Friday, June 20, 2008

Bill C-562 - What is Francine Lalonde thinking?

I like to think that activists who promote the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide are people who have the best of intentions but view life in a different way than I do.

When I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies bi-annual conference in Toronto (Sept 2006), I experienced a very different reality.

Many of the people present were directly involved in skirting the law by causing the death of people.

The concern I have for vulnerable people was simply negated and all effective opposition to their ideology was attacked as religious dogmatism.

I have been told that Francine Lalonde is a nice person but when I read Bill C-562 I feel the same type of unrest in my heart as I felt when I attended the Right to Die conference.

The bill legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who experience physical and mental pain. People who experience mental pain are often among the most socially devalued persons in our culture and yet Lalonde is willing to prescribe death instead of compassionate care for them.

The bill does not define terminal illness. Does it not concern Lalonde that people who receive a terminal diagnosis are often immediately shocked by that information? Many people go through a tempory depression after learning of their medical condition and only after experiencing a supportive environment or a period of acceptance do they once again gain composure.

The bill bases competency on whether or not the person appears to be lucid. Does Lalonde not realize that one is not competent unless they are actually lucid? Many people who experience chronic depression will appear to be lucid when in fact they are not competent to make important decisions.

The bill does not limit euthanasia and assisted suicide to physicians. Lalonde uses the term medical practitioner as defined by provincial law. This term is not limited to physicians only.

I do not like to compare Bill C-562 to the type of advocacy work that is associated with Dr. Philip Nitschke, Australia’s Dr. Death, but Nitschke advocated that Graeme Wylie be allowed to die by euthanasia, even though he had Alzheimer's disease and was incompetent to consent to the act.

Bill C-562 allows for the euthanasia of incompetent people so long as they have made the request in a valid advanced directive. Is Lalonde not concerned that medical practitioners may use this part of her bill to eliminate many of the most expensive patients in our long-term care facilities?

The problem with the “Dying with Dignity” movement is that they claim to be about legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide for terminally ill people who are suffering uncontrolled pain, but that is only their calling card. In reality they are about the “right to die” becoming recognized as a radical new human right that will be available to everyone, at anytime, for any reason.

Bill C-562 would move Canada very close to that radical social position.


RuralRite said...

The rational around euthanasia is that adults should be allowed to kill themselves with or without the help of someone else. Fine, but why do we need legislation to approve it? Why should we all have to share in the guilt and shame to satisfy a handful of people who don't even care about their dignity?
Nobody dies with dignity; they try to live with dignity no matter how the cards are dealt.

Anonymous said...

Well the actual rational around Euthanasia is suicide with assistance from a medical practitioner because that is the definition. If they do it themselves it is actually just suicide. I believe those who want to die because of an extreme circumstance like a constant excruciating pain that will never go away, or someone in a vegetative state should be allowed to die. This bill is not designed to force someone into Euthanasia and is built by trying to get around such abuses. Many will more then likely not choose to go this route, but some would rather be dead then to have no brain activity and have their body being kept alive by multiple machines. For them this is not living.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe your stance is completely fair. Your problem with this bill is that those making the request must appear to be lucid. What you are leaving out is the fact that they need to have two witnesses that have nothing to gain from their deaths be present. It is true that many will feel very depressed that they have a terminal illness but it isn't like it happens like "Doc I wanna have an assisted suicide" and then it just happens. The doctor has to go through a process themselves which includes telling the patient exactly what the consequences are and if there are any alternatives that can be taken. This bill seems to be made to avoid the abuses that could be made, especially against those who are mentally ill to such an extent that they do not realize exactly what they are doing