Friday, March 22, 2019

Euthanasia activist outlines expansion of euthanasia in Canada.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Yesterday I wrote about Canada's euthanasia statistics indicating that assisted deaths increased by more than 50% in 2018 representing approximately 1.5% of all deaths. 
 
The data was gleaned from a presentation by Canada's leading "academic" euthanasia activist, Jocelyn Downie, who was speaking at a Royal Society of Canada lunch lecture in Ottawa. 


In her presentation Downie stated that 7949 people reportedly died by MAiD in Canada as of December 31, 2018, meaning that there were reportedly 4235 assisted deaths in 2018, up from 2704 assisted deaths in 2017 and 1010 assisted deaths in 2016 (plus December 2015).
 

During her presentation, Downie, who was a Special Advisor to the Canadian Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide; author of the book Dying Justice: A Case for the Decriminalizing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada, a member of the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on End-of-Life Decision Making, a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), a member of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying, and a member of the Canadian Council of Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying, outlined her goals for expanding euthanasia in Canada.

Downie focused on the section of the law that limits euthanasia to people whose "natural death is reasonably forseeable." Downie admits that reasonably forseeable is undefined, but she also recognizes that this section of the law restricts people who are not terminally ill from accessing euthanasia. She stated that this section of the law is unconstitutional.

Downie then stated that it was unconstitutional to limit euthanasia to people 18 years and older. She advocated for the expansion of euthanasia to include children.

Downie spoke about the fact that the law does not prevent people with mental or psychiatric issues from dying by euthanasia, but the "natural death is reasonably forseeable" provision excludes people with psychiatric issues alone. Downie stated that restricting euthanasia to people whereby "natural death is reasonably forseeable" is unconstitutional therefore, when that is struck down, people with psychiatric issues alone will become eligible for euthanasia.
 

Downie commented on extending euthanasia to incompetent people who made an advanced request. Downie told the Audrey Parker story and claimed that denying euthanasia to incompetent people who made an advanced request forces people to die earlier and is therefore unconstitutional.
 

In the Q&A session Downie was asked about transferring patients from religiously affiliated hospitals for MAiD. Downie suggested that each hospital could have a room that is declared "extraterritorial" to enable MAiD to be done in Catholic hospitals.
 

The media, and groups like the Royal Society of Canada, continue to consider Downie as a neutral academic. Just to make things worse, in 2015 Downie was awarded a $225,000 research grant by the Trudeau Foundation to research Medical Assistance in Dying.
 

I find supposed academics dis-ingenuous that they insist on promoting "quasi-academic" research for the purpose of building a body of false precedents and accepted practises. Yes, I am referring to Jocelyn Downie.

When will the world stop hiring the fox to watch the hen-house?


Links to more articles concerning Jocelyn Downie.

Care Not Killing Alliance: Royal College of Physicians should ditch neutral position as doctors once again oppose assisted suicide.

Press Release issued on behalf of Care Not Killing
RELEASE TIME: March 21, 2019 (Link to release)
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) should ditch moving to a neutral position as doctors once again vote to oppose changing the law on assisted suicide, says Care Not Killing (CNK).

The survey, which was announced in January and carried out in February, asked fellows and members of the College their view on assisted suicide. However, in an unprecedented step, the RCP announced the College would change its stated policy position before members had cast a single vote and would remain neutral unless 60 per cent - initially two thirds - of respondents were against legalising assisted suicide.

The decision to require a supermajority and a change in position prior to consulting members was challenged by four doctors in the High Court. The doctors argued that the changes were unfair and would not be acceptable from any other organisation that has a privileged position and influence over public policy.

Dr Gordon Macdonald
Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing, commented:

'Yet again doctors have shown they do not support changing the law on assisted suicide. Just one in four (24.6 per cent) of those polled would agree to be involved in killing their patients, while half of doctors (49.1 per cent) have yet again confirmed they oppose a change in the law. We hope that the RCP will listen to this message from their members and reverse their absurd decision to adopt a position that is the least popular and commands the support of just one in four of doctors.

