Friday, July 12, 2024

Canadian woman pressured to "choose" euthanasia. She was told that she was selfish for living.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Heather Hancock
A few weeks ago I published a personal story by Heather Hancock, a woman who lives with spastic cerebral palsy, who stated that she was having medical difficulties she was pressured to "choose" euthanasia.

James Reinl, the Social Affairs Correspondent for the Daily Mail recently interviewed Hancock. The Daily Mail published the article on July 12. Reinl writes:
It was an odious encounter with a nurse in a remote Alberta hospital that persuaded Heather Hancock how Canada's euthanasia system was coming badly off the rails.

Hancock suffered from cerebral palsy since infancy and was used to bullying from her school days, but the treatment she got at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital was something else.

A nurse was helping her into the bathroom at night, during a lengthy bout of care for muscular spasms in 2019, when the carer crossed a line into the unthinkable.

'You should do the right thing and consider MAiD,' said the nurse, referring to the country's Medical Assistance in Dying program.

'You're being selfish. You're not living, you're merely existing.'

Hancock, now 56, says she was 'gobsmacked' but stood her ground, telling the nurse that her life had value, even if she spent four fifths of it in a wheelchair.

'You have no right to push me to accept MAiD,' she recalls saying to her sneering carer.

She later complained about the nurse, who was taken off her care team, but did not make an official complaint.

Health Alberta said the nurse's comments were 'entirely unacceptable.'
Reinl states that it was the most egregious, but not the only time her supposed carers advised her to end her discomfort with a lethal injection. Hancock told Reinl that she has been pressured on three different occasions to "choose" MAiD (euthanasia).

Since legalization in 2016, Canada's euthanasia law has expanded quickly. Reinl explains:
Last year, doctors helped 15,280 suffering people end their lives prematurely, according to estimates obtained by DailyMail.com — a 15 percent jump on 2022.

Some 60,000 people have died from MAiD since the program was launched, and it accounts for 4.6 percent of all fatalities.

Doctor-assisted suicides helps recipients escape the misery of cancer, heart disease and other terminal illnesses, but for Hancock and others with disabilities, its availability has changed the way they are seen by carers.
Hancock told Reinl that medical professionals 'just view me as a drain on the medical system and that my healthcare dollars could be spent on an able-bodied person,'

Tracy Polewczuk with her husband
As bad as Hancock's experience has been that she is not the only one. Reinl continues:
Another Canadian, Tracy Polewczuk, came forward this month about suffering similar problems in Quebec.

Polewczuk has spina bifida, a birth defect that can cause weak bones, and bemoans the worsening daily home care visits she gets in Pointe-Claire, Montreal.

'Pain sucks. We all agree. It's terrible. I'm in pain 24/7. It never stops. I can survive that,' she told CTV News.

'I cannot survive being treated like a sack of meat.'

On two separate occasions and without prompting, Polewczuk says she was told she was eligible for MAiD by members of her care team.

'It feels like we are being pushed towards the MAiD program instead of being given the help to live,' Polewczuk said.

'I want to survive. I want to thrive. I want my life back. I want the opposite of what they're trying to have us do.'
Reinl then provides a little bit of history around Canada's euthanasia law and emphasizes that euthanasia is not limited to terminally ill people in Canada and euthanasia for mental illness alone is now scheduled to become an option in March 2027.

Heather Hancock points out that Canada's euthanasia practise is at least 10 times worse than the assisted suicide regimes in 10 American states but she shows concerns about where the law is headed. Hancock also pointed out her concern that Delaware recently passed an assisted suicide bill, but she pointed out that it could still be stopped since Delaware Governor John Carney has not yet signed the bill.

Reinl reports on Hancock's concerns:
Legislation in Delaware cleared both houses, leaving Gov John Carney with the ultimate decision about whether to sign it into law.
'Take a look at what's going on in this country,' Hancock said in a warning to Americans.

'It's a Pandora's Box. Once the lid is off, you cannot control it. All the restrictions disappear really quickly and your freedoms are undermined.'
Every jurisdiction that is debating euthanasia or assisted suicide need to recognize what has happened in Canada and then reject it. Hancock is correct. Legalizing medical killing is a pandora's box. It is sold as a autonomy and it becomes abandonment.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Compassionate homicide deaths are usually not compassionate.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kenzie Beach with Fox News Atlanta published an article on July 8, 2024 about the murder of Brenda Gelleny (65) by her husand Michael Gelleny. Michael Gelleny claimed that it was a "mercy Killing" that he killed his wife to end her pain and suffering. My concern is that the article uses this murder to promote the legalization of assisted suicide.

According to the Fox News report:
Michael Gelleny, 67, called the police on himself telling them he shot his wife Brenda, 65, in the back of the head on July 6 in Goodyear.

He reportedly told police the morning that he killed her, that he kissed her and told her he loved her before getting the gun in the other room and pulling the trigger.

Gelleny reportedly thought about taking his own life, but instead turned himself in. Police paperwork states his reasoning was to make it as quick as possible and put an end to her four years of pain and suffering.

Gelleny is accused of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

It appears by the article that Gelleny originally planned for the death to be a murder-suicide. Another news article stated that Gelleny had been planning the death for a couple of weeks.

The media sometimes jumps to supporting the compassionate homicide defense when in fact these murders are rarely compassionate. Donna Cohen, a suicide researcher, and others prove that murder / suicide is rarely related to "compassionate" homicide.

Cohan stated the following in a Minnesota Tribune article from March 2009:
When people read reports of a murder-suicide they will often ask the question, was this an Act of love, or desperation? Cohen who has researched this question tries to find answers. 
She stated in the article:
That notion is common in murder-suicides, said Cohen, who has testified before Congress, written extensively and helped train families and physicians. She is a professor of aging and mental health at the University of South Florida and heads its Violence and Injury Prevention Program. 
"If they were consulted, families usually would try to stop it,'' she said. "In fact, murder-suicide almost always is not an act of love. It's an act of desperation."
Cohen also recognizes that murder-suicide does not equate with assisted suicide. Cohen stated:
Some people equate murder-suicide with assisted suicide and the right to control when you will die, Cohen said. "It usually is not the same. This is suicide and murder.''
Future reports may or may not uncover further reasons for his action but Cohen's research is clear. These cases are usually an act of murder, not a compassionate homicide.

Further to that the Fox News report stated:
In 2013, 86-year-old George Sanders shot and killed his wife Ginger. He was charged with first-degree murder after his wife allegedly begged him to kill her.

He got two years probation.
By claiming that the murder was based on compassion he may be more likely to get a lesser sentence. 

Even if his wife, Brenda, was experiencing a difficult health condition, she deserved a proper treatment, care and support, not death. The law should also recognize the vulnerability of the spouse in these cases.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Montreal woman with Spina Bifida offered euthanasia twice without requesting it.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tracy Polewczuk with her husband.
Matt Gilmour reported for CTV news Montreal on July 5, 2024 that Tracy Polewczuk, a woman who lives with Spina Bifida, on two separate occasions was urged to request euthanasia by a medical professional without initiating the request.

Tracy Polewczuk, who lives in Pointe-Claire Québec, on Montreal island stated in an interview with Gilmour that:

On two separate occasions and without prompting, she says she was informed that she would be eligible for medical assistance in dying (MAID), once by a nurse at the rehabilitation centre at Ste-Anne's Hospital and another time by a social worker at the Verdun Hospital.

"It feels like we are being pushed towards the MAID program instead of being given the help to live,"

Polewczuk who had broken her leg in an accident two years ago lives in pain because her leg didn't properly heal after the accident. Polewczuk told Gilmour that:

"Pain sucks. We all agree. It's terrible. I'm in pain 24/7. It never stops. I can survive that. I cannot survive being treated like a sack of meat,"
Dr Paul Saba
Family physician, Dr Paul Saba told Gilmour:
...that it's seen as a recommendation whenever a doctor makes a suggestion or a health care worker.

"We need to improve our health care system for everybody regardless of their condition, regardless of the disability,"
Heather Hancock
Polewczuk told Gilmour that:
...she often feels like a burden, but her choice is clear.

"I want to survive. I want to thrive. I want my life back. I want the opposite of what they're trying to have us do,"
Polewczuk is not alone in her experience. Recently Heather Hancock sent an article to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition with a similar story. Hancock, who lives with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, has also been pressured by medical staff on several occasions to ask for euthanasia.

What happened to Delaware assisted suicide Bill HB 140?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Everyone needs to contact Governor John Carney and urge him to veto assisted suicide 
Bill HB 140. Email him at:  john.carney@delaware.gov

A news story by Sarah Mueller for whyy news stated:
Democratic Rep. Paul Baumbach, the prime sponsor, said the bill has not yet been sent to the governor. A spokesperson for the governor said lawyers were reviewing the legislation. Requests to clarify their answers received no response.
I was reading the Medical Futility blog by euthanasia activist, Thaddeus Pope, which indicated that Delaware was now the 12th US jurisdiction to legalize assisted suicide since Governor John Carney had not signed or vetoed HB 140 within 10 days after transmittal.

Stephen Mendolsohn, who is a great political researcher, disagreed with Pope stating that the Delaware rules require the Governor to act within 30 days of adjournment or the legislation is "pocket vetoed" when 
a bill reaches the Governor after the session adjournment. The second scenario is in play in Delaware.

Today I called Governor Carney's office and asked for the status of HB 140. The response was that HB 140 has not yet reached the Governor's desk. A recent news article stated that Governor Carney has asked lawyers to examine the bill based on his concerns.

Everyone needs to contact Governor John Carney and tell him to veto assisted suicide Bill HB 140. Email him at:  john.carney@delaware.gov

Previous articles:

Retired doctor/assisted suicide activist, charged with manslaughter in New York State.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Stephen Miller
Marlene Lenthang reported for NBC news on February 6, 2024 that Stephen P. Miller, of Tucson, Arizona, a former doctor and advisory board member with the group Choice and Dignity, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and assisting a suicide in a New York motel in November, 2023. 

Assisted suicide activists, Derek Humphry and Richard MacDonald are also advisory board members with Choice and Dignity.

Lenthang stated that:
The investigation started shortly before noon on Nov. 9, when police responded to a report about an unconscious and unresponsive person at a Super 8 on Washington Avenue in the city of Kingston, about 100 miles north of New York City, Kingston police said in a statement Friday.

First responders found a person who initially appeared to have died by suicide alone in the motel room, police said.

But further investigation led to evidence that a second person had been present who “contributed to or assisted in the suicide,” the statement said.

An investigation by police and the Ulster County district attorney’s office led to an arrest warrant’s being issued for Miller citing second-degree manslaughter under the state penal code regarding a person who "intentionally causes or aids another person" to die by suicide.
Ed Shanahan reported for the New York Times on July 8, 2024 that the woman who died was Doreen Brodhead, a 59-year-old Kingston New York native.

Shanahan also reported that Stephen Miller served three years in jail for tax evasion. The article stated:
In 2006, court records show, federal prosecutors charged him with tax evasion. He had hidden more than $1 million in income offshore with the help of a corrupt financial planner, they said.

He was convicted despite insisting that the planner had duped him. His wife divorced him, and he spent three years in prison and three more on probation. Regulators in Texas and California revoked his medical licenses, according to government documents; his licenses in Arizona and Massachusetts expired.

After leaving prison in 2009, Mr. Miller moved to Tucson, Ariz. His older brother, Alan Miller, spent part of each year there, and they lived together for about a year until Stephen moved into a trailer. His main income was $2,000 a month in Social Security benefits.
Shanahan also reported on the evidence concerning how Doreen Brodhead died. Based on my concern for people experiencing suicidal ideation I will not share the information.

Shanahan reported that Robert Rivas the former general counsel for the Final Exit Network, a group that assists suicides in states where it is not legal told the New York Times that:
philosophically speaking, Mr. Miller “probably deserves a medal as far as I’m concerned.” As a legal matter, however, Mr. Rivas added: “He’s toast.”
Shanahan also interviewed Jim Schultz, the board president of Choice and Dying who said:
...he had only learned of Mr. Miller’s role in Ms. Brodhead’s death from news accounts. He declined to comment on the criminal charges. He said he was impressed by the “dedication to his cause” Mr. Miller had shown by traveling to New York to be with Ms. Brodhead.
In his release agreement, Miller's lawyer agreed that his client wouldn't be involved in anything related to assisted suicide. Shanahan reported that Miller was recently involved with a
Mr. Schultz said Mr. Miller had recently participated in a Choice and Dignity class on “deliberate life completion,” including alternatives when legal methods like medical aid in dying are not available.

The discussion included a how-to on the option Ms. Brodhead chose.
This is another case of an activist who decides to become an "angel of mercy" by killing people upon request. 

Assisted suicide is not about autonomy but rather it's a form of abandonment of a person in a time of need. 

Abandonment to death.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Canadian euthanasia doctor has killed hundreds.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Ellen Wiebe
Sharon Kirkey wrote a pro-euthanasia / pro-Ellen Wiebe article that was published in the National Post on Saturday July 6. 

Kirkey, who has written many pro-euthanasia articles, attempts to fix the perception of Wiebe after she was seen laughing in the film Better off Dead? by disability activist / actress Liz Carr while discussing euthanasia.

Elmira Tanatarova reported for the Daily Mail on May 15 that many of the viewers of the Better off Dead? documentary were uneasy with Wiebe as she giggled when discussing the number of her euthanasia deaths.

When asked by Kirkey about the number of euthanasia deaths Wiebe responds:
“I know the exact number,” the Vancouver doctor said, “but I don’t want to do that, no. It’s become a weird thing, people talking about their numbers, or criticizing people who talk about their numbers.”

“Hundreds is good,” she said. About 430 as of May 2022 alone, as she then testified before a special parliamentary committee on medical assistance in dying, or MAID.
When asked about laughing on camera during the filming of Better off Dead? Kirkey writes:
Wiebe can seem “oddly cheerful” when discussing MAID, viewers of the BBC documentary remarked. She grinned at peculiar moments during an interview with National Post, laughing as she described how, when getting final consent on the day of death, “I come in and say, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do today?'”

Laughter can be a response to emotionally uncomfortable situations, like talking about death, said Helen Long, CEO of Dying with Dignity Canada. “You suddenly realize what you’re in the middle of discussing.”

“Laughing often is just part of my personality,” Wiebe told National Post.
I personally speak cheerfully about my work with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition but I'm not killing people.

In response to her clients Kirkey reports Wiebe as stating:
“It’s hard to even be in the same room as somebody who’s suffering so severely,” Wiebe told the Post. “But then, of course, you know, I get to end that suffering, which is good.”
Wiebe misses the point. She is not ending suffering or even caring for the sufferer, she is killing the person.

Trudo Lemmens
Trudo Lemmens is bothered by the pseudo-spiritual language that euthanasia doctors apply to MAiD deaths. Kirkey reports:
But others like Trudo Lemmens are troubled by the small number of providers dominating the practice and the “pseudo-spiritual language” some use to describe doctor-administered death.

“When MAID was legalized, it was framed as a practice that was exceptionally required to ease the dying process or give some control at the end of life,” Lemmens, a University of Toronto professor of law and ethics, wrote in an email.
Christopher Lyon
Christopher Lyon, whose father died by MAiD in Victoria BC also reponds to Kirkey:
Others like Christopher Lyon, a Canadian social scientist at the University of York in the U.K. have remarked that pleasure from euthanasia is deeply disquieting, “because death is usually a deeply painful or difficult moment for the patients and their loved ones.”

Lyon’s 77-year-old father died by MAID in a Victoria hospital room in 2021, over the family’s objections. (Wiebe was not the provider.) His father had bouts of depression and suicidal thinking, but was approved for MAID nonetheless. Lyon wonders what draws some providers to MAID “and what happens to a person when killing becomes a daily or weekly event.”

“Some providers have counts in the hundreds — this isn’t normal, for any occupation,” he said. “Even members of the military at war do not typically kill that frequently. I think that’s a question that we’ve not really ever asked.”
Kirkey responds to criticisms of Wiebe by interviewing Dr James Downer, who was a founding doctor of the Physicians Advisory Council for Dying with Dignity. Downer who is introduced as a Ottawa palliative care and critical care specialist reportedly states:
“It’s absolutely not a celebration of the act of ending someone’s life. It’s a reflection of the intense emotional bond you form with families and patients.”
Kirkey also obtains a comment from Helen Long, the CEO of Dying with Dignity who said:
She’s also “warm and funny,” blunt and straightforward, a straight-shooter with a determined streak,
Wiebe when asked about natural death reportedly states:
“I know what the ends are like, and I’m not interested in that,” she told National Post. MAID means people can “skip out when you’re still you,” she said.
Wiebe expects that the law will expand to include children and the incompetent. Kirkey writes:
She fully anticipates that MAID will be extended to mature minors. “I’ve always been assuming for eight years that a 17-year-old with terminal cancer is going to say, ‘I have the right,’ and of course any judge in the country will say, ‘Yes, you do.’”

She also expects some form of advance requests for MAID in cases of dementia, which would allow a person to make a written request for euthanasia that could be honoured later, even if they lose their capacity to make medical decisions for themselves. Support for advance requests is strong, according to polls. But if someone is unable to express how they’re feeling, who decides if they are suffering unbearably — and what if they changed their minds? MAID doctors may be asked to “provide” for someone they have not met before, and with whom they will not be able to communicate, Wiebe said.

“That’s going to be hard for us as providers,” she said.

“This will be a new challenge. And I’m up for challenges.”
Much of this interview confirms the concerns that Trudo Lemmens has that there are a few insiders that are controlling the euthanasia practise and narrative in Canada.

Clearly this article is designed to improve the perception of Wiebe after the Better off Dead? film shows a crass and scary nature to Wiebe.

But, it doesn't matter where you stand on the issue, or on politics, Carr portrayed Wiebe for who she is in Better off Dead? Carr wasn't staging the interview and she wasn't using interviews with people who oppose euthanasia to make Wiebe look bad.

I will also challenge Sharon Kirkey who tries to sell herself as a neutral reporter. Clearly she tries to cover-up for the euthanasia lobby and seems committed to selling more euthanasia to Canadians.

Canada had approximately 15,280 assisted deaths in 2023, a 15.4% increase.

There were approximately 15,280 reported Canadian assisted deaths in 2023 up by more than 15% from 2022.
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, 
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

As I wait for the federal government to release Canada's 2023 euthanasia data, last week British Columbia released it's 2023 provincial euthanasia data.

According to the BC Medical Assistance in Dying 2023 report there were 2767 reported assisted deaths up by 10% from 2515 in 2022.

It is concerning that "other conditions" represented 32.9% of the BC assisted deaths in 2023. Other conditions were reported under these catagories:
Autoimmune Condition 2.4%, Chronic Pain 24.8%, Diabetes 9.8%, Frailty 60.5%, Other Comorbidities* 52.1%
Canada's MAiD law does not require that a person be terminally ill. Diabetes, frailty chronic pain and autoimmune conditions are usually chronic and not terminal conditions. 
 
The report doesn't indicate the conditions that comprise "Other Comorbidities" yet the report indicates that Mental Disorders, as a comorbidity, is within that category.

Euthanasia for mental disorders alone is not permitted in Canada but if a person has a mental disorder and another comorbidity (condition) then the person can qualify to be killed.

The report excludes any important information, such as an analysis of questionable deaths or a further examination of why a person actually asked to be killed, rather it only includes their condition.

Canada's euthanasia statistics:

On February 6, 2024 I predicted that there were approximately 16,000 Canadian euthanasia deaths in 2023. At that time I had less data.
 
Based on the data from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Nova Scotia, I now predict that there were approximately 15,280 Canadian euthanasia deaths in 2023. Here is how I came to that predication:

CBC Radio Canada published an article on March 9, 2024 stating that there was a 17% increase in Québec euthanasia deaths with 5,686 reported deaths representing 7.3% of all deaths, which is the highest rate in the world in 2023. The Radio Canada report was based on the Quebec euthanasia deaths between January 1 - December 31, 2023.

The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario released the December 2023 MAiD data indicating that there were 4641 reported euthanasia deaths in 2023 which was up by 18% from 3934 reported euthanasia deaths in 2022.

The Alberta Health Services reports that there were 977 reported assisted deaths in 2023 which was up by more than 18% from 836 reported assisted deaths in 2022.

The Nova Scotia Medical Assistance in Dying data indicates that there were 342 reported assisted deaths in 2023 which was up by more than 25% from 272 in 2022.

An article published by Global news, which may only be preliminary data, indicated that there were 236 reported Manitoba assisted deaths in 2023 which was up by 6% from 223 in 2022.

The BC Medical Assistance in Dying 2023 report stated that there were 2767 reported assisted deaths up 10% from 2515 in 2022.

According to the data from Ontario, Québec, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and British Columbia, there were 14,413 assisted deaths in 2023 (in those Provinces) whihc is up by 15.4% from 12,490 assisted deaths in 2022 (in those Provinces). Since the total number of Canadian assisted deaths in 2022 was 13,241, I can predict that there were approximately 15,280 Canadian assisted deaths in 2023.

Swiss suicide clinic's many controversial deaths.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Ronny Reyes and Joe Hutchinson and Rory Tingle published an article in the Daily Mail on Sunday July 7 concerning some of the controversial deaths that have happened at a suicide clinic in Switzerland. Since I not want to promote the suicide clinic, I am not stating the name of the clinic.

Catherine Kassenoff in happier times.
Possibly the most controversial death was a New York woman who claimed to have gone to die at the suicide clinic to punish her estranged husband. The authors wrote:

Catherine Kassenoff, from Westchester in New York State, traveled to Basel last May to take her life at the ... which charges $11,000 (£8,600) for what it advertises as death with minimal 'bureaucracy'. 

The 54-year-old lawyer claimed her husband, Alan, had been abusing her and their children for years, and that it led to her taking her own life amid their custody battle, although Mr Kassenoff has denied being abusive.

Alastair Hamilton's mother.
The authors continued:

Among the hundreds who ended their lives there last year was British chemistry teacher Alastair Hamilton, who took a lethal overdose of drugs without telling his family and had no discernable illness, and two American sisters who had become 'tired' of life.

The authors tell the story of Hamilton's death:

The Hamilton family only learned Alastair had taken his life at the clinic after police examined his bank account statements and found that he had transferred thousands of pounds to ... leading his mother Judith to brand it a 'cowboy clinic'. 

Mr Hamilton told his parents he was visiting a friend in Paris when instead he was flying to Basel in Switzerland to end his life.

Shockingly, it took the persistence of Mr Hamilton's devastated family, the Metropolitan Police, the Foreign Office and Interpol to discover what had happened to Alastair after he vanished last summer.

In emails to Alastair's family, a frustrated Met Police sergeant criticised ... 'lack of compassion and lack of transparency' as 'completely unacceptable'. The clinic later vowed to change its procedures to ensure that relatives were always informed in future.

Ammouri Sisters
The authors then write about the deaths of two American sisters who were "tired of life".

In another controversial case, American sisters Ammouri and Susan Frazier decided to die at ... in 2022 because they had become 'tired of life'.  

Dr Ammouri, a 54-year-old palliative care doctor, and Ms Frazier, 49, had been suffering from medical 'frustrations' including chronic insomnia, vertigo and back pain, a doctor they consulted told The Independent

Their grieving brother, Ammouri Ammouri, said he wanted answers over their deaths, telling the New York Post:  'They were so secretive, especially with me.

'Can someone tell me what happened? Do people snap just like that? It could be. You wake up one day and you don't feel like life is precious.'

Laura Henkel
The authors describe the suicide clinic and then continue by writing about the death of Laura Henkel:

Laura Henkel, an Australian woman who allowed her filmmaker daughter to record her final moments at ...was seen laying on the death room's bed during her final moments in December 2019.

She opted for death via intravenous injection, which can be seen beside her bed in an image from the documentary.

Henkel had just turned 90, was not suffering from any terminal illness, and said she was mentally and physically healthy for her age.

But she said she wanted to decide to die on her own terms, before suffering the type of illness commonly associated with very old age that could have prevented her from being able to make that decision.

Henkel traveled to Switzerland because assisted dying was illegal in her home country of Australia.

The article explains that the suicide clinic requires the person to become a member, which costs $110 and then they charge $11,000 for the suicide. From other articles that I have read, they have other death services that are an option that will increase the cost of the suicide.

The authors explain that David Goodall died at the Swiss suicide clinic at the age of 104. Goodall was not sick, but he claimed that he was not well. 

The David Goodall story suggests that elderly people should die at a certain age. During his press conference Goodall was wearing a sweater that stated - ageing disgracefully. The message that some lives are not worth living has eugenic overtones even when it is promoted by someone who is seeking death.

The authors then dig deeper into the story of Catherine Kassenoff. They write:

Catherine Kassenoff travelled to ... in May last year after announcing on Facebook that she was 'ending my own life'.

She had claimed her husband Allan Kassenoff had been abusing her and their children for years, and that it led to her taking her own life.

Allan was given sole custody of their three daughters, with his wife opting to kill herself after she lost visitation rights and being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

New details have since emerged about her suicide, as well as claims from former nannies that Catherine had punished her own adopted daughter by 'dripping water' on her all day so she couldn't sleep. 

She is accused of treating her other daughters who were later born via IVF in a much kinder way.

As part of her Facebook post, Catherine also released thousands of court documents, alongside videos of her husband, in a now defunct Dropbox link.

One of the reports seen by the outlet that was released was written by UK based former psychiatrist Colin Brewer.

Brewer had written in his report for the ... that Catherine was of a 'sound enough mind' to end her life.

Catherine Kassenoff's husband Alan was forced to quit his job as a lawyer following a leave of absence in June, because TikToker Robbie Harvey, an advocate for women in abusive relationships, started uploading videos Catherine had shared on her Facebook.

Her videos were removed but her claims were circulated online and among over 3 million of his followers.

Along with the details of their nasty legal woes and his alleged abuse, Catherine shared videos of Kassenoff throwing tantrums and calling her a 'fat, old loser.'

In another video, he was heard berating the mom-of-three, saying he hated her.

Other clips show him allegedly screaming behind doors, yelling at his kids to 'shut up,' and dramatically leaving their home and refusing to take care of the children that remain in his custody.

Meanwhile, a video of one of their daughters reveals the young girl crying and saying she doesn't 'want to go with that crazy guy.'

The harm done to the family when suicide becomes a weapon of revenge.

Kasenoff sued Harvey last year for him sharing the clips, claiming they led to financial and emotional ruin.

'With a few clicks of his keyboard and a video uploaded to TikTok, Defendant Robert Harvey financially destroyed Plaintiff Allan Kassenoff,' his attorneys wrote in the filing.

'And, even worse, irreparably harmed Mr. Kassenoff's three young children… by forcing them into a life where their identities will forever be associated with a bitter and ugly divorce and the suicide of their mother.'

The lawsuit claims that Harvey's followers 'bombarded' the law firm with more than 7,000 calls and 500 emails accusing him of being the reason Catherine took her life.

Allan had sought out $150m (£117m) to compensate him for his loss of earnings and his 'destroyed reputation. They settled earlier this week for an undisclosed sum.

Euthanasia, assisted suicide, suicide are never good for people or their families. Even in the "worst case" scenario, euthanasia and assisted suicide represent a cultural and medical abandonment of people.

Traditionally, nearly everyone in society opposed killing. Now it has not only become acceptable to kill but in fact society is covering up the reality of killing by further selling the concept to people who do not fit the "typical" case.

Now the pro-death lobby denies the reality that there is a type of push based on a justification of killing. For instance, in Canada most major hospitals have a "MAiD" (euthanasia) team. These teams not only provide euthanasia (kill their patients) they sell euthanasia by asking people who are in the hospital if they want MAiD.

