Thursday, March 23, 2017

Assisted suicide bill defeated in Hawaii. The bill was a big fib.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have amazing news to share. Hawaii assisted suicide SB 1129 was defeated by being sent back for amendments. Hawaii political leaders listened and understood that the assisted suicide bill was different than what the assisted suicide lobby was saying.

The paternalism of the assisted suicide lobby astounds me. They assume that legislators will not read the language of the bill but vote based on sound bites alone. Hawaii legislators read the bill. 

Hawaii News Now stated:
On Thursday, lawmakers said the bill is poorly written and would need considerable changes. 
The House Health Committee deferred the bill, essentially killing it.
Margaret Dore, successfully uncovered the truth. Dore wrote in her analysis that SB 1129 SD 2 - “Choice” is a Big Fat Fib, Dore's assessment was correct and the committee agreed.

Margaret Dore article: We won 7 - 0.

Dore's analysis of SB 1129 correctly stated:
  • The act is sold as providing a voluntary patient choice, but doesn’t even have a requirement of being voluntary, capable or consenting when the lethal dose is administered. 
  • People who ask about the act will lose their right to informed consent: They will lose the right to be told about alternatives for cure.
  • The claim that self-administration is required is not true. The act says that a patient “may” self-administer the lethal dose. There is no language that administration “must” be by self-administration.
  • Administration of the lethal dose is allowed to occur in private without a doctor or witness present. If the patient objected or even struggled, who would know?
  • The death certificate is required to list a terminal disease as the cause of death. The significance is that prosecution will not be possible, no matter what the facts. The death will be a terminal disease (not murder) as a matter of law.
  • Enactment will create the perfect crime to put older people in the crosshairs of their heirs and other predators.
  • Elder abuse is already not a well-controlled problem. Passing the proposed act will make the situation worse.
For analysis and back up documentation, click here.
For a pdf version of this document, click here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Mexico Assisted Suicide Bill - Deserved to Die.

This article was published by the Sante Fe New Mexican on March 20, 2017.

By John Kelly, Director of the disability rights group Second Thoughts Massachusetts.

John Kelly
Thanks to the state Senate’s rejection of the assisted suicide bill, Senate Bill 252, residents of New Mexico can breathe easier. As Sen. Craig Brandt said during last week’s debate, “This bill is dangerous. Doctors make mistakes every day.”

CBS News reported in 2014 that 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed yearly. About 15 percent of people given less than six months to live are not “terminally ill.” Thousands of people “graduate” from hospice yearly. Assisted suicide programs turn the best result under hospice — learning that you weren’t “terminal” after all — into the tragedy of dying with years or decades of life remaining. This reality alone should be enough to stop any assisted suicide proposal cold. We cannot predict the future. The “choice” promised by assisted suicide is an illusion.

Assisted suicide hit the news in 2011, when two doctors petitioned District Court Judge Nan G. Nash to declare assisted suicide constitutional. A few months later, Santa Fe resident Aja Riggs joined the lawsuit after doctors gave her slim chance of surviving aggressive uterine cancer. Judge Nash’s 2014 ruling for the plaintiffs was overturned on appeal. Then the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there was no constitutional right to assisted suicide. More than five years later, Aja Riggs’ cancer is in remission.

During the Senate debate, senators warned that “undue influence” would lead to wrongful deaths. One out of every 10 older New Mexicans is estimated to be abused every year, mostly by adult children and spouses. A caregiver or heir to an estate could help sign a person up, pick up the prescription and then administer the lethal dose without worry of investigation. To receive immunity, they could simply claim to have acted in “good faith.”

With no official witness required at the death, we can’t know whether someone self-administered the drugs.

Insurers routinely value their bottom line over people’s health. Last summer, Californian Stephanie Packer received a letter from her insurer refusing to cover a prescribed course of chemotherapy. Her co-pay for assisted suicide? $1.20.

Millions of people now face the prospect of losing health insurance if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act. That will mean even less choice. SB 252 would have put depressed people with a serious health condition or disability at risk. Depression is treatable, death is not.

Supporters of SB 252 said the bill was needed to prevent people dying in agony, but attentive comfort care can control pain in dying patients, through palliative sedation if necessary. People already have the right to refuse any treatment, including food and water.

We now have 25 years of reports from Oregon and Washington, which show that pain (which includes fear of pain) is the sixth-cited of seven “end-of-life concerns.” Oregon physicians report giving lethal drugs mainly due to psychosocial distress about disability, including dependence on other people (“losing autonomy,” 91 percent), grief over lost abilities (90 percent), loss of the respect of others (“loss of dignity,” 77 percent), needing help with incontinence (“losing control of bodily functions,” 47 percent) and believing that suicide would leave loved ones better off (“burden on family, friends/caregivers,” 42 percent).

What we disabled people see in legalizing assisted suicide is that some people receive suicide prevention, while others get suicide assistance, based on value judgments and prejudice. Instead, let’s make sure that people have the choice and support to live — and die — comfortably, at home, with pain controlled and dignity intact.

As a progressive, I am heartened that seven Democrats joined Republicans in defeating the measure. Protecting innocent people from misdiagnosis, insurers’ bottom lines, suicidal depression and abuse is a cause that everyone can embrace.

John B. Kelly is a Boston-based disability rights activist and writer. He is the director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts: Disability Rights Advocates against Assisted Suicide. The group’s website is www.second-thoughts.org.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The "Freedom To Choose" Goes Two Ways

This article was written by Mark Pickup and published on his blog on March 19, 2017.

Sharon Kirkey, 'Take my name off the list, I can't do any more' some doctors backing out of assisted death, National Post, 26 February 2017.


Nine months after Canada legalised medically assisted suicide (euphemistically and deceptively termed medical aid in dying). It seems many participating Canadian doctors are not comfortable murdering killing their patients. (See article above.) Assisted suicide proponents speculate it's because doctors' fear of prosecution or distaste for filling out associated paperwork. Yeah right. 

Could it be that deep within the human psyche there is a natural repugnance to killing people? Enforced 'progressive' groupthink still can't stifle every human conscience. 

Support doctors who have lost their stomach for killing human beings—whether it be abortion or assisted suicide. Encourage them to return to Hippocratic medicine. Support conscience rights that are supposedly protected in Article 2, FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS of the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS:

"Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression..."
What is the point of having freedom of thought, belief or opinion without the ability to express it in word and behaviour? The freedom choice to be put to death is not the only right in Canada's Brave New World of tax-funded assisted suicide.
 
There must also be an equal right for medical professionals not to participate. Choice goes two ways.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Assisted Suicide group was turned down by the Minnesota Supreme Court for review of 2015 conviction.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017 the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to review the conviction of the Final Exit Network.

On May 14, 2015, the Final Exit Network was found guilty, by a jury, of assisted suicide and the group was sentenced on August 24, 2015.

On December 19, 2016, the Minnesota appeals court upheld the conviction of the Final Exit Network in the assisted suicide death of Doreen Dunn who died on May 30, 2007.

In a Final Exit Network Press Release, the assisted suicide group stated that the Supreme Court of Minnesota declined to review their conviction so they will be asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review their conviction.

During the 2015 trial, the Lacrosse Tribune reported:
Dakota County prosecutor Elizabeth Swank told jurors that the evidence showed that two members of Final Exit Network went to Dunn's home in Apple Valley to assist her suicide. They then removed the equipment that she used for suicide so that it appeared she had died of natural causes. 
Dunn's husband of 29 years arrived home on May 30, 2007, to find her dead on the couch. Swank said Dunn had a blanket pulled up to her neck with her hands folded on her chest. 
Swank said that despite Dunn's pain and depression, she had no life-threatening illness and her family was puzzled by her death. There were good things happening in her life: Her daughter who had been in Africa for about a year was coming home the next day and her son's fiancee was scheduled to give birth that week. However, her husband was also planning to move out, the prosecutor said.
John Celmer
The Final Exit Network has been prosecuted in several assisted suicide cases. In Georgia, John Celmer, who was depressed after recovering from cancer, the Final Exit Network assisted his suicide. Celmer's widow Susan Celmer, testified against the Final Exit Network. The Final Exit Network assists the suicide of people at the most vulnerable time of their life. Larry Egbert, the former medical director for the Final Exit Network, lost his medical license in Maryland.
 

Great news: New Mexico Senate rejects assisted suicide bill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The New Mexico Senate defeated assisted suicide bill SB 252 by a vote of 22 - 20 last night, with 7 Democrats voting with 15 Republicans.

Steve Terrell, writing for the New Mexican stated:
Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, countered that he couldn’t support the bill because of its inherent risks. Doctors, Brandt said, make mistakes every day. Someone diagnosed as terminally ill could actually recover, he said.
Democrats who voted against Stefanics’ bill were Pete Campos of Las Vegas; Carlos Cisneros of Questa; Richard Martinez of Española; George Muñoz of Gallup; Clemente Sanchez of Grants; Benny Shendo of Jemez Pueblo; and John Arthur Smith of Deming.

One Republican, Sen. Sander Rue, of Albuquerque, voted for the bill.
On June 30, 2016, the New Mexico Supreme Court in a 5 - 0 decision upheld the New Mexico Court of Appeal decision that assisting a suicide is a crime in Morris v Brandenburg. The Supreme Court decision was a response to the activist lower court decision that found a right to assisted suicide in New Mexico.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has said that she would have vetoed the assisted suicide bill.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Euthanasia deaths increasing quickly in Québec.

Alex Schadenberg 
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 


CBC news reported (March 14) that the number of euthanasia deaths in Québec significantly increased in the second half of 2016. According to the CBC news report:
A total of 461 patients were granted doctor-assisted death during the first year of Quebec's medical aid in dying law, according to data obtained by CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada. 

The number of requests increased significantly in the second half of 2016. From December 2015 to end of June 2016, 253 patients requested the procedure, and 166 of them underwent it. 

Between June and December 2016, 468 people made requests for medically assisted dying, with 295 of them undergoing it.
Similar to other jurisdictions, euthanasia is introduced under the guise of a strictly regulated law whereby lethal injection will be presented as a "final alternative," but over time, it becomes more accepted, promoted and common.


The CBC news report stated:
Five health services centres in Quebec saw substantial increases in the number of requests they were receiving, a rise of more than 200 per cent.

For example, the West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS) saw an increase of 266.7 per cent after the first six months.

Meanwhile, the data shows the rate of acceptance varies based on where the request is made. 
The 6 month report indicated that 14% of the euthanasia deaths were non-compliant with the law.

More important articles:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Film Producer Seeking Assisted Suicide Stories


The producers of The Euthanasia Deception documentary (www.VulnerableFilm.com) are working on a new film dealing with the effects of assisted suicide in America. 

Assisted suicide is currently legal in the States of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and the District of Columbia. 

If you or a loved one have felt coerced, experienced abuse, or come back from the brink of death by assisted death, we would like to hear from you. 

Email us a brief description with contact information at VulnerableStories@gmail.com.

Euthanasia: Man needs a pal not a pill.

Every once in a while I read a letter to the editor that hits the nail on the head. 
This letter was published by Saukvalley.com on Friday March 10, 2017.

By Margaret Brechon Dixon
I read with sadness the article in the March 4 SV Weekend, “Changing views on end-of-life decisions.” The author [Jim Nowlan] describes a scenario that is indeed unfortunate and yet familiar to many. An elderly gentleman with health issues is alone, forlorn, and no longer sees a purpose to his life. As the gentleman says, “I am ready to go.”

What I find disturbing about the article is the proposed solution: a pill to end his life. It all sounds so compassionate, but this is euthanasia, the direct taking of another’s life. It may have names that make it all seem palatable, like “death with dignity” or “aid in dying,” but the reality is the same.

If the gentleman is clinically depressed, there are medications for that. Perhaps he just needs a friend to talk with. Why are some so quick to offer death as a solution under the guise of individual autonomy?

When the state legalizes physician-assisted suicide, the role of the doctor is changed from healer to – well, you know. Disability rights groups oppose such laws because their lives may not be valued. St. Pope John Paul II labeled this as the culture of death because it denies the inviolable dignity of the human person.

