Friday, June 27, 2014

Victory in New Jersey: Assisted Suicide Bill Lacks Support.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

New Jersey Assisted Suicide Bill A2270 was pulled in the New Jersey State Assembly on the day that the PolitickerNJ published an article by disability rights leader, John Kelly titled: Assisted Suicide: Just Too Dangerous.

Sign the Declaration of Hope to oppose assisted suicide in America.

NJ.com reported that the State Assembly did not vote on the assisted suicide bill because, John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) the sponsor of the bill could not find enough votes to get it passed but that he would bring Assisted Suicide Bill A2270 back in the fall session.

Last week, New Jersey Governor Christie, stated that he would veto the assisted suicide bill.

John Kelly
Kelly, the regional coordinator for Not Dead Yet stated in his article that:
Similar bills have been submitted all over the Northeast, and they sound good at first – who’s against relieving suffering, who opposes personal autonomy? Health and Senior Services committee chair Herb Conaway summed it up before his yes vote, "People have the right to self-determination.”

But a closer look reveals the opposite – these bills inevitably and ineradicably compromise personal autonomy. And of the more people learn about these bills, the more they oppose them. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut each rejected assisted suicide bills this session.
With respect to the lives of people with disabilities, Kelly stated:
In the disability community, everyone knows people who have been labeled “terminal,” it’s actually a bit of a joke. Morristown’s Dawn Teresa Parkot's testified at the hearing on A2270 that doctors predicted she would be "a mindless vegetable ... lucky to survive to age 5." Parkot spoke of her bachelor degrees in computer science and engineering, and said, "Often patients are misdiagnosed and could make an irreversible decision to die based on the wrong information."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Assisted Suicide: Just Too Dangerous.

This article was originally published by the PolitickerNJ on June 26, 2014.

By John Kelly, the regional coordinator for the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet.
John Kelly

No matter how many amendments get added to the New Jersey assisted suicide bill, A2270, whether for a prettier name (out goes“Death With Dignity,” in comes “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill”) or for a changed-then-changed-back-again definition of “terminal illness,” the bill is too dangerous. 

Similar bills have been submitted all over the Northeast, and they sound good at first – who’s against relieving suffering, who opposes personal autonomy? Health and Senior Services committee chair Herb Conaway summed it up before his yes vote, "People have the right to self-determination.”

But a closer look reveals the opposite – these bills inevitably and ineradicably compromise personal autonomy. And of the more people learn about these bills, the more they oppose them. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut each rejected assisted suicide bills this session.


Sign the Declaration of Hope to oppose assisted suicide in America.

A2270, like the other bills, draws on shoddy science to create reckless public health policy. First of all, it is simply not possible to predict accurately when someone will die. When Sen. Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer in 2008, he was given 2-4 months to live. As his widow Victoria wrote in an editorial in 2012, “that prognosis was wrong. Teddy lived 15 more productive months.”

In the disability community, everyone knows people who have been labeled “terminal,” it’s actually a bit of a joke. Morristown’s Dawn Teresa Parkot's testified at the hearing on A2270 that doctors predicted she would be "a mindless vegetable ... lucky to survive to age 5." Parkot spoke of her bachelor degrees in computer science and engineering, and said, "Often patients are misdiagnosed and could make an irreversible decision to die based on the wrong information."

Barbara Wagner
In this age of induced austerity, the media is full of calls for healthcare cost containment. Denying treatment is another way that people’s autonomy gets compromised. In Oregon, Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup received letters from Oregon Medicaid denying coverage for prescribed chemotherapy. The letters noted, however, that the state would cover the minimal cost of assisted suicide drugs. Because assisted suicide will always be the cheapest treatment, its availability will inevitably affect medical decision-making.

Depressed people will be harmed by this bill. Oregonian Michael Freeland easily obtained a lethal prescription for his terminal diagnosis, despite a 43-year history of severe depression, suicide attempts, and paranoia. The prescribing doctor said he didn't think a psychological consult was "necessary." Oregon’s statistics for the last four years show that an absurdly low 2% of patients were referred for a psychological evaluation. Experts agree that doctors are not capable of identifying such psychological problems.

Vulnerable elders will be put at risk. Every year in New Jersey, it is estimated that out of 1 ½ million people over age 60, there are 175,000 reported and unreported cases of abuse. Only in the fantasy world of the proponents are all families, including the thousands of abusive and dysfunctional ones, happily gathered around the peaceful and willing suicide.

European Court of Human Rights stops the dehydration death of Vincent Lambert.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Vincent Lambert
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, on June 24 ordered France to continue providing food and water to Vincent Lambert, a man who was injured in a motorbike accident in 2008. The decision by the European Court of Human Rights came hours after a French court ordered that food and water be discontinued for Lambert.

Reuters News reported that:

The court's request is set to delay by months or even years the outcome of a legal battle where Lambert's parents are resisting his wife Rachel's attempts to withdraw life support. 
The Strasbourg-based court said in a statement the case would be treated "according to the fastest procedure possible". A spokesman there acknowledged that even emergency procedures can take months or up to one or two years.
Pierre & Viviane Lambert
The Associated Press reported that Jean Paillot, a lawyer for Lambert's parents said:

"He is not sick, he is not at the end of his life, he is not suffering," 
"From our perspective, there is no reason to stop feeding or hydrating him."
To intentionally withdraw fluids from a person who is not otherwise dying is a form of euthanasia by omission. The person will directly and intentionally die from dehydration and not from a medical condition. 

It is not a natural death, it is not without suffering and it is not a dignified death.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jane Campbell: Why I oppose assisted suicide.

This article was published on June 24 by BBC news as part of an the article: For and against assisted suicide.

Baroness Campbell is disability leader and founder of Not Dead Yet UK, a network of people with disabilities in the UK who oppose the legalised killing of people with disabilities.


Baroness Campbell
By: Baroness Jane Campbell

Campaigners for a change in the law on assisted suicide present it as an extension of choice, giving those with chronic illness or disability the same "right" to end their lives as the rest of the population. When any other person seeks to end their life, we do not assist them. We help those with suicidal thoughts look for positives in their lives. I believe chronically ill and disabled people deserve that "right", to be helped by us all to live their lives.

As a severely disabled person, I fear a change in the law to permit assisted dying. Those arguing for a change do not offer any guidance as to who might be included or excluded from obtaining assistance. I have suffered illnesses that have brought me close to death and I am sure to do so again. Will the doctors who cared for me so expertly in the past, now be ready to offer an assisted death?

Many disabled people know first-hand how society fears illness and disability. Most people are concerned about being reliant on others for assistance. The media has done a service to us all by exposing neglect and abuse in hospitals and care homes. Such scandals always reveal the receivers of care have been dehumanised by the providers of care. Few would believe that every case of malpractice has been exposed or that abuse cannot also occur when care is provided within the family.



Many have seen loved-ones, particularly parents, become frail as their health deteriorates. The main reason given for wishing to die is not wanting to become a burden, whether their family would see it that way or not. Against this background, the "quick-fix" of an assisted death appears attractive.

It is precisely because that is the majority view that we must continue to oppose it. There is no better evidence of the negativity with which terminal illness, chronic illness, and disability is viewed than that we might be better off dead.

We would not give-up on a suicidal person in otherwise good health, we should not give up on a terminally ill or disabled person seeking an assisted death.

If assisted dying is really a "right" (and I'm convinced it is not), it must be available to all, including the fit and well who consistently say they are suffering intolerably, not just those who find themselves in extremely desperate and challenging circumstances due to their deteriorating health. I didn't want Tony Nicklinson to die and I don't want Paul Lamb to die. I respect and value them. I want them to carry on disagreeing with me for as long as possible.

Supreme Court (UK) Assisted Suicide Decision: Statements from Not Dead Yet and the Care Not Killing Alliance.

Statement from Not Dead Yet UK: 
Supreme Court (UK) Nicklinson Assisted Suicide Decision.

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
Naturally we sympathise deeply with the disabled people who brought this legal case and their families but there is much truth in the adage that ‘hard cases make bad law’.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide is profoundly dangerous, irrespective of such hard cases, not least because they pose a very grave risk to thousands of disabled people who have been made vulnerable by cuts in health and social care services and welfare benefits, making some feel they would be better off dead and no longer a burden on their family and friends.

