LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Netherlands – Surgeons develop domestic organ donation

An indignant letter to JAMA Surgery by two surgeons from a hospital in the Netherlands developed domestic organ donation after euthanasia as a “newly introduced, donor-friendly donation procedure”. The patient is sedated and intubated at home where he lapses from consciousness surrounded by his family. Then he is taken, unconscious, to the hospital in an ambulance, euthanised, and operated on. There is no clarity on how often this happens. So why are the surgeons indignant? Because a 2020 article in JAMA Surgery had suggested that the best-practice location for organ donor euthanasia is the hospital. More

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Canada – Doctor realizes how disabled people are nudged to be euthanized

Corrina Iampen, a Canadian doctor-turned-patient after an accident left her paralyzed, who never opposed euthanasia, now feels very concerned about euthanasia and its practical application. For young and elderly patients who suddenly find themselves having to come to terms with a new disability which makes them vulnerable at this time, euthanasia can be overwhelmingly tempting, especially when good support is unavailable. Hospital staff can make disabled patients feel like a burden through their lack of interest to improve the quality of life before offering euthanasia. Corrina is also concerned about Bill C-7 which expands euthanasia in Canada especially for people with disabilities. Disability rights activists have criticized the bill calling it discriminatory to offer death to the disabled but not to people without disabilities.

She is not alone in her concerns about this expansion. In 2017, a 42-year-old man suffering from an incurable neurological condition spent more than 2 years at the London, Ontario, Hospital where he secretly recorded staff who repeatedly offering him euthanasia while his request for self-directed care were denied. In 2019, doctors were criticized for euthanizing a physically healthy but depressed 61-year-old British Columbia man. His family members said he was not of sound mind and begged him not to go through with the procedure. Another Canadian doctor, Naheed Dosani, a University of Toronto-affiliated palliative care specialist who cares for homeless people from a mobile unit, testified before the senate on February 1, saying that euthanasia is far easier to access than actual help to improve people’s lives. He said that people who’ve pursued euthanasia do so because they’ve experienced marginalization. More / Chronically ill man releases audio of hospital staff offering assisted death / Dr. Naheed Dosani Testifies at Senate on Bill C-7.

South Africa – High Court to hear terminally ill patient and doctor request for euthanasia

Susan Walter, a palliative care specialist and her patient Diethelm Harck have both been diagnosed with terminal diseases and hope to persuade Johannesburg High Court Judge Raylene Keightly to develop the law to allow euthanasia. The matter was heard on 22 February. They accuse the law as it stands and the HPCSA of impinging on their right to dignity and right to live and die as they choose. Stranger arguments have been heard in court before. The problem with their argument and accusation of Christian values being imposed is that the same values are held by the Islamic, Hinduism, and Buddhist culture, most people feel life is sacred. Usually people desperate to end their lives do not really waste time with court battles over their right to die. When looking to countries that have gone ahead of South Africa in legalizing euthanasia, it becomes clear that the practice is nothing more than legalized psychological abuse, because now the disabled, the elderly and the ones deemed to be “burdens” on a society are made to feel like they are better off dead by those grown cold at heart. Belgium’s nurses for example admit to euthanizing patients without their consent, and a wife from Texas lost her disabled husband to a doctor’s decision of euthanasia without her consent because the doctor said he wasn’t like “walking and talking people”. All this happened despite the so-called ‘safeguards’ promised by euthanasia advocates, that would prevent these concerns. If this is what happens in First world countries, what can a developing country like South Africa expect, worse? More / COVID-19 patient was black and paralyzed, so doctors decided his life wasn’t worth saving / Warning to Britain as almost half of Belgium’s euthanasia nurses admit to killing without consent

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

UK – Human Rights Experts alarmed at growing trend seeking euthanasia for the disabled

United Nations Human Rights experts expressed alarm at a growing trend to legalise euthanasia based largely on having a disability or disabling conditions, including in old age. They said that Disability should never be a ground or justification to end someone’s life directly or indirectly. This, the experts said, that normalizing euthanasia for the people who are not terminally ill or suffering at the end of their lives would give rise to discriminative assumptions about the inherent “quality of life” or “worth” of the life of a person with a disability. Such assumptions are grounded in ableism and associated stereotypes. Disability is not a burden or a deficit of the person. It is a universal aspect of the human condition. Article, UN Statement.

Belgium – New study finds euthanasia ethically broken in Belgium

A new study in The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy has argued that Belgian euthanasia is ethically broken, both administratively and legally. The study draws on thoroughly researched academic research over the past 20 years and the reports of the control commission itself. The authors three main assertions are; the scope of the Euthanasia Law

That has stretched from being used for serious and incurable illnesses to cover tiredness of life. Tiredness of life is not supported by Belgian law but doctors circumvent the law by diagnosing “polypathology”– a jumble of ailments which nearly every elderly person has. This represented 19.4% of all reported euthanasia cases in 2019 and a “staggering” 47% of all reported nonterminal cases.

