Friday, October 28, 2011

Canadian Lawsuit Demands Right to Commit Euthanasia by Non Doctors

Wesley Smith published the following blog article today concerning Carter case in Canada that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. The following is a reprint of Wesley Smith's article.

The euthanasia agenda is not–and never has been–limited to the “terminally ill for whom nothing else can be done to alleviate suffering.” Some still pretend that is so as a political expedient, but many are becoming increasingly forthcoming about the radical scope of their actual goals.

Take a lawsuit filed in British Columbia and fast-tracked by Justice Smith (think you can detect which way the wind is blowing?). The BC Civil Liberties Association is not asking for the court to create a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide, but also for active euthanasia–even when administered by non doctors. From the Amended Notice of Civil Claim, Carter v. Attorney General of Canada:

“Physician-Assisted Suicide”

67. For purposes of this claim, “physician-assisted suicide” means an assisted suicide where assistance to obtain or administer medication or other treatment that intentionally brings about the patient’s own death is provided by a medical practitionee…or by a person acting under the general supervision of a medical practitioner, to a grievously and irremediably ill patient in the context of a patient-physician relationship.

“Consensual Physician-Assisted Death”

7.8. For purposes of this claim, “consensual physician-assisted death” means the administration of medication or other treatment that intentionally brings about a patient’s death by the act of a medical practitioner, as that term is defined in s. 29 of the Interpretation Act, or by the act of a person acting under the general supervision of a medical practitioner, at the request of a grievously and irremediably ill patient in the context of a patient-physician relationship.

Both of the above are to be called by the euphemistic, “physician assisted dying.”

Note the following from the above definitions:

1. Euthanasia/assisted suicide is not limited to a terminal illness. Indeed “grievously and irremediably ill” is not defined, meaning it could be just a matter of the perception of the beholder.

2. It does not require doctor administration of death, but the coup d’gras could be performed by a nurse, a family member, or even a stranger for pay, so long as that person acted under the supervision of a doctor.

3. Almost any serious physical, emotional, or mental condition could qualify a person for euthanasia, so long as it is considered “grievous and irremediable.” (In these things, the patient is allowed to define what qualifies for the level of suffering justifying doctor-prescribed/administered death. Hence, in the Netherlands, a grieving mother, whose two children died, was allowed assisted suicide because the psychiatrist who helped kill her thought she would never get over her grief.)

The suit not only seeks to invalidate Canada’s law against assisted suicide. It also seeks a right of private persons to essentially engage in private consensual killing if based on health or suffering:

12. The right to liberty of a person who assists or supports a grievously and irremediably ill person to obtain physician-assisted dying services is engaged by prosecution and the threat of prosecution under the impugned provisions.

13. The restrictions imposed under the impugned provisions, to the extent that they operate to prohibit a person from assisting or supporting a grievously and irremediably ill person to obtain physician-assisted dying services, result in a deprivation of the assisting person’s s. 7 right to liberty.

14. The right to liberty of persons who assist or support a grievously and irremediably ill person to obtain physician-assisted dying services must necessarily be protected in order to give meaning to the s. 7 life, liberty and security of the person rights of grievously and irremediably ill persons.

The suit seeks similar protections for doctors.

This suit, essentially, says the lives of huge swaths of the Canadian population have lives that are so unworth living, that there is a fundamental liberty right to hastened deaths – both for the suffering person and those willing to participate in killing. Not only does that abandon such people, it opens up the door to horrendous abuse and coercion – not to mention social pressure considering the medical resource crisis. The elderly, people with disabilities, terminal and chronic illnesses, and the mentally ill and seriously depressed should be very afraid.

Link to an explanation of the Carter case on Alex Schadenberg's blog.

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