This story clarifies what we have always known. The culture needs to care not kill.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Korea to debate assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kim Eun-young reported for the Korean Biomedical Review that Rep. Ahn Kyu-baek of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) introduced a bill called the "Act on Assisted Dying with Dignity” on Friday July 5.

Eun-young explained the proposed assisted dying bill:
The new legislative bill calls for requiring those who wish to receive assisted dying to apply to the Assisted Dying Review Committee to determine eligibility while establishing a review committee under the minister of health and welfare to deliberate and decide it.

A person can carry out assisted suicide one month after the date of determination of eligibility after the person has expressed his or her desire for assisted dying to his or her family doctor and two specialists. In this case, the physician who assists the person in dying is excluded from the application of the criminal law that bans aiding and abetting a suicide.

The bill also includes a punishment clause, stating that if a person who worked for the management organization and the assisted dying review committee leaks information about the implementation of assisted dying, he or she will be punished by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to 30 million won ($215,830).

Besides, it added new provisions on consultation with a psychiatrist, the right of withdrawal, which allows the person to cancel the decision to end their life at any time, and the prohibition of disadvantage to the person who died as a result of the implementation of assisted dying and the recipients of insurance benefits or pensioners.

The Assisted Dying Review Committee will have 25 members, more than half of whom will be medical professionals, reflecting the medical community’s opinion.
The assisted suicide movement introduces bills that they believe can get passed. The assisted suicide movement then works to amend and expand the legislation. The reality is that it is harder to legalize assisted suicide than to expand the law once it is legal.

Eun-young explained that a previous bill was introduced in June 2022 titled an: “Act on decision-making for patients in hospice, palliative care and the end-of-life process.” Some experts had pointed out that it was inappropriate to debate issues related to life-sustaining treatment alongside issues related to assisted suicide.

The Korean Biomedical Review reported in July 2022 that the Korean Medical Association strongly opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is an accurate term. I oppose killing people.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On Wednesday June 5 I had the pleasure of speaking on euthanasia (MAiD) in Canada at the legion in Barry's Bay Ontario. Barry's Bay is a small community north of Bancroft that in good driving conditions is about 6 hours from my home.

This article is a response to the letter from Dr Katie Forfar, published on June 29 in the Madawaska Valley current. Dr Forfar attended the presentation and stated in her letter that she has been a MAiD provider for the past three years.

Dr Forfar challenges some of my comments in her letter. Some of her statements confirm what I said as being correct and some comments are not correct.

Her first emphasis is that I was paid for the presentation. Yes I was paid for the presentation, but in the same way she is paid for being a MAiD provider. She is not exactly a neutral on the topic.

Her second challenge was based on the fact that I use the word euthanasia and not (MAiD). According to the dictionary, I have used an accurate word, whereas MAiD is a term that was created in Canada to make people feel better about euthanasia. Euthanasia is an act of killing that can be voluntary or involuntary. I did not suggest in my talk that doctors are acting outside of the law, therefore I was not speaking about involuntary euthanasia.

Dr Forfar stated that I referred to several atypical MAiD cases that have been in the Canadian news that she admitted concern her. She states that I suggested that 'healthy' people could obtain MAiD just by asking. If she is referring to my comments on the case of the 27-year-old Calgary Autistic woman, well, that is exactly what that court case was about.

She then confirms what I said about how euthanasia deaths occur. Dr Forfar wrote:
It is true that a drug that causes paralysis is given, but it is given last after a large volume of drug is given to cause a deep coma. I have never observed anyone during a MAiD death appear to be in pain, nor short of breath or experiencing fluid in their lungs, nor have a seizure nor urinating or defecating.
I never said anything about urinating or defecating, so that is her emphasis not my comment. Dr Forfar's description is accurate. Research indicates that the drugs used for MAiD will shut down the lungs. Once the lungs are shut-down then the heart will stop beating.

The MAiD lobby agrees with my comments. The MAiD Activity Book states:
The third medicine makes the person’s lungs stop breathing and then their heart stops beating. Because of the coma, the person does not notice this happening and it does not hurt. When their heart and lungs stop working, their body dies. It will not start working again. This often happens in just a few minutes, but sometimes (rarely) it can take hours.
I also accurately stated that it is impossible to know whether the person in a deep coma is not experiencing distress as their lungs stop breathing.

Dr Forfar did not mention my concerns about Canadian veterans with PTSD or with disabilities who have been injured serving our country and being told that MAiD is an option. It is disturbing that veterans who have served our country and having difficulty receiving the treatment or services that they need were offered MAiD through the Federal Veterans Affairs department.

As stated during my presentation, I oppose killing people. MAiD/euthanasia is about killing people. It is sold as freedom or autonomy but rather it is an abandonment of people in their time of need.

 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Delaware Governor Carney needs to veto assisted suicide Bill HB 140 to protect your citizens most in need of real care and compassion, not killing.

Governor John Carney
The following open letter was sent by Dr Jacqueline Harvey Abernathy, Ph.D., M.S.S.W. to Delaware Governor John Carney on July 4, 2024.

Everyone needs to contact Delaware Governor John Carney and urge him to veto assisted suicide Bill HB 140. Email him at: john.carney@delaware.gov

Dear Governor Carney,

Dr Jacqueline Abernathy
I write today urging you to veto HB 140 to protect your citizens most in need of real care and compassion, not killing. I implore you out of deepest concern, not just for the people of Delaware but you personally as well, since you will bear responsibility for the deadly consequences HB 140 will undoubtedly inflict as written, but also the greater toll when the law is almost certainly expanded. I don't claim to know the future, but I do know the past and the history of state assisted suicide laws and I have no reason to believe that Delaware law would not be exploited as-is and reformed to remove safeguards and otherwise increase eligibility and access to death on demand. I speak as an expert on this very topic, a bioethicist with a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy and a bibliography of scholarly peer-reviewed publications on assisted suicide and end-of-life medical decision-making. Therefore, I am not offering a mere guess when I warn you that HB 140 presents immediate harm to your constituents and only stands to grow more dangerous with time.

The proverbial slippery slope is not a logical fallacy but rather, it is documented history. The supposed safeguards used to pass bills like HB 140 falsely suggest that state-sanctioned suicide can be safe. These are a smokescreen used to placate concerned legislators into voting to legalize assisted suicide for some in certain conditions, but afterwards, those qualifications and regulations are amended to include more disposable lives and easier, faster access to lethal poison. What protections in HB 140 you have been told will protect your constituents: not only do these flimsy regulations fail to prevent abuses but sooner rather than later, those provisions will be stripped from the law if you make the mistake of not vetoing HB 140. 

Insistence by pro-euthanasia lobbyists that there has been no documented abuses is widely debunked in scientific literature, even by staunch allies. A recent example just published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, “Medical aid in dying to avoid late-stage dementia,” gives examples, one by name, of people who were not terminally ill but starved and dehydrated themselves to qualify for assisted suicide. They brazenly call the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED) a “bridge” to access suicide assistance, but a better term is “loophole”- a cruel way for those who want to die to kill themselves slowly until someone prescribes poison to speed things along. Abuses of state laws like HB 140 are usually addressed by reforming the statutes, but sadly, cases like these are used as rationale by lawmakers to relax or outright remove existing protections altogether so people who aren’t terminally ill let alone dying would no longer “need” to torture themselves through dehydration and starvation long enough to obtain help to die by suicide in a faster, easier way.

State laws have never been reformed to fix significant issues, like how researchers revealed in the British Medical Journal way back in 2008 that Oregon doctors were failing to make required psychiatric referrals – only 2 out of 60 patients (3.3%) received a psychiatric referral. Instead of addressing this issue, lawmakers added more discretion to the law in 2019 to exempt the 15-day waiting period in certain cases. The law was reformed again in 2023, but not to fix implementation abuses, just to drop the residency requirement to endanger vulnerable people in other states. The latest Oregon Health Authority report now shows that of the 367 patients who died by assisted suicide in 2023, only 3 were referred for a psychiatric assessment. That is fewer than 1% (.08). Likewise, even when you exclude the 23 non-residents, failure to enforce existing supposed safeguards helps explain the nearly 6-fold increase from 60 in 2008. Unreformed and purposefully relaxed safety standards are what have allowed the death toll to climb 573% since the 2008 BMJ article. Once a state embraces killing over caring, the killing only increases. What may seem reasonable now will certainly not remain so if you do not veto HB 140.

Governor, the bottom line is that you should not be at peace with signing any law that declares entire groups of human beings as disposable. My goal here is to inform you that what supposed safeguards may comfort you in the current draft of HB 140 are more than just arbitrary criteria for determining what lives don’t matter: these limits for who may access poison are clearly fungible and changeable for the worst. History proves it. On principle, you should reject any unjust law that relegates any population to a lesser status as second-class citizens who get suicide assistance vs. everyone else who gets suicide prevention when they cry out for help. You may be okay with how HB 140 decides what Delaware residents in desperate circumstances get pushed off the ledge on request to fall to their death (rather than talked down from the ledge as we usually do), but I assure you that the qualifications on which lives don't matter will likely expand to other populations if you make the mistake of signing HB 140 and opening this Pandora's Box.

You are being presented a choice that is literally vital. To decide not to veto HB 140 is to sign off on a state-wide death warrant for those most vulnerable. This is your moral duty and a burden you do not want on your conscience. Learn from the past, listen to your innate instinct to protect those most in need of compassion and VETO HB140.

Sincerely,
Jacqueline Harvey Abernathy, Ph.D., M.S.S.W.
Dallas, Texas