“Second, the obligatory consultation of one or two independent physicians may fail to provide a real safeguard. Their tasks are quite limited, and, more importantly, their advice is not binding anyway. The final authority to perform euthanasia lies with the attending physician who can perform it even against the (negative) advice of the consulted physicians.” For example: If euthanasia is requested for a psychiatric condition, a psychiatrist should be consulted. However, if the patient has another condition, it can be redefined as “polypathology” and a GP can approve it, eliminating the need for a psychiatric consultation.

Third, “The Commission is unable to check the fulfilment of various legal criteria, and it has substantial authority to (re) interpret the Euthanasia Law as it sees fit.” In fact, “the Commission does not seem to act as a filter between physicians who perform euthanasia and the Public Prosecutor, but instead as a shield that prevents potentially problematic cases from being referred.”

Conflict of interest is baked into the composition of the 16-member evaluation committee. Eight of them must be doctors and many of them, including the chairman, Wim Distelmans, perform euthanasia regularly. So they end up checking each other’s files for irregularities. They are supposed to recuse themselves if one of their own cases comes up – but they don’t. The Commission’s track record illustrates its ineffectiveness. In 18 years of legalisation, only one case was referred to the Public Prosecutor and it was so obviously in breach of the law that referral was needed to keep up appearances. Article, study.

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Spain – Signs death sentence for the weakest

Euthanasia or Physician-assisted suicide is already legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, several US states, and Western Australia and Spanish lawmakers are joining them. During the recent parliamentary debate in Madrid, some members saw this move as a step forward in civil rights bringing more liberty to citizens. On the other hand, it was said how euthanasia amounted to “signing death sentences for the weakest.” The law says that patients must be given full information about their condition, including palliative care & any other alternative options available. The request to commit suicide via a doctor must also be given in writing and then repeated 15-days later. Doctors are also permitted to refuse providing Euthanasia.

A poll showed the majority of Spaniards supported the right of someone to choose such a death, if only they knew what is taking place in countries that have gone ahead of them, the feeling would be different. In Belgium nurses admitted to euthanizing patients without their consent. A mother in Argentina wanted to kill her son who has cerebral palsy because she’s exhausted and fed up with caring for him. In the Netherlands, a woman seeking help, and not death, with post-traumatic stress disorder was told she met the criteria to be euthanized on her first appointment. In Canada, a wife lost a lawsuit to prevent her husband’s death by euthanasia, another incident described a psychiatrist in Oregon who determined that an elderly woman with dementia was mentally unable to consent to assisted suicide, and believed her daughter was pushing for it, but it happened anyway. In USA, Texas a disabled, 46-year old African American man named Michael Hickson, was euthanized without his consent or that of his wife. The doctor said it was better to euthanize Michael because he is paralyzed and not like “walking and talking people.” Studies on why the elderly is seeking Euthanasia reveal how fear of being a burden to the family, and depending on others, loss of quality of life are motivations for euthanasia. Another tragic incident where a Canadian elderly woman was euthanized because she feared the loneliness that comes with lockdown! If Spaniards knew the underreported and ignored cases like these, they would see that Euthanasia is not about helping people, it’s about pressuring them to die when their quality of life would get in the way of society

More:

Argentine mother seeks to euthanize son who has cerebral palsy

Wife Loses Lawsuit to Prevent Husband’s Euthanasia

COVID-19 patient was black and paralyzed, so doctors decided his life wasn’t worth saving

Dutch mental health patient angry at euthanasia offer

Warning to Britain as almost half of Belgium’s euthanasia nurses admit to killing without consent

Elderly Canadian woman euthanized because she feared loneliness during lockdown

Assisted dying round-up

Spanish Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Switzerland – Let’s vulnerable, healthy 87-year-old man die

Those who end up committing suicide are generally people who are clinically depressed, a biochemical dysfunction that can be treated. Suicide among people with serious handicaps are almost non-existent. Patients usually tell others their wish to die but whether they continue to feel this way and request or commit suicide is heavily influenced by the type of response they receive. Kees Kentie, an 87-year-old man, with the help of a new euthanasia organisation, died by euthanasia. He was not terminally ill, just frail, tired of life and feared increased decline of his health and sought to stay in control until the end. What if Kees waited? perhaps he would have met a group of encouraging friends who would not only help him if things got difficult but who would make him feel that life is indeed worth living for? What was it that made Kees so tired of life that he wanted to die hopeless? More

Netherlands – Factors that influence rates of euthanasia requests

An analysis of health insurance claims data, published online in the journal British Medical Journal Supportive & Palliative Care shows a 7-fold unexplained variation in rates of euthanasia across The Netherlands. Euthanasia has doubled and is on a continuous rise since the country legalized it fully in 2002. 85% of all euthanasia cases were carried out by family doctors. Age, church attendance, political orientation, income, subjectively assessed health, and availability of community volunteers all emerged as potentially influential factors. Euthanasia was at its lowest in regions with churchgoers and also in regions with high percentage of community volunteers. Progressive political views and higher household income and good self-reported mental and physical health were associated with higher rates of euthanasia, researchers suggest that the healthy may be more inclined to ask for assistance in dying when they do suffer. Article, Study.

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Belgium – Investigates alleged illegal euthanasia deaths

Belgium officials are investigating around ten euthanasia cases which may not have murder. In an anonymous letter to the public prosecutor, they say: “Our family member passed away two years ago, and we were told that euthanasia was presumed to have been carried out without the doctors informing us or following the necessary procedure. This is a very traumatic experience for us.” Two doctors were named in the letter. Belgium’s chief euthanasia overseer says that not every case of euthanasia gets reported to the committee, as it should, and doctors freely admit that. Potential for abuse was the among the concerns of euthanasia opponents and cases like these prove their concerns were right about the slippery slope. More

South Africa – New legal challenge attempts to legalise euthanasia

A new legal challenge was instituted in the Johannesburg High Court in August 2017 in an attempt to legalise physician assisted suicide (PAS) and active voluntary euthanasia (PAE). Currently, South African law deems these acts are prohibited and are treated either as murder or culpable homicide. The new case is expected to proceed to trial in early 2021 and Cause For Justice (CFJ) will be contributing to the case by legal arguments. CFJ’s main concern is that legalized euthanasia will result in a “cultural shift and slippery slope towards acceptance of death as a solution to human pain and suffering” (which has been the case in countries that have legalized it). See Fatal Flaws Documentary. More, Fatal Flaws.

Netherlands – Doctors can sedate dementia patients before euthanizing them

Doctor no longer have to agree with a patient on the time or manner in which euthanasia will be given, sedation is permissible if a patient is unable to communicate or becomes disturbed, agitated or aggressive in cases of severe dementia. Family members no longer need to be consulted either. This came when a doctor sedated a 74-year-old patient without her knowledge before killing her, was cleared of wrongdoing. Dutch euthanasia doctor Bert Keizer admitted that “those who embark on euthanasia venture down a slippery slope along which you irrevocably slide down to the random killing of defenceless sick people”. More

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

South Africa – Dignity SA lies to Minister of Health about Euthanasia

DignitySA (DSA) is a group that advocates for physician assisted suicide on patients that seek to end their life. DSA makes their case about “intolerable suffering” which should be the reason for anyone to choose to die by euthanasia. In a petition to the Minister of Health, DSA states that “Twenty-five years of incontestable data prove that the safeguards to protect the vulnerable in Oregon have never been breached.” A recent study from Oregon however, shows that most Americans do not choose euthanasia because of pain and suffering, but rather that they choose euthanasia because they fear pain and suffering. Dr Benoit Beuselinck MD, PhD, Oncologist, from Belgium says that “We can manage All pain with palliative care, including palliative sedation where we can manage all symptoms.” The American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, The World Medical Association, all reject Doctor Assisted Suicide. There is no reason for South Africa to believe killing someone at their lowest point in life should constitute the right to die, bottom line is, pain can be managed.

Evidence suggests that in countries where euthanasia was legalized, so-called safeguards indeed were breached for example; In Canada, a wife lost a lawsuit to prevent her husband’s death by euthanasia, another incident described a psychiatrist in Oregon who determined that an elderly woman with dementia was mentally unable to consent to assisted suicide, and believed her daughter was pushing for it, but it happened anyway. In USA, Texas a disabled, 46-year old African American man named Michael Hickson, was euthanized without his consent or that of his wife. The doctor said it was better to euthanize Michael because he is paralyzed and not like “walking and talking people.” In Belgium, nurses admitted to euthanizing patients without their consent. Safeguards were breached wherever euthanasia was legalized, South Africa can expect the same result when learning from those countries who have gone before us. DignitySA, wife looses lawsuit to prevent husbands euthanasia, doctors didn’t try to save a black covid-19 patient who was paralyzed, Belgian euthanasia nurses admit to killing without consent.

