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.

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