Baroness Jane Campbell
We very much welcome, the ruling by the Supreme Court today because it protects the many whilst compassionately responding to the few by rarely prosecuting those who assist them with their wishes to die. 

Without this bright line we risk sleepwalking into state sanctioned killing.

Founder of Not Dead Yet UK Baroness Jane Campbell said: 

“We can only hope that Parliament will heed the wisdom of the court by rejecting Lord Falconer’s very dangerous Assisted Dying Bill.”
Contact: Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, Spokesperson/Researcher for Not Dead Yet UK for further information at: kevin@inclusion21.org or 07816671185



'The law in England and Wales remains unchanged, with the Court recognising that it exists to protect vulnerable, elderly and disabled people'
The judgement of the nine Supreme Court justices (concerning assisted suicide and euthanasia) in the cases of Nicklinson/Lamb and 'Martin' was handed down on the morning of Wednesday 25 June, seven months after the appeals were heard. Those of Nicklinson/Lamb and of 'Martin' were dismissed, while that of the Director of Public Prosecutions was allowed.

Dr Andrew Fergusson, a spokesman for the Care Not Killing alliance commented:

'We welcome this judgement from the highest court in the land. 
'The law in England and Wales remains unchanged, with the Court recognising that it exists to protect vulnerable, elderly and disabled people. This is why Parliament has debated and repeatedly voted against changing the law in recent years. 
'You only have to look at what is happening in Holland and Belgium to see the dangers of weakening laws designed to protect the vulnerable. In Holland, euthanasia is often performed 'without explicit request' while according to reports, twins who might go blind and a transsexual have been euthanised by the state. In both countries euthanasia is being extended to disabled babies. 
'As Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and other disability rights campaigners have said, changing the law would be dangerous and discriminatory. It would send out a very clear message to those who are disabled, terminally ill or just old that their lives are less worth living and protecting than the lives of the young and healthy. 
'It is also worth noting that not a single major doctors group, including the BMA, Association for Palliative Medicine and the medical Royal Colleges backs changing the law on either assisted suicide or euthanasia. 
'The current law exists to protect the vulnerable and those without a voice: disabled, terminally ill and elderly people, who might otherwise feel pressured into ending their lives. It does not need changing - a fact recognised by the High Court, Court of Appeal and now in the Supreme Court ruling.'

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dying with dignity.

A Nurses Story.

A funny thing happens to most healthcare professionals the more they work in a hospital: they become so concerned with saving lives that they have no idea how to deal with death. Doctors can be the worst culprits of all, experts at ordering blood tests, monitoring vital signs, analyzing x-rays and ct-scans, they forget that dealing with death is just as important as nurturing life. With all the controversy surrounding the legalization of euthanasia in Quebec, with a great many dying patients not even having access to palliative care, it is about time we as healthcare professionals come up with a solution on how to provide a patient with a dignified death, with or without euthanasia, which oddly enough, seems to come down to simply being humane.
 
Two years ago, a day before she died, she danced and had a party in her room without the prying eyes of physicians or monitors, but instead, with her family and friends. Her 17 year old body, beaten down by a devastating cancer, still worked well enough for her to laugh and raise her arms in the air as the record player her dad brought in played music from the 80's. I dared not enter the room but my heart melted when I heard her laugh just a few hours before she would fall asleep and not wake up. A few days prior to that, I was reluctantly inserting an intravenous catheter into her hand as she needed a constant drip of narcotics to control the stubborn pain in her body. I can remember being afraid I would not be able to find a vein in her already swollen hand, but did not show it. Instead I cracked a joke with her mom which made the both of them laugh as luckily, I was able to thread the catheter on the first attempt. 

I had been their primary nurse for some time, maybe weeks, and it was as though they trusted me because as they said "you always tell us the truth". They wanted to know how she would die, just as she did, so I told them. They wanted to know how I would handle her body and where she would go when it was over, so I told them. They wanted to know how I would know when or when not to give extra doses of narcotics if she began to get uncomfortable, meaning they did not want me to give too much. I said it would be a choice based not solely on my opinion but on theirs as well and they agreed. Together, we watched as she passed away while her body, even as she slept, fought instinctively for every breath it could. We all agreed on every dose of morphine and we all agreed that she wasn't in pain when she died. It was very, very hard to watch but during each breath, her family shared stories about her with me that I will never forget. They said her wish was to never be forgotten and my colleagues and I still think about her to this day.
 
A few weeks after she died, I received a heartfelt thank-you note from her family saying my colleagues and I had done a remarkable job and that they felt she died with dignity. At that time, I had no training in palliative care and had never experienced death that closely. Looking back on it now, all I tried to do was to treat my patient with humanity and respect with an understanding of who she was and what she stood for, so did my colleagues. We tried to be honest with her family and spoke to them as people not as patients and in turn, they showed us that by simply being humane to one another, we as a people, can get through anything and that is a message we hold dear.

My patient did not die in a palliative care facility, but on a surgical ward. There were no doctors there when she died, just her nurse. This leads to some very serious questions: Is euthanasia really necessary or should nurses be liberated to do what comes from their hearts? Usually, nurses who have dying patients as part of their assignments, have other patients to look after as well. I did not, why? Why don't more nursing supervisors think like mine does and realize that dying is as important as living?

Nathan Friedland, (nurse)
Quebec Canada

Not comfortable with assisted suicide in Washington State

This letter was published on June 24 in the Burlington County Times in New Jersey.

My husband and I operate two elder care facilities in Washington, where assisted suicide is legal.Our law was passed by a ballot measure in November 2008. During the election, the law was promoted as the right of individual people to make their own choices. That has not been our experience. We have also noticed a shift in the attitudes of doctors and nurses toward our typically elderly clients, to eliminate their choices.

Four days after the election, an adult child of one of our clients asked about getting the pills (to kill his father). It wasn't the client saying he wanted to die. At that time, our assisted-suicide law had not yet gone in effect. The father died before the law went into effect.

Since then, we have noticed that some members of the medical profession are quick to bring out the morphine to begin "comfort care" without considering treatment. Sometimes they do this on their own, without telling the client and/or family member in charge of the client's care.

Since our law was passed, I have also observed that some medical professionals are quick to write off older people as having no quality of life, whereas in years past, most of the professionals we dealt with found joy in caring for them. Our clients reciprocated that joy and respect.

Someday, we, too, will be old. I want to be cared for and have my choices respected. I, for one, am quite uncomfortable with these developments.

Elizabeth Benedetto
Seattle Washington

Quebec style euthanasia bill to be introduced in Australian Federal Parliament

By Paul Russell, the founder of HOPE Australia. (Link to the original article).

Paul Russell
Ever since the euthanasia bill was tabled in the Canadian provincial parliament in Quebec, HOPE has been expecting that a similar bill would be developed for Australia.

A new bill, called the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Bill 2014 was made public as an exposure draft by Senator Richard Di Natale in Canberra today.

The timing of Di Natale’s announcement could not have been more obvious. As readers will know, the Quebec’s Bill 52 recently passed in their parliament. However, Bill 52 is opposed by the Canadian National Government and is already the subject of a legal challenge.

Bill-52 defined euthanasia as a form of health care. Di Natale’s bill calls it ‘Dignity with Dying Medical Services’.


The reason for these Orwellian distortions is worthy of note. In Canada the criminal code, (wherein lay the provisions prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide under the sections on homicide) is held in the national parliament. Euthanasia and assisted suicide bills, therefore, would normally be debated in the national parliament as occurred in 2010 with Bill C-384. But the powers to legislate over health are a provincial issue. So, the national parliament being hostile to such change, the pro euthanasia lobby has simply moved its attention to a province and has rebadged euthanasia as health care.

In Australia the situation is almost precisely reversed (which is why euthanasia debates normally take place in the states). But the Commonwealth has shared powers under health. Again, with the states unwilling to pass legislation, lobbyists have grasped the nettle and moved their focus to Canberra.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Québec: Why can't we say euthanasia?

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The National Post published an excellent article titled: Why can't we say euthanasia?  an article that concerns the passage of Québec euthanasia Bill, by Lise Ravary, a columnist and Blogger for Le Journal de Montréal,

Sign the online petition to stop the Québec euthanasia bill.

The first point made by Ravary is that Bill 52 legalized euthanasia. She states:
Quebec’s “Dying with dignity” legislation... was adopted last week. Assisted suicide it is not. Nor is it refusal of treatment or terminal palliative sedation, both of which are legal in Canada. 
It is euthanasia, ... This is illegal according to Canada’s Criminal Code, but now allowed in Quebec. Expect a constitutional clash.
Ravary points out that only four jurisdictions in the world have legalized euthanasia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and now Québec.


Ravary then wrote about the manipulation of language in the euthanasia debate. She states:
I made this point in my blog for Le Journal de Montréal the day after Bill C-52 became law. The reaction was broad and swift. In his column, one of my colleagues denounced people who insist on using the word euthanasia, deeming it incorrect. Unpalatable perhaps, but incorrect it is not. Belgian legislation refers to euthanasia. The Québec select committee report called it euthanasia. If the word bothers Quebecers so much, perhaps the enthusiasm for “dying with dignity” is not as strong as we would like to think it is. 
Or perhaps, the concept is not clearly understood. A 2013 Ipsos Marketing poll showed that merely one-third of Quebecers know what “dying with dignity” really entails. Another third thinks it means palliative care and rest believes that it refers to assisted suicide or cessation of treatments.
Ravary then argues that Québec has every reason to fear a slippery slope, she writes:
Once the taboo against ending life is broken, what’s next? When Belgium passed its law way back in 2002, 24 people chose euthanasia. In 2013, that number had jumped to 1,816. Not all of them were terminally ill or in physical pain. A pair of 45 year-old deaf twin males chose to die because they could not face on-coming blindness. A transsexual whose sex change operation was botched asked to be euthanized, as did a woman suffering from anorexia. Children under 18 too can “die with dignity” and Belgium now accepts euthanasia requests from prisoners serving life sentences. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Jersey Governor Christie will veto assisted suicide bill.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


On Friday June 20, Nancy Elliott, a member of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International Board and a former three term New Hampshire Representative had the opportunity to speak with New Jersey Governor Christie about assisted suicide Bill A 2270, a bill that is likely to be voted-on in the New Jersey House in the next few weeks.

Sign the Declaration of Hope to oppose assisted suicide in America.

The following is the message from Nancy Elliott:
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey.  I know that a lot of you are concerned about the Assisted Suicide bill that passed the Health Committee in New Jersey. He assured me vehemently that he has not changed his position on Assisted Suicide, that he would veto it if it came to his desk and that as long as he was the Governor of New Jersey this was not going to become law.  I believe him.  It is important that we continue to work this on the ground as he will not always be the Governor, but at least for now we have his assurance.
Thank you Nancy Elliott for your continued leadership and political acumen.

Link: Dangers of assisted suicide bill too many to overlook.
Link: New Jersey Governor Christie opposes assisted suicide.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Québec Euthanasia: Second Thoughts.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Québec euthanasia law (Bill 52) that was passed on June 5 that will not be in place for at least another year, according to the Toronto Star, medical professionals in Québec are already grappling with the new law and the "moral burdens" it imposes.

Sign the online petition to stop the Québec euthanasia bill.

The article - Right-to-die already weighing on Québec's conscience - that was written by Allan Woods and published in the Toronto Star on Saturday June 21 interviewed Québec doctors.

The article quotes Dr. Eugene Bereza, director of the centre for applied ethics at Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre who said:

“I’ve been working in clinical ethics as a physician for 24 years and this is going to be one of our biggest challenges,” 
“If you’re going to euthanasia as a society, you can make a much stronger moral claim to saying it’s OK if you can first say that all the people who ask for and get euthanasia first have access to and could get good palliative care,”
Bereza acknowledges that many people are suffering as they wait for the Québec government slowly improve palliative care. Currently it is estimated that only 25% of Québekers have access to good palliative care.
The article states that:
With a massive provincial deficit, public institutions bracing for budget cutbacks and the population aging rapidly, there isn’t any expectation that the quality of palliative care in Quebec will improve or that more people will have access to such specialized services when they reach the end.