'Most doctors are clear that they do not want a change in the law on assisted suicide or euthanasia. They recognise the problems of ripping up long-held universal values that protect the terminally ill, sick and disabled people from feeling pressured into ending their lives - as we have seen in US states of Oregon and Washington where a majority of those opting to kill themselves cite fear of becoming a burden.

'This is why our view is clear, society should be doing everything in our power to prevent suicide, not assist it. Thankfully this is a view shared by most of the medical profession, every major disability rights organisation and a majority of UK Parliamentarians who have consistently voted against changing the law.'
For media inquiries, please contact Alistair Thompson on 07970 162225.

Ends
Notes for Editors

The 2019 results in full:

1. What should the RCP's position be on whether or not there should be a change in the law to permit assisted dying?

a. In favour 31.6%, b. Opposed 43.4%, c. Neutral 25.0%
2. Do you support a change in the law to permit assisted dying?
a. Yes 40.5%, b. No 49.1%, c. Undecided 10.4%
3. Regardless of your support or opposition to change, if the law was changed to permit assisted dying, would you be prepared to participate actively?
a. Yes 24.6%, b. No 55.1%, c. Don't know 20.3%
Care Not Killing is a UK-based alliance bringing together around 40 organisations spanning disability rights, healthcare and faith groups, and thousands of concerned individuals. We have three key aims:
  • to promote more and better palliative care; 
  • to ensure that existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are not weakened or repealed; 
  • to inform public opinion further against any weakening of the law.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Canada: Euthanasia deaths increase by more than 50%, to 4235, in 2018 and 7949 total euthanasia deaths.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian euthanasia/assisted suicide (euphemistically known as Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) data has been missing. I have received multiple inquiries asking how many Canadians have died by MAiD, now we have some data, but not from the government.

On March 15, 2019; Jocelyn Downie, Canada's leading "academic" pro-euthanasia activist spoke at a lunch lecture for the Royal Society of Canada in Ottawa. In her presentation Downie stated that 7949 people have reportedly died by MAiD in Canada as of December 31, 2018. Downie clearly has access to euthanasia data that is otherwise unavailable.

Since the Third Interim report on MAiD indicated that there were 3714 reported assisted deaths up until December 31, 2017, Downie's data indicates that there were 4235 assisted deaths in 2018, up from 2704 reported assisted deaths in 2017.

Based on Downie's data, in 2018, the number of reported assisted deaths increased by more than 50% and assisted deaths represented more than 1.5% of all deaths.

I refer to reported assisted deaths because there have been 142 unaccounted assisted deaths in Québec and approximately 23% of the Netherlands assisted deaths are not reported.

Last December Québec published euthanasia data indicating that 1664 people died by MAiD from December 2015 to March 31, 2018. The data also indicated that there were 171 missing reports and 142 assisted deaths that were unaccounted.

Jocelyn Downie
What else did Downie say?

Downie stated that 99% of the assisted deaths are euthanasia, 1% assisted suicide, 95% are done by physicians, 42% occur at home and 41% occur in a hospital.

Downie stated that no ineligible persons died by MAiD. I guess that Downie didn't read the Québec Interim report which stated that:
  • 3% (19 cases) did not comply with the eligibility criteria and safeguards, including:
  • 5 cases – Person did not have a “serious and incurable illness”; 
  • 2 cases – The person was not at the end of life.
For more information read: Third report from Québec's euthanasia commission - 142 unaccounted deaths.

According to the Downie data there were 4235 reported assisted deaths in 2018, 2704 assisted deaths in 2017 and 1010 reported assisted deaths (Dec 2015 - Dec 31, 2016). Similar to the Netherlands and Belgium, nearly all of the assisted deaths are euthanasia (done by lethal injection) rather than assisted suicide.

Tomorrow I will write about the rest of Downie's presentation.

Down Syndrome Awareness Day. The Ugly Truth Behind Eugenics.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.


Today is World Down Syndrome Day. A day to build awareness and acceptance for diversity. A society cares for and accepts all people.

Down Syndrome is a human condition caused by an extra chromosone 21. The prevalance of Down Syndrome has dropped significantly with the advent of pre-natal testing combined with eugenic attitudes and fear associated with the differences exhibited by Down Syndrome. 

The eugenic attitudes and fear towards Down Syndrome persons is so pervasive that even the Wikipedia page on Down Syndrome have negative, offensive and eugenic information.


I want to live in a truly caring and accepting culture, one that doesn't judge human persons but rather accepts them for who they are and recognizes differences as part of a mosaic. I challenge a culture that judges certain conditions as not worth living. People with Down Syndrome offer happiness and acceptance.

Eugenics seeks to do the opposite of what I seek in a caring society. Eugenics creates inequality by determining which human traits are wanted and then eliminates those traits by denying people from being born, and if they are born, eugenics seeks to deny them the right of having a family. This philosophy leads to discrimination and death.

Yesterday, Connecticut Magazine published an article titled: The Ugly Truth Behind A Connecticut Eugenics Survey That Reads Like Nazi Propaganda. This article was sent to me by Stephen Mendolsohn, a disability leader and a friend.

The author of the article, Erik Ofgang, states that he thought that this was part of a conspiracy theory until he learned that it was all true, in all its ugliness. He writes:

The eugenics movement, which would ultimately inspire Adolf Hitler, was born in the second half of the 1800s. Inspired by Charles Darwin’s work, his half-cousin, Francis Galton, theorized that successful people could strengthen the human race by breeding with other successful people. Galton coined the term “eugenics” in 1883 from the Greek word for “well-born.” His work inspired widespread eugenics research and found many receptive ears in the U.S.
Ofgang continues:
...Research conducted by Laughlin and Davenport was used to justify the Immigration Act of 1924, which limited dramatically the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country from Southern and Eastern Europe. The term “moron” entered the lexicon in the early 1900s due to research from eugenist Henry H. Goddard.

The practice of forced sterilization of the “unfit” in Connecticut and across the country was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case. “It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. … Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in his infamous opinion in the case.
Ofgang then explains that there were plans to implement draconian eugenic laws
..In 1935, an act of the state’s legislature called for the formation of a commission to, in the words of its title, Study the Laws and Facilities of Connecticut Pertaining to the Prevention, Treatment and Care of Mental Defects and Disease and Allied Problems. Gov. Cross signed the act into law, and the commission was established in 1936 and appointed Laughlin, from the Eugenics Record Office, to commence the study. Laughlin set up shop in the State Office Building in Hartford, and with some assistants began collecting data on state residents. 

“Laughlin’s plan was to sterilize approximately 175,000 Connecticut residents — or about 10 percent of the state’s population,” writes Edwin Black, a journalist and author. “To save expense, others would not be sterilized but simply thrown out of the state. Immigrants would be deported to their native countries. Unfit Americans would be expelled to their family’s original locale.”
In case you think that eugenics is a part of the past, I ask you, why has Down Syndrome become a rare? Is ii because medical science has found a "cure" for Trisomy 21? No its because society has been conditioned to fear Down Syndrome and it has become the norm to eliminate them. Eugenics isn't only alive and well, its a dominate cultural belief that needs to be eradicated.

A caring society cares for and accepts everyone in the human family. A caring society doesn't kill its members.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Minnesota assisted suicide bill requires health care providers to refer for assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Minnesota Assisted suicide bill SF 2487 that was introduced by Senator's Carolyn Laine and Steve Cwodzinski requires 'health care providers' who oppose assisted suicide to refer for assisted suicide.

SF 2487 is an Oregon style assisted suicide bill that, among other concerns, expands the definition of who can prescribe lethal assisted suicide drugs and it requires health care providers that oppose killing to refer.

SF 2487 Section 1, Subdivision 3 (c) states:

Failure to inform a terminally ill adult who requests additional information about available end-of-life treatments including medical aid-in-dying, or failing to refer the terminally ill adult to another health care provider who can provide the information, shall be considered a failure to obtain informed consent for subsequent medical treatment.
SF 2487 permits non-physicians to prescribe lethal drugs for assisted suicide. Section 1, Subdivision 2 (f) states: 
"Health care provider" or "provider" means a person who is licensed, certified, registered or otherwise authorized or permitted by law to administer health care or prescribe and dispense medication under the provider's scope of practice including:

(1) a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathic medicine licensed under chapter 147 or prior to May 1, 1963, sections 148.11 to 148.16;

(2) an advanced practice registered nurse licensed under chapter 148 and certified by a national nurse certification organization acceptable to the Board of Nursing to practice as a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner; and

(3) a pharmacist licensed under chapter 151.
Similar to other 2019 assisted suicide bills SF 2487 is part of the assisted suicide lobby's plan to expand the scope of assisted suicide legislation. New Mexico's assisted suicide bill was the most extreme bill I had ever seen, Deleware's bill redefines assisted suicide as palliative care while Oregon's assisted suicide bills expand the definition of terminal and eliminate the waiting period.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Vote NO to the fatally flawed assisted suicide law.

To whom it may concern:

Alex Schadenberg
As the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, I am well aware that you are receiving information supporting and opposing the assisted suicide bill. As an elected representative your role is crucial, especially when considering issues such as assisted death.

Before voting on the legislation I ask you to watch the these film clips that are part of the Fatal Flaws film that was released last year. This film features personal stories and interviews with doctors, legislators, and individuals who have direct life experience with assisted death.


The following stories are compelling:
 

Dr. Charles Bentz, Internal Medicine Specialist in Oregon had a depressed patient who died by assisted suicide rather than receiving treatment for depression. (Link to the story).

Dr. Kenneth R. Stevens is a Radiation Oncologist in Oregon who had a patient, Jeannette Hall, who asked for assisted suicide. Dr Stevens helped her find a reason to live and 19 years later she is grateful to be alive (Link to the story).

Nancy Elliott is a former three term New Hampshire State Representative who began to actively oppose assisted suicide based on her personal experience when her husband was sick (Link to the story).

Candice Lewis (25) from Newfoundland, Canada, was born with multiple disabilities. Candice was pressured by her doctor in 2016 to ask for an assisted suicide death (Link to the story).

This is the link to the Fatal Flaws film trailer. (Link).

You may support assisted suicide in theory. In reality assisted suicide laws give doctors the right to be involed with causing the death of their patients when the patient is at the lowest time of their life.

Vote NO to assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
info@epcc.ca or 1-877-439-3348

Monday, March 18, 2019

Connecticut disability rights leader opposes assisted suicide bill.

The following is a shortened version of the letter published on March 18 in the CTMirror by Lisa Blumberg, an attorney and freelance writer, is a member of the bipartisan disability advocacy Second Thoughts Connecticut. Lisa wrote:
Let’s not be confused by double speak. The bill (HB 5898) that the Connecticut legislature is poised to consider has nothing to do with “aid in dying.” Aid in dying is palliative care to improve the quality of a person’s remaining life. The World Health Organization views such care as a human right. The bill would not expand desperately needed access to palliative care or expand patient autonomy – patients already have the right to refuse any type of treatment. Instead, the bill concerns the authority of doctors. It sets forth the circumstances under which a doctor could actively prescribe lethal drugs to directly cause the death of a supposedly willing patient without fear of liability.

If the selective writing of lethal prescriptions was a valid medical practice, as proponents assert that is, there would be no reason for laws to immunize medical professionals from suffering any consequences from doing so. What is being proposed in HB 5898 would amount to a radical change in medical culture. Causing death could be viewed as an option in the “care” of some patients.

Legalized assisted suicide could be used for-profit entities for their own purposes. There have been cases in Oregon of insurers denying payments for new treatments but offering to pay for lethal drugs. This is an issue that is totally ignored by HB 5898.

Proponents talk of “safeguards.” Nothing can prevent an erroneous prognosis or keep a vulnerable person from subtly being steered. Moreover, the bill’s focus is on the parameters of permissible medical behavior and not on patient protection. Thus, the minimal criteria written into the bill apply only to the prescribing of the lethal drugs, and not to their use. Any mental health evaluation to determine if a person has impaired decision capacity is made when he requests the drugs.

There is no requirement that a person be evaluated just prior to taking the drugs although mental state can fluctuate widely based on physical factors like oxygen level. It is conceivable that a person could take the drugs during a temporary depression or on impulse. Drugs are to be self-administered but there is no mechanism for insuring that will always be the case. It would be very easy for mistakes or abuse to occur and never be discovered.

It is deceptive to think that the main opposition to HB 5898 is faith based. The strongest opposition — the opposition with the most street cred -– are disability groups who represent people who have also been seen as hopeless in medical settings. We oppose legalizing assisted suicide on public policy grounds. With society and healthcare system as it presently is, it would be inherently dangerous to pass HB 5898.
Second Thoughts is an active disability rights organization in Connecticut.

Letter to Connecticut Committee concerning assisted suicide bill.

Message from Washington State lawyer, Margaret Dore, to members of the Connecticut Public Health Committee.

Vote “No” on Committee Bill 5898
Say “No” to Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
An Act Concerning Aid in Dying
Hearing on Monday, March 18, 2019

Note: The Connecticut committee accepts email testimony at: phtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

Margaret Dore
1. The Act

The Act legalizes “aid in dying,” a traditional euphemism for active euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.[1]
2. Who May Be Most at at Risk?
Individuals with money, meaning the middle class and above.
3. Assisting Persons Can Have an Agenda
Persons assisting a suicide or performing a euthanasia can have an agenda to benefit themselves. Consider Tammy Sawyer, trustee for Thomas Middleton in Oregon, which has a similar law. Two days after his death by legal assisted suicide, she sold his home and deposited the proceeds into bank accounts for her own benefit.[2] Consider also Graham Morant, recently convicted of counseling his wife to kill herself in Australia, to get the life insurance. The Court found:

[Y]ou counseled and aided your wife to kill herself because you wanted ... the 1.4 million.[3]

Medical professionals too can have an agenda. Michael Swango, MD, now incarcerated, got a thrill from killing his patients.[4] Consider also Harold Shipman, a doctor in the UK, who not only killed his patients, but stole from them and in one case made himself a beneficiary of the patient’s will.[5]
4. “Even If the Patient Struggled, Who Would Know?”
The Act has no required oversight over administration of the lethal dose, not even a witness is required to be present at the death. The drugs used are water or alcohol soluble, such that they can be injected into a sleeping or restrained person without consent.[6] Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, puts it this way:

With assisted suicide laws in Washington and Oregon [and with the proposed Act], perpetrators can . . . take a “legal” route, by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. Even if a patient struggled, “who would know?” (Emphasis added).[7]
5. The Death Certificate Will List a “Terminal Illness” as the Cause of Death, Which Will Create a Perfect Crime

The bill, Section 9(b), lines 273 to 274, states:

The person signing the qualified patient's death certificate shall list the underlying terminal illness as the cause of death. (Emphasis added).

With this language, the patient’s death certificate will report death due to a terminal illness as a matter of law. This will create a legal inability to prosecute criminal behavior, for example, in the case of an outright murder for the money. The Act will create a perfect crime.
6. Dr. Shipman and the Call for Death Certificate Reform

According to a 2005 article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, there was a public inquiry regarding Dr. Shipman’s conduct, which determined that he had “killed at least 250 of his patients over 23 years.”[8] The inquiry also found:

that by issuing death certificates stating natural causes, the serial killer [Shipman] was able to evade investigation by coroners.[9]

According to a subsequent article in 2015, proposed reforms included having a medical examiner review death certificates, so as to improve patient safety.[10] Instead, the instant bill moves in the opposite direction to require legal coverup as a matter of law. Doctors and other perpetrators, such as family members, will be legally empowered to evade investigation.
7. Euthanasia Is Allowed

The Act defines “aid in dying” as a “medical practice” in which a physician prescribes “medication,” which the patient may self-administer. (Bill, Section 1.(2), at lines 4-7)

Generally accepted medical practice allows a doctor, or a person acting under the direction of a doctor, to administer medication. With the lethal dose defined as “medication,” other people are allowed to administer the lethal dose to the patient, which is euthanasia.
8. “Eligible” Persons May Have Decades to Live
The Act applies to persons with a terminal illness, which is expected to produce a patient’s death “within six months.”[11] Oregon’s law has a similar criteria, which is interpreted to include chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus, better known as diabetes. This is because the six months to live is determined without treatment. With treatment (insulin), such persons can have years or decades to live.
Footnotes:

[1] Craig A. Brandt, “Model Aid-in-Dying Act,” Iowa Law Review, 1989 Oct; 75(1): 125-215, (“Subject: Active Euthanasia ....”), at https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/738671. See also Maria T. CeloCruz, “Aid-in-Dying: Should We Decriminalize Physician-Assisted Suicide and Physician-Committed Euthanasia?,” American Journal of Law and Medicine 1992 (“Subject: Active Euthanasia ....”) at https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/744116

[2] KTVZ.com, “Sawyer Arraigned on State Fraud Charges,” at https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/sawyer-arraigned-a-63.pdf

[3] R v Morant , 11/02/18, p. 11, ¶ 78, at https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2018/QSC18-251.pdf

[4] Charlie Leduff, “Prosecutors Say Doctor Killed to Feel a Thrill,” The New York Times, 09/07/2000, https://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/07/nyregion/prosecutors-say-doctor-killed-to-feel-a-thrill.html See also: CBSNEWS.COM STAFF, “Life in Jail for Poison Doctor, 07/12/00, www.cbsnews.com/news/life-in-jail-for-poison-doctor

[5] David Batty, “Q & A: Harold Shipman,” The Guardian, 08/25/05, at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/aug/25/health.shipman. See also Fiona Guy, “Healthcare Serial Killers: Doctors and Nurses Who Kill,” Crime Traveller, (2015, Sept 09), excerpts in the Appendix, pages 20 to 23, available at https://www.crimetraveller.org/2018/06/healthcare-medical-serial-killers

[6] In Oregon, the drugs used include Secobarbital, and Pentobarbital (Nembutal) , which are water and alcohol soluble. See http://www.drugs.com/pr/seconal-sodium.html and http://www.drugs.com/pro/nembutal.html

[7] The Advocate, Idaho State Bar, Letters to the Editor

[8] David Batty, supra,

[9] Id., “What are its findings?”

[10] Press Association, “Death certificate reform delays ‘incomprensible,’” The Guardian, January 21, 2015

[11] See the bill, section 1.(19) , lines 76 to 79.


Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore, PS

Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation



1001 4th Avenue, Suite 4400

Seattle, WA  98154

206 697 1217

Fabian Stahle: A letter from Sweden to Maryland Senators concerning assisted suicide.

Dear Senator,
 

Maryland Senate.
I write to you from Sweden regarding HB 399 and SB 311 because these bills are similar to the Oregon law that is proposed here in Sweden. After contact with Oregon Health Authority I found disturbing information that was not available before and is highly relevant for HB 399 and SB 311 (below referred to as the ”Bills”).

In this letter I would like to draw your attention to a dangerous passage in the Bills regarding the eligibility criteria that the patient shall be diagnosed with a ”terminal illness” that will result in death within 6 months.


Regarding how this 6 months criteria must be interpreted, I have crucial information revealed from a correspondence I had with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in the end of 2017. I believe this information is very significant as the Bills definition of "terminal illness" is almost identical with the Oregon definition.


In my correspondence the OHA acknowledged – for the first time officially - that they always had interpreted the 6 months criteria as ”without administration of life-sustaining treatment”, A3 and A8 in the correspondence (Link to the correspondence).


See also my comments (Link to the comments).


This interpretation is counter-intuitive because most people would take for granted that the meaning of ”terminal illness” is a disease for which there is no treatment or medication, i.e. that all hope is gone. But the interpretation is logically inevitable also for the Bills - and
the implications are far reaching.


As a patient has the right to refuse to receive treatment, any patient having a disease that potentially may develop into a terminal condition can make themselves eligible for assisted death – 'for any reason whatsoever'. Hence a trap-door for suicidal patients is imbedded in the Bills.


This is unavoidable because the patient's autonomy ensures that it must be the patient himself who has to decide when enough is enough.


For those who believe in the basic idea of these Bills, it is obviously unreasonable to request that, for example, a cancer patient who is exhausted by radiation and several unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments should be forced to undergo additional painful treatments with dubious results to gain access to assisted death.
But where should we draw the line? Isn’t it also obviously unreasonable that a patient who has very good prospects to be cured can get assisted death by refusing treatment? Shouldn’t we require that a cancer patient accept at least one treatment before talking about assisted death – or at least to account for reasonable motives for their wish to die? Or what about a young diabetic who, in the despair of a broken relationship, wants to die and stops insulin so as to be able to obtain legal suicide assistance - shouldn't we regard that as unacceptable and ask for some sort of limitation?


However, all such attempts to conditions intrude on patient autonomy – the very autonomy the Bills are intended to expand, not decrease – and leads to insoluble demarcation problems. The Oregon Health Authority has also come to this conclusion. (Link to the conclusion). (A4 and A5).


So in the face of these two contradictory positions the Bills must surrender to the patient's autonomy - just as all other laws like the one in Oregon already have.


As a result the obvious interpretation of the central concepts of “terminal” does not apply – but is left open to the patient's own decision, and hence the door is also opened to pure absurdities as to which people can be legally killed:

A cancer patient who has very good prospects to be cured, but denies treatment. An important reason is that she does not want to lose her hair. We are now in Oregon a while after their law for physician-assisted suicide came into force and the patient in question is Jeanette Hall. Her physician, Dr. Stevens is opposed to the law but was forced to acknowledge that his patient would be eligible to get the death pills she wanted because her cancer was likely to lead to death within 6 months if she was not treated. He managed however to convince her to take treatment and many years later Ms. Hall said: "It is great to be alive."
But nor all doctors are like Dr. Stevens.
Dr. Charles Blanke, an oncologist with Oregon Health and Science University, told The Bulletin about one of his cases, a young patient with Hodgkin lymphoma with a more than 90 percent chance of survival with treatment. She did not believe in chemotherapy and feared its toxicity, despite Blanke’s efforts to convince her otherwise. After cleared by a psychiatrist Blanke approved her for assisted death, holding firm to his belief that doctors should not force patients to receive treatment. But afterwards Blanke asked himself:

“Why doesn’t that patient want to take relatively non-toxic treatment and live for another seven decades?”
The answer to Dr. Blanke’s question is just as simple as disturbing in the context of medical killing:
It is because a law that encourages sick people to commit suicide - by the obvious reason that for a suicidal person a socially accepted and smooth death administered by society is much more attractive than dying on one's own in loneliness, just as the young suicidal Belgian woman testifies in this video (Link to the video).
For any reason whatsoever.
 
A person could, as Dr. Blanke’s cases, fear the possibility of side effects or future disabilities. But it could also be a parallel life crisis that is indirectly linked to the disease. And what about those patients who cannot pay for a potentially effective treatment? These Bills allow and encourage people that are not necessarily dying to commit suicide.


These Bills allows and encourages people that are not necessarily dying to commit suicide. Please reject these dangerous Bills!


Sincerely
Fabian Stahle, Sweden

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