Thursday, December 4, 2014

Canadian Senate to debate dangerous euthanasia bill

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A critique of Canadian Senate Bill S - 225.

Senator Nancy Ruth and Senator Larry Campbell introduced Senate Private Bill S 225, a bill that legalizes euthanasia by lethal injection and assisted suicide by lethal prescription. This bill is based on the private members bills that were introduced by Stephen Fletcher MP earlier this year.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) welcomes an open debate based on the facts.

Canada has debated euthanasia and assisted suicide on many occasions with the most recent vote in parliament (April 2010) where bill C-384 was defeated by a vote of 228 to 59.

The language of Senate Bill S 225 is intentionally permissive. The bill is designed to protect physicians who act by lethally injecting or assisting the suicide of their patients. It is not designed to protect the patients. 
  • The bill specifically allows euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with disabilities. 
  • The bill allows euthanasia or assisted suicide for "psychological suffering." Psychological suffering is not defined. 
  • The bill is not limited to terminal illness.
  • The bill requires the physician to self report the death after it has already occurred. This assumes that physicians will self-report abuse of the law. Since the patient is dead, when the act is reported, therefore no actual protection exists for the patient.
People with disabilities generally oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada case concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide. In its media release CCD spokesperson, Catherine Frazee stated:
In jurisdictions where assisted suicide/euthanasia is legal the leading reasons given for dying are not pain related, but rather “losing dignity and autonomy” and “becoming burdensome for family and friends”. 
To endorse these as valid reasons to die can only reinforce and entrench fear of disability and prejudice about the value of disabled people’s lives
Since bill S 225 does not define "psychological suffering" we must consider how this term has been applied in the Netherlands where euthanasia for psychological suffering already occurs. For instance:
Professor Theo Boer, a 9 year member of a Regional Euthanasia Review Committee in the Netherlands, changed his mind and now opposes euthanasia. In a recent article, Boer stated:
I used to be a supporter of legislation. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a different view.  
At the very least, wait for an honest and intellectually satisfying analysis of the reasons behind the explosive increase in the numbers. Is it because the law should have had better safeguards? Or is it because the mere existence of such a law is an invitation to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as a normality instead of a last resort? Before those questions are answered, don’t go there. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.
EPC welcomes an open debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide, so long as it is an open debate. Ignoring the facts will be at Canada's peril. 


Sean L. Tobin said...

There is no question in my mind that this Bill in our Senate will lead to the abuses already seen in the Netherlands. It will become a means to get rid of anyone who just happens to be depressed, or suffering from a mental or physical challenge, or suffering from Parkinsons or Dementia, or simply being elderly. Euthanasia is just another form of legalized murder. said...

Oh Lord Forgive us! This Bill is a sneaky way of bringing Euthanasia into society without protection for even the general population @ large. All of us have a disability of one kind or another, so who decides?? No question at all as Sean Tobin's another form of legalized murder.

Madellen said...

As a health professional, I know with certainty, that some populations are more vulnerable than others to poor quality health care, limited resources and long wait lists for assessment, diagnosis and treatment. There is also valuable social work research on the reasons patients seek to hasten their own deaths- depression and lack of support are among the top indicators. AS/EU is a more cost effective measure than long term care,which dominates decision making by hospitals, patients and loved ones. It is important to note that privatization is on the rise in Canada, critiqued for entrenching disparities and creating a two tier health system. Each of the above elements is a vulnerability factor that can't be controlled, either medically or legally. AS/EU does not offer death with dignity and care, but death in despair. This Senate Bill has to be examined in terms of Canada specific epidemiology - including risk and vulnerability factors - in the context of multi-level health and social policy. If not, the ramifications are just chilling.
If social work and other health professions think AS/EU is progressive policy, I urge them to think again.

E. Maureen Moss said...

I fully agree with both of the above commenters, that 'euthanasia' is simply another name for murder, and it is murder of our most vulnerable. Murder is WRONG, no matter what fancy name you want to call it.

Colette Stang said...

If debating this dangerous bill brought forth some wisdom to stop the bill, I would be relieved.However, if it means we are on our way to legalized euthanasia, we are entering evil times for Canada. Please let's listen to the wisdom of Professor Theo Boer. Boer was in favour of euthanasia for 12 years and he is now telling us to not go there.

New Catholic said...

I have studied worldwide laws on this subject and truly believe Canada will be no better than other jurisdictions when it comes to abuses. We DO NOT need assisted suicide/euthanasia part of Canadian culture or law.

Jule Koch said...

I just emailed the following letter to every Ontario and Quebec senator "Senator ----,
Please vote against this murderous Bill S-225. “Assisting” someone to commit suicide is murder. Killing someone who is suffering is murder. Every single person suffers mentally or physically at some point in their lives and who is to judge how much suffering is too much and when they should die? People need help to live and to get well, not to die.
Killing is not care. This bill will strip all Canadians of the most basic human right - protection from murder and violence."
I sent individual emails personalized with each senator's name. It didn't take that long. In the next few days I will try to do every senator

Maureen Morton said...

Here in Brockville we are already performing euthanasia, albeit slow by drugging disabled patients and blaming them for the drug's side effects. My Aunt was repeatedly given drugs not safe for a diabetic patient, and the staff blamed her because she could not lift her hands to feed herself. She wailed, they drugged her to "shut her up!" We sent in complaints and spoke to admin & medical staff, they said we were interfering. Don't give the practitioners more permission to kill, for they will! The business plans do not let the staff have adequate time to feed and take care of the elderly. My Mom's friend tells me the staff do not have time to do a number of tasks and she pays $2,800 per month in a nursing home. People pay far more in bigger cities! My Mom had fallen and hit her head and a dementia was the outcome. In her last two years a small luncheon plate of food could easily take 6 hours to feed her. She would have starved in a nursing home! Yet when she passed away she was a happy, peaceful, little soul, holding the hands of her son and daughter who loved her!
Have a look at this message and do a word search for euthanasia. Don't put your eternal soul at risk for supporting this legislation! Maureen

October 6, 2003

"I am here now. Be at peace. I am your Jesus, born Incarnate."

"I have come so that all may understand the worship of false gods. Anything that leads the soul away from adherence to the law of Holy Love, and so too, the Commandments, becomes a false god in that person's life. This is because he places the sin or fault over and above love of God and neighbor."

"Perhaps the soul worships his own opinion more than God, and for that reason practices birth control, accepts abortion and even euthanasia. Perhaps he loves power and control more than righteousness, and because of this, abuses his position of authority. There are many who compromise their adherence to the Commandments for the sake of protecting their reputation in the world."

"I have come to help you realize that all these things are passing. God alone suffices. Do not seek after any of these false gods. Abandon yourselves to Me. Detach yourselves from every allurement of the world, and you will have treasure in Heaven."

Jule Koch said...

I forgot to mention that I gave my name and contact information in every email - I think it's very important to do that when contacting our leaders; they take us seriously then.

Pete P said...

I have read comments from both sides of this debate. It seems to me that those who want assisted suicide are simply wrong. I think the key phrase is ASSISTED suicide. Anyone who must be assisted in ending their life is showing doubt. The will to live is stronger then the will to die. As hard as it is to say, and I do not support suicide under any circumstances, but, if one really wants to end their life, they have plenty of time to do it before they are incapable of doing so. The guilt of ending someones life should never be thrust upon or expected of anyone. As for euthanasia, Legalizing someone to end your life, be it under the prelude of assisting someones suicide, is committing murder. As I have said, there is doubt.