Monday, December 31, 2012

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 2012 review.

Happy New Year to all the supporters of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC).

2012 was a demanding and difficult year for EPC as we work to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. We have faced many challenges but we also experienced significant success.

We will be facing another demanding and difficult year in 2013. We recognize that our work transcends the decisions of the courts and legislatures as work to protect people from euthanasia and assisted suicide. 
Paris Protest

We celebrate the many victories in 2012:
• January 25, the Council of Europe passed a statement (34 - 16) that: Euthanasia must always be prohibited. This statement was part of a statement on Living Wills.
• March 24, 700 people demonstrated against the legalization of euthanasia in Paris France.
• April 12, the Vermont State Senate debated and defeated a bill to legalize assisted suicide, again.
• May 1, the Governor of Georgia signed a bill to prohibit assisted suicide. This legislative victory became necessary after the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the previous poorly worded law.
• May 1, the New Zealand Medical Association stated that: “Euthanasia is unethical.”
• In May, EPC printed and began distributing the Protecting People pamphlet in English and French. We have now distributed almost 40,000 copies of the Protecting People pamphlet.
• In May, a bill to strengthen the assisted suicide laws in Louisiana passed in the House and Senate.
• May 31, the Supreme Court of Canada granted EPC Intervener Standing in the Rasouli case, that asks: do doctors have the right to unilaterally withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment without consent?
• In June, the British Medical Association and the German Medical Association approved statements opposing assisted suicide.
• July 13, Hon Rob Nicholson (Justice Minister & Attorney General of Canada) ordered an appeal of the decision in Carter by Justice Smith. The appeal of the Carter decision will be heard - March 4 - 8, 2013.
• August 16, the British High Court decided, in the Nicklinson/Martin case, that only parliament can decide to change the laws pertaining to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
• September 7 - 8, EPC co-sponsored the First-European Symposium on Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide in Edinburgh Scotland. This historical conference brought people together from across Europe. For the first time, there is an opportunity to establish an organized opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide in Europe.
• November 6, the voters in Massachusetts defeated Question 2, that would have legalized assisted suicide by a vote of 51% to 49%. This was a huge victory.
• November 9, EPC elected a new leadership team at its board meeting: Joanne Matters (President),   Dr Margaret Cottle (VP), Rhonda Wiebe (Secretary/Treasurer), Dr. Barrie deVeber (Past President).
• November 10, EPC honoured Dr. Barrie deVeber at our national conference in London Ontario.
•  November 15, the book Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide was published. Exposing Vulnerable People uncovers the data concerning euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands.
• December, the Hawaii Medical Association stated that it opposes Physician-Assisted Suicide.
• December 10, EPC was granted the standing at the BC Court of Appeal in the Carter case.
• In 2012 EPC presented a petition of more than 33,000 names to the Attorney General of Canada.
• Our blog: continues to receive approximately 20,000 hits per month.
• There are currently almost 3600 people who have "liked" the EPC Facebook page.

We acknowledge the challenges that we have experienced in 2012:
• January 27, EPC requested intervenor standing in the Leblanc case in Quebec. The Leblanc case seeks to strike down Canada’s law preventing assisted suicide and to legalize a limited form of euthanasia. The Leblanc case was scheduled to be heard, December 11 - 14, but has been postponed to March 25 - 28, 2013. 
John Coppard
• March 1, Mobile Euthanasia Teams began operating in the Netherlands. It is predicted that the six Mobile Euthanasia Teams will be responsible for approximately 1000 euthanasia deaths per year.
• March 5, EPC spokesperson, John Coppard died after a courageous battle with brain cancer. John has been missed by all of us who had the privilege to work with him.
• March 16, the Global TV News 16 x 9 program featured a story of a woman who wants her adult children with disabilities to die by euthanasia and it portrayed Robert Latimer in a sympathetic manner.
• March 22, the Quebec National Assembly Dying with Dignity report was released. It reads like a euthanasia manifesto. Vivre dans la Dignité has been building a grass-roots opposition to the report.
Justice Lynn Smith
• June 15, Justice Smith decided, in the Carter case, to strike down Canada’s assisted suicide law, she ordered parliament to legalize a limited form of euthanasia and she gave Gloria Taylor a constitutional exemption to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide. Gloria Taylor died of natural causes on October 5.
• September 27, a New Jersey legislator announced his plan to sponsor a bill legalizing assisted suicide.
• November 1, Justice Smith ordered the federal government to pay the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) one million dollars for their role in the Carter case. Recently, Hon Rob Nicholson, Canada's Justice Minister, appealed the decision to give the BCCLA one million dollars.
• November - EPC applied to intervene at the BC Court of Appeal in the appeal of the Carter decision by Justice Smith. EPC was pressured throughout the process to limit the scope of our intervention. 
Dr Andre Bourque
• December 10, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the Rasouli case.
• December, a report in France stated that Euthanasia should not be legalized but assisted suicide may be legalized.
• At the end of December, the socialist party in Belgium stated that it plans to allow euthanasia for children and people with Alzheimer's.
• Dr. Andre Bourque sadly passed away on December 29, 2012. Dr. Bourque who was a family physician and the President of Vivre dans la Dignité in Quebec will be truly missed.

EPC recognizes the many victories and challenges that have occurred in 2012, and we know that we will experience many challenges in 2013. EPC is intervening at the BC Court of Appeal in the Carter case (March 4 - 8), we are intervening in the Leblanc case in Trois Riviéres Quebec (March 25 - 28). EPC expects there will be attempts to legalize assisted suicide in several States in the US, and there will be attempts to legalize euthanasia in at least Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and France, and there is a court case in Ireland that is trying to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia by mirroring the Carter case in Canada.

The most visited EPC article in 2012 was written by Alex Schadenberg: Euthanasia is out-of-control in the Netherlands - New Dutch statistics.

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