UK – Over 50 palliative care doctors resist introducing assisted suicide

In a letter to media group called The Times, over fifty palliative care doctors called attention to a recent British Medical Association survey on assisted suicide which shows that 84% of doctors in palliative medicine would not be willing to perform euthanasia on a patient should the law ever change. The doctors pointed out that “Every legislature that allows ‘safeguarded’ assisted dying has seen its safeguards breached, starkly illustrating the gap between principle and practice.” In the Netherlands, for example, reports indicate that the requirement for explicit consent is frequently ignored, as is the required reporting of all instances of euthanasia. Motivations for assisted suicide as seen in countries that have already legalised the practice, are social and not medical. more

UK – Committing Suicide is reason enough to travel abroad

Britain has entered a second period of hard lockdown to avert a wave of Covid-19 patients swamping hospitals. Holiday travel overseas is banned. However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that visiting the Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas will be permitted, as an exception. This forces people who need hope not suicide to believe that life is better if we’re dead. It is heart breaking to see how governments dismiss their citizens in desperate situations by affirming their misguided beliefs of being better off dead. This is no positive solution to any problem. Read more

Canada – Assisted Suicide saves money PBO Report suggests

Since Canada’s laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide became legal in 2016, health-care costs have dropped millions of dollars, according to a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report. Although this could sound grotesquely utilitarian, it stresses that these savings should “in no way be interpreted” to suggest that assisted dying be used to reduce health-care costs. But it does, and it sends a message to the elderly and disabled, or terminally ill, that being alive any longer would mean that they are costing their families money. In Belgium, deaths rose from 0.2% of all deaths to 2.4% in 16 years. Canada expects a rise from 0.3% to 2.6% in just five years. Read more

Canada – Euthanasia in prisons slammed by ombudsman

Canada’s prison ombudsman has recommended an absolute ban on providing euthanasia inside a federal penitentiary. Ivan Zinger acknowledged there have been three known cases of doctor-assisted death in federal prisons. The first case involved a “non-violent recidivist” serving a two-year sentence. It would seem that this man ‘chose’ euthanasia not because that was his ‘wish,’ but rather because every other option had been denied, extinguished or not even contemplated. Hopelessness, despair, lack of choice and alternatives are issues magnified in prison. Seeking euthanasia in the community and providing euthanasia behind prison walls is not the same and Zinger suggests that the government should set up an expert committee to consider the ethical and practical concerns in providing euthanasia in prisons. Read more

UK – Leading Palliative Care doctor opposes euthanasia

In a letter to The Times, Dr Carol Davis, Lead Consultant of Palliative Medicine at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, criticised the conflation of assisted suicide and palliative care. She said that “most patients do ‘let go quietly’, dying peacefully of their illness. Their doctors know they have a duty of care to provide effective symptom control and care as life ends. But that’s a completely different matter from giving dying patients lethal drugs”. She emphasised that good “clinical care is a partnership between patient and doctor”, where they cannot simply impose demands on each other, adding: “Doctor-patient dialogue isn’t just another customer-supplier relationship”. Earlier this month, a survey revealed that a majority of doctors in the British Medical Association (BMA) do not want to give patients life-ending drugs. Read more

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

World – Assisted dying round-up

In New Zealand the public will vote on voluntary euthanasia on October 17. In nine US states and the District of Columbia assisted suicide is legal. Some political observers believe that the Bay State could become the tenth. In Portugal earlier this year the parliament passed measures to permit euthanasia but got held up by an appeal for a referendum and will be worked out in October. In Austria four people are challenging the Constitutional Court on the euthanasia ban, the court will decide before the end of the year. In Ireland the issue of legalizing euthanasia is being debated but currently delayed until next year to grant time to parliament to study the issue. In Tasmania, the parliament of the Australian state is also still debating the merits of euthanasia. The suggested bill is the fourth in ten years. Previous bills failed in 2010, 2013 and 2017.

Let’s take a look at what happens when euthanasia is legalized; Argentine mother seeks to euthanize son who has cerebral palsy because she’s exhausted and fed up with caring for him. In the Netherlands, a woman seeking help with post-traumatic stress disorder was told she met the criteria to be euthanized on her first appointment. She was angry at this offer and said Yes, I’m broken, but I want to become whole again. I’m asking for help to get better, not for death!”. In Canada, a wife lost a lawsuit to prevent her husband’s death by euthanasia, another incident described a psychiatrist in Oregon who determined that an elderly woman with dementia was mentally unable to consent to assisted suicide, and believed her daughter was pushing for it, but it happened anyway. In USA, Texas a disabled, 46-year old African American man named Michael Hickson, was euthanized without his consent or that of his wife. The doctor said it was better to euthanize Michael because he is paralyzed and not like “walking and talking people.” In Belgium, nurses admitted to euthanizing patients without their consent. The future for many citizens in a country that legalizes euthanasia looks very grim when one considers the above accounts of ordinary people. Read extracts taken from: BioEdge, NewsBreak, National review, NY Post, Christian Post UK, Daily Mail

Netherlands – Seeks to extend euthanasia to children

The Netherlands Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge, announced that their government will amend or re-interpret the euthanasia law to permit child euthanasia to help terminally ill sick children between one and twelve. Currently, Netherlands euthanasia law permits euthanasia for children as young as 12, when parents or guardians consent; and for disabled newborns. People over the age of 16 are considered adults and can therefore provide consent to euthanasia. The recommendation comes as experts found that a small group of children may be suffering because doctors fear the consequences of actions to hasten their deaths. A petition by citizenGo is circulating in opposition to this and has gathered over 20,000 signatures. Read more

