Thursday, February 28, 2013

Montana Bill HB 505 passes.

A tremendous victory in Montana!!!

The Montana legislature has just passed House Bill (HB) 505 at third reading, by a vote of 51 to 46, a bill that clarifies the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide and prevents assisted suicide in Montana. HB 505 will now go to the Montana Senate for approval.

This is an incredible victory for the Montanans Against Assisted Suicide. It is also a tremendous victory for every American who cares about protecting vulnerable citizens.

The assisted suicide lobby falsely claimed that the Baxter court decision (2009) had legalized assisted suicide in Montana. The fact is that the Baxter decision did not legalize assisted suicide in Montana

During the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions, bills to actually legalize assisted suicide in Montana were defeated.

Bill HB 505 clarifies the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide and it protects people from assisted suicide in Montana. The bill does this by making minor changes to Section 45-5-105 of the MCA.

The new version of Section 45-5-105 would read:
(1) A person who purposely aids or solicits another person to commit suicide, including physician-assisted suicide, commits the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide.(2) The consent of a victim is not a defense to the provisions of this section, and 45-2-211 does not apply.(3) A person convicted of the offense of aiding or soliciting a suicide shall be imprisoned in the state prison for any term not to exceed 10 years or to be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.(4) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:(a) "Aid" means to facilitate, assist or help,(b) (i) "Physician-assisted suicide", also know as physician-aid-in-dying, means any act by a physician of purposely aiding or soliciting another person to end the person's life, including prescribing a drug, compound, or substance, providing a medical procedure, or directly or indirectly participating in an act with the purpose of aiding or soliciting suicide.(b) (ii) The term does not include end-of-life palliative care in which a dying person receives medication to alleviate pain that may incidentally hasten the dying person's death or any act to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment authorized pursuant to Title 50, chapters 9 and 10.(c) "Solicit" has the meaning provided in 45-2-101.
The act is effective on passage and approval.The act applies to offenses committed on or after the effective date of this act.
It is clear that the minor changes to Section 45-5-105 of the act have clarified the law and will protect people in Montana from assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is becoming "common" in Belgium

The following article was written by Michael Cook and published on BioEdge under the title: Belgian euthanasia: not such a big deal.

By Michael Cook, BioEdge - February 22, 2013

A stinging report by a Belgian bioethics think tank last December warned that euthanasia there was being trivialised. “Initially legalized under very strict conditions, euthanasia has gradually become a very normal and even ordinary act,” said the European Institute of Bioethics (IEB), in Brussels.

In the eyes of critics, this view has been supported by developments over the next few weeks. There were successive reports of a proposal to extend euthanasia to children, the euthanasia of a woman who had been sexually abused by a well-known psychiatrist and the euthanasia of deaf twins who feared that they were going blind.

But trivialization must be well and truly under way when euthanasia becomes the subject of TV chat shows. The popular hosts Pauw & Witteman in neighbouring Holland recently invited a blind Dutch comedian, Vincent Biljo, and Wim Distelmans, the doctor who euthanased the Belgian twins, to discuss their deaths.

The conversation included a bit of jovial banter from Dr Distelmans who laughed that they would have died long ago if they had lived in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. He also disclosed that Marc and Eddy Verbessem were Catholics and received the last sacraments of their church before he administered the lethal dose.

Carine Brochier, of the IEB, is convinced that Belgium is on the path to trivialisation. She says that a doctor attending a recent debate over the IEB’s report told the audience, “You are right to say that many euthanasia case are not [officially] declared. I myself have practiced euthanasia very many times, and I never declared them. It is too personal and a matter between the patient and his doctor. No need to publicise it.”

To learn more about the current practise and abuses of the Belgium and Netherlands Euthanasia law, by ordering the book, by Alex Schadenberg ($20 includes shipping): Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. 

For further information read: Belgian twins euthanized out of fear of blindness.

Legalizing assisted suicide does not prevent murder-suicide and leads to an increase in other suicide deaths.

Margaret Dore
The following is a letter sent to Montana legislators. 

In the letter, Margaret Dore explains that it is a false argument to suggest that legalizing assisted suicide will reduce the incidence of murder-suicide.

Dore also provides links to the statistics that prove that the incidence of other suicides have significantly increased since Oregon legalized assisted suicide.

Please consider the following:

1. According to Donna Cohen, the typical murder-suicide 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.”  See WebMD, "Murder-Suicides in Elderly Rise: Husbands commit most murder suicides–without wives’ consent," January 30, 2005
Please also read this article from Oregon, that murder-suicides "follow the national pattern."

If physician assisted suicide were legal in Montana, the wife, not wanting to die, would still be a victim.

2. Legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon is correlated with a higher rate of other suicides. Oregon’s overall suicide rate, which excludes suicide under Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide act, is 35% above the national average. Moreover, this rate has been “increasing significantly since 2000.” 

Just three years prior, in 1997, Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide. Other suicides have thus increased with legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This is consistent with a copy cat or suicide contagion phenomenon (normalizing one type of suicide, i.e., physician assisted suicide, encouraged other suicides)

Moreover, many of these deaths are violent. For 2007, “firearms were the dominant mechanism of suicide among men.” This is according to an Oregon Department of Human Services report issued in September 2010. See excerpts here:

Please also note that in Oregon, the "cost of suicide is enormous."

As I wrote you before, I live in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. I am helping Montanans Against Assisted Suicide. Here is one of my articles published in The Advocate, the official publication of the Idaho State Bar Association.

I urge you to not make our mistake.

Vote Yes on HB 505

Margaret Dore
Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore, P.S.
Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Belgium may legalize euthanasia of children with disabilities, because they are breaking the law and doing it already.

Some call it a "slippery slope" and others call it an incremental extension, nonetheless, doctors appear to be breaking the law by killing, by euthanasia, children with disabilities, such as spina bifida.

Smith states that if assisted suicide is accepted, the same will occur in the United States. In the same way, if euthanasia is accepted, the same will occur in Canada, Australia, etc.

In Canada we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that recognizes that we are all equal under the law. Therefore, legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide in Canada will logically be extended, through the court, to all Canadians. You can't have a little bit of euthanasia.

Read the article: Belgium considering euthanasia for children and people with Alzheimer's.
"Once euthanasia becomes an option, it will soon turn into the preferable option and finally it will turn into the choice of the few and the obligation for the many."  (Alex Schadenberg)
The following article by Wesley Smith is suggesting that the Belgian parliament may legalize euthanasia of children with disabilities because they are breaking the law and doing it already.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith, February 23, 2013

Euthanasia guidelines are worse than meaningless, they are pretense. They exist to give the illusion of control. But once people come fully accept the premise of euthanasia–killing as a remedy for suffering–it’s Katy bar the door. (That hasn’t happened yet in the USA. But if assisted suicide gets a firm grip here, it will.)

Latest example, Belgium is getting set to legalize euthanasia for children–since it is being done anyway despite the “guidelines.”  From the AFP story:
Dominique Biarent
Belgian legislators opened a debate today on whether to amend a decade-old law on euthanasia to cover minors, being told by experts that it was already taking place in practice without any set guidelines. Currently, the law applies to those over 18 but one expert told the upper house of parliament that it was clear that euthanasia was being carried out on younger people, the Belga news agency reported. ”We all know it,” said Dominique Biarent, head of intensive care at Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital in Brussels. Faced with this reality, “doctors need a legal framework,” Biarent was quoted as saying by Belga. 
How about just saying no and enforcing the law? Can’t do that? Well then, let’s legalize bank robbery.

If any media report ever again talks about “strict guidelines – which aren’t strict and are ignored anyway – I’ll scream. Well, scream more than I already do, would be more accurate. But you get the point. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BBC World Service – Liz Carr Presents Part 1 of “Euthanasia Road Trip” Documentary

Liz Carr, the incredibly thought provoking, usually funny and always intellectual disability rights leader from the UK produced a program for the BBC entitled: When Assisted Death is Legal

The following is the commentary by Stephen Drake from Not Dead Yet concerning Episode 1 of: When Assisted Death is Legal - Episode 1.
Stephen Drake
By Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet - February 19, 2013
Unlike most people, who manage to be good at one or two things, Liz Carr is a broadcaster, actor, international disability rights activist, stand-up comedian and writer. Her latest acting gig is as forensic examiner Clarissa Mullery on the popular BBC One show Silent Witness.
We can now add documentarian to the list.
Liz Carr
Carr is presenting a 2-episode documentary on BBC World Service titled “Euthanasia Road Trip.”  Episode 1 has aired and is available to listen to on the BBC World Service site. Here’s how the site describes the documentary:
The debate over assisted suicide and euthanasia is a passionate one. But as the discussions continue to rage around the world, there are a few places where assisted death is already legal. Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Oregon and Washington States in the US all have laws permitting assisted suicide or euthanasia in some form.
In this two-part documentary for the BBC World Service, actress and broadcaster Liz Carr goes on a personal journey to all six places to see how it works. As a long-standing campaigner against assisted suicide legislation in the UK, she wants to find out what assisted death means in practice – and whether she’s right to be concerned.
In part one, Carr travels to Switzerland, where she visits the rooms where volunteers help people die, and finds out why the Swiss law on assisted suicide goes back to the 19th Century. In Belgium she meets a doctor who admits to performing euthanasia before it was legal; and in Luxembourg, she finds out why the law on assisted suicide nearly caused a constitutional crisis. Carr questions whether it is possible to balance the right of the individual who wants to die with the responsibility of society to protect those who don’t.
I’ve listened to it twice through – and it’s excellent so far. Carr talks to family members of people who have died through assisted suicide or euthanasia, promoters of the legislation, physicians and disability activists. It’s far more even-handed than the pro-euthanasia documentary makers have produced. You’ll also learn more about the history of legislation and practice than you’ll ever read in a mainstream press article.
Carr’s interviews are great, and often revealing. Most interesting, so far, are her own reflections about her own opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia even as she engages with people who are completely comfortable with the practice(s).
After talking to two main advocates of euthanasia in Luxembourg who are obviously dissatisfