Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fictional story stickers continue to mislead public.

On December 10, 2009 I wrote about this new website that was promoting the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. At the time I was unsure whether this was a project by a couple of activists who didn't fully understand the issue or whether it was a new group attempting to confuse the public with misinformation. Link to my previous blog comment:
http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-does-new-group-dignity-in-death-not.html

Now I am responding to new information from a Toronto Star article on December 23, 2009 about the Dignity in Death website and park bench stickers. Link to the Toronto Star article: http://www.thestar.com/living/article/742101--giving-dignity-to-bad-deaths
This new euthanasia campaign is: (1) being operated by two advertising specialists misleading the public concerning our actual law. (2) They are creating an emotional response to a very serious issue by using fictional stories.

The Dignity in Death website misrepresents what the euthanasia and assisted suicide laws state in Canada. The website falsely states that voluntary euthanasia is already legal in Canada. This is not true. What they appear to mean is that refusing life-sustaining medical treatment is euthanasia. But this is not euthanasia.

Voluntary euthanasia is when a competent person voluntary asks another person (usually a physician) to directly and intentionally cause their death. This is usually done by lethal injection.

One of the promoters of this euthanasia campaign (under the title - Greywizard) accused me (in this blog) of trying to rewrite the english language. This person was insistent that he was right and I was wrong. The fact is that the Dignity in Death website that was developed by this person is wrong and irresponsibly misleading.

Greywizard also attempted to discredit me by calling me religious. Instead of dealing with the arguement Greywizard preferred to discredit me by accusing me of being religious. But euthanasia and assisted suicide are not religious issues but rather public safety issues.

Euthanasia is prosecuted under Section 222 of the Criminal Code (homicide) and Bill C-384, the bill that is being debated in parliament to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, would legalize euthanasia by amending section 222 of the criminal code.

The advertising specialists who are promoting the euthanasia campaign stated to the Toronto Star:
"We've both seen cases where passive euthanasia is the right thing to do."

Just because two advertising specialists want to call witholding or withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment euthanasia, doesn't mean that it is euthanasia. This is irresponsible because it is often necessary to withdraw life-sustaining treatment to allow natural death to occur. If good people who oppose euthanasia are falsely convinced that this action is euthanasia, they will refuse and create medical problems.

The issue of euthanasia is very serious. When someone directly and intentionally causes the death of another person, (euthanasia) for any reason, the person dies. This is an irrevocable decision.

To create false sympathy by using fictional stories is irresponsible. The ad campaign attempts to create a situation where people will believe that unless we legalize assisted suicide, people will suffer when they are dying.

It is not necessary to give physicians the right to directly and intentionally cause the death of their patients in order to prevent suffering. What we need to do is improve access and the availability to excellent care in Canada.

Advertising specialists need to maintain a level of ethics. The fact that these park bench stickers have fictional stories about a serious issue and they have website information that connects people to false and misleading information should be dealt with by advertising standards ethics.

As I stated in the Toronto Star article:
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of Canada's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, agrees that the stories created by McKay and Manson "are very compelling" but calls their website "misleading and inaccurate.

"No one wants to see people suffering in the way they describe," but the pair confuse euthanasia, the debate on whether doctors should be able to actually take a life, with being able to request that a doctor withhold treatment so the disease takes its course, Schadenberg says.

In conclusion, it is interesting that the advertising specialists are now saying that they are promoting living wills. I guess a good technique of dealing with criticism is to change the issue. The advertising campaign doesn't actually promote living wills but rather it promotes euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Let's hope society will reject these advertising specialists for there false representation of a very serious and socially contentious issue.

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