Friday, March 27, 2015

John Kelly and Alex Schadenberg on Radio Sputnik's “Brave New World”

John Kelly
This article was published by Not Dead Yet on March 27 2015.

Alex Schadenberg
At the end of February, John Kelly, the New England Regional Director of Not Yet Dead and Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, were guests on “Brave New World,” a show on Radio Sputnik. Also on the show was Gert Huysmans, the President of the Federation of Palliative care of Flanders (Belgium). John Harrison is the host of the show.

According to John Kelly, this show was better venue than he is used to – venues in which news hosts are often openly hostile to any opponent of legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia. John said (and the show recording and transcript confirm this) “he (Harrison) gave each of the participants a chance to describe the situation in our own country, thereby giving us a chance to make our points without being asked the “what do you say to Brittany Maynard” type of gotcha question. When he asked me the devils advocate question it was about a person with a disability, not someone “about to die in pain” or some such nonsense.”

Here are a couple of excerpts:
Gert Huysmans: What you mentioned in Flanders and in Belgium, euthanasia is not a right. You have the right to request for euthanasia, and that’s a world of difference. So it’s not that you have the right to choose your moment of dying with euthanasia. You have to follow certain conditions that are mentioned in the law. You have to have unbearable suffering caused by a disease or an accident, and the physician you request your euthanasia [from] should have the internal persuasion that euthanasia is the only proper solution for your problems and in some cases and in some circumstances euthanasia is acceptable, but it is not a right as such.
And, as news of the law’s actual application has shown, practice is only as narrow as the broadest comfort zone of any given individual physician.

John talks about the long-term resistance to “right to die” laws from the disability community:

JK: We in the United States, the disability rights movement have fought [for] a generation against the arrogance being displayed by the doctor, where the doctors can presume to judge the quality of life, and when it is correct to end it. We have a history of being judged to not have high quality of lives, and whenever suffering is the subjective criterion for deciding who gets to die, people with disabilities will always be the ones who are targeted.
This show is an excellent one. I encourage readers to listen to the show or to read the transcript.

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