Thursday, November 15, 2018

Swiss assisted suicide groups lobby world-wide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sibilla Bondolfi published an eye opening article in swissinfo.ch titled: The global fight for assisted suicide. Bondolfi interviews leaders of the Swiss assisted suicide groups and uncovers the fact that these groups have been lobbying to legalize assisted suicide world-wide. Bondolfi reports:
Assisted suicide is legal under Swiss law, and several organisations offer this service. As one of the few countries in the world with such a law, Switzerland sees many foreigners coming to end their lives from countries where assisted suicide is forbidden.

Some Swiss right-to-die organisations take their commitment a step further, by engaging in efforts to legalise assisted suicide in other countries. Internationally, one of the most active proponents of assisted suicide is the association Dignitas, whose motto is “To live with dignity - To die with dignity"
But Dignitas is not alone in their International efforts to legalize assisted suicide. According to Bondolfi:
Dignitas is not fighting this battle on its own. On its website, the similarly-oriented Eternal SPIRIT Foundation writes: "Eternal SPIRIT is committed to promoting the legalisation of assisted suicide in all countries." And the organisation EXIT ADMD Suisse Romande in French-speaking Switzerland states that through its membership in the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, it is engaged "to a certain extent" in the efforts to legalise assisted suicide worldwide.
Coffin leaving from Dignitas
Bondolfi then points out that the world-wide media is not aware of the lobbying being done by the Swiss assisted suicide groups:

By and large, the media in countries where Dignitas has been active do not yet seem to have picked up on the organisation’s lobbying activities. This may be because much of it was conducted quietly and out of public view. Indeed, all of Dignitas' activities – except the Berlin poster campaign – tend to fly under the radar.
The Swiss assisted suicide groups are proud of their lobbying efforts in Australia, Canada and Germany:
The international efforts of Swiss right-to-die organisations seem to be showing some initial success. Dignitas is proud of the "positive developments in various countries in which Dignitas was involved" and lists a few examples. Canada abolished the ban on assisted suicide by court order in 2015. In a 2017 case brought before the German Federal Administrative Court, it ruled that in exceptional cases, patients should have the right to a lethal drug for the purpose of suicide. In Australia, the Victoria parliament voted for the "Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill" this year.
The article quotes me as stating:
It is very irresponsible for governments to take the reports of the assisted-suicide lobby seriously when examining the question of legalising assisted death in their jurisdictions.  
This quote was made in reference to the fact that the reports from jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal are designed to lack data concerning problems and abuses of the law. These reports are based on self-reported data gathered from doctors who do euthanasia.
 

It is important to know about the involvement of the euthanasia lobby promoting legalization world-wide. 

There is currently a big push, in many US States, as well as New Zealand and Australia, to legalize assisted suicide. This push is linked to a co-ordinated effort and the Swiss assisted suicide groups are involved in this effort.

Stopping Assisted Suicide in Your State

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is co-organizing a Campaign Training Session on Friday, January 25 and International Conference on Saturday, January 26 at the Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Midtown hotel in Albuquerque New Mexico. 

Book your hotel room by calling: 505-312-9842.

The cost to attend the Training Session is $35. The cost to attend the Symposium is $50. The cost to attend both is $80.


The Training Session will run from 1:00 - 5:00 pm followed by a screening of the Fatal Flaws film at 7:00 pm. Kevin Dunn, the co-producer of the film will be there.

The International Conference on Saturday will run from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.


Hon Nick Goiran
Speakers include:


Hon Nick Goiran, Liberal Member of Parliament from Western Australia. Nick authored the minority report opposing the legalization of assisted suicide in Western Australia. 


Diane Coleman, President & CEO of the disability rights group Not Dead Yet. Diane has been a leading voice opposing assisted suicide for more than 25 years.


Alexandra Snyder
Amy Hasbrouk, Founder of Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet and President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. She is also a lawyer.

Alexandra Snyder
, Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation and the lead lawyer in challenging the California assisted suicide law.

Kevin Yuill
, Professor of history at the University of Sunderland in the UK. He is the author of the book Assisted Suicide: The Liberal Humanist Case Against Legalization.

Kevin Yuill

Annette Hanson, Forensic Psychiatrist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Hanson co-authored the article Twelve Myths About Assisted Suicide and Medical Aid in Dying.
 
Catherine Glenn Foster
, President and CEO of AUL. Catherine is a lawyer and was the founding Executive Director of EPC-USA.


Nancy Elliott, former three term New Hampshire representative and President of EPC-USA.
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. He is an author and has done speaking tours throughout the world.


Kevin Dunn, Producer of Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death and The Euthanasia Deception. Kevin is an award-winning filmmaker who operates DunnMedia & Entertainment.

Now Even Family Assisted Suicide?

This article was published by Nancy Valko on November 15, 2018.

Nancy Valko
By Nancy Valko RN

Her obituary stated that Tessa was 55 years old and the divorced mother of two adult children when she died on May 14, 2002 in San Francisco, California after a nearly four year fight with breast cancer . She had been a real estate agent and later worked as controller in her son’s company.

Her son was Gavin Newsom, who just won the race for California governor November 6, 2018.

However and just the day before, a November 5, 2018 article in The New Yorker titled “Gavin Newsom, the Next Head of the California Resistance” gave a different version of Tessa’s death:
“Newsom’s sister, Hilary, said that when their mother had breast cancer, in her fifties, he was difficult to reach. ‘Gavin had trouble explaining to me how hard for him it was to be with her when she was dying, and I had trouble explaining to him how much I needed him,’ she said. ‘Back then, he seemed like the kind of guy who would never change a diaper.’

In May, 2002, his mother decided to end her life through assisted suicide. Newsom recalled, “’She left me a message, because I was too busy: ‘Hope you’re well. Next Wednesday will be the last day for me. Hope you can make it.’ I saved the cassette with the message on it, that’s how sick I am.’ He crossed his arms and jammed his hands into his armpits. ‘I have P.T.S.D., and this is bringing it all back,’ he said. ‘The night before we gave her the drugs, I cooked her dinner, hard-boiled eggs, and she told me, ‘Get out of politics.’ She was worried about the stress on me.’” (Emphasis added)
Sadly, a previous 2016 San Francisco Chronicle article entitled “How Gavin Newsom’s family tragedy led to ammo-control initiative” quoted Gavin Newsom on an earlier suicide tragedy in his mother’s life:
“My grandfather committed suicide, but not before putting his daughter — my mother — and her twin against the fireplace and saying he was going to blow their brains out,” Newsom said.”(Emphasis added)
The Crazy History Of California’s Assisted Suicide Law

I admit I was puzzled when California governor Jerry Brown signed a new law in September, 2018 titled “AB-282 Aiding, advising, or encouraging suicide: exemption from prosecution”. This amended the 2016 physician-assisted suicide law that “Every person who deliberately aids or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony” to “A person whose actions are compliant with the provision of the End of Life Option Act (physician-assisted suicide) shall not be prosecuted under this section.” (Emphasis added)

For many years, California was especially targeted by assisted suicide groups like Compassion and Choices, the former Hemlock Society, for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide because of its’ size and influence. By 2015, there had been 8 failed attempts for legalization of physician-assisted suicide.

However, the Brittany Maynard tragedy started a media frenzy around the 30 year old newlywed with a brain tumor who announced that she and her family left California for Oregon to commit assisted suicide on November 1, 2014. Brittany Maynard also became a spokesperson to raise funds for Compassion and Choice’s campaign to legalize assisted suicide throughout the US. Her family continued to vigorously fight for a physician-assisted suicide law in California after her assisted suicide in Oregon.

Significantly and because of the Brittany Maynard tragedy, most mainstream media outlets have now dropped the term “physician-assisted suicide” in favor of more palatable terms like “death with dignity” and “physician aid in dying”.