That troubling sum at the bottom of Quebec’s balance sheets isn’t doing anything to ease the moral burden that doctors and nurses are already confronting ahead of the first requests for euthanasia from dying patients, which could begin as early as mid-2015.
The articles points out that:
Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, which declined interview requests, said it has not taken an official position on how or whether to comply with the law. But in a June 13 news release, it said each of the participants in a recent panel discussion on the law, including the heads of intensive care, emergency medicine and palliative care and the hospital’s executive director, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, were opposed to the law.

Dr. Patrick Vinay, the recently retired head of palliative care at Montreal’s Notre-Dame hospital, is one of the most strident critics of the law stated:
“It’s not a normal medical act,”
Vinay is part of a the Physicians Alliance for the Total Refusal of Euthanasia that is preparing a legal challenge to the law and argue that doctors have no business doling out death.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition supports the Physicians Alliance legal challenge.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Euthanasia of babies with disabilities.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



CBC news reported that a Czech government advisor was forced to resign because he is promoting euthanasia for babies with disabilities.

The article stated that Miroslav Mitloehner was published in the Journal of Medical Law and Bioethics, promoting the concept that: 
"it makes no sense to prolong the life of a baby born as a monster."
The article further stated that:
Mitloehner called children with disabilities "freaks" and questioned whether they are human beings. He said doctors should be allowed to terminate their life without parents' consent.
Vaclav Krasa
Vaclav Krasa, the chairman of a major organization of people with disabilities was reported to have called the views unacceptable, comparing them to "Nazi thinking."

The article stated that Mitloehner was fired from the post of director of the Institute of Social Work at Hradec Kralove University and from the Labor Ministry's scientific council.
Philosophy professor, Peter Singer, and Canadian bioethicist Udo Schuklenk advocate for the killing of babies with disabilities and other philosophers and bioethicists consider the euthanasia of people with cognitive disabilities, including newborns, to be worthy of debate.

A new eugenic ideology is being promoted by the "intelligencia" that considers certain human beings to be non-humans and not worthy of legal protection. The euthanasia movement claims to only promote voluntary euthanasia, but the laws and experience with euthanasia would indicate otherwise.

In the Netherlands children and babies with disabilities are being euthanized and in Belgium children with disabilities are being euthanized. Several studies have also uncovered a significant problem with euthanasia that is being done without request.

Euthanasia has also been extended to people with depression and people with dementia

Once a society accepts that there are certain lives that are not worth living, the only question that remains is who's lives are not worthy of life.

Links to more information:

News from Gallup but Pew Study is Better.

(Link to the original version published on June 19 on the Not Dead Yet Blog.)

By Diane Coleman - President of the Disability Rights group Not Dead Yet.


Diane Coleman
A new Gallup report is entitled “Seven in 10 Americans Back Euthanasia,” is a misleading opening.

First, the question was: “When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it?” According to the poll, 69% say “yes,” down from 75% in 2005.

Support drops to 58% when the Gallup question is: “When a person has a disease that cannot be cured and is living in severe pain, do you think doctors should or should not be allowed by law to assist the patient to commit suicide if the patient requests it?”

So, as Gallup headlines it, “Diminished Majority Favors ‘Doctor-Assisted Suicide.’”

The word “suicide” is no doubt important, but there are some other issues raised by the wording of the questions. Why does the non-suicide question mention the family’s request, while the suicide question leaves family out? How many respondents are confused about the difference between the right to refuse unwanted life-sustaining medical treatment and assisted suicide? How many say “yes” because they want their advance directives honored and their health care proxy’s directions followed?

And why does the suicide question add the condition that the person “is living in severe pain”? Did Gallup ever ask this question without adding the pain factor and get a response lower than 58%?

Considering the sloppiness factor in the Gallup efforts on this issue, I’m inclined to turn to the Pew study for more accurate insights. The Pew study, 
Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments, covered a wider range of health care decisions issues, which allowed respondents to sort out the differences between refusal of treatment and assisted suicide, avoiding the confusion inherent in the Gallup style of questioning.

The Pew result: only 47% support assisted suicide laws. Not a diminished majority, not a majority at all.

Sign the Declaration of Hope to oppose assisted suicide in America.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gallup Poll claims that 69% of Americans support Euthanasia.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Gallup poll results released on June 18 claim that 69% of Americans support euthanasia and 58% of Americans support physician-assisted suicide.

The Gallup poll euthanasia question asked:
When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it?
The Gallup poll question is vague.

The Gallup poll question refers to ending a patient’s life by some painless means. Many Americans believe that withholding or withdrawing medical treatment is the same as euthanasia and many Americans confuse palliative care with euthanasia.

The November 2013 Pew Research survey employed clear questions and it found that 47% of Americans support assisted suicide.

The 2013 Pew Research survey also found that 66% of Americans believe that there are times when a person should be allowed to die while 31% of Americans thought that doctors should do everything to save a person’s life.


When comparing the Pew research poll to the Gallup poll it is clear that the way a question is asked determines the outcome of the poll.

Sign the Declaration of Hope to oppose assisted suicide in America.

Québec euthanasia: A Lethal Bill.

This article was published on June 18 as a Guest Column in the Canada Free Press
"Lethal injection as health care"
When Bill 52 passed in Quebec’s National Assembly, Quebec became the first province in Canada to legalize medically assisted dying. This bill purports to to be about respecting “end-of-life” but in fact gives Quebec physicians the right to intentionally and directly cause the death of persons by lethal injection.

Sign the online petition to stop the Québec euthanasia bill.

It is one thing to eradicate as much as is humanly possible pain and suffering but a profoundly different issue when a doctor decides who should be killed.

By defining killing by lethal injection as “health care” the proponents of this bill seek to avoid the Criminal Code prohibition since euthanasia at present is defined as homicide in the federal Criminal Code. This bill will give little comfort to the elderly or people with disabilities who find themselves confined to hospitals. It has nothing to do with health care or comfort and everything to do with fear.

It represents an act of homicide and not and “end of life” care and will target people with disabilities or mental health issues such as depression since terms like “end of life” and “psychological suffering” are vaguely defined in this bill. Unfortunately there may well be too many doctors who believe death is preferable to living with a significant disability.

This bill should send a clear warning to the rest of the provinces in Canada and be vigorously opposed by all Canadians.

Hospitals should be safe places for the elderly and disabled.

Gerald Hall
Nanoose Bay, British Columbia

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Euthanasia Booster's Game of Let's Play Pretend.

By Wesley Smith published on his blog - June 16, 2014
Wesley Smith
None are so blind as those who refuse to see.
A bioethicist named Tony Hope supports Belgium’s new child euthanasia law as if we have no history of how loosely doctor-administered death has actually been applied in that morally collapsing country. While claiming the mantle of empirical analysis, Hope actually engages in a game of “let’s play pretend.”
First, he sets forth his moral principles to justify euthanasia. I disagree, but let’s skip that for now.
I want to focus here on how the list of Hope’s supposedly “empirical assumptions”​ about the desirability of child euthanasia aren’t really empirical. From, “Morality, Science, and Belgium’s Child Euthanasia Law,” at the Practical Ethics blog
Empirical assumptions
  1. There are some situations in which children with a terminal illness suffer so much that it is in their interests to be dead.
  2. There are some situations in which the child’s suffering cannot be sufficiently alleviated short of keeping the child permanently unconscious.
  3. A law can be formulated with sufficient safeguards to prevent euthanasia from being carried out in situations when it is not justified.
The first assumption isn’t “empirical,” which means “relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory.” What might or might not be in a sick child’s “interests” is not a matter of objective observation. Rather, it is entirely subjective and ideologically premised. Hence, it is not an empirical assumption.
Watching the Belgian Child
Euthanasia Bill vote
There may indeed be rare times in which a child’s suffering can only be alleviated by palliative sedation. But that isn’t a matter of conscious or unconscious. Done correctly, the level of awareness can be titrated up and down to the benefit of the patient. Moreover, the implication in the second empirical assumption is that killing is preferable to unconsciousness. But that is a subjective assumption, not an objective observation.
But the third supposedly empirical assumption is the real howler. Belgium’s law for adults has not prevented euthanasia from being carried out in situations where it is “not justified” under the letter of the law (ignoring that what constitutes ”justified” can often be in the non-empirical eye of the beholder).
Indeed, the letter of the law has been repeatedly shattered in Belgium, and without legal consequence, including, but certainly not limited to:

Elder Abuse Conference: Tougher Laws Needed.

This article was written by Paul Russell, Vice Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International and published on the HOPE Australia blog on June 17.

Paul Russell
By Paul Russell

Adelaide, South Australia is currently hosting the 2nd National World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Dean of Law at the University of South Australia Professor Wendy Lacey warned conference delegates that older people are sometimes abused by family members and often for financial reasons. Lacey added that tighter laws are needed to help protect older Australians from such exploitation.

The conference was also exposed to South Australia’s new draft Charter of the Rights and Freedoms of Older People.

Professor Lacey also told the ABC News that:

"The first step we need to do is raising the community's awareness and understanding of what is elder abuse and what are the signs of the abuse and then what we need is a system-wide response framework that enables anyone to make a phone call, which would then trigger an investigation by agencies. 
"Our criminal laws are currently inadequate or there's a lack of awareness around how they might apply in cases of elder abuse and so therefore we're not seeing the prosecutions coming forward."

Former South Australian Thinker in Residence, Dr Alex Kalache of the International Longevity Centre says the area has been overlooked for too long.
"Today we have a UN convention for the rights of women, children, immigrant workers, disabled people, you name it. The only one missing is older people which happens to be the fastest grown sub-group throughout the world. It doesn't make sense," he said.
Elder Abuse is a significant and growing problem across the globe. The fact that elderly persons can so easily be abused in so many different ways, especially for financial gain, is a cogent reason for opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dangers of New Jersey assisted suicide bill too many to overlook.

In the aftermath of the New Jersey Health and Senior Services Committee hearing on assisted suicide, the public debate has continued in the press. One example is George Amick’s column in favor of legalization.

John Kelly
John Kelly, the New England Regional Director for Not Dead Yet was published on June 14 in the Times of Trenton in response to George Amick's column. Not Dead Yet also published Kelly's letter.
Dangers of assisted suicide bill too many to overlook 
George Amick’s column “Bill would allow terminally ill patients to die in humane, dignified manner” (June 9) ignores the many dangers of legalized assisted suicide. 
Assisted suicide makes for a deadly mix with our profit-driven healthcare system. With a lethal prescription costing a mere few hundred dollars, assisted suicide will immediately become the cheapest “treatment.” For example, Oregon Medicaid refused to cover prescribed chemotherapy for Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup, while offering the cheaper assisted suicide. Such distorted medical decision-making is one reason disability rights groups across the country oppose assisted suicide. Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire listened to our objections and rejected bills this year. 
Assisted suicide endangers people who experience depression. Oregonian Michael Freeland easily received a prescription despite a 43-year history of severe depression and suicide attempts. Freeland’s prescribing doctor later said that he didn’t think a psychological consultation was “necessary.” 
If Assemblyman Burzichelli is open to adjustments, he should look to Connecticut, where the legislature listened to disability rights advocates and rejected assisted suicide, then got to work with advocates to craft a pilot program for medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST). This program, which will protect everyone’s right both to receive and decline medical treatment, passed the Connecticut House unanimously and is now state law. 
– John Kelly
Boston MA 
The writer grew up in Middletown Township and is now New England regional director for the national disability rights group Not Dead Yet.
Sign the Declaration of HOPE to oppose assisted suicide in America.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Children's charities call for child euthanasia in Scotland.

This article was originally published in the HOPE Australia blog.


The Daily Mail in Scotland has a front page article claiming that Scottish Children’s Charities have called for the inclusion of euthanasia for children to be included in the reach of the euthanasia bill under debate in Holyrood (Scottish Parliament).

One group has apparently called for the revision of the extant lower age limit in the bill of 16 years of age if the bill passes into law. No slippery slope eh?


The article cites an unnamed representative of Care Not Killing as saying: 
“Right-minded people will be baffled that such an idea can be advanced, not least from one organisation purporting to represent the interests of children. 
“Such a monstrous idea should be unthinkable.”
This comes after Belgium passed child euthanasia into law in February this year. This new law, which included consent provisions, was later trumped by the Belgian association of Intensive Care Specialists who have claimed the right to decide who gets euthanased to themselves – regardless of consent or not.

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