Belgium – The ‘downside’ to euthanasia is swept under the rug

Three children euthanized in Belgium, one being an 11 year-old with cystic fibrosis (CF). This congenital respiratory disease is incurable and fatal, but modern treatments enable many patients to enjoy high quality of life well into their 30s or even beyond. A member of the euthanasia commission resigned in protest because it refused to recommend prosecution when a woman with dementia who had not requested euthanasia was nevertheless put to death at her family’s request. Since then, 360 Belgian doctors, academics and others have signed a petition calling for tighter controls on euthanasia for psychiatric patients. While debating assisted suicide legislation in the UK, one sponsor of the assisted suicide bill watched Fatal Flaws (a film that questions the so-called compassion around euthanasia) and had a change of mind. The next day he stood up in the legislature and said that he changed his mind after watching Fatal Flaws. Guernsey then defeated the assisted suicide bill by 24 to 14.

Sadly, under-reporting of euthanasia and euthanasia without request is common in Belgium. Lethally injecting people without request are considered criminal acts in every jurisdiction in the world, but under the banner of assisted death these acts becomes a difficult but necessary part of protecting the “human right” to kill in a post-post-modern society. (this article was written in 2018) Read more, Watch Fatal Flaws

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Australia – Assisted dying explodes in Victoria

In Victoria, a progress report from the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, shows that ten times more people than expected have chosen to end their lives in the first full year of 2017. According to the report people seeking euthanasia were aged between 32 and 100, with an average of 71-44% being female, and 55% male. Unbearable pain was not a major factor amongst the reasons for requesting assisted dying. In fact, the word “pain” was only mentioned once, and no percentages were given. The common reasons for euthanasia includes being less able to engage in activities that make life enjoyable, losing control of body functions, and loss of dignity. Such reports show how euthanasia increasingly cultivates a culture where anything goes and people can commit suicide for any reason. Read more

Argentine – Argentine mother seeks to euthanize son who has cerebral palsy

These are two examples of how euthanasia can be used for the wrong reasons. Argentine woman Brinocoli is asking to be allowed to kill her 22- year old son who has cerebral palsy even though he is not dying or terminally ill. She says she’s exhausted and fed up with caring for Adrian. Another parent from Canada murdered his daughter Tracy because she had cerebral palsy, claiming that she was suffering in pain and misery, even though she was known to have been a cheerful, happy girl who lived games, parties, and pets. After killing his daughter, Latimer was given, in essence, a slap on the wrist, and is seen by many as a hero in Canada for ending Tracy’s “suffering”. Many people in society believe life with disability is not worth living. A parent who kills their disabled child is portrayed as a martyr, while one who kills a healthy child is rightly portrayed as a murderer. Read more

Netherlands – Dutch MD Euthanized Dementia Patient Despite Being Told ‘No’

Marinou Arend, a Dutch doctor euthanized a woman with dementia struggling to stay alive. First she drugged her patient’s coffee and then, when the woman awakened and fought against being killed, she had the family hold the patient down while administering the lethal injection. Not only was she exonerated, but she was even praised by the judge. The patient told Arends that she did not want to be euthanized! Not once, not twice, but three times. This is not the first time people are euthanized without their consent. Read more

Netherlands – Dutch doctor minimizes disastrous effect of legalized euthanasia 

Dutch Dr Bert Keizer, who recently wrote in the Dutch Medical Association Journal, does not think this is a disaster. He agrees that euthanasia has become a slippery slope where legalized, but suggests that it should be embraced and viewed as ‘gradual erosion of boundaries’ instead of a slippery slope that leading to disaster. But imagine your spouse is being euthanized because he is disabled and you have no say over it because the doctor says so, or your daughter wants treatment for her depression and the doctor tells her that her only solution is to be euthanized. She eventually considers it because the doctor gives her no hope despite significant and continuous developments in medicine for depression. Both scenarios actually happened in the USA and in the Netherlands. Moreover, nurses in Belgium admitted to euthanizing patients without their consent. Read more: bioedge, NYpost, Christian post UK

Netherlands –  Dutch mental health patient angry at euthanasia offer

A Dutch mental health patient has shared how she was “overwhelmed and angry” when her new psychiatrist offered her euthanasia during their first appointment. Manon, who was seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, was told she met the criteria to be euthanized. The doctor said Manon had already done “everything humanly possible” to get treatment for her condition, which made Manon feel like she didn’t “deserve” to continue living.  “Yes, I’m broken, but I want to become whole again. I’m asking for help to get better, not for death!”. Read more

USA – Compassion & Choice show their true colors

According to the Public News Service, Californian people of color rarely commit assisted suicide. The new report from the state also found big difference in who actually uses the law. The patients are 87% white, just over 1% are Black. 4% are Hispanic. And 6.4% are Asian American. But the Compassion and Choice (C&C) believing there’s never enough assisted suicides continue to run “public service” advert to increase the number of suicides by people of color. By this statement the C&C shows their true colors for euthanizing ethnic groups. Read more

LifeAlerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

USA – Euthanasia polling data may fail to capture people’s considered views

A new paper in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry find that public attitudes to euthanasia for patients with dementia change when they are presented with case studies of individuals with severe dementia who have made an advanced request for euthanasia. An online survey of 1700 US-based participants show 54% supported legalized euthanasia and 22.6% were unsure, but after reading the ethical and practical complexities of the scenarios, support decreased. The study authors say that it is not enough to ask whether advanced request for euthanasia should be legal following a description of life with dementia because it may fail to capture the public’s considered views. Rather, it is important that the public is given insight into the complexities of illnesses like dementia to avoid clouded public views. Read Bioedge, ajgponline

Canada – Wife Loses Lawsuit to Prevent Husband’s Euthanasia

According to Wesley J. Smith, euthanasia destroys the family bond. Imagine your spouse wants to be euthanized and you have no say over it, or if your depressed brother decides to be euthanized and you beg doctors not to kill him, to no avail. Both cases happened in Canada. One involving a wife trying to prevent her husband’s death by euthanasia but lost because the benefit of the doubt goes to death once euthanasia becomes legal. In Oregon a psychiatrist determined that an elderly woman with dementia was mentally unable to consent to assisted suicide, and believed her daughter was pushing for it, but it happened anyway. Read more

New Zealand – Underfunding no argument for assisted dying

In an upcoming referendum a vote on Euthanasia will be done. Pro-euthanasia, unsupported claims have been promoted in the media. Specialist doctor Sinead Donnelly is trained in palliative medicine, who decries the move to make underfunding and overworked staff the reason to euthanize the old and dying. Dr Donnelly says it’s a little like arguing that the car needs a clean so we should push it off a cliff. This “End of Life Choice Act” gives no choice for the patient but to die. The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners told Parliament they won’t be able to detect coercion or pressure in all cases with this test, and that there will be wrongful deaths under this law.

“Lawyers for Vulnerable New Zealanders advised that: “… under the Act a person could be dead within only a matter of days after being diagnosed, and without needing to tell any loved ones. There’s no mandatory cooling-off period between a request and the lethal prescription. That’s a serious flaw because terminally ill people can go through a whole range of emotions from day to day. If they’re caught in a moment of weakness and have the wrong people around them they could be dead within 72 hours”.

Every week as doctors we see cases where patients with advanced illnesses with limited prognosis who are also disabled, sick or mentally ill will, at their most vulnerable point, contemplate suicide. With the right care and medicine, the vast majority are brought out of this vulnerable state to a place of health. Under the proposed Act, those same people could be dead within 72 hours.” Read more

Canada – Organ donation increases after euthanasia

In 2016, Canada legalized euthanasia or Medical Aid in dying (MAiD), but since euthanasia was legalized organ donations increased. The CEO, Ronnie Gavsie, of the organization called Trillium insists that euthanasia is totally separate from organ donation and that they only provide the information to the dying patient and wait for them to decide. Yet there is a subtle sense of coercion since in the very next breath Ronnie says “it’s the right thing to do for those no the wait list.” Organs donated by euthanized patients are often of better quality than organs harvested from accident victims. There is more time to test them and find a match with potential recipients.

Wesley J. Smith commented in the National Review saying “The clear message being sent to suicidal, ill, and disabled Canadians – with the active support of the organ transplant community – is that their deaths can have greater value to Canada than their lives.” “Someday, Canada will probably dispense with the euthanasia part altogether and go straight to killing by organ harvesting—already being proposed bioethics and medical journals. Read more

Spain – Legalized euthanasia pressures elderly to die

According to an article by Francisco José Contreras, a lecturer in legal philosophy, Euthanasia once legalized will pressure the sick elderly to die. Francisco said that it will be easy to convince the elderly that the final stretch of their life, along with all the difficulties, is not worth being lived and that it is dignified not to impose one’s decay on others – exactly what the Nazi legislation used to justify the extermination of the deficient. In both The Netherlands and Belgium, once euthanasia became legal, the interpretation became increasingly lax. They have evolved from killing only terminally ill patients, to those with chronic illnesses; from killing people with physical illnesses, to people with psychological illnesses; from voluntary cases to killing people without their express permission. Read more

Belgium – Court clears Doctors for murder

A Belgian court has cleared three doctors accused of murder in the country’s first criminal case concerning euthanasia. The doctors were alleged to have unlawfully poisoned 38-year-old Tine Nys in April 2010 because she did not fulfil the conditions to be euthanized. The deceased’s family said that Nys did not have an incurable mental disorder. Belgian law allows adults to request euthanasia if they are facing unbearable physical or mental suffering resulting from a serious and incurable disorder. In the Netherlands, a doctor was cleared in a trial after being accused of failing to secure proper consent from a woman who had Alzheimer’s disease. Read more

Netherlands – Euthanasia now kills patients who could receive healing and hope

According to a file analysis by the Euthanasia Expertise Center requested by the Ministry of Public Health, Men turn to euthanasia more often because they suffer from addiction problems, and women more often suffered from mood disorders. The average age of women in this study is 50 years, of the men 49. A depressive mood disorder was the most common disorder across the board. Bullying, sexual abuse, or trauma played a role with relatively many patients. Many of these lives could have turned out differently if they had sought out counselling and support. Another example of how euthanasia has crossed the lines and become a slippery slope. Read more

Canada – No one talks about the cons of euthanasia

Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, retired last year as Associate Professor of Philosophy at Providence University College, Manitoba, Canada. He feels that there are more cons to euthanasia that are often dismissed. For example; with the acceptance and expansion of euthanasia, our society will see suicide as a legitimate way of solving an individual’s problems. Life will no longer be seen as society’s default position. the elderly, terminally ill, disabled, and whoever else is suffering—must justify the continuation of their lives. Why should we spend so much money on healthcare for them? This may not be stated explicitly, but will be an unspoken assumption. Law professor Carter Snead correctly points out, a “subtle coercion.” Adding insult to injury. To those becoming handicapped or infirm we insult them as the most vulnerable with euthanasia by saying: We would rather be dead than be like you! If that isn’t an insult, what is?

If the choice or autonomy of the sufferer constitutes acceptable personal and legal grounds for euthanasia, then will suicide interveners have to add to their script some directions as to where euthanasia is available? Will National Suicide Prevention Week include some Suicide Promotion Days? Will suicide intervention or counselling against suicide become grounds for a lawsuit against the intervener or counsellor? If we kiss good-bye the above portion of the Hippocratic Oath, then we invite a deep change of character to the practice of medicine. Healers will be asked to be killers. Health care becomes careful killing. And those conscientious persons who refuse to kill will be discouraged from practicing medicine.

In conclusion: Ideas have consequences—and sometimes the consequences of bad ideas can be disastrous.

In view of the above cons, it would be wise for Canadians not to embrace euthanasia. Instead, we should do a better job of providing excellent palliative care—pain relief and life-enhancing dignity—for all who suffer. We should embrace a culture of life, not a culture of death. Read more

Germany – Death on demand comes to Germany

German people now have the right to kill themselves at any time and for any reason. The right to a self-determined death is not limited to situations defined by external causes like serious or incurable illnesses, nor does it only apply in certain stages of life or illness. Rather, this right is guaranteed in all stages of a person’s existence. One radical court ruling leads to another. The right to commit suicide could soon become a right to be killed. Since Germany’s absolute right to assist in suicide is open-ended and not limited to doctors, why not permit friends to kill friends? How can the state now restrict the taking and selling of addicting drugs? Drugs may be harmful, but if an autonomous person chooses to spend their days high, how can the state gainsay that decision or inhibit the commercial providers who supply the fixes? A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.” If we don’t change our current cultural trajectory, we will become “Germany” too. Read more

UK – Academics says euthanasia saves money

Academics have argued how killing patients through assisted suicide in the United Kingdom would save money and provide organs for transplantation in a new report published in the journal of Clinical Ethics. Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing said that this report “exposes the real agenda” of assisted suicide and demonstrates the dangers of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia. While the authors may not believe money is a motivation for assisted suicide there are some people who do. In the US states of Oregon and Washington the majority of those ending their lives cite fear of being a burden on their families and finances.”  Read more at Lifesitenews, Sagepubjournals

Texas – Disabled man euthanized without his consent

In Texas, a disabled, 46-year old African American man named Michael Hickson, was euthanized without his consent or that of his wife. Michael contracted COVID-19 and was admitted to hospital. Melissa, his wife, was given no choice over whether he lived or died. Melissa recorded her conversation with the doctor who said it was better to euthanize Michael because he is paralyzed and not like “walking and talking people.” Giving her husband food, water, oxygen and medicine would not have been a burdensome treatment, and the hospital had plenty of space. The doctor made clear that the issue was his disability. The National Council on Disability is calling for an investigation into the hospital for violating Michaels civil rights. Read more

USA – Girl kills herself with the help of assisted suicide website

Shawn Shatto who was dealing with depression and anxiety for years and seeing a therapist. A website provided Shawn with lethal directions and encouraged her to die by suicide through cheering her on by telling her what kind of drugs to mix in order to kill herself, and by wishing her ‘good luck and ‘safe travels.’ Shawn’s mom has been advocating for “Shawn’s Law” Which “strengthens penalties against anyone who assists in a suicide, especially anyone under the age of 18 or has a mental disability. Shawn’s Law has passed the House, and is now in the Senate. Read more

Death on Demand comes to Germany

by Wesley J. Smith

Editor’s note. This first appeared at First Things and is reposted with the author’s permission.

The 1973 dystopian film Soylent Green featured several shocking moments, including overpopulation riots and men calling women “the furniture” required for sex. But the most disturbing scene showed Edward G. Robinson entering a euthanasia clinic, choosing to be put down rather than live with his existential anguish. What was once fiction is becoming reality. Assisted suicide, unthinkable then, is popular now. Since the movie was released, many have come to view human existence as a relative, rather than absolute, good. The sanctity of life ethic has been replaced by the drive to eliminate suffering, even if this requires eliminating the sufferer. And the raw power of this logic has led directly to suicide clinics and a right to death on demand—since no one can judge what another person considers to be unbearable torment.

Assisted suicide activists insist that euthanasia is only for the seriously ill, and offer vacuous promises of strict guidelines to protect the vulnerable. Such bromides have never made sense to me. If there is indeed a “right to die,” if the most important good is “choice” rather than “life,” how can the right to commit suicide remain limited to the seriously ill? After all, many people suffer more intensely and for a longer time than the sick. Once one accepts the moral propriety of euthanasia, the logic eventually leads to death on demand for anyone who desires to die.

Still, even I never expected full-bore death on demand to arrive in the West for another decade. I was too optimistic. A recent ruling from Germany’s highest court has cast right-to-die incrementalism aside and conjured a fundamental right both to commit suicide and to receive assistance in doing it. Moreover, the decision has explicitly rejected limiting the right to people diagnosed with illnesses or disabilities. As a matter of protecting “the right of personality,” the court decreed that “self-determined death” is a virtually unlimited fundamental liberty that the government must guarantee to protect “autonomy.” In other words, the German people now have the right to kill themselves at any time and for any reason. From the decision (published English version, my emphasis):

The right to a self-determined death is not limited to situations defined by external causes like serious or incurable illnesses, nor does it only apply in certain stages of life or illness. Rather, this right is guaranteed in all stages of a person’s existence. . . . The individual’s decision to end their own life, based on how they personally define quality of life and a meaningful existence, eludes any evaluation on the basis of general values, religious dogmas, societal norms for dealing with life and death, or consideration of objective rationality. It is thus not incumbent upon the individual to further explain or justify their decision; rather their decision must, in principle, be respected by state and society as an act of self-determination.

The court wasn’t done. The right to suicide also includes a right to assist suicide:

The right to take one’s own life also encompasses the freedom to seek and, if offered, utilize assistance provided by third parties for this purpose. . . . Therefore, the constitutional guarantee of the right to suicide corresponds to equally far-reaching constitutional protection extended to the acts carried out by persons rendering suicide assistance.

The court also opined that Germany’s drug laws might have to be changed to facilitate the absolute right to die that “the state must guarantee”:

Sufficient space must remain in practice for the individual to exercise the right to depart this life and, based on their free will and with the support of third parties, to carry out this decision on their own terms. This not only requires legislative coherence in the design of the legal framework applicable to the medical profession and pharmacists but potentially also requires adjustments of the law on controlled substances.

This is stunning and appalling: In Germany, autonomous people now have the absolute right to commit suicide and receive assistance in doing so for any reason or no identifiable reason at all. The court’s ruling is so encompassing that it seems to apply even to children capable of making autonomous decisions, since being underage is a “stage of existence.” While the court stated that minor restrictions such as waiting periods might pass legal muster—the government may also prohibit “particularly dangerous forms of suicide assistance” (whatever that means)—the German constitution now requires, literally, death on demand.

That will not be the end of it, either. One radical court ruling leads to another. The right to commit suicide could soon become a right to be killed outright. After all, everyone isn’t physically or emotionally capable of committing suicide, and homicide can achieve death more swiftly and with less discomfort than a do-it-yourself demise. Since Germany’s absolute right to assist in suicide is open-ended and not limited to doctors, why not permit friends to kill friends?

The ruling also opens the gates to social anarchy. How can the state now restrict the taking and selling of addicting drugs? Drugs may be harmful, but if an autonomous person chooses to spend their days high, how can the state gainsay that decision or inhibit the commercial providers who supply the fixes? How can the state restrict any surgical or chemical sex changes? And on what basis can the state prohibit people who identify as “transabled” (people who have body identity integrity disorder) from amputating their healthy limbs or severing their healthy spinal cords? If suicide is no longer a harm the state has a duty to prevent, how can the state thwart a person’s desire to destroy his bodily functions? Indeed, how can the state restrain any personal behavior or vice, so long as the desired autonomous act does not directly harm an unwilling other?

I am reminded of Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne’s prophetic words more than twenty years ago. Reacting to his country’s strong public support for a father who murdered his disabled daughter as a supposed act of compassion, he wrote: “A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.” If we don’t change our current cultural trajectory, we will become “Germany” too. Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. His latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine