Saturday, September 29, 2018

New Jersey may vote on assisted suicide bill in October.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The New Jersey legislature may vote on a bill to legalize assisted suicide in October. According to News 12 New Jersey, Assembly Bill 1504, which is sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli is expected to be voted on in October. News 12 reported that Gov. Phil Murphy has expressed support for the assisted suicide bill.

The bill, that is called Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, gives doctors the right in law to prescribe lethal drugs. 


Patients who ask for assisted suicide are seeking support and care in response to fear of suffering, depression and loneliness. This bill allows doctors to abandon their patients to death by lethal drugs.

John Kelly, Not Dead Yet.
A Coalition of groups and individuals oppose assisted suicide. In his testimony opposing the New Jersey Assisted suicide bill, John Kelly, the New England Regional Director for Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights organization, told the hearing that the assisted suicide bill:

...threatens you and every single resident of New Jersey, because all of us are vulnerable to misdiagnosis. “Terminally ill” is defined as:

“Terminally ill” means that the patient is in the terminal stage of an irreversibly fatal illness, disease, or condition with a prognosis, based upon reasonable medical certainty, of a life expectancy of six months or less.”When it comes to life and death, there is no such thing as “reasonable medical certainty.” Of the millions of misdiagnoses every year, many are terminal misdiagnoses. We know this because of the thousands of people who “graduate” from hospice each year. Every year in Oregon, people have lived longer than their six-month terminal diagnosis.

Every year in New Jersey, it is estimated that 1/10 people over the age of 60 are abused, almost always by adult children and caregivers. Although “self administration” is touted as one of the key “safeguards”, in about half of Oregon program deaths, there is no evidence of consent or self-administration in the death. If the drugs were administered by others without consent, no one would know. The request form constitutes a virtual blanket of legal immunity covering all participants in the process.

Assisted suicide laws inevitably take the lives of innocent people through mistakes, coercion, and abuse. Please reject this bill.
Legalizing assisted suicide gives doctors the right in law to be directly involved with intentionally causing the death of their patients.

This blog does not publish Anonymous comments.

During the last few days there have been many excellent comments posted to this blog. As the moderator I did not publish those comments because they were Anonymous.

Also: comments that attack a person, have dangerous, illegal, or unethical content will also not be published on this blog.

I will only publish comments from people who give their name with their comment. 

Anonymous comments will not be published on this blog.

Comments will be published when you provide your name with your comment. 


Alex Schadenberg

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

France ethics committee opposes euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The French National Consultative Committee on ethics released its long awaited report today. The ethics committee opposed the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide and it opposed gestational surrogacy while it supported medically assisted procreation for all women.

According to a media report, the government of France didn't want euthanasia to be part of the ethics report, nonetheless, the ethics committee decided that the euthanasia laws should not be changed.

Previous articles:


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Laying the groundwork for child euthanasia in Canada.

The following article was published by BioEdge on September 22, 2018.

Michael Cook
By Michael Cook:
 

Euthanasia, or “medical aid in dying”, was authorised by Canada’s Supreme Court in June 2016. It was a controversial decision and the controversy is far from over. Three issues were left hanging: euthanasia for “mature minors”, euthanasia for people with mental illness, and advance directives for euthanasia. The government asked the Council of Canadian Academies to produce a report on these issues by December this year.

Euthanasia for mature minors is a particularly sticky issue. In the Journal of Medical Ethics, several Canadian paediatricians and bioethicists construct an argument supporting it.

First of all, they frame euthanasia (MAID) a part of a continuum of palliative care.

it is wrong to force a person to live in circumstances of unendurable and irremediable suffering and ... the wishes of capable patients should be respected within legal limits, especially in such an intimate matter as how they choose to die. Persons, in other words, have a right to life, not a duty to live ...
If MAID is essentially a normal medical procedure, it follows that there is no need for “special procedures for managing communication, confidentiality and capacity assessment”.

One consequence of this is that doctors should be proactive in suggesting euthanasia to children for they have an obligation to inform patients of their healthcare options.

What about a young person’s capacity for consent? In Ontario, “young people can be and are found capable of making their own medical decisions, even when those decisions may result in their death”. This is not universally accepted in Canada, so it may be necessary to tweak the law.

How about the role of parents? What if a young person requests MAID but their parents object? The authors argue that if a young person is capable of making their own medical decisions, there is no reason why parents have to be informed. “If we regard MAID as practically and ethically equivalent to other medical decisions that result in the end of life, then confidentiality regarding MAID should be managed in this same way.”

How should hospitals manage their public relations? Permitting child euthanasia is sure to be extremely controversial so they need to reduce the social stigma. The authors propose HIV/AIDS as a model:

If we take the HIV model as our strategy for publicly messaging MAID, we would proceed by providing MAID in a matter-of-fact way that may, over time, reduce the social burden both on patients seeking this procedure and clinicians providing it.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Symposium 2018

License to Care not Licence to Kill
Saturday October 27 - Winnipeg Manitoba (9 am - 4 pm) Central Time.
(watch the live simulcast from anywhere in the world) 


2018 National Euthanasia Symposium Saturday October 27

The 2018 Euthanasia Symposium features excellent speakers while providing you with the opportunity to attend the event live or to watch it remotely from anywhere in the world.

The cost to attend the event is: $50 (includes lunch) at the Best Western Winnipeg Airport Hotel or $30 (watch online live anywhere in the world) (we will send you the link).

Dr Paul Saba
Register for the Euthanasia Symposium 2018.

Keynote Speakers: Alexandra Snyder, lawyer who is fighting the California assisted suicide law and Dr Paul Saba: Québec physician - His topic is "Why I won't Kill."

Speakers include: Kevin Dunn - Co-Producer of Fatal Flaws, Amy Hasbrouck - EPC President (Toujours VivantNot Dead Yet), Taylor Hyatt, researcher Not Dead Yet, James Mahony - freelance journalist and former lawyer, Jen Romnes - painter and author of the books Entangled 1 & 2, and Alex Schadenberg.

Groups and individuals from anywhere in the world can organize a group Simulcast viewing. Last year more people watched the Symposium online than in person with several groups watching the Symposium online. All you need is: high speed internet, a good computer/projector and good speakers.

We are expecting more people to take advantage of this opportunity this year. 

More information is available at: info@epcc.ca or call the office: 1-877=439-3348.

Register for the Euthanasia Symposium 2018.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Case for 'death with dignity' collapses under scrutiny

This letter was written by John Kelly and published in the Berkshire Eagle on September 19.

John Kelly is director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts: Disability Rights Activists Against Assisted Suicide.

John Kelly - Second Thoughts Massachusetts
To the editor:

I write to respond to the oped by John Berkowitz and three Western Massachusetts legislators in support of assisted suicide bill H.1994 (Eagle, Sept. 11).

Unsolvable problems with assisted suicide include the fact that terminal diagnoses are often wrong. Studies show that between 13 percent and 20 percent of people so diagnosed are not dying, and may live years or even decades longer. As examples, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy lived a full year longer than his terminal diagnosis of two to four months, while Florence resident John Norton credits the unavailability of assisted suicide for decades of good life after a mistaken prognosis.

Assisted suicide is a boon to insurance companies, as it instantly becomes the cheapest "treatment." (Search for stories of Californian Stephanie Parker and Nevada doctor Brian Callister.)

Against the writers' claim that there hasn't been one documented case of abuse, I encourage readers to search for Oregonians Thomas Middleton (financial abuse), Wendy Melcher (a trans woman), and Kathryn Judson (physician pressure).

The bill requires no independent witness at the death, so the supposed safeguard of "self-administration" is toothless. Especially vulnerable will be the 10 percent of Massachusetts seniors estimated to be abused every year, almost always by family members. A caregiver or heir to an estate can witness a person's request, pick up the prescription and then administer the lethal dose without worry of investigation — the bill immunizes everyone involved.

The writers say the bill is necessary to prevent "great pain and unrelieved suffering" at the end of life, but official reports from Oregon and Washington show that the top five reasons to request assisted suicide do not include pain, but rather "existential distress" (New England Journal of Medicine) over such issues as dependence on others, loss of abilities and feeling like a burden.

We disabled people reject the prejudice that physical dependence makes our lives undignified. Assisted suicide exacerbates social class distinctions. Support is concentrated in wealthier white communities such as the Pioneer Valley, while opposition is centered in communities of color and the working class. In 2012, black and Latino voters opposed assisted suicide by more than 2 to 1, effectively defeating assisted-suicide ballot Question 2. People historically disrespected and neglected by our health care system are rightly suspicious of the power to prescribe death.

The Legislature should continue rejecting a bill that would push vulnerable people toward early deaths.

John B. Kelly,

Boston

The author is director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts: Disability Rights Activists Against Assisted Suicide.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons oppose Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto

1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
(800) 635-1196 or (520) 327-4885
FAX (520) 326-3529 or 325-4230
www.aapsonline.org

September 19, 2018

Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA), S. 693 / H.R. 1676

Dear Senators,

We write today in opposition to the Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act, S. 693 and the companion bill, H.R. 1676, passed by the House and now before the Senate HELP Committee.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943. Our motto, omnia pro aegroto, means “all for the patient.”

While there is a place for hospice care, it is improper to dedicate $100 million in additional taxpayer dollars to persuade patients to forgo treatment that might prolong life. To the contrary, Congress should consider rolling back existing policies that perpetuate a culture of hastening death at the expense of increasing patient access to life-saving or potentially curative treatment.

For example: Medicare payment arrangements, like Accountable Care Organizations, “have a strong incentive to adopt advance care planning for long term success,” explains a prominent health industry consulting firm. Participants in Medicare’s “Patient Centered Medical Homes” are also required to maintain advance directives.

In addition, in 2016 Medicare began paying physicians (and “non-physician practitioners”) for “end-of-life counseling.” Medicare paid out $43 million in 2016 and $70 million in 2017, to convince seniors to forgo treatment that might prolong life. Further subsidies would be inimical to the best interests of patients.

Another problematic aspect of H.R. 1676 / S. 693 is that it appears to support increased intervention in the patient-physician relationship by outsiders whose interests might not be aligned with a goal of prioritizing patient care. Furthermore, “palliative” care should not be a whole separate specialty. All physicians should be skilled in relieving symptoms in all patients, not just dying ones, and provisions in this bill would exacerbate fragmentation that is harmful to patient care.

We also summarily object to “retraining” physicians to violate the Hippocratic tradition of “do no harm.” Such a policy is indefensible on its face. No taxpayer dollars should be allocated for this unsound purpose.

Instead of passing this harmful legislation, we encourage Congress to seek solutions that will truly empower patients and their families, in consultation with physicians of their choosing, to control decisions about appropriate care without interference from politicians or policymakers in Washington, DC, or others who should not be intervening in the patient-physician relationship.

Thank you for this opportunity to communicate our concerns. Please vote “no” on S. 693 or H.R. 1676.

Sincerely,

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director

Euthanasia Society President charged with murder of disabled man - More Information.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Last week Sean Davison, a member of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies board, was arrested for participating in the murder of Anrich Burger, in 2014. Anich became a quadriplegic in a car accident.
Euthanasia activist charged in murder of disabled man in South Africa.
In September 2014 I wrote an article urging police to investigate Davison. I wrote:
Sean Davison, who was previously convicted in New Zealand for assisting his mother’s death, has admitted to assisting the suicide of a South African quadriplegic man. Davison is now saying that he will never assist in euthanasia again. 
Davison should be investigated for his part in the death of Anrich Burger who became a quadriplegic in a 2005 car accident. 
Davison told the South African media that: “Anrich Burger was a very close friend. I wouldn't want to ever go through that again. It was very stressful”
Adele Redmond and Mandy Te, reporting for Stuff media in New Zealand, provided more information on the Davison case. According to the article:
He (Davison) has often spoken publicly about Burger's death in 2014, acknowledging he was with his friend in his Waterfront hotel room as he died – but said that was not a crime. "Dr Burger committed suicide," Davison said. "He wrote his own prescription; he collected it, he arranged for the hotel. I was at the end with him, but he clearly expressed his wish to die." 
But South African authorities believe the 57-year-old killed Burger – and others as well. Opposing bail, Prosecutor Megan Blows told the Cape Town Magistrate's Court during Davison's bail hearing that "new information has come to light [that] the accused might have committed similar offences". 
Because of evidence collected during a "search and seizure" operation at Davison's R3.5 million Cape Town mansion, Blows requested a postponement so new allegations and items could be investigated.
We also learn from the Stuff article that Davison was planning to move to Australia and only returned to South Africa to resign his job.

Davison is a long-time euthanasia activist. More information will be released on November 16, when he returns to court.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Rabbi's get it right! Jews for Torah Values condemn Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

This article was published by Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA.

Psak Halacha

Regarding attempts to pass “Death with Dignity” legislation:
The chiyuv (Torah injunction) of “Lo sa’amod al dam re’echa”, obligates everyone to do what he or she can, to help prevent assisted suicide and/or euthanasia. 
Allowing the legalization of “assisted suicide”, even if this particular law in practice would only result in assisting a suicide and not euthanasia, is to allow shefichas-domim (bloodshed). Furthermore even rendering such actions not being subject to prosecution, is allowing shefichas-domim (bloodshed), al achas kama vekama (how much more so), in cases of assisted suicide leading to euthanasia.
Voting on the basis of this issue. This obligation would include:
1) Thus, when voting for any public official, this issue must be considered as top priority, certainly overriding financial considerations, government programs, etc. By voting for people who support these laws, we become accountable for their actions. This ruling would still apply even if these laws were to be passed, we would still be forbidden to vote for legislators who voted for these laws. This is the most important way to fulfill our obligation. 
2) Urging one’s legislators to vote against these bills, if and when they arise[1] and to urge the governor to veto such bill, were it to pass the legislature. 
3) Helping in efforts to repeal such laws, in areas[2] where such legislation was already passed.

Even a few votes can make a major difference, both by legislators and the public—sometimes the vote of a single legislator can decide the fate of these laws—as is evidenced by the recent vote in the New Jersey State Assembly (in November 2014), where an assisted suicide bill was passed by just one vote. We have seen in several recent races in Jewish neighborhoods, that even a handful of votes can make the difference in the outcome of the election[3]. Furthermore, some legislators keep track of the calls that are made to their offices on particular controversial issues, and vote according to their results.

May the Creator of all life grace us with the merit to save innocent lives, fulfilling our role as an or legoyim (light unto the nations). In that merit, may we help usher in the Final Redemption by Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Rabbonim are listed alphabetically.

Mordechai Chaim Auerbach, Monsey

Eliyahu Ben-Haim, RIETS/Kehillah Yotzei Mashad

Haim Benoliel, Bnai Yosef/Mikdash Melech

Gad Bouskila, Netivot Israel

Yitzchok M. Braun, Shaaray Zion

Shlomo Breslauer, Bais Tefiloh

Eliyahu Brog, Bais Yisroel

Simcha Bunim Cohen, Khal Ateres Yeshaya

Yitzchok Cohen, Yeshiva University RIETS

Moshe Donnebaum, Hechel Hatorah/Adas Yisroel/Melbourne

Menachem Fisher, Vien Monsey

Noson Yermia Goldstein, mechaber of “Migdalos Noson”

Avrohom Gordimer, Coalition for Jewish Values

Shmuel Gorelick, Mesivta Ohel Torah

Moshe Green, Yeshivah D’Monsey

Yisroel Dovid Harfenes, Yisroel Vehazmanim

Boruch Hirschfeld, Ahavas Yisroel, Cleveland

Zalman Leib Hollander, Khal Nachlas Moshe, Spring Valley, NY

Shmuel Kamenetsky, Talmudical Academy of Philadelphia

Yosef Meir Kantor, Cong. Agudath Israel of Monsey

Elya Nota Katz, Stamford Yeshiva

Eliezer Langer, Cong. Israel, Poughkeepsie, NY

Yeshaye Gedalye Kaufman, Hisachdus Moetz, Kruleh Dometz

Amram Klein, Ungvar

Shloime Ben Zion Kokis, Zichron Mordechai

Grainom Lazewnik, Khal Adar Gbir

Philip Lefkowitz, Jackson, NJ; mult. congregations in US, UK & Canada

Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin

Shmuel Miller, Yeshiva Bais Yisroel

Avrohom Yaakov Nelkenbaum, Mirrer Yeshiva

Yechiel Perr, Yeshiva of Far Rockaway

Steven Pruzansky, Bnai Yeshurun, Teaneck

Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, YU Gruss Kollel

Avrohom Reich, Hatzolas Yisroel

Dovid Ribiat, mechaber “The 39 Melochos”

Yosef Yitzchok Rosenfeld, Monsey Dometz

Chaim Schabes, Knesses Yisroel

Dovid Schustal, Bais Medrash Govoha, Lakewood

Yaakov Shulman, Talmud Torah of Flatbush

Moshe Silberberg, Shuvu/mechaber “Zichron Tzvi Meir”

Moshe Soloveitchik, Chicago

Yitzchok Sorotzkin, Mesivta of Lakewood

Tzvi Steinberg, Kahal Zera Avraham, Denver

Shlomo Stern, Debreciner Rov

Elazar Mayer Teitz, Chief Rabbi of Elizabeth, NJ

Elya Ber Wachtfogel, Yeshiva of South Fallsburg

Boruch Hersh Waldman, Siach Yitzchok, Suffern

Moshe Weissman, Ohel Moshe

Benjamin Yudin, Shomrei Torah, Fair Lawn, NJ

Yeruchum Zeilberger, Stamford Yeshiva

Gavriel Zinner, Nitei Gavriel

Institutions are listed for identification purposes only.

[1] as is currently in New Jersey [2] such as Washington state and Oregon

[3] most noticeably (demonstrated) in the Senate election between David Storobin and Lew Fidler, where Storobin won by less than 20 votes.