I would suggest to the author that what his friend needs is a pal, not a pill.
If you need to speak to someone about ending-of-life medical issues, euthanasia or assisted suicide contact Compassionate Community Care (CCC) at: 1-855-675-8749

CCC believes in Caring not Killing.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kansas & Oklahoma are tightening their assisted suicide laws.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kansas Legislature
The Kansas legislature is debating Resolution No 5010, a resolution that opposes assisted suicide and promotes improvements to palliative care. The Resolution states:

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas, the Senate concurring therein: That the legislature strongly opposes and condemns physician-assisted suicide because the legislature has an unqualified interest in the preservation of human life; and

Be it further resolved: That the legislature strongly opposes and condemns physician-assisted suicide because anything less than a prohibition leads to foreseeable abuses and eventually to euthanasia by devaluing human life, particularly the lives of the terminally ill, elderly, disabled and depressed whose lives are of no less value or quality than any other citizen of this state; and

Be it further resolved: That the legislature strongly opposes and condemns physician-assisted suicide even for terminally ill, mentally competent adults because assisted suicide eviscerates efforts to prevent the self-destructive act of suicide and hinders progress in effective physician interventions, including diagnosing and treating depression, managing pain and providing palliative and hospice care; and

Be it further resolved: That the legislature strongly opposes and condemns physician-assisted suicide because assisted suicide undermines the integrity and ethics of the medical profession, subverts a physician's role as healer and compromises the physician-patient relationship; and

Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of State transmit a copy of this resolution to the Governor of the State of Kansas, the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment and the Kansas Medical Society.


The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges members of the Kansas legislature to support Resolution 5010.

Oklahoma Legislature
On March 6, 2017; the Oklahoma House passed HB 1495 , the Death Certificate Accuracy Act 
by a vote of 62 - 26. HB 1495 will hopefully lead to change by creating pressure on states that have laws that force doctors to lie on death certificates.

HB 1495 makes it a felony to knowingly lie on a death certificate by improperly stating the manner of death.

Even though assisted suicide is a prohibited act in Oklahoma, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition supports HB 1495 because it creates awareness of the cover-up that exists in the states that have legalized assisted suicide and it further builds opposition to assisting a suicide in Oklahoma.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Danger from Assisted Suicide Prescriptions is Real

Great News: The sponsor of the assisted suicide bill in Maryland (HB 370) recently withdrew the bill due to a lack of support. The following is an excellent article that was published by Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide.


We’ve written before about how physician-assisted suicide [PAS]actually plays out and how undignified it really is for patients.

In that piece, we detail the typical prescription a patient receives to kill themselves – between 90-100 pills (9-10 grams) of a barbiturate called Seconal. For a drug that is normally prescribed in doses of 100 mg (1 pill) for people who have trouble sleeping, a 90-100 pill dose taken all within an hour can only be described as an intentional overdose or poison.

What is often overlooked is that this intentional overdose, the suicide drugs, is often not taken right away, if at all by the patient who requested them. We know from PAS supporters public statements that patients take comfort in having the suicide drugs at the ready but may never take them. And we know from Oregon’s state data that hundreds of patients die before taking the pills. This situation creates a dangerous scenario for accidental or intentional ingestion of the deadly pills by someone other than the patient.

The first paragraph in a recent Baltimore Sun article says all we need to know about how people are currently treating deadly drugs in their own homes:
“Parents are leaving their opioid prescriptions out in the open, on counters and dressers, inadvertently giving children, especially teenagers, easy access to the pills, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.”
The abuse of opioids has received an incredible amount of attention by the media recently and for good reason. Yet, even with growing opioid addiction rates in Maryland, Johns Hopkins researchers found that a large majority of parents (70%) are not taking any precautions to safely store opioids in homes with children under 17.

The article goes onto note:
“Many teenagers will see an easily accessible pill bottle as a chance to experiment with the drug for the first time, or use it recreationally under the assumption that it’s safe because it was prescribed by a doctor. The easy early access increases their chance of addiction, the researchers said.”
If parents with small children in their home are not taking precautions to prevent abuse of opioids, it’s easy to see how an elderly, terminal patient would take no precautions to ensure their suicide drugs do not fall into the wrong hands.

House Bill 370 and Senate Bill 354 make no attempt to prevent this type of abuse. It’s one more example of a complete lack of safeguards included in this bill.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Mother Situation: Award winning comic short film about euthanasia is a hit.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Mother Situation won first
prize at the Tropfest film festival
After all the recent films promoting euthanasia, it is interesting how The Mother Situation won first prize in the Tropfest film festival in Australia. Tropfest is the world's largest short film festival.

Link to The Mother Situation

Warning: This film contains swearing.

Director, Matt Day, insists that he supports euthanasia and that this is not an anti-euthanasia film, yet The Mother Situation is a comic film that casts doubt on the effectiveness of "safeguards" concerning euthanasia.

Film is a powerful cultural medium.

Recently a euthanasia advocate changed her mind after watching The Euthanasia Deception documentary with her grandson. The Euthanasia Deception documentary is produced by The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and DunnMedia.

EPC is committed to producing films for social change at: www.vulnerablefilms.com.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dr Peter Saunders speech to the New Zealand Parliament Health Select Committee on Assisted Suicide

The following is the speech by Dr Peter Saunders, representing the Care Not Killing Alliance, to the New Zealand Health Select Committee on Assisted Suicide.

New Zealand Parliament
I have just given oral evidence on behalf of Care Not Killing to the New Zealand Parliament’s Health Select Committee on assisted suicide.

The committee has received a petition requesting, ‘That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.’

The petition asks for a change to existing law. Therefore the committee is undertaking an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand focusing on four main questions: 
  1. The factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life. 
  2. The effectiveness of services and support available to those who desire to end their own lives.
  3. The attitudes of New Zealanders towards the ending of one's life and the current legal situation.
  4. International experiences. The committee will seek to hear from all interested groups and individuals. 
Dr Peter Saunders -
Care Not Killing Alliance
Here is what I said:
Dr Peter Saunders

Thank you for this opportunity to give evidence to the select committee.
I represent Care Not Killing which is a UK alliance of about 40 organisations spanning healthcare, law, disability rights, education and faith groups which in turn represent several hundred thousand people. We were established in 2005 and seek to promote better palliative care and ensure that existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are not weakened or repealed.

I’m a New Zealand citizen but have lived in the UK for 28 years.

I trained in medicine in Auckland and specialised in general surgery and my day job here is as the chief executive of one of CNK’s 40 member groups, the Christian Medical Fellowship, which itself has over 5,000 medically qualified members.

I’ve been campaigning against the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia for 12 years during which time we’ve had 10 attempts to change the law through British Parliaments all of which have failed.

I’ve also got skin in the game. My grandfather died from an aggressive cancer with spinal secondaries with pain that was very difficult to control and my father died from a very rapidly progressive dementia, both in Auckland. I’ve just been back to NZ with my wife over Christmas to place her elderly parents, both retired doctors aged 91 and 89, with dementia and Parkinson’s respectively, into an excellent private hospital in Auckland.

So my interest is professional and political but also personal.

The most recent attempt to change the law in Britain was in September 2015, when the Marris Bill, which attempted to legalise assisted suicide for the terminally ill, was defeated in the House of Commons by a 3 to 1 margin - 330 votes to 118.

MPs dealt the bill a resounding defeat largely driven by concerns about the risks it posed to vulnerable people who would have felt under pressure to end their lives.

A majority of both Conservative and Labour MPs voted against the bill. This is hugely significant as it signals that assisted suicide is not a simple left/right political issue here. In fact suicide prevention and protection of vulnerable people from exploitation and abuse resonate strongly with left of centre politicians because of their concern for disabled people’s groups and for those less able to access good healthcare.

Our case against the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia is that it is dangerous, uncontrollable and unnecessary.

It’s dangerous because any law allowing it will inevitably place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives in fear of being a burden upon relatives, carers or a state that is short of resources.

Especially vulnerable are those who are elderly, disabled, sick or mentally ill. The right to die can so easily become the duty to die.

It’s uncontrollable because any law allowing it will be subject to incremental extension. We’ve seen in jurisdictions like Belgium and the Netherlands that over time you see a shift from terminal conditions to chronic conditions, from physical illnesses to mental illnesses and from adults to children.

The essential problem is that the two major arguments for euthanasia - that is, autonomy and compassion - can be applied to a very wide range of people. This means that any law which attempts to limit it, for arguments sake to mentally competent people who are terminally ill, will in time be open to challenge under equality legislation.

It is unnecessary because requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide are extremely rare when people’s physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs are adequately met. In other words, you should kill the pain not the patient. Britain was recently ranked number one in palliative care in the Economist magazine. But we still have some way to go in making this high-quality palliative care fully accessible to all.

So, in summary the best law is one like New Zealand and Britain’s current law, that gives blanket prohibition on all assisted suicide and euthanasia. This will deter exploitation and abuse through the penalties that it holds in reserve, but at the same time give some discretion to prosecutors and judges to temper justice with mercy in hard cases. The current law has both a stern face and a kind heart and does not need changing. We have an aphorism in surgery, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Leaving the law as it is will mean that some people who desperately wish help to end their lives will not have access to such a service. But part of living in a free democratic society is that we recognise that personal autonomy is not absolute. That’s precisely why we have laws. We must not allow so-called freedoms which will at the same time undermine or endanger the reasonable freedoms of others. And one of the primary roles of government is to protect the most vulnerable even sometimes at the expense of not giving liberties to the desperate.

I wanted, finally, to make some brief comments about the four questions raised by the consultation.
First, on factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life, we know that 90% of those who commit suicide suffer from some form of mental illness including depression, bipolar disorder,
borderline personality disorder and alcohol and drug misuse. We know that in Oregon, in 2013 despite 26% of assisted suicide cases meeting the clinical criteria for depression, less than 3% of them had a psychiatric assessment.

But even more striking was the fact that most people making use of Oregon’s death with dignity act in 2016 - the figures came out just three weeks ago - cited existential or spiritual symptoms as their reason. 89.5% cited loss of autonomy, an identical percentage cited being less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable and 65% loss of dignity. Pain, or even concern about it, did not feature in the top five.

More worryingly 48.9% cited being a burden on family, friends or caregivers. The equivalent figure in neighbouring Washington state the year before was 52%. I would submit that it is an abuse of medicine to treat fear of the future or loss of meaning and hope with lethal injections or draughts of barbiturates. The best response to existential suffering is to do all we can to restore hope and allay fear by caring for the needs of the whole person.

Second, in terms of the effectiveness of services and support available to those who might wish to end their own lives, people contemplating death from a progressive terminal illness will understandably experience fear and anxiety and may in rare cases consider suicide.

These fears can be heightened by high-profile media cases, especially those involving celebrities – we call it suicide contagion or the Werther effect. But we know that only a very tiny minority have persistent ongoing death requests once they have experienced what proper support and good palliative care can offer. Rob George, former president of the Association for palliative medicine in Britain said that after a lifetime of managing over 20,000 dying patients, he could count on the fingers of one hand those who still wanted assisted suicide or euthanasia after receiving good palliative care.

This is why every Royal Medical College in Britain along with the British Medical Association is opposed to any change in the law. And those who are closest to the dying patient, namely geriatricians and those in palliative medicine, are most opposed for two main reasons. They know how to treat the symptoms of dying people effectively, and they understand the vulnerability of dying patients better than anyone else.

Third, with respect to the attitude of New Zealanders to change the law, in most Western countries approximately three out of four will be in favour of legalisation in opinion polls depending on how the question is framed. However, these opinions tend to be reflex rather than considered and largely uninformed about the complexities involved. Our experience in Britain has been that when legislators have been able to consider the arguments carefully they have invariably opted not to legalise.

Strikingly, when ordinary people are given the arguments against they too will change their minds. In 2014, 73% of the general public was supportive of Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill. However, this reduced to 43% once they heard the five major arguments against it. These were:
  • People may feel pressurised to end their life so as not to burden loved ones 
  • There’s been a steady rise in assisted suicide in places where it has been legalised 
  • End-of-life care may worsen, given its cost, as against of lethal drugs 
  • Major disability rights groups oppose a change in the law 
  • The majority of doctors oppose it including the BMA and Royal College of GPs 
Finally, with respect to international experiences of legalisation the frightening consequences in Belgium and the Netherlands are well-publicised and well known and played a major role in convincing British legislators. Every year, with each new report from Belgium or Holland, our job gets easier. The recent story of a female Dutch doctor drugging the coffee of a patient with dementia and then asking her family to hold her down as she fought while being given a lethal injection, is a poignant case in point.

But I want to draw your attention to what’s happening in a jurisdiction with far more modest legislation. And to this end we will send you a copy of our brochure “don’t make Oregon’s mistake” as supplementary evidence.
  • In Oregon there’s been a steady increase in annual numbers of people undergoing assisted suicide -more than 500% over 19 years.
  • The Oregon health department is funding assisted suicide but not treatment for some cancer patients
  • Patients are living for in some cases many years after having been prescribed lethal drugs showing that the eligibility criteria for terminal illness are being stretched
  • The vast majority of those choosing to kill themselves are doing so for existential reasons large rather than on the basis of real medical symptoms
  • Many give “fear of being a burden on others” as the reason for ending their lives
  • Fewer than one in 20 patients are being referred for formal psychiatric or psychological evaluation
  • A substantial number of patients dying under the Oregon act do not have terminal illnesses
  • Some doctors know the patient for less than a week before prescribing the lethal drugs.
We would urge the New Zealand Parliament if it comes to consider legislation on this issue, not to proceed with it but rather to focus on suicide prevention and on providing better care and support.

Thank you very much for your time.

Montana assisted suicide vote defeated in error.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



For the past few years Montana has faced a confusing situation with respect to assisted suicide. In 2009, the Baxter court decision declared that Montana citizens had a right to assisted suicide. The Baxter decision was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court that decided that Montana citizens do not have a right to assisted suicide but even though the Court did not overturn the statute protecting Montana citizens from assisted suicide the Court did grant a tightly worded defense of consent, if a physician was prosecuted for assisted suicide.
Since the Montana Supreme Court decision, the assisted suicide lobby has claimed that assisting a suicide is legal in Montana, but in fact assisted suicide is technically prohibited.

This year Rep Brad Tschida introduced House Bill 365 that stated consent is not a defense in assisting a suicide. HB 365 would have clarified that assisting a suicide is prohibited in Montana.

Last Wednesday, HB 365 failed on the final vote in a 50 to 50 tie vote, and yet HB 365 had the votes to pass. According to the Missoulian Rep Peggy Webb accidentally voted against HB 365 on the final vote.

“It was a mistake,” said Rep. Peggy Webb, R-Billings, who changed from a vote for the bill Tuesday to a vote against Wednesday. “I hit yes and then thought, ‘No, I don’t want assisted suicide,’ and changed the vote. It was too late to change it back.” Her vote went from yes to no. 
Votes can’t be changed if they would alter the outcome of the vote, which was the case with Webb's vote. House Bill 365 was carried by Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula.
Considering the fact that the media is constantly brainwashing the public with the message that Americans want assisted suicide, it is a sad reality that HB 365 died on a failed vote.

Thank you to the Montanans Against Assisted Suicide for all of their work.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Euthanasia advocate changes her mind after watching the Euthanasia Deception documentary

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I am so pleased to share the latest great news. 
Watch the interview with Shane Johnson:



I recently met Shane at an training event that we organized in Washington DC. Shane attended the event to share with us his gratitude concerning his grandmother, who had been a member of the Hemlock society, a group that is now known as Compassion and Choices, but has now changed her mind. 

Shane and his grandmother watched the Euthanasia Deception documentary together. While watching the documentary, Shane's grandmother flipped 180 degrees and changed her mind about euthanasia.

Shane is so grateful that his grandmother saw the Euthanasia Deception documentary since she had been an active supporter of euthanasia and assisted suicide most of her life. 

Order the Euthanasia Deception documentary today for $30 for 1 copy or $100 for 4 copies (+ tax) (further bulk orders are available) from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition by calling: 1-877-439-3348 by email: info@epcc.ca or at: www.vulnerablefilm.com.

I am also pleased to announce that a bilingual version (french subtitles) is now available for ordering.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has distributed almost 2800 copies of the Euthanasia Deception documentary on DVD and there have also been many downloads on Vimeo.

Oregon bill would extend assisted suicide to euthanasia of incompetent people.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



The Oregon Senate is currently debating Bill S.B. 893 that would expand assisted suicide to incompetent people who stated in a valid advanced directive, while competent, a wish to die by lethal drugs and the bill permits euthanasia.

The bill officially also legalizes euthanasia. 


Senate Bill 893 states:
SECTION 3. An expressly identified agent may collect medications dispensed under ORS 127.815 (1)(L)(B)(ii) and administer the medications to the patient in the manner prescribed by the attending physician if:  
(1) The patient lawfully executed an advance directive in the manner provided by ORS 127.505 to 127.660;  
(2) The patient’s advance directive designates the expressly identified agent as the person who is authorized to perform the actions described in this section;  
(3) The patient’s advance directive includes an instruction that, if the patient ceases to be capable after medication has been prescribed pursuant to ORS 127.800 to 127.897, the expressly identified agent is authorized to collect and to administer to the patient the prescribed medication;  
(4) The medication was prescribed pursuant to ORS 127.800 to 127.897; and 
(5) The patient ceases to be capable.
The bill enables the doctor to administer the "medications" to the patient. To administer a lethal dose to an incompetent person requires the legalization of euthanasia.

Another Oregon Bill is designed to starve and dehydrate incompetent people to death. 

In Oregon, the Senate is debating SB 494 that appears to simply replace the current advanced directives legislation, but in fact it is designed to encourage the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition and hydration (food and water) from people who are incompetent but not dying. 

Compassion and Choices appears to be expanding Oregon's assisted suicide program to incompetent people and to euthanasia (lethal injection) through the back door.

Oregon Senate Bill 893 will be debated in the Senate Committee on Healthcare.

The 2016 Oregon death with dignity act report indicates that there is also a problem with under-reporting of assisted suicide. According to the 2016 Oregon report there were 133 reported assisted suicide deaths and 204 reported lethal prescriptions. The 2016 official Oregon report also states that the ingestion status was unknown in 10 of the deaths.

German court approves access to suicide drugs.

Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have sad news. Yesterday Germany's federal court decided that "in extreme circumstances" the refusal of a suicide drug is illegal.

According to a DW news story:
The purchase of deadly drugs in Germany is forbidden, but the court found that the right of self-determination meant there should be exceptions for extreme cases "if, because of their intolerable life situation, they had freely and seriously decided to end their lives" and if there were no palliative-medical alternatives.
The German Foundation for the Protection of Patients opposed the decision. DW news reported:
The German Foundation for the Protection of Patients said the judgment was "a blow to the cause of suicide prevention in Germany". Board member Eugen Brysch said the definition of "what an intolerable condition of suffering is remains open." Suffering is "neither objectively measurable nor legally universally defined."
Germany's federal court has opened the door to the legalization of assisted suicide. It is very sad how we forget our history and once again give legal power to allow one person to be involved with causing the death of others.

In November 2015 the German Bundestag passed a law prohibiting the commercialization of assisted suicideOn January 27, 2017, the German Bundestag honoured the victims of the German euthanasia program.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jewish position on assisted suicide in America.

The following statement was published by the Jewish Times on February 21.


The Rabbinical Alliance of America (RAA/Igud) has issued the following statement, authored by prominent rabbi and physician, Rav Aaron E. Glatt, MD.

Halachah absolutely forbids the active taking of life, regardless of the “quality of that life” as perceived by ever-changing social and or secular mores.

Jewish law sanctions forsaking of additional life-prolonging treatment and passively permitting a patient to pass away under specific circumstances. However, this is usually only considered towards the end of life for a suffering patient, and only after consultation with a knowledgeable rabbinical authority.

“Comfort care” and discontinuation of active treatment is usually only a consideration when there is no medical expectation of palliation or cure, and especially if the patient is suffering with a terminal condition. Likewise, DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders are permissible under the appropriate halachicconditions after rabbinical discussion and approval. Every effort must always be made to relieve pain and suffering through aggressive therapeutic means. But under no circumstance is active euthanasia ever permitted, no matter how noble the intentions of the involved parties.

Therefore, even with a mentally competent suffering patient’s request and a willing physician partner, physician-assisted suicide, so-called “mercy killing,” is essentially an act of retzichah (murder) and is absolutely forbidden by all halachic authorities.

• • •

Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, member of the (RAA/IGUD) presidium, affirms that the New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide has the full support of the RAA, as it is in conformance with the Seven Universal Laws of Noah, a code that applies to all of humanity without exception. Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice president of the RAA, declared that the campaign to defeat the Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bill A2270 is an important one for all who value the sanctity of life.

The RAA/IGUD, founded in 1942, is a professional rabbinical organization representing over 850 rabbis in North America.

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