Surprisingly though, another attempt to pass the “End of Life Options Act” in California failed in the 2015 legislature-until a sudden extra and controversial legislative session was called to pass it. This new law was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and took effect in June 2016.

However in May 2018 and after at least 111 assisted suicide deaths, a Superior Court judge overturned the law, ruling it unconstitutional because of how it was improperly passed in the special legislative session.

Physician-assisted suicide was again illegal until a month later when California’s 4th District Court of Appeals granted the state’s request to reinstate physician assisted suicide while it considers the case.

Then, as I mentioned before, Governor Jerry Brown signed the law to prevent prosecution of anyone involved in an assisted suicide, including family members.

Conclusion

According to Findlaw:
“If you’re not a licensed physician, then assisting someone with suicide is most definitely a crime. But in states that have enacted “right to die” or “death with dignity” laws, eligible patients may request lethal drugs and administer them on their own.” (Emphasis added)
But the reality is that very few cases of a friend or family member assisting a suicide are prosecuted and even then, the penalty is light or nonexistent. So-called “safeguards” are useless.

Although there is no chance that Governor Newsom will be prosecuted or even investigated for allegedly assisting his mother’s death in 2002 (long before California legalized physician-assisted suicide), the new California law forbidding prosecution of anyone involved in a physician-assisted suicide who “aids or advises, or encourages suicide” further reinforces the dangerous myth that assisting suicide is a victimless and even loving act.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

American Medical Association continues to debate assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


During the past year the American Medical Association (AMA) has been debating its position on assisted suicide. One wing of the AMA are pressuring the AMA to move to a neutral position on assisted suicide while another wing of the AMA is urging them to maintain opposition to physicians prescribing lethal drugs to their patients.

At the recent AMA Interim meeting delegates voted (275 - 259) to maintain opposition to assisted suicide while sending the assisted suicide policy back to the (AMA) Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) to review their assisted suicide position.

The American Medical Association opposes physician-assisted suicide. The AMA policy states:

It is understandable, though tragic, that some patients in extreme duress--such as those suffering from a terminal, painful, debilitating illness--may come to decide that death is preferable to life. However, allowing physicians to participate in assisted suicide would cause more harm than good. Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.
In the past year, CEJA has deliberated twice and concluded both times that the current AMA policy on assisted suicide should be upheld.

In May 2018, CEJA released its report on assisted suicide and concluded:
After careful consideration, CEJA concludes that in its current form the Code offers guidance to support physicians and the patients they serve in making well-considered, mutually respectful decisions about legally available options for care at the end of life in the intimacy of a patient-physician relationship. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs therefore recommends that the Code of Medical Ethics not be amended.
At the AMA annual convention in June 2018, the delegates voted to send the assisted suicide report back to CEJA for further study. In October 2018, after considerable discussion, CEJA released a new report on assisted suicide. CEJA once again recommended that the AMA maintain its opposition to assisted suicide. The report concluded:
After careful consideration, CEJA concludes that in existing opinions on physician-assisted suicide and the exercise of conscience, the Code offers guidance to support physicians and the patients they serve in making well-considered, mutually respectful decisions about legally available options for care at the end of life in the intimacy of a patient-physician relationship. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs therefore recommends that the Code of Medical Ethics not be amended, that Resolutions 15-A-16 and 14-A-17 not be adopted and that the remainder of the report be filed.
EPC encourages CEJA and the American Medical Association to maintain its opposition to assisted suicide.


It is important to note that recently the World Medical Association also maintained its opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide gives doctors the right in law to cause the death of their patients, a right that the majority of physicians don't want.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Canadian Hospital Waiting Room Promotes Euthanasia

This article was published by National Review online on November 13, 2018.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith


How in the tank for euthanasia has the Canadian medical establishment become? This much:

A source sent me this photograph of a public information announcement that appears on a large television screen in a William Osler Health System hospital urgent care waiting room pushing euthanasia to patients!

The ad oozes compassion. The visual is a photo of a male doctor’s hand gently resting on the arm of a woman in a hospital bed, accompanied by the following text:

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

MAiD is a medical service in Canada, whereby physicians and nurse practitioners help eligible patients fulfill their wish to end their suffering.

The PR notice then provides a toll-free phone number that people interested in being killed can call to obtain more information.

This is profoundly abandoning. Realize, these patients may be afraid. They may be in pain. They may be depressed. And what one act does the hospital from which they seek succor push? Killing.

The ad makes no mention of palliative care or other means to reduce or eliminate suffering without killing. It does not describe that counseling can help people regain the desire to live. There is no hint that suicide prevention services might be available. And it obscures the fact that MAiD is a euphemism for homicide by lethal injection.

Think about how shockingly far the culture of death has penetrated Canada since the country’s Supreme Court imposed it on the entire country three years ago.

  • Not only is euthanasia now legal, the government and courts are transforming access into a positive right. And, they are telling dissenting physicians in Ontario that they either must kill qualified patients, find a doctor willing to do the dirty deed (known as an “effective referral”) or get out of medicine.

  • Not only that, but access will almost surely soon be expanded from competent adults to include the legally incompetent, including children–the latter category pushed by pediatricians.
  • And there seems to be no limit to ways in which people with serious medical conditions can make themselves qualified to be killed–for example, self-starvation until they grow weak enough to legally receive the lethal jab.
This PR announcement–again, without any mention of life-affirming alternatives–demonstrates that euthanasia is not only being normalized by Canadian medical societies and hospitals, but is well on the way to being perceived by the powers that be as the “treatment” of choice for those with serious medical conditions.

At least, that’s my take away from the above. And it makes perfect sense. A society that becomes obsessed with eliminating suffering quickly embraces eliminating the sufferer as a means.

And considering that Canada has a single payer socialized healthcare system, what better way to save on costs than by gently persuading those with the most expensive conditions to choose death over fighting to stay alive? Indeed, there is already at least one case in which a disabled patient was offered euthanasia after being denied the independent living services he says he needs to maintain the desire to carry on.

Euthanasia corrupts everything it touches, including the healthcare system and a society’s perception of the value of people with serious disabilities and illnesses. Those with eyes to see, let them see.

Schadenberg interviewed by Russian radio concerning Dutch doctor who is being prosecuted for euthanasia without consent of woman with dementia.




Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I was interviewed by Radio Sputnik on November 12, 2018 concerning the Netherlands doctor who is being prosecuted for euthanizing a woman with dementia who resisted. The doctor secretly put a sedative in the woman's coffee and when the woman continued to resist, the doctor had the family hold the woman while she lethally injected her.

The interview discusses the issue of euthanasia of people with dementia, who previously requested death by lethal injection (euthanasia) and the case in the Netherlands.

The Council of Canadian Academies will be publishing a report in December making recommendations concerning the expansion of euthanasia in Canada to people who are incompetent but previously requested euthanasia.

I stated in the radio interview that the precedent set by the Dutch courts for this case may influence the decision that will be made in Canada concerning the expansion of euthanasia to incompetent people who while competent asked for euthanasia.

Links to similar articles:

Monday, November 12, 2018

She now opposes assisted suicide, after her husband died at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Simon Binner death by assisted suicide at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic, was filmed and aired on BBC under the title: How to die: Simon's Choice. When the documentary was released in February 2016, Deborah Binner, Simon's wife, told the Independent News that the documentary was "beautiful." She stated:
“We have done it to show the complexities of the argument. It’s not a black and white issue,” she said.
Almost 3 years later, Deborah published a book - Yet Here I Am - where she writes about her experience with the assisted suicide death of her husband and the natural death of her daughter Chloë a few years earlier.

Deborah has changed her mind:
My head understands the intellectual arguments and I find it hard to disagree with them. But my heart still says no. Should we not be kinder, more patient, more respectful of human life?
Isn’t how we support the dying so central to who we are as human beings? And there’s a part of me that believes it’s better, if a person has the best possible care, to let nature take its course.
I worry deeply about how people who are ill can lose the sense of mattering to other people. If there were the option of ending it all relatively simply, would they feel pressure to opt for that rather than become a ‘nuisance’?
Then there are the after-effects on the family and friends left behind. Personally, I am absolutely fuming that my husband left me to fend in this world alone. That was not the deal.
Simon learned about a film crew that was looking for a story like his when he contacted the Swiss assisted suicide clinic. 
He was keen to document his experience — he had a strong altruistic streak and wondered if it would be of use to someone else. Subconsciously, I thought he’d forget about it and we could get on with living, albeit in a different way, as we had with Chloë. But he deteriorated quickly over the next few months.
Deborah Binner states that she is angry that her husband died by assisted suicide. Hopefully others will read her story and decide that caring is always better than killing.

Legalizing assisted suicide does not reduce murder-suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


A commentary by Karen Chaffraix that was published in the Fauquier Times (Virginia) on November 10 infers that legalizing assisted suicide will somehow remedy the tragic acts of murder suicide. 

Chaffraix's commentary concerns the tragic deaths of Linda and Clark Johnson by murder-suicide. Chaffraix states that European studies suggest that people should have the right to end their own lives, in these situations. Chaffraix does not provide links to these "studies".

Research by Donna Cohen, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a suicide researcher, and others prove that murder-suicide is rarely related to assisted suicide.

Donna Cohen
Cohen stated the following in a March 2009 Minnesota Tribune article:

When people read reports of a murder-suicide they will often ask the question, was this an Act of love, or desperation? Cohen who has researched this question tries to find answers. 
She stated in the article:
That notion is common in murder-suicides, said Cohen, who has testified before Congress, written extensively and helped train families and physicians. She is a professor of aging and mental health at the University of South Florida and heads its Violence and Injury Prevention Program. 
"If they were consulted, families usually would try to stop it,'' she said. "In fact, murder-suicide almost always is not an act of love. It's an act of desperation."
Cohen explains that murder-suicide does not equate with assisted suicide. She said:
Some people equate murder-suicide with assisted suicide and the right to control when you will die, Cohen said. "It usually is not the same. This is suicide and murder.''
According to Cohen, the typical murder-suicide case involves a depressed controlling husband who shoots his ill wife. "The wife does not want to die and is often shot in her sleep. If she was awake at the time, there are usually signs that she tried to defend herself." 

Murder-suicide are tragic actions, but legalizing assisted suicide will not reduce the incidence of murder-suicide.

Virginia legislative panel rejects assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article published November 8 in the Virginia Mercury 
by Katie O'Connor, informs us that a Virginia legislative committee rejected a legislative proposal to legalize assisted suicide. The article reported:
Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, requested that the Joint Commission on Health Care study the medical-aid-in-dying debate, in which a patient with less than six months to live obtains lethal drugs through a physician to end his or her life. 
The commission’s staff developed several options, including a few related to adding a new end-of-life decision-making tool to Virginia’s code, called the “Physicians Orders for Scope of Treatment,” or POST, form. 
It would encourage patients to decide on their treatment preferences with their doctors, and it would then be added to their medical record or a state registry so everyone from first responders to emergency physicians knows the patient’s preferences. 
But all the options were killed, with all the committee’s Republicans, as well as Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, voting not to make any recommendations on the topic.
The article confirmed that Kory will not be introducing legislation to legalize assisted suicide in Virginia this year.

Virginia will be the first of many states to reject assisted suicide during this legislative cycle.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dutch doctor who euthanized woman with dementia without consent is being prosecuted.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Netherlands Public Prosecutor has decided to prosecute the doctor who lethally injected (euthanasia) an incompetent woman without effective consent. According to The Guardian news:

A doctor who secretly slipped a sedative into a 74-year-old woman’s coffee before administering a lethal drug as members of her family held her down is to be the first medic to be prosecuted for breaching Dutch euthanasia laws.
In January 2017, a Netherlands Regional Euthanasia Review Committee decided that the forced euthanasia on a woman with dementia, where the doctor sedated the woman by secretly putting the drugs in her coffee, and then asked the family to hold her down in order to lethally inject her, was done in "good faith."
Dutch doctor reprimanded for euthanasia without consent of woman with dementia.
So lets, examine the fact concerning this death by lethal injection: 
  • The woman had dementia and was incapable of asking for euthanasia, 
  • The declaration in her will was not clear, 
  • She stated several times that she did not want to die, 
  • She was not informed that a sedative was put in her coffee,
  • Her family was required to hold her down so the doctor could lethally inject her.
  • The Regional Review Committee found that the doctor contravened the law but that it was done in "good faith."
Jacob Kohnstamm, who was the chair of the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee wanted the case heard by the court to establish a precedent concerning cases when a doctor lethally injects a person with dementia. 

In a January 2017 article in the Mail online Kohnstamm stated that he was in favour of a trial: 
'Not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.'
It is common for the Netherlands court to hear a case, not with the intention of punishing the person who broke the law but rather to establish a precedent to determine what the court considers acceptable or unacceptable, based on the application of the Netherlands euthanasia law.

This outcome of this case will likely effect Canadian euthanasia policies. The Canadian government is debating the extension of euthanasia to incompetent people who previously requested euthanasia while competent.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Open Letter To Medical Students Concerning Assisted Suicide

This article was published by Not Dead Yet on November 8, 2018

B
Diane Coleman
y Diane Coleman

Over the years, I’ve had a number of opportunities to provide presentations on disability related topics to university medical students. Instructors invited me to speak because they saw a problem in the fact that medical education included very little training on disability and independent living. That always struck me as odd considering the higher need for medical services that many disabled people experience.

As founder and President of a disability group called “Not Dead Yet,” a number of instructors asked me to explain why many disability rights organizations oppose legalization of assisted suicide.

I have an advanced neuromuscular condition and use breathing support with a mask 18 hours a day. As a severely disabled person who depends on life-sustaining treatment, I would be able to qualify for assisted suicide at any time if I lived where assisted suicide is legal. If I became despondent, for example if I lost my husband or my job, and decided that I wanted to die, I would not be treated the same as a nondisabled and healthy person who despaired over loss of a spouse or job.

If anyone doubted that someone like me would qualify for assisted suicide in a state like Oregon, those doubts were laid to rest in December 2017 when an Oregon Public Health Department official clarified in writing, “Patients suffering from any disease (not just those that typically qualify one for the DWDA [Death With Dignity Act]) may not be able to afford some treatments or medication, and may choose not to pursue some treatments or take some medication for personal reasons. . . . If the patient does not receive treatment or medication (for whatever reason) and is left with a terminal illness, then s/he would qualify for the DWDA.”

And this isn’t just about breathing support. This type of assisted suicide eligibility applies to someone who needs any treatment – dialysis, heart medication, insulin, anything without which the person would likely die within six months.

In the decade leading up to the passage of Oregon’s assisted suicide referendum in 1997, proponents often revealed their view that people with disabilities should be eligible. Two thirds of “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian’s body count were people with non-terminal conditions like multiple sclerosis. (NEJM 2000) The Hemlock Society contributed to his legal defense fund.

But when the Hemlock Society morphed into “Compassion and Choices,” the messaging shifted, partly in an effort to exclude disability rights organizations from the public debate. Assisted suicide is only for people expected to die within six months, they said. The person must self-administer the lethal drugs, so no one else could kill them, they said.

Even with this incremental strategy and some expensive public relations activity, it proved slow going to convince people that assisted suicide could be safe in a healthcare system that was under such intense insurance industry and government pressures to cut costs. Any reasonably trained lawyer should be able to see the absence of meaningful patient protections in assisted suicide bills. It took a decade to pass the Washington State statute that came next.

All along, disability groups have pointed out the inherent discrimination and empty pretense of safeguards in these bills. Why does everyone else get suicide prevention, while old, ill and disabled people get suicide assistance? How could a doctor who’s known a person for an average of 13 weeks, as the Oregon data documents, know if they are being pressured to ask for assisted suicide?

Reported reasons for requesting assisted suicide pertain to disability, chronic or acquired due to illness. Three of these reasons (feeling a loss of autonomy, loss of dignity, feelings of being a burden) could be addressed by consumer-directed in-home care services. However no disclosure or provision of such services is required. Basically, the law operates as though the reasons don’t matter, and nothing need be done to address them. People who need home care are treated as disposable.

Assisted suicide proponents are fond of saying that many people don’t go through with it, but the lethal drugs give them peace of mind. What if some of the many who change their mind have family members who are not happy about it? If the only other person present at the end is a greedy heir or tired caregiver, how will anyone know whether they self administered the lethal drug or were cajoled, tricked or forced?

Throughout last summer, people in wheelchairs with the disability rights group ADAPT were dragged out of Congressional hearings and arrested, leading successful efforts to save healthcare for millions of Americans. This same group asserts that “Assisted suicide is not about relieving the suffering of the dying: it is an expression of the most toxic and deadly form of ableism.”

One day soon, you will be a doctor to a person with a disability. That person may be young or old, newly disabled or an expert in life with disability, but they need you. We urge all medical students to recognize and reject ableism, to look behind the public relations images of assisted suicide and consider the dangers to the many elders, ill and disabled people who are not safe from the inevitable dangers of mistake, coercion and abuse that assisted suicide laws entail.

Friday, November 9, 2018

New Zealand man wanted to die, but now he wants to live. Say no to euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

New Zealand is debating the legalization of euthanasia.


Raymond Muk
The major media, in New Zealand are publishing positive articles about euthanasia. Legalizing euthanasia gives doctors the right in law to kill their patients.
Stuff published an article questioning euthanasia in January featuring Raymond Muk, a man who lives with Dushenne Muscular Dystrophy. 

Raymond said that 10 years-ago he attempted suicide, but today he is happy to be alive. The message that Muk is sharing is that if euthanasia or assisted suicide had been legal, he could be dead. Muk stated:
"Life expectancy is just an historical average, so I don't let it confine my decisions. This year, I'm embarking on a counselling degree. I want to help others be happy." 
He does not feel that his life is worth less than that of another, more able-bodied person. He reveals that he tried to kill himself 10 years ago and that is something he regrets; other people, including a number of people with disabilities, were his inspiration to keep going.
Raymond Muk's story recognizes that suicidal feelings will come and go, and for many people with disabilities, there is a time in their life when they may want to die, but suicidal ideation is not a good reason to give doctors the right in law to kill.

Nonetheless, as Philip Matthews, the author of the Stuff article reminds us:

This is where Raymond Muk comes in. What does it mean to say that those with serious medical conditions can legally opt out of life with the help of the able bodied? Does it imply that their lives are less precious, less valuable? 
It smacks of discrimination to him. We want to be progressive in our thinking but legalising assisted suicide for only the ill or disabled is not moving forward.
Typical of Stuff, the rest of the article promotes euthanasia.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Australian man sentenced 10 years for assisting the suicide of his wife.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jennifer Morant
Graham Morant (69), an Australian man who was accused of assisting the suicide of his wife, Jennifer Morant (56) for the $1.4 million insurance money was convicted on October 3, 2018 of the crime and has now been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his crime.

ABC News Australia reported Justice Peter Davis stating:

"You took advantage of her vulnerability as a sick and depressed woman.
You counselled your wife to kill herself because you wanted to get your hands on the $1.4 million. 
Your general financial position was such that $1.4 million was a very significant sum, as it would be to most people. 
You have not shown any remorse for the offences you have committed. 
You did not plead guilty and you did not cooperate with the administration of justice."
The Morant case shows how euthanasia and assisted suicide can hide the crime of murder. 

The circumstances related to Morant's health and death are similar to the circumstances related to most assisted suicide deaths.

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