Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Barbara Kay: Euthanasia is killing

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The National Post published an excellent article by Barbara Kay, one of Canada's most respected columnists, titled: Beware of euthanasia's friendly face.

Barbara Kay
Kay's article accomplishes two tasks: it properly defines the language and purpose of Bill 52, the Québec euthanasia bill that passed last June, and she reports on her experience at a dinner organized by the Physicians for Social Justice opposing Québec's euthanasia law, that was held in Montréal.

Kay points out that the Québec euthanasia law, that is scheduled to come into effect in December 2015, legalizes euthanasia and not assisted suicide. Kay wrote:
In general, even intelligent and educated people have rather fuzzy notions about euthanasia (which is not assisted suicide, though many people conflate the two). The only reason the Quebec government is calling euthanasia “medical aid in dying” is that they believe it creates an end run around the Criminal Code, which proscribes the killing of patients by doctors. But euthanasia is killing by doctors. Surveys show 60% of Quebecers do not realize the bill provides for death by lethal injection, just like the death penalty in the U.S. — and euphemisms do not change that. 
There is only one form of medical treatment that can accurately be described as “medical aid in dying,” and that is palliative care. Which is why palliative care doctors, as well as many family physicians, are almost as appalled by the wording of the bill as they are by euthanasia itself.
Kay then writes about the response from prominent Québec physicians to the euthanasia law:
I spoke with Manny Borod, a palliative care physician at the Montreal General Hospital, who articulated the grievances his peers feel. Foremost is the illicit intrusion of the government into medicine’s jurisdiction. Governments should not be in the business of deciding what is or what is not a medical treatment. If the government can decide euthanasia is a medical treatment, Dr. Borod asks, “what’s to stop them from legislating other medical treatments?” Like many of his colleagues, he would like to see less aggressive, technology-heavy treatment applied to dying patients and more attention paid to enriching and enlarging the palliative resources that would give those patients a better death.
Dr Balfour Mount
Kay then wrote about the speech given by Balfour Mount, at the event. Dr Mount is the father of palliative care in North America and a leading opponent of euthanasia: Kay wrote:
Most galvanizing were the words of Balfour Mount. ... Dr. Mount’s passionate disdain for the medicalization of euthanasia remains undimmed. Calling euthanasia “medical aid in dying” is a “cowardly distortion of language,” he said. The dying do not want to be killed; they want an “easy death,” and “that is what palliative care gives them.”
Kay then reported on Dr. Mount's response by the video by Dr Don Low that promoted assisted suicide: 
Dr Mount was particularly irritated by the influential video put out by his former colleague, Don Low, in his last weeks of life, calling for legal assisted suicide. In the video, Dr. Low said, “there is no place in Canada where you can have support for dying with dignity.” That, Dr. Mount said, “is a gross disservice to our fellow Canadians.” He was contemptuous of the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge for perpetuating the false notion that Dr. Low was “denied death with dignity.” Dr. Low died at home, pain-free, surrounded by his family, according to Dr. Mount, and if that is not dignity, what is?
Margaret Somerville
Barbara Kay finished the article by quoting from one of Canada's leading ethicists - Margaret Somerville. Kay wrote:
Putting a “white smock on euthanasia” has laundered euthanasia’s grim reality — a strategy by activists, amongst others, ...The law says, “don’t kill,” and medicine says, “heal.” Euthanasia advocates want to reverse their roles. Ms. Somerville quipped: “How about letting the lawyers kill people?” The remark drew laughter — and heavy applause.
Thank you to Barbara Kay for once again writing about the horrors that legalizing euthanasia will lead to in our culture.

It is disturbing that Québekers and Canadians are not heeding the warning from Dr's Balfour Mount and Margaret Somerville. Two great people who truly care about society and the need to protect people from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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