Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Child euthanasia comes to the Netherlands

This article was published by First Things on October 21, 2020

Wesley Smith
By Wesley J Smith
Once a society accepts the noxious notion that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering, the definition of “suffering” never stops expanding.
The history of euthanasia in the Netherlands proves that maxim. The Dutch have allowed doctors to kill sick patients since the ’70s, taking an approach of quasi-decriminalization. Euthanasia was formally legalized in 2002. Over the decades, Dutch doctors “progressed” from euthanizing the terminally ill who ask for it, to the chronically ill who ask for it, to people with disabilities who ask for it, to the mentally ill who ask for it, and even to people with dementia who are unable to ask for it (as long as they left written instructions requesting it). The Dutch have also conjoined euthanasia with organ donation, creating a utilitarian impetus for lethal injection for both despairing patients and society. There have even been joint euthanasia killings of elderly couples who don’t want to experience the grief of widowhood.
*Sign and share the Petition opposing child euthanasia in the Netherlands (Link).
Now the country is getting ready to allow little children to be euthanized. When euthanasia was first legalized, 16 was the age limit. Later, it was lowered to 12. Now, the government is proposing legislation that will allow pediatric euthanasia starting at age 1. From the NL Times story:
For the children referenced in the new policy, doctors are only allowed to give palliative care, like sedation, or withhold nutrition over an extended period of time until the patient dies. Doctors describe this as “a gray area” between normal palliative care and active life termination, he said, and they have been calling out for more regulation. . . . [Health Minister Hugo] De Jonge said his proposal will protect the interests of children, and will afford more transparency to the “gray area.”
Four points bear making here. First, the story notes that young children can already be killed via slow-motion euthanasia, known in bioethics parlance as “terminal sedation.” Unlike legitimate pain control, terminal sedation aims to cause death by keeping the patient in an artificial coma and withholding all sustenance until the patient dies of dehydration (thirst) in about two weeks. This is not the same procedure as “palliative sedation,” an ethical pain-controlling technique that puts the patient into lesser or deeper levels of sedation as the patient requires. The purpose of palliative sedation is to maximize the patient’s comfort. In such cases, death comes naturally from the underlying condition—not from the sedation or withheld food or water.

Second, given the steady expansion of euthanasia eligibility in the Netherlands over the years, there is no reason to believe that the “terminal diagnosis” restriction will be followed—much less stick—for long. Some mentally ill people who are killed would otherwise live a normal lifespan, but that fact has been used as a justification for killing because it means the patient could experience many years of suffering.

Third, doctors already euthanize terminally ill and seriously disabled babies—that is, they commit infanticide—thanks to a bureaucratic checklist known as the Groningen Protocol. If a three-week-old baby with, say, spina bifida can be killed in the Netherlands without legal repercussions, eventually it will be permissible to kill children who become seriously disabled (particularly if the disability is cognitive).

Finally, the Dutch frequently justify expanding euthanasia eligibility by claiming they are merely coloring in “gray areas” to permit greater certainty and transparency. Yet these redefinitions of the law only go in one direction—increasing the number of people eligible for lethal injection. Besides, transparency does not transform an act that is immoral into somehow being moral. It just makes the entire society complicit.

The Netherlands won’t be the first country to permit child euthanasia. Belgium removed all age restrictions a few years ago. We know, based on government reports, that children as young as nine have been killed by doctors. One assumes their parents gave the go-ahead. But children are not so many pets to be put down when the owners think the time has come.

Pediatric euthanasia may soon come to this side of the Atlantic. Canada permits lethal injection euthanasia for adults—known as “medical assistance in dying” (MAID). As the country is preparing to expand its eligibility criteria, some hope that will include children—perhaps without parental consent. An article published last year in the Journal of Medical Ethics supported pediatric euthanasia. It was written by doctors who practice at a Toronto children’s hospital. Since Canadian children considered sufficiently mature may legally refuse life-extending care without parental consent, the doctors wrote, they should also be allowed to request a lethal injection. From “Medical Assistance in Dying at a Paediatric Hospital”: 
If . . . a capable [legally underage] patient explicitly indicates that they do not want their family members involved in their decision-making, although healthcare providers may encourage the patient to reconsider and involve their family, ultimately the wishes of capable patients with respect to confidentiality must be respected. 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.
Can you imagine visiting your sick child, only to learn that hospital doctors killed her without your knowledge or consent? The rage and agony would be unimaginable.

So what is the bottom line? Once a society embraces killing as an acceptable answer to human suffering and redefines assisted suicide as a “medical treatment,” the culture’s entire mindset shifts. Helping suffering people live ceases to be the overriding objective: These patients are rarely offered suicide prevention. Instead, death becomes the imperative, and not just for adults but eventually for sick and disabled children too—perhaps with organ donation thrown in as a plum to society.

It’s all so disheartening. As Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne once wrote about the growing popularity of euthanasia: 
“A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.” 
When the euthanasia death angel comes for children, who can say he is wrong?

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. His latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Canada's health care savings is attributed to euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Soon after Canada legalized euthanasia, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published a study by Aaron J. Trachtenberg MD DPhil, and Braden Manns MD MSc titled: Cost analysis of medical assistance in dying,

The researchers suggested that the Canadian healthcare system will save between 34.7 and 138.8 million dollars per year, depending on the number of euthanasia deaths. Canada has a universal healthcare system, whereby the financial cost of healthcare is primarily covered by the government.

At the time I stated that the social pressure to save money will become the ultimate form of social responsibility. People will be
socially pressured to die.
"How dare you choose to live. You are costing society money."
Today, Katie Dangerfield reported for Global News that:
Since Canada’s law on medical assistance in dying came into effect more than four years ago, health-care costs have dropped millions of dollars, according to a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report released Tuesday.

The report on assisted dying said since becoming legal on June 17, 2016, Canada's health-care costs have dropped $86.9 million.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer also projected that Bill C-7, the bill to expand Canada's euthanasia law, will lead to more euthanasia deaths per year and more healthcare savings. Dangerfield reported:
The budget office estimates the legislation would mean an additional 1,164 medically assisted deaths in Canada in 2021, on top of the 6,465 deaths expected under the current regime.

Provincial health budgets would see a savings of $149 million next year if the numbers hold true, largely from declines in spending on end-of-life care.
Sadly, some people will point to the cost savings as a positive reason to promote euthanasia. 

It appears that euthanasia is not about "choice" or "autonomy" but rather killing people at the most vulnerable time of life.

There has now been approximately 19,000 euthanasia deaths in Canada.

There have been approximately 19,000 euthanasia deaths in Canada.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I estimate that there have been approximately 19,000 deaths by euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada since legalization. Here is how I come to that number.

The Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner recently released new MAID data (euthanasia and assisted suicide deaths). 

The number of assisted deaths, in Ontario, continues to increase. From June 17, 2016 to September 30, 2020, there were 6059 reported assisted deaths with 1741 reported assisted deaths in 2020 already representing 1127 in the first six months and 614 in the last three months of 2020, now averaging more than 200 assisted deaths per month in Ontario.
 
In Ontario there were 1789 reported assisted deaths in 2019, 1499 in 2018, 841 in 2017, and 189 in 2016. The 1789 reported assisted deaths in 2019 represented 774 in the first half of the year and 1015 in the second half.

In July, 2020, Health Canada released the first annual report on (MAiD) euthanasia and assisted suicide. The data was gathered from the reports submitted by the medical practitioners who caused the death. There is no requirement that a third party or neutral person submit the euthanasia reports to ensure accuracy.

Article: Analysis of Canada's 2019 MAiD annual report (Link).

The report provided information on the 2019 Canadian MAiD deaths. According to the report:
  • In 2019, there were 5,631 MAID deaths reported in Canada, up from 4467 in 2018, accounting for 2.0% of all deaths.
  • The number of cases of MAID in 2019 represented an increase of 26.1% over 2018 with every province experiencing a steady growth in the number of cases of MAID since its introduction into law in 2016.
  • When all data sources are considered, the total of number of medically assisted deaths reported in Canada from legalization until December 31, 2019 was 13,946.
Based on the fact that the Health Canada report indicated that there were 5631 reported MAID deaths in 2019. It is reasonable to estimate that there have been approximately 19,000 assisted deaths in Canada since legalization.

Bill C-7 will lead to more death.

Sign the Petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).

In September 2019, Quebec Superior Court Justice Baudouin, struck down the requirement in Canada's euthanasia law that a person's natural death be reasonably foreseeable and the court gave the federal government six months to amend the law based on the Truchon court decision. The government did not appeal the decision.

On February 24, the federal government introduced Bill C-7 in response to the Quebec Court decision striking down the requirement in the law that a person’s "natural death be reasonably foreseeable" before qualifying to be killed. Due to the prorogation of parliament, Bill C-7 was re-introduced on October 5, 2020.

What changes does Bill C-7 make to the law?


1. Bill C-7 removes the requirement in the law that a person’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for death by lethal injection. Therefore, people who are not terminally ill can die by euthanasia. The Quebec court decision only required this amendment to the law, but Bill C-7 went further.

2. Bill C-7 permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved for assisted death. This contravenes the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision which stated that only competent people could die by euthanasia.

3. Bill C-7 waives the ten-day waiting period when a person is deemed to be “terminally ill.” A person could request death by euthanasia on a "bad day" and die the same day. Studies prove that the “will to live” fluctuates.

4. Bill C-7 creates a two track law. A person who is deemed to be terminally ill would have no waiting period while a person who is not terminally ill will have a 90 day waiting period before being killed by lethal injection.

If Bill C-7 is passed, a future court decision will strike down the 90 day waiting period for people whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable because, it would be argued that this provision represents an inequality in the law.

