by establishing demanding conditions that had to be met at the risk of criminal prosecution.
Over time however, the conditions began to be interpreted loosely and they were ignored. Rather than being rare euthanasia has become a routine medical practice.
I have always thought that our greatest need was visibility, to be seen and heard. Although those are great needs there is a greater need and that is for people to listen to us.
We need a society that recognizes people with disabilities as having equality, value and acceptance, but we first need a society that recognizes the importance of protecting our right to live.