Sponsored by Jews for Torah Values

jewsfortorahvalues@gmail.com

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Quebec Political party pledges to extend euthanasia to Alzheimer's patients.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) says that if they are elected on October 1, they will increase provincial funding for Alzheimer’s research by $5 million a year and host public consultations on advanced consent for medically assisted deaths for those with Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

René Bruemmer reporting for the Montreal Gazette that CAQ candidates Marguerite Blais and François Bonnardel announced in St-Sauveur on Monday morning the parties intention to increase funding for Alzheimer's research and extending euthanasia to people with Alzheimer's. The article states:
Bonnardel’s mother suffers from Alzheimer’s, and he has said he would support a law that would allow a person to request a medically assisted death through prior consent in a living will.
“I see my mother, today, it’s 15 years (that she has had Alzheimer’s). Do I want to die like her? No... I want the choice to decide. I think a large majority of Quebecers want this choice.” 
... we want to open this debate for the 125,000 families who live with Alzheimer’s daily,” Bonnardel said. “We will do it because we have to do it. It’s a question of dignity.”

The doctor secretly placed a soporific in her coffee to calm her, and then had started to give her a lethal injection.
Yet while injecting the woman she woke up, and fought the doctor. The paperwork showed that the only way the doctor could complete the injection was by getting family members to help restrain her.
It (the paperwork) also revealed that the patient said several times 'I don't want to die' in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress. She also did not tell her about what was in her coffee as it was also likely to cause further disruptions to the planned euthanasia process.
Canada's federal government announced in December 2016 that they had commissioned studies into the issues of euthanasia for children, euthanasia for people with psychiatric conditions alone and euthanasia for people with Alzheimer's/Dementia if they request euthanasia for this condition while competent.

If you permit euthanasia for people who had previously stated that they wanted to die by lethal injection, but who are now incompetent, you are denying these people the right to change their mind. 

Similar to the case in the Netherlands you cannot assume that the previous wishes of a person remain the current wish of the person.

Australia man accused of assisting his wife's suicide for her Life Insurance says that his wife wanted to die.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jennifer Morant.
Three days ago I reported that Graham Robert Morant was charged with assisting the suicide of his wife, Jennifer Morant, in Australia, to receive 1.4 million dollars in Life Insurance.

Two days ago, I reported that Morant told the court that he was innocent.
Yesterday, Jennifer Morant's best friend said that she didn't want to die, but she expressed that her only hope was to win the lottery.
Today Morant told the court that his wife wanted to die by suicide, and yet her doctor stated that she never said to him that she wanted to die.

An article written by Warren Barnsley for the Sydney Morning Herald explains:
Mr Morant told police Jennifer did not want to continue suffering chronic back pain and had attempted to kill herself three times previous.
"I had such a zest and zeal to live. She had such a zest and zeal to die," Mr Morant told police in an interview played in Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday. 
He said he tried to talk her out of it but became desensitised to her attempts. 
"That's horrendous, but she that's just what she wanted to do. 
"She actually forbid me from stopping her taking her life." 
Mr Morant also lamented Jennifer's extravagant spending, saying she had a "gift for spending money".
The article then reports on the statements by her doctor. The article stated:
But while she had been treated for back, weight, thyroid, blood pressure, dental and mental health issues, her doctor Mariusz Zielinski told the court she suffered no terminal illness. 
Dr Zielinski said she had never made a comment to him about wanting to end her life.
The trial continues.

The Anonymous Three: Child euthanasia in Belgium and Elsewhere.

This article was published by the disability rights group Not Dead Yet on September 19, 2018

By Lisa Blumberg


The Belgium Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia in its most recent report of Belgium euthanasia statistics stated that between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017, three children died by lethal injection under the country’s euthanasia law. They was a nine year old with a brain tumor, an eleven year old with cystic fibrosis and a seventeen year old (probably a boy) with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (1) 

We know nothing else about these persons. We don’t even know whether each of them had involved parents or if one or more had guardians. In both life and untimely death, they are reduced to age and general diagnosis. As individuals, they are given no backstory. They are profoundly anonymous.

It calls to mind that in 1980s America, infants who were denied basic medical care and nourishment due to disability were called “Baby Does”. (2)

Belgium’s euthanasia law, as amended in 2014, allows children of any age to opt for a lethal injection provided certain criteria are met. A doctor must state that the child is “in a hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short term.” Another doctor who is a psychiatrist must opine that the child understands what euthanasia is and is not “influenced by a third party”. Parental consent must be obtained.

These rules have been characterized as very strict (3) but they implicitly allow the two doctors and the parents to drive the process. A child can be killed if his doctor judges that he is embroiled in hopeless suffering and will die soon, the parents agree that the child would now be better off dead, and the child buys into this enough that the second doctor – who knows the judgment of the first doctor – can attest the child is acting of his own free will. (I call this the domino theory). Did something like this happen to any of the anonymous three? We just don’t know.

All the criteria are subjective. For example, what is the dividing line between a child being influenced in her decision and not being influenced? The Conversation Project in the U.S. suggests that one way to elicit a “seriously ill” child’s views on end-of-life care is to discuss heaven. (4) Will bringing up heaven when speaking about options influence a nine year old who may view heaven as Disneyworld? Might an eleven year old be influenced if she reads an article about how much it costs to treat kids like her? Would knowing that your parents would consent to euthanasia if you wanted it influence a seventeen year old? It is enough to make a psychiatrist’s head spin. What underlines a finding of constant suffering? Would a doctor ever equate the disability associated with a condition with suffering? Would suffering associated with a lack of pain management or with treatment delivered in a needlessly invasive way ever be erroneously attributed to the child’s condition rather than to a deficiency in medical practice? Until quite recently, babies were operated on without anesthesia in the United States.

Luc Proot, a member of the Belgian Commission, said in regard to each of the anonymous three, “I saw mental and physical suffering so overwhelming that I thought we did a good thing.” (5)

Some things are strange about this statement. It suggests that Proot met each of the kids. Instead, as part of his official role, he read the case file on each child after they died – case files written by the doctors involved in the euthanasias and whose identities like the identities of the children were withheld. (6)

Proot said “we did a good thing.” This seems like an acknowledgment that the children, rather than being beneficiaries of children’s rights and in charge of their destinies, were acted upon.

Lastly, there is no mention of the kids being close to death.

In Belgium, euthanasia is available to a wide swath of the adult population. To be sure, those with terminal illness can request the needle but so can people with two or more incurable conditions, neither of which is life threatening, as well as people with dementia or psychiatric disorders. In 2017 there were 375 cases of reported euthanasia of people whose deaths were not expected in the near future or 16.2% of all cases of reported euthanasia. (7)

With children though, euthanasia is supposed to be restricted to cases where death is near. There is no way to speculate on how far along the 9-year-old’s brain tumor was but there is a good chance that the 11-year-old and 17-year-old were not inevitably dying. Today, cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy are chronic, disabling diseases but with proper medical management, they don’t tend to be fatal in childhood. The median life expectancy of a child born in the United States with cystic fibrosis is now 43 years and that doesn’t factor in the scientific advances that are likely to occur. (8) Guys with Duchenne often live through their 30s and sometimes into their 40s and 50s. (9) To put this into context, the average life expectancy for men and women in the United States in 1917 was 48 and 54 years respectively and this was before the great influenza epidemic where average life expectancy really plummeted. (10)

Were their special circumstances leading the doctors of the eleven-year-old and the seventeen-year-old to conclude they were both close to death? We just don’t know. Had the children had access to reasonable and empathetic care for their condition? We just don’t know. Were these instances where the doctors conflated ongoing disability with a terminal state? We just don’t know.

Parents usually want the best for their offspring but it is naïve to assume that the need for parental consent is a foolproof safeguard. Doctors are authority figures. They steer parents just as parents steer their children. When Stephen Drake was born, the doctor who injured him through improper use of forceps told his parents that the odds were 100 to 1 against him living through the night, and the odds were a million to one against him not being a “vegetable” if he did survive. Stephen has written, “The odds the doctor cited for my survival and recovery were almost certainly made up on the spot and were aimed at getting my parents to ‘accept’ my death as a good, if not clearly inevitable, thing”. (11) Fortunately for us all, his parents rejected the suggestion but there may well have been other cases where this doctor succeeded in using a speculative prognosis to convince the parents to “let nature take its course.”

In the 1980’s, the groups who opposed any legal protections for disabled infants in hospitals -mainly medical groups – argued that parental autonomy was paramount. Nevertheless, one pediatrician told me that as long as she evidenced enough concern for child and family, she could generally get parents to agree to almost anything. She felt that parental autonomy was quite often a sham.

Of course, there have been cases like the Charlie Gard case in Britain where parents have indeed wanted life sustaining care for their child and have been opposed by doctors and hospitals.

Why was parental or guardian consent given for the euthanasia of the anonymous three? We just don’t know.

In the last analysis, all that can be said about the fate of the anonymous three is what Charles Lane said in his opinion piece in the Washington Post, “the Belgian public’s support for euthanasia remains undiminished. The precedent for euthanizing children has been established, and more will almost certainly receive lethal injections this year, next year and the year after that.”(12)

As for the Baby Doe controversy, it was never resolved, just submerged. Food, water and antibiotics in hospitals have been redefined as life support and extraordinary care, depending on the circumstances.

As a young professional woman in the 1980s, I had the wind knocked out of me when I learned there was no social consensus about the right of people with disabilities to survive early childhood. I would like to say to the young people with disabilities of today, there is a resistance. Older people with disabilities are working hard to make you safe in medical settings. We will be passing the torch to you.

FOOTNOTES
  1. http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2018/08/euthanasia-in-belgium-social-experiment.html?utm_source=Euthanasia+Prevention+Coalition+Contacts&utm_campaign=bc1ff5964a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_31_02_01_COPY_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_105a5cdd2d-bc1ff5964a-198574557
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/children-are-being-euthanized-in-belgium/2018/08/06/9473bac2-9988-11e8-b60b-1c897f17e185_story.html?utm_term=.0310c1b7da8d
  3. http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/0700/0700ft1.html
  4. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/child-dies-by-euthanasia-in-belgium-where-assistance-in-dying-is-legal/
  5. https://theconversationproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ConversationProject-StarterKit-Pediatric-English.pdf
  6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/children-are-being-euthanized-in-belgium/2018/08/06/9473bac2-9988-11e8-b60b-1c897f17e185_story.html?utm_term=.0310c1b7da8d
  7. Ibid.
  8. http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2018/08/euthanasia-in-belgium-social-experiment.html?utm_source=Euthanasia+Prevention+Coalition+Contacts&utm_campaign=bc1ff5964a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_31_02_01_COPY_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_105a5cdd2d-bc1ff5964a-198574557
  9. https://www.cff.org/CF-Community-Blog/Posts/2017/Survival-Trending-Upward-but-What-Does-This-Really-Mean/
  10. https://www.mda.org/disease/duchenne-muscular-dystrophyhttps://www.google.com/search?ei=aH2aW-S0Os-izwKWjrrYBw&q=life+expectancy+1918&oq=life+expectancy+1918&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l2j0i22i30l8.85101.91288..96229…0.0..0.99.366.4……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71.HU__69ZKIfI
  11. http://notdeadyet.org/2012/03/stephens_story.html
  12. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/children-are-being-euthanized-in-belgium/2018/08/06/9473bac2-9988-11e8-b60b-1c897f17e185_story.html?utm_term=.0310c1b7da8d

Euthanasia Society President Charged with Murder of Disabled Man

This media release was published by Euthanasia-Free New Zealand on September 20, 2018

Media Release

Sean Davison, a New Zealand citizen who was convicted of assisted suicide in Dunedin, appeared in a South African court on Wednesday on a murder charge.

The charge is in relation to the death of Anrich Burger, 53, who became a quadriplegic after a motor vehicle accident in 2005. He was not terminally ill.

In 2014 the accused told News24 how he helped Mr Burger, a close friend of his, end his life with lethal drugs in November the previous year. 

Mr Burger’s fiancé was not present nor informed of the plan, since she did not support assisted suicide or euthanasia.

After pleading not guilty, Mr Davison was released on R20,000 (about NZ $2,050) bail. He is scheduled to appear in Court again on 16 November.

The State alleges that the murder was premeditated and that new information suggests that the accused may have committed other similar offences.

In 2011 Mr Davison was sentenced to five months’ house arrest in Dunedin after pleading guilty to counselling and procuring his mother’s suicide.

Mr Davison, 57, is the president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, the international organisation of which the New Zealand End of Life Choice Society (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society), is a member.

“Not all quadriplegics want to die, but those who do want to, should have the option,” said Mr Davidson after his speech at the Federation’s Conference in 2014.

On its website the Federation supports euthanasia and assisted suicide for “all competent adults with incurable illnesses” – not only those with terminal illnesses and six months to live.

“Mr Davison’s words and actions demonstrate that ‘assisted dying’ advocates don’t really want a narrow law limited to terminal illness, but one that would eventually allow virtually any competent adult with an incurable condition to be eligible, including people with disabilities,” says Renée Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.

The End of Life Choice Bill, which is currently before the New Zealand Parliament’s Justice Committee, proposes legal assisted suicide and euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses or other “grievous and irremediable medical conditions.”

“Disabled people would be included under both clauses of David Seymour’s Bill,” says Ms Joubert. “Terminal illness involves disability. So do many other longstanding physical and mental conditions.”

ENDS

Australian man charged with assisting his wife's suicide, her friend said she didn't want to die.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jennifer Morant
Two days ago I reported that Graham Robert Morant was charged with assisting the suicide of his wife, Jennifer Morant, in Australia, to receive 1.4 million dollars in Life Insurance.
Yesterday I reported that Morant told the court that he was innocent.
Today, the best friend of Jennifer Morant, said that Jennifer didn't want to die, but she expressed that her only hope was to win the lottery. 9News.com reported:
"(She said) I'm afraid and I really don't want to do it," Ms Morant's friend Johanna Cornelia Dent testified in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday. 
"But I made so many promises to everybody that the only way out would be to win lotto.
Morant allegedly assisted the suicide of his wife because she had 1.4 million dollars in Life Insurance that he wanted to use to purchase a property for a religious commune. According to 9News.com Dent told the court:
Ms Dent said Ms Morant stayed with her the week before she died and when she returned home, she had a "deal with Graham" to end her life. 
"If I hadn't come down here to see you, I would have already been dead," Ms Morant allegedly said. 
When Ms Dent asked her how she would do it, she claims she responded: "Don't worry, darling. I won't feel any pain. Graham says he knows a way I can do it." 
Under cross-examination, Ms Dent said she did not call the police about Morant because Jennifer eventually told her she would not go through with it.
The court case continues tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Australian man denies assisting his wife's suicide for 1.4 million dollars.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Yesterday I reported that Graham Robert Morant was charged with assisting the suicide of his wife, Jennifer Morant, in Australia, to receive 1.4 million dollars in Life Insurance.

Jennifer Morant
According to a report by Warren Beansley for News.com Morant denied assisting the suicide of his wife Jennifer. Morant told the court that:

Morant claimed he found a suicide note after coming home one night in November 2014. 
The note explained Jennifer didn’t want to be a burden on anyone, especially her husband, and it would not be fair on him to care for her “24 hours a day”. 
Morant said she tried to kill herself at least twice previously, the prosecution says.
The Lynette Lucas, the sister of Jennifer Morant told the court that Morant wanted the money to buy a property to establish a religious commune and her sister feared for her life. According to the report for News.com:
Morant wanted to buy a property in the Gold Coast hinterland with Jennifer’s life insurance, worth $1.4 million, to start a religious commune to prepare for biblical rapture, Ms Lucas testified. 
“Jenny was horrified that he had all these plans. She said she didn’t want to be part of the communal environment.” 
Ms Lucas told the court her sister was “fearful for her life”. 
“(I told her) your life’s in danger with these (life insurance) policies,” she said.
Dean Wells, the lawyer for Graham Morant stated:
“I suggest to you Graham is more innocent than anybody you will hear giving evidence against him,” Mr Wells said. 
“Truth is stranger than fiction. There are ... more subplots in this particular case than you will ever see in any courtroom drama on television.”
The case continues in court.

Euthanasia activist charged with murder of disabled man in South Africa.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.



Sean Davison, the euthanasia activist who arrested in 2010 for assisting the suicide of his mother in New Zealand. In September 2011 Davidson agreed to a plea bargain when he pled guilty to the assisted suicide of his mother and was sentenced to 5 months of house arrest.

Davison was arrested in the alleged murder of 43-year-old Dr Anrich Burger who became a quadriplegic following a car accident. IOL news reported that Davidson was charged with murder in Cape Town and released on R20 000 in bail and will return to court on November 16.

IOL news also reported that Davison may have been involved with other similar deaths:

“There was a search warrant with the Hawks involved and his laptop and cellphone were seized and he is expected to appear at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court this morning to hear on possible bail.” 
NPA spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said outside the court on Wednesday that from information obtained from the search and seizure it came to light that Davison may have committed other similar offences.
Davison has been a known euthanasia activist since he was arrested in 2010 in the death of his mother. In 2014 Davidson told the media that he would not assist in euthanasia again  while commenting on his involvement in the death of Anrich Burger. 

Davison allegedly assisted the death of Burger, not because he was terminally ill, but because he was disabled.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Netherlands euthanasia clinic data


Dr Mark Komrad shared the following information about the Levenseindekliniek (euthanasia clinic) in the Netherlands. It is important to note that most of the euthanasia deaths for psychiatric reasons are done at the euthanasia clinic. There are also euthanasia clinics in Belgium and Canada.

1. The Levenseindekliniek is located in the Hague. They have 55-60 physician teams who travel the country doing euthanasia—in patients’ homes.

2. The Levenseindekliniek was a private initiative by the euthanasia lobby. Theo Boer, a past member of a regional euthanasia review committee noted that “Establishing of the End of Life Clinics came fully out of the blue [originally predicted to “no longer be needed by 2018"] and has now become a necessity."

3. The doctor is ALWAYS new to the patient. These physicians are not part of a patient’s established treatment team for their condition.

4. Circumventing the treating doctors by consulting a Levenseindekliniek doctor for euthanasia evaluation (and possibly completion) is a typical scenario.

5. Approximately 750 people were euthanized at the Levenseindekliniek in 2017.

6. 77% of all psychiatric euthanasias in the Netherlands occurred via the Levenseindekiniek network in 2016. This is the predominant approach to euthanizing psychiatric patients in The Netherlands. There were 6585 reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands in 2017 with 11.4% of these deaths done through this peripatetic euthanasia service. Most of the euthanasia deaths are done by family physicians who are treating the patient, according to the Royal Dutch Medical Association.

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