Saturday, December 31, 2011

No right to be killed by others

Dr Rene Leiva wrote an excellent letter in response to the article in the National Post yesterday. His letter was published in the National Post today. Please read:

No Right to be Killed by others.

Re: Poll: 67% Support Assisted Suicide, Dec. 30.

I am greatly perplexed when I hear euthanasia proponents talk about a "basic human right to die," when there is no such thing. We are all going to die anyway, so let's please be honest and call it what it is: The right to be killed by somebody else. I am deeply disturbed by people who overlook the failure of the euthanasia experiments in other countries. Why do they coldly dismiss all those hundreds of people who have been euthanized without their consent? Do they consider them collateral damage? Would they call for an absolute right to drive for everybody, even if they knew lots of innocent people would be killed by incompetent drivers? I don't think so.
Canada rightly forbade capital punishment, due to the fact that no system can guarantee that no one will be killed by mistake. We have the freedom to make choices, but those choices should not hinder the safety of others, especially our most vulnerable.

Rene Leiva, palliative care physician, Ottawa.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time to rethink - rethink euthanasia.

In his article [“Time to rethink euthanasia,” Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 29th ] Marcel Lavoie implies that legalizing euthanasia would stop violent deaths in the elderly, such as the death of Doreen Flann by stabbing at the hands of her husband, Ian.  In many of these deaths, the perpetrator-husband also kills himself for a murder-suicide.

Link to a recent Canadian study on the topic.

In Oregon where assisted-suicide has been legal since 1997, murder-suicide has not been eliminated. Indeed, murder-suicide follows “the national pattern.”

Donna Cohen
Moreover, according to Donna Cohen, an expert on murder-suicide, the typical case involves a depressed, controlling husband who shoots his ill wife:
“The wife does not want to die and is often shot in her sleep. If she was awake at the time, there are usually signs that she tried to defend herself.”
If euthanasia were legal, the wife, not wanting to die, would still be a victim.

Our laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia are in place to protect vulnerable people. Assisted suicide and/or euthanasia should not be legalized in Canada.

[Note: You may be interested in these articles: Don Colburn, "Recent murder-suicides follow the national pattern," The Oregonian, November 17, 2009,  and “Murder-suicides in Elderly Rise: Husbands commit most murder-suicides – without wives’ consent,”]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Assisted suicide is not legal in Hawaii

The group Hawaii against assisted suicide circulated a press release on Wednesday December 21 from the Alliance Defense Fund stating that the Attorney General of Hawaii has confirmed that assisted suicide is not legal in Hawaii.

Compassion & Choices (C & C), formerly known as the Hemlock Society, has claimed that a law dating back to 1909 allowed assisted suicide in Hawaii. The law that they were referring to allowed doctors to prescribe treatments that are not yet approved to people who are "hopeless and beyond recovery." C & C claimed that this meant that doctors could prescribe a lethal dose to assist the suicide of their patients.

David Louie, the Attorney General for Hawaii has confirmed that the 1909 law does not allow assisted suicide.

Hawaii attorney Jim Hochberg confirmed that:
"the history of the law clearly indicates its intent to prohibit prosecution of someone whose untested techniques or materials may be able to save a patient when traditional medical practise could not."
Hochberg explained that:
"This law simply does not give doctors discretian to hasten the death of patients and that no one should believe the recent falsehoods that pro-death proponents have spread about Hawaii law."
Margaret Dore
Margaret Dore, the leader of Choice is an Illusion and an attorney from Seattle Washington wrote an excellent legal analysis debunking the argument by (C & C) titled - Hawaii: Assisted Suicide in not already legal.

This is just another example of how (C & C) will spin the truth. Stephen Drake, the research analyst for the disability rights group Not Dead Yet refers to C & C as "Conflation and Con Jobs."

Read the opinion of the Attorney General here.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition expects that Compassion & Choices will encourage a physician to break the law in order to test their theory concerning the state of the Hawaii law or they will challenge the law in the court.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition makes oral arguments in assisted suicide case.

 EPC Media Release

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is an Intervener in the Carter vs. Attorney General of Canada case that seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

On December 14, the EPC legal counsel, Hugh Scher, will be presenting our legal arguments before the BC court.

EPC legal counsel, Hugh Scher notes:
“Concerns about safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors will be central to the arguments advanced by EPC before the court, as will concerns about a harmful shift in our cultural ethic that will occur if assisted suicide is legalized.”
EPC – BC chair, Dr Will Johnston states:
“I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family members and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is typical. To make it worse, the victims protect the abusers. In one case, an older woman knew that her son was robbing her blind and lied to protect him.” 

“Under current law, abusers take their victims to the bank and to the lawyer for a new will. With legal assisted suicide, the next stop would be the doctor’s office for a lethal prescription. How are we going to detect victimization when we can’t do it now?”
EPC executive director, Alex Schadenberg states:
“The issue was debated last year in parliament and consistent with earlier Senate Committee reports, parliament overwhelmingly defeated Bill C-384, a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, by a vote of 228 to 59.
Link to an EPC article on the case.

Link to the EPC Talking Points. 

For further information contact:
Will Johnston, MD,, (604) 220-2042
Alex Schadenberg,, (519) 851-1434
Hugh Scher,, (416) 816-6115

Link to the online petition campaign to the Attorney General of Canada.
Make a donation or become a member of EPC. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Disability Rights Group Announces Opposition to Massachusetts Assisted Suicide Initiative

Not Dead Yet circulated information concerning yesterdays press conference by the Massachusetts group - Second Thoughts. Second Thoughts is composed primarily of people with disabilities who have organized to oppose the assisted suicide initiative in Massachusetts. Please read:

Boston, MA (PRWEB) December 09, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Suicide predator, William Melchert-Dinkel, is appealing his sentence

Lee Greenberg wrote an extensive article that was published in the Ottawa Citizen on December 5 on the appeal by William Melchert-Dinkel, the Minnesota nurse who was convicted of counselling suicide, in the deaths of Brampton Ontario teen Nadia Kajouji and Mark Drybrough from the UK.

Kajouji was a first-year student at Carlton University in Ottawa. She became deeply depressed and established a suicide pact with Melchert-Dinkel after he contacted her on a suicide chat site under an assumed name.

What is particularly devastating is how Melchert-Dinkel used his relationship to gain some type of personal gratification in the suicide death of Kajouji and Drybrough. You may wish to read the earlier articles about this case that can be found by linking to Nadia Kajouji or Internet Suicide. Please read the following article:

Assisted-suicide panel failed to present balanced arguments

Margaret Somerville wrote an article about the Royal Society of Canada one-sided euthanasia lobby report that was published in the Montreal Gazette today. The Royal Society published a report that not only advocated that euthanasia and assisted suicide should be legalized in Canada, they suggested that if the federal government does not change the law, that the provincial prosecutors should simply turn a blind-eye the law and allow a state of lawlessness to occur. Somerville makes some excellent points. Please read:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Improving palliative care in Canada

Improving Palliative Care in Canada
Palliative Care

Two recently released reports emphasize the need for a continued spotlight on palliative care
By Derek Miedema, Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Two recently released reports pay attention to the need for palliative care in Canada. The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada released Achieving Quality Palliative Care in Canada this week. The paper tells the story of palliative care in Canada, through the voices of palliative care heavyweights, Senator Sharon Carstairs (retired) and Dr. Balfour Mount, a Montreal-area oncologist. In a ten-page, easy-to-read format, the report highlights the five Ws of palliative care, stressing that this specialty is in dire need of attention because we have an ageing population. If current levels of palliative care remain the same, we are going to experience decreased access, simply because more people need it.

Similarly, on November 17, 2011, the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate care released a 200-page report. Not to be Forgotten: Care of Vulnerable Canadians examines three aspects of care: Palliative care, suicide prevention, and the prevention of elder abuse. With respect to palliative care, the report thoroughly examines the current situation in our country and makes recommendations for future developments in expertise and delivery. Most importantly, the report states that “palliative care is not only the best model for caring for vulnerable and dying Canadians; it also embodies truths that could be transformative for our whole health care culture.” [1] In other words, current palliative care practice should be adapted to animate disciplines across the entire medical system for the benefit of vulnerable Canadians across the country.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Massachusetts Medical Association overwhelmingly opposes assisted suicide.

Great News.
The Massachusetts Medical Association overwhelmingly voted to re-affirm its position against assisted suicide at there recent meeting. This is a significant decision considering the fact that the suicide lobby has collected signatures to have the issue of assisted suicide placed on the November 2012 ballot.

The Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide association of physicians with more than 23,000 members, today voted to reaffirm its opposition to physician-assisted suicide, with its House of Delegates voting by a wide margin to maintain a policy the Society has had in effect since 1996.
Opposition to physician-assisted suicide was part of a larger policy statement that includes recognition of patient dignity at the end of life and the physician’s role in caring for terminally-ill patients. The policy was approved by more than 75 percent of the Society’s delegates.
Lynda Young, M.D., president of the Society, said that “Physicians of our Society have clearly declared that physician-assisted suicide is inconsistent with the physician’s role as healer and health care provider. At the same time we recognize the importance of patient dignity and the critical role that physicians have in end-of-life care.”

Dr. Young said the policy goes beyond a single statement of opposition to physician-assisted suicide to include “support for patient dignity and the alleviation of pain and suffering at the end of life.” Additionally, it includes the Society’s commitment to “provide physicians treating terminally-ill patients with the ethical, medical, social, and legal education, training, and resources to enable them to contribute to the comfort and dignity of the patient and the patient’s family.”

The policy was one of several reaffirmed and adopted at the Society’s 2011 Interim Meeting, which brings hundreds of physicians from across the state to examine and consider specific resolutions on public health policy, health care delivery, and organizational administration by the Society’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body. Resolutions adopted by the delegates become policies of the organization.
The Massachusetts Medical Association, which is the medical society in the United States, has made a very wise decision. Doctors should be healers and when healing is not possible, doctors should alleviate pain and suffering, but doctors should not be given the right to cause the death of their patients.

I would like to congratulate John Kelly from the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, who worked hard to  produce a good hand-out and to arrange transportation so that could speak with the doctors as they attended the meeting.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 1, 2011

As the United Nations celebrates the International Day of People with Disabilities, on December 3, Canadians with disabilities find themselves at the brink of an attack on their fundamental human rights and collective equality, says Toronto lawyer and disability rights advocate Hugh Scher.

In British Columbia, and Quebec, Courts are being asked to remove the prohibitions against assisted suicide and euthanasia, a move that would threaten the lives of people with disabilities in Canada.

As former Chair of the Council of Canadians Human Rights Committee, Scher states:
“These court cases represent a fundamental threat to the lives, security and equality of people with disabilities across Canada, who may be unwilling victims of new death practices in Canada if the Courts defy the express will of Parliament, that overwhelmingly defeated a bill to legalize assisted suicide across party lines last year.”
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Executive Director Alex Schadenberg states:
“The language of the Carter case allows family members to be involved with the death. The Canadian government recognizes elder abuse as a crime that is done by family, friends and care-givers or other person in a situation of power or trust.”
Canadian war veteran and disability rights advocate John Coppard states:
"If the law had allowed it several years ago, I may have requested assistance to suicide.  That would have been the greatest mistake of my life and one that could not have been corrected."
As people with disabilities celebrate accomplishments of greater inclusion, accessibility and integration, there remains much work to do in improving access to society’s most basic institutions and enhancing health care practices, including accessibility to palliative care.  Disability rights advocate Rhonda Wiebe, who co-chairs the Ending of Life Ethics Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities said:
“A discriminatory attitude that suggests that our lives are less than equal represents an affront to our most basic human rights”
For more information please contact:
Alex Schadenberg - 519-439-3348  
Hugh Scher - 416-816-6115
John Coppard - 250-508-3446
Rhonda Wiebe - 204-779-4493