5. Bill C-7 falsely claims to prevent euthanasia for people with mental illness. The euthanasia law permits MAiD for people who are physically or psychologically suffering that is intolerable to the person and that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers acceptable.” However, mental illness, which is not defined in the law, is considered a form of psychological suffering.

If the government wants to exclude euthanasia for mental illness, Bill C-7 would need to define psychological suffering in a manner that excludes euthanasia for mental illness.

Bill C-7 permits anyone who believes that their physical or psychological suffering to be intolerable to qualify for death by lethal injection, even if effective medical treatments for their condition exists, with a 90 day waiting period. (Link to Bill C-7)

The Canadian government must reject Bill C-7 and begin the promised 5-year review of the euthanasia law with an open view to what is actually happening rather than continuing to expand euthanasia, making Canada the most permissive euthanasia regime in the world.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Euthanasia laws show that there will always be more reasons to kill.

This article was published by Mercatornet on Oct 19, 2020

Legislation in the Netherlands and Canada continues the relentless expansion of legal killing

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On Monday, October, 13, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that the Dutch government will amend or re-interpret its euthanasia law to permit child euthanasia — an announcement that came only three days after the news that the issue of child euthanasia had divided the Netherlands coalition government.

Article: The Netherlands to extend euthanasia to children (Link).

The NL Times reported that de Jonge said the change was planned for after the March 17 election, next year.

The Netherlands law already permits euthanasia for children as young as 12 (when parents or guardians consent). People over the age of 16 can consent to euthanasia as adults and the Groningen Protocol permits euthanasia for disabled newborns. The change would expand the law to include children from one to 12 years of age.

Earlier this year, a bill to extend the Netherlands euthanasia law to people who are healthy, but “tired of living” was submitted by a member of the D66 party, Pia Dykstra. An article in the NL Times reported that:
The legislative proposal allows people over the age of 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.
Article: Dangerous "completed life" bill would extend euthanasia in the Netherlands to healthy people (Link).

This proposal is obviously a starting point. People can be “tired of living” for many reasons and it can be argued that it would be discriminatory and unfair to limit such a law to people over the age of 75.

It appears that the Netherlands has decided to ignore the mantra that euthanasia is limited to those who are capable of consenting and suffering. Children cannot effectively consent and people who are “tired of living” would not be required to be “suffering”.

Meanwhile, in Canada a new bill known as Bill C-7, seeking to expand Canada’s euthanasia (MAiD) law, was introduced in February this year in response to a Quebec Court decision striking down the provision in Canada’s law that a person’s “natural death must be reasonably foreseeable”. Striking down this provision in the law is problematic, even though the reference to natural death needing to be “reasonably foreseeable” was not defined in the law.

Article: Stop Bill C-7 from expanding Canada's euthanasia law (Link).

Bill C-7 does not limit itself to the provision of the Quebec Court decision. It also expands Canada’s euthanasia law primarily by eliminating the 10-day waiting period when a person’s death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable. Because Bill C-7 does not define “reasonably foreseeable”, a person could make a request for death by euthanasia when having a “bad day” and die the same day even though studies prove that a person’s “will to live” will fluctuate.

Creating a two-track law

A person whose death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable would have no waiting period, while a person whose death is deemed to not be reasonably foreseeable would have a 90-day waiting period before being killed. Once again, “reasonably foreseeable” is not defined in the law, permitting a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved for MAiD.

Therefore a person who is approved to die by MAiD, if they become incompetent, will lose his or her right to change their mind. This is a similar situation to the Netherlands “coffee euthanasia” death where a doctor put a sedative in the coffee of an incompetent woman who resisted during the euthanasia, but when the woman continued to resist, the doctor had the family hold her down.

To add insult to injury, Bill C-7 falsely claims to prevent people with mental illness (alone) from dying by euthanasia. Canada’s euthanasia law permits death by lethal injection when a person is physically or psychologically suffering in a manner that is intolerable to the person and that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers “acceptable”. However, mental illness is already considered a form of psychological suffering and the bill does not define psychological suffering.

If the Canadian Government actually wants to exclude euthanasia for mental illness (alone) it needs to define psychological suffering in a manner that excludes euthanasia for mental illness.

It is true that the Netherlands has not changed the language of its euthanasia law since legalization, but it has expanded euthanasia by continually changing the interpretation of the law.

Canada has become the world-wide example of how incremental extensions quickly expand the scope of euthanasia laws. Since 2016 the language of the law has been continually re-interpreted and, less than four years after legalization, the Government is eliminating many of the “safeguards” in the law.

Once a society has decided to legalize killing, there will always be another reason to kill, and based on equality and fairness, death, once approved for one group, will eventually be accepted for all other groups.

The reality is that, once killing is legalized, there will never be enough.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Sign and share the petition opposing child euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

*Sign and share the Petition opposing child euthanasia in the Netherlands (Link).

The petition to: Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge states:
I oppose the extension of euthanasia to children. 
Euthanasia is sold to the public with the assurance that it is based on a “freely consenting person” being approved, under the law, by doctors. 
Children cannot freely consent. They can also be coerced in a different manner than adults. 
I call on the Netherlands government to reject extending euthanasia to children and ensure that children who live with painful medical conditions be provided excellent pain and symptom management and not lethal injection. 
I believe in caring, not killing. 

*Sign and share the Petition opposing child euthanasia in the Netherlands (Link).

On October 9 I wrote that the Netherlands government was debating the extension of euthanasia to children (1 - 12).

On October 13 I wrote that the Netherlands government has decided to extend euthanasia to children. Notice how they made an announcement without publicly debating the issue.

If the Dutch government doesn't want a public debate, we will initiate that debate internationally.

The Netherlands Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge, announced that the change to the euthanasia law will not happen until after the March 17, 2021 election.

Resources:

  1. The Netherlands to extend euthanasia to children. 
  2. Belgium euthanized 3 children aged 9, 11 and 17. 
  3. Is child euthanasia next in Canada?

Bill C-7, From MAiD to MAD: Medical Assistance in Dying becomes Medically Administered Death

Link to the original physicians statement (Link).

You no longer need to be dying for your physician to end your life.

To all physicians: Please endorse the following statement (Link)

As Canada and the world live in fear of death from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the lengths to which public authorities can and should go to prevent death and to protect the common good. We consider as normal and necessary the curtailment of certain individual liberties in the interest of protecting citizens from the spread of disease. We are thus reminded that the exercise of personal autonomy, far from being the supreme value in society, must be limited when it can lead to harm to others.

These observations are eminently pertinent to another great societal debate, as a further threat to the lives of sick, disabled and older Canadians proceeds almost unnoticed. Many Canadians are not even aware of Bill C-7, which was re-tabled on October 5, 2020 in the federal Parliament. This bill, expanding “medical assistance in dying” (MAiD) to virtually everyone who is sick and suffering in Canada, will, if passed in its current form, make our country the world leader in administering death.

As medical doctors, we feel compelled to voice our dismay at how individuals who have little lived experience of the realities involved in the everyday practice of medicine suddenly and fundamentally changed the nature of medicine by decriminalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Medicine, understood over the centuries as a profession that never intentionally harmed, but rather healed, comforted, and advocated for the lives of those who are sick and vulnerable, has been transformed into a technical occupation that allows physicians to deliberately end the lives of their suffering patients. Forced participation in arranging and facilitating euthanasia and assisted suicide is now required by certain regulatory colleges.

Unfortunately, our patients are the ones who suffer the most from the consequences of this ill-devised scheme. The shock of a sudden illness, or an accident resulting in disability, can lead patients into feelings of anger, depression, and guilt for requiring care – emotions that, with proper support and attention, can resolve over time. The care and encouragement shown by physicians may be the most powerful force in overcoming despair and providing hope. Unfortunately, patients can no longer unconditionally trust their medical professional to advocate for their life when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable. Suddenly, a lethal injection becomes part of a repertoire of interventions offered to end their pain and suffering.

Bill C-7 would allow those who are not dying to end their lives by a lethal injection at the hands of a doctor or nurse practitioner. Shockingly, most of the safeguards that Parliament deemed necessary in 2016 to protect the lives of vulnerable individuals from a wrongful death are being removed. Under the new bill, an individual whose natural death is considered to be “reasonably foreseeable” could be diagnosed, assessed and euthanized all in one day. We are very concerned that removing the 10-day reflection period and other safeguards will lead to an increase in coerced or tragically unconsidered deaths.

The reckless removal of safeguards previously deemed essential will place desperately vulnerable patients directly in harm’s way and may cost them their very lives.

While the authors of Bill C-7 consider it sufficient to offer patients information about other possible means to alleviate their suffering, there is no requirement that the service be available to the patient. We live in a country where the wait time to see a psychiatrist in certain areas is 4-8 times longer than the 90-day waiting period proposed in the bill for those whose natural death is not considered “reasonably foreseeable”, and where 70% of citizens nearing the end of life still have no access to basic palliative care services. Yet MAiD has been deemed an essential service under the Canada Health Act and palliative care has not. This bill creates the conditions for cheap and easy death through euthanasia or assisted suicide.

This is not the medicine that we have devoted our lives to practicing. Our intent is to heal and to alleviate suffering, not to deliberately end life. We advocate for the lives of our patients, not their deaths. We believe in garnering adequate supports for all our patients so that they have the basic requirements needed to live; we do not sanction and facilitate their death as a response to their suffering.

Our profession has been coerced into facilitating suicide rather than preventing it, for ever-increasing numbers of citizens. We watch in utter dismay and horror at how the nature of our medical profession has been so quickly destroyed by the creation of misguided laws. We, the undersigned, declare that the passage of Bill C-7, if left unchecked, will contribute to the destruction of much more than our medical profession, but fundamentally, of a Canadian society that genuinely values and cares for its most vulnerable members. Canadians deserve better.

To all physicians: Please endorse the following statement (Link)


Le projet de loi C‑7, de l’AMM à la MAM : l’aide médicale à mourir devient la mort administrée par un médecin

Plus besoin d’être mourant pour que votre médecin mette fin à votre vie

Alors que le Canada et le monde ont peur de mourir de la pandémie de la COVID-19, nous voyons jusqu’où les autorités peuvent, et doivent, aller pour prévenir la mort et protéger le bien commun. Nous considérons comme normale et nécessaire la restriction de certaines libertés individuelles dans le but de protéger les citoyens et citoyennes contre la propagation de la maladie. Ainsi, il nous est rappelé que l’exercice de l’autonomie personnelle, loin d’être la valeur suprême dans la société, doit être limité quand il peut causer du tort aux autres.

Ces observations sont parfaitement pertinentes au sujet d’un autre grand débat social, alors qu’une nouvelle menace à la vie des malades, des personnes handicapées et des Canadiennes et Canadiens âgés passe presque inaperçue. Plusieurs Canadiens et Canadiennes ne sont même pas au courant du projet de loi C-7, qui a été redéposé le 5 octobre au Parlement fédéral. Ce projet de loi, qui élargit l’«aide médicale à mourir» (AMM) pour inclure pratiquement tous ceux et celles qui sont malades et qui souffrent au Canada, s’il est adopté dans sa forme actuelle, fera de notre pays le leader du monde dans l’administration de la mort.

En tant que médecins, nous sommes obligés d’exprimer notre stupéfaction en voyant comment des personnes, qui ont peu d’expérience vécue des réalités en jeu dans la pratique quotidienne de la médecine, ont subitement et fondamentalement changé la nature de la médecine en décriminalisant l’euthanasie et le suicide assisté.

La médecine, considérée à travers les siècles comme une profession qui ne cause jamais de tort intentionnel, mais plutôt guérit, réconforte et défend la vie de ceux et celles qui sont malades et vulnérables, serait transformée en une entreprise technocratique qui permettrait aux médecins de mettre fin délibérément à la vie de leurs patients et patientes qui souffrent. La participation forcée pour arranger et faciliter l’administration de l’euthanasie et du suicide assisté est maintenant exigée par certains organismes de réglementation.

Malheureusement, nos patientes et patients sont ceux qui souffrent le plus des conséquences de ce plan malavisé. Le choc d’une maladie soudaine, ou d’un accident entraînant une invalidité, peut inspirer aux patients et patientes des sentiments de colère et de dépression, et ils peuvent se sentir coupables d’avoir besoin de soins; mais ces émotions, avec le soutien et l’attention nécessaires, peuvent se dissiper avec le temps. Le soin et l’encouragement offerts par les médecins peuvent être le facteur le plus puissant pour surmonter le désespoir et ranimer l’espérance. Malheureusement, les patients et patientes ne peuvent plus avoir une confiance inconditionnelle en leur professionnel de la médecine pour défendre leur vie quand ils sont à leur état le plus faible et le plus vulnérable. Subitement, une injection mortelle fait partie du répertoire des interventions offertes pour mettre fin à leurs douleurs et à leurs souffrances.

Le projet de loi C‑7 permettrait à ceux et celles qui ne sont pas mourants de mettre fin à leur vie par injection mortelle administrée par un médecin ou une infirmière praticienne. Il est scandaleux que la plupart des protections que le Parlement avait estimées nécessaires en 2016 pour protéger les personnes vulnérables contre une mort injustifiée soient en voie d’être supprimées. En vertu du nouveau projet de loi, une personne dont la mort naturelle est considérée comme «raisonnablement prévisible» pourrait être diagnostiquée, évaluée et euthanasiée en une seule journée. Nous sommes très inquiets que la suppression de la période de réflexion de 10 jours et d’autres mesures de protection ne fassent qu’augmenter le nombre de morts par contrainte ou par manque de réflexion adéquate.

La suppression imprudente des mesures de protection précédemment jugées essentielles mettra les patients et patientes vulnérables directement en danger, et pourrait même leur coûter la vie.

Bien que les auteurs du projet de loi C‑7 estiment suffisant d’offrir aux patients et patientes de l’information sur les autres moyens possibles d’atténuer leurs souffrances, il n’est pas obligatoire que le service leur soit accessible. Nous vivons dans un pays où le délai d’attente dans certaines régions pour voir un psychiatre est de 4 à 8 fois plus long que la période de réflexion de 90 jours proposée dans le projet de loi pour les personnes dont la mort naturelle n’est pas considérée comme «raisonnablement prévisible», et où 70 % des citoyens et citoyennes dont la vie tire à sa fin n’ont toujours pas accès à des services de base en soins palliatifs. Pourtant, l’AMM est considérée comme un service essentiel aux termes de la Loi canadienne de la santé, alors que les soins palliatifs ne le sont pas. Ce projet de loi crée les conditions requises pour une mort facile et à bon marché par euthanasie ou suicide assisté.

Ce n’est pas le genre de médecine que nous avons consacré notre vie à pratiquer. Notre intention est de guérir et de diminuer les souffrances, pas de mettre fin délibérément à la vie. Nous luttons pour la vie de nos patients et patientes, pas pour leur mort. Nous croyons à l’obtention de soutiens adéquats pour tous nos patients et patientes, afin qu’ils aient les services de base nécessaires pour vivre; nous ne sanctionnons pas et ne facilitons pas leur mort comme solution de leurs souffrances.

Notre profession a été forcée de faciliter le suicide au lieu de le prévenir, et ce, pour un nombre toujours croissant de personnes. Nous observons avec consternation et horreur la façon dont la nature de notre profession médicale a été si rapidement détruite par la création de lois malavisées. Nous, soussignés, déclarons que l’adoption du projet de loi C‑7, si rien n’est fait, contribuera à la destruction de bien plus que notre profession médicale, mais fondamentalement, d’une société canadienne qui apprécie véritablement et qui prend soin de ses membres les plus vulnérables. Les Canadiens et Canadiennes méritent mieux.
 
Authors of the Physician statement.

Ramona Coelho, MDCM, CCFP
Family Physician
London, Ontario

Catherine Ferrier, MD, CCFP (COE), FCFP
Family physician
Division of Geriatric Medicine, McGill University Health Centre
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, McGill University
Montreal, Quebec

Sheila Rutledge Harding, MD, MA, FRCPC
Hematologist, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Professor, College of Medicine,
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Leonie Herx MD PhD CCFP (PC) FCFP
Associate Professor & Chair, Division of Palliative Medicine
Department of Medicine, Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario

Timothy Lau MD MSc FRCPC
Associate Professor, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry,
Department of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario

Sephora Tang, MD FRCPC
Staff Psychiatrist, Clinical Lecturer
Department of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario

Lucas Vivas, MD MHSc FRCPC
General Internal Medicine
Brampton, Ontario

Spain Bioethics Committee Unanimously rejects euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The CNA News Agency reported on October 13 that The Bioethics Committee of Spain (CBE) unanimously rejected the underlying principles behind the euthanasia and assisted suicide bill that is making its way through the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the legislature. 

The CNA reported:
The 12-member CBE, which is responsible for issuing reports on matters with relevant bioethical implications, unanimously reached the decision to advise the government that the proposed euthanasia law is not valid from an ethical point of view.

"There are solid health, ethical, legal, economic and social reasons to reject the transformation of euthanasia into a subjective right and a public benefit," the Oct. 6 CBE report states.

The bill is invalid not only because it decriminalizes euthanasia as an exception to the general rule requiring life to be protected, but also because it recognizes death as a right that can be incorporated into the list of public health benefits, the committee noted.

The CBE pointed out that “a person’s desire for a third party or the state itself to end his life, directly or indirectly, in those cases of great physical and/or mental suffering, must always be viewed with compassion and met with effective compassionate action leading to the prevention of pain and a peaceful death.”

"Legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide entails setting out on a path toward the devaluation of the protection of human life whose boundaries are very difficult to foresee, as the experience of our circumstances shows us.”

The committee stressed that “euthanasia and/or assisted suicide are not signs of progress but rather a regression of civilization, since in a context in which the value of human life is often conditioned by criteria of social utility, economic interests, family responsibilities and the burden to the public or public spending, the legalization of early death would add a new set of problems.”

The CBE called for "the comprehensive and compassionate protection of life, creating protocols, in the context of good medical practice, with the use of palliative sedation in the face of specific cases of unremitting existential suffering ... along with making effective palliative care universally available.”

That, the committee underscored, should be the "path to take immediately, and not to proclaim a right to end one's life through a public benefit," especially after the coronavirus pandemic in which "thousands of our elderly have died in circumstances far removed from what is not only a decent life, but also a minimally dignified death.”
On February 11, the Spanish parliament voted 203 to 140 (2 abstained) to continue debating a bill to legalize euthanasia. That debate continued on September 10, 2020.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Bill that seeks to expand euthanasia (Bill C-7) sparks debate.

This article was published by the Epoch Times on October 14, 2020

By Lee Harding

Court-ordered legislation to expand euthanasia in Canada is welcomed by advocates but condemned by opponents who say the bill is poorly crafted and too permissive.

Legislative changes were ordered by Justice Christine Baudouin of the Quebec Superior Court in September 2019. Beaudouin agreed with plaintiffs Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu that euthanasia should be allowed to end their persistent and intolerable suffering, even though their death was not “reasonably foreseeable.”

Bill C-7 was introduced before Parliament was prorogued and then reintroduced with the same name and wording on Oct. 5. Under the legislation, someone who is not terminally ill can receive medical assistance in death (MAiD) 90 days after they request it, provided a medical professional has explained “the reasonable and available means to relieve the person’s suffering” and “the person has given serious consideration to those means.”
Sign the petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).
Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told The Epoch Times that the legislation removes important safeguards.

“They went much further than the court actually required them to go,” he said.

If the bill passes, the terminally ill will only need one independent witness to verify the conditions for euthanasia were met, instead of two as is currently required. The legislation also eliminates the 10-day waiting period between consent for MAiD and its execution.

“I have no waiting period. I can show up at the doctor’s, be evaluated by a doctor, be evaluated by a nurse practitioner, they can say, ‘Yes he’s definitely terminally ill,’ then sign me off. I can be dead the same day now,” Schadenberg said.

Schadenberg calls that “really, really, really bad policy.” In Quebec, at least 323 patients who requested MAiD in writing changed their mind later, according to two 2019 reports by the Quebec Commission covering the period December 2015 to March 2019, and available Canadian data suggests that at least 7 percent of patients making a written request for MAiD subsequently change their mind.

“If you look at all the studies that have been done on the question of one’s will to live, that fluctuates,” Schadenberg said. “Because I’m having a really bad day today, it means I’ll never get a chance to experience a good day tomorrow because I could die the same day, according to this legislation.”
Helen Long, CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada, welcomes the legislation. She told The Epoch Times: “In terms of the 10-day wait period, what we know, what we heard from clinicians over the years is, by the time someone makes their MAiD requests, they’ve generally given it quite a lot of thought and there has been a lot of careful consideration put in.”
“There’s still clinician involvement in the entire process though,” she added. “I think there’s safeguards. It’s a change but there’s still a safeguard in place.”
In addition, currently a person must renew his or her consent shortly before euthanasia is administered. Bill C-7 waives that requirement if the person has lost the ability to consent “except if they demonstrate signs of resistance to or refusal of the procedure.”
Long supports that provision. “That’s something … we’ve advocated for years, so we were pleased to see that change as well.”
The Christian Legal Fellowship says passage of Bill C-7 “will fundamentally redefine the nature and role of euthanasia by making it available to individuals who are not dying, and who may have years left to live.”
“[E]xpanding euthanasia in these ways will severely undermine society’s commitment to the equal worth of all people, including those with disabilities,” it says in a news release. “If passed, euthanasia will no longer be an exceptional remedy to hasten a painful death, but a widely available and state-sponsored means of ending a patient’s life.”
More information on Bill C-7

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Netherlands to extend euthanasia to children.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


*Sign and share the Petition opposing child euthanasia in the Netherlands (Link).

The Dutchnews.nl reported that Dutch Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge announced that the Dutch government will amend or re-interpret the euthanasia law to permit child euthanasia. According to the DutchNews.nl:
Health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing that work is progressing on plans to make it possible to help terminally sick children aged between one and 12 to die, in limited circumstances.

The recommendation was made in a report by experts last year, who found that a small group of children may be suffering because doctors are afraid of the consequences of actions that could hasten their deaths.

De Jonge said that he wants to ensure there are ‘more legal guarantees for doctors’ who take the decision to end the life of a child, as well as transparency for healthcare staff and parents, and protection for the rights of children.
All euthanasia laws are designed to provide legal guarantees for doctors' who are willing to kill.
 
The current Netherlands euthanasia law permits euthanasia for children as young as 12, when parents or guardians consent, people over the age of 16 can consent to euthanasia themselves. The Groningen Protocol already permits euthanasia for newborns in the Netherlands. The proposed change will allow euthanasia for children aged 1 - 12.

The NL Times reported that the change will be introduced after the election.
The party said it was inappropriate to push the significant legislation through with less than a half year remaining until the next election. De Jonge said his proposal will protect the interests of children, and will afford more transparency to the "gray area". This in turn makes physicians more accountable to parents, and provides a basis for review and assessment of individual cases, which already exists for euthanasia patients of other ages.
Earlier this year, a bill to extend the Netherlands euthanasia law to people who are healthy, but "tired of living" was submitted by Pia Dykstra (D66 party). An article in the NL Times reported:
The legislative proposal allows people over the age of 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.
Euthanasia laws seem to naturally expand over time. Once you allow killing for one reason, there becomes many reasons to kill.
 
More information:
Health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing that work is progressing on plans to make it possible to help terminally sick children aged between one and 12 to die, in limited circumstances.

Read more at DutchNews.nl:
Health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing that work is progressing on plans to make it possible to help terminally sick children aged between one and 12 to die, in limited circumstances. The recommendation was made in a report by experts last year, who found that a small group of children may be suffering because doctors are afraid of the consequences of actions that could hasten their deaths. De Jonge said that he wants to ensure there are ‘more legal guarantees for doctors’ who take the decision to end the life of a child, as well as transparency for healthcare staff and parents, and protection for the rights of children.

Read more at DutchNews.nl:
Health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing that work is progressing on plans to make it possible to help terminally sick children aged between one and 12 to die, in limited circumstances. The recommendation was made in a report by experts last year, who found that a small group of children may be suffering because doctors are afraid of the consequences of actions that could hasten their deaths. De Jonge said that he wants to ensure there are ‘more legal guarantees for doctors’ who take the decision to end the life of a child, as well as transparency for healthcare staff and parents, and protection for the rights of children.

Read more at DutchNews.nl:

The detail is where the Tasmanian Devil is in the Assisted Dying bill.

By David Foletta

The End-Of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 (Tasmanian Bill) which is currently before the Parliament of Tasmania is another piece of assisted dying legislation in Australia which is unnecessary, dangerous, puts ideology before safety and erroneously labels euthanasia as assisted dying. The Tasmanian Bill is a private members bill sponsored by Mr Michael Gaffney.

Article: Tasmania bill will allow wide-open euthanasia.

Under the Tasmanian Bill “assisted dying” has the following definition “voluntary assisted dying means the administration to a person, or the self-administration by a person, of a VAD substance under this Act” The words “the administration to a person” are clearly euthanasia. This presentation of “euthanasia” as “assisted dying” which carries the dual problem of allowing another person kill another person, and, by virtue of that handing over of power, allows a potential abuser to more easily mask their actions is a departure (read, slippery slope) from the Oregon model that we have seen in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland (Queensland is still at majority report acceptance stage).

The Tasmanian Bill and assisted dying generally in Australia is being legitimised by three one sided majority reports from Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. Each of these three majority reports failed to make any reference to, or try to disprove, the Parliament of Tasmania’s own 1998 inquiry into end of life choices final report which stated:
“5.29 The Committee found that the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia would pose a serious threat to the more vulnerable members of society and that the obligation of the state to protect all its members equally outweighs the individual’s freedom to choose voluntary euthanasia.” 

The Tasmanian Parliament must consider evidence in a way that is more detailed than mere empirical, and see that any right to die legislation has negative consequences for a whole community, not only people who are actually using the legislation. It must also find reasons why the above recommendation is no longer correct. Assisted dying and euthanasia are inherently dangerous. No amount of alleged “popularity”, “change in values” or “distress” can cause a dangerous action to be made not dangerous however, these are what “progressive” decisions are being based on.

David Foletta is an attorney, in New South Wales, Australia.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Irish euthanasia bill to be debated.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Irish euthanasia bill, that is sponsored by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, passed in a second vote in the Dáil by a 81 to 71 vote after the governing party failed to send the bill to a special Oireachtas committee to consider the legislation and report back within 12 months.

On September 29 I published an article assessing the Irish euthanasia bill where I stated:
The Irish "Dying with dignity" euthanasia bill is short but it is crafted to protect medical practitioners who are willing to kill. It is important to note that the Irish bill legalizes both euthanasia (lethal injection) and assisted suicide.
I also stated that the bill falsely claims to be limited to terminally ill people.
The bill claims to be limited to terminally ill people, but the definition of terminal illness: "having an incurable and progressive illness which cannot be reversed by treatment, and the person is likely to die as a result of that illness or complications" does not include a time-frame for death and uses the term likely to cause death.

Therefore the bill is not limited to terminally ill people but rather people with chronic or terminal conditions. There are many people who are not terminally ill but are defined as terminally ill by this bill.
The Irish Central reported that TD Kenny, the sponsor of the bill, said he is hopeful that a report will be put to the Oireachtas early next spring to be legislated for, "or possibly even a referendum."

The Netherlands debates child euthanasia and "completed life."

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Netherlands government is debating the expansion of their euthanasia law to include children (1 - 12 years) and people who are not sick or dying but believe that their life is "complete."

Once euthanasia becomes legal the laws seem to expand over time.

The NL Times reported that the Netherlands Coalition government is fighting over a proposal to extend the euthanasia law to include children. According to the NL Times:

The Rutte III cabinet is clashing over a plan to allow doctors to provide euthanasia for terminally ill children between the ages of 1 and 12 who are suffering unbearably. The D66 and VVD support this plan. But the Christian parties, ChristenUnie in particular, are vehemently opposed, AD reports.
The Netherlands euthanasia law permits euthanasia for children as young as 12, so long as the parents or guardians have consented and after the age of 16 the person can consent to euthanasia themselves. The NL Times reported:
According to AD, doctors are only allowed to give palliative sedation to children in this age group, or allow them to die by withholding nutrition, which can be a lengthy process.
Last year the government had a report drawn up to feel out support for euthanasia for terminally ill children. A large part of doctors, parents and a majority in parliament, including the VVD and D66, were in favor. The report also showed that there are a handful of cases per year of children suffering unbearably and hopelessly while they wait for their illness to take them.

Earlier this year, a bill to extend euthanasia in the Netherlands to people who are healthy, but "tired of living" was submitted by Pia Dykstra (D66 party). An article in the NL Times reported that: 

The legislative proposal allows people over the age of 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.
Euthanasia laws seem to naturally expand over time. Once you allow killing for one reason, there becomes many reasons to kill. Canada is experiencing the same contagion as it debates Bill C-7, a bill to expand Canada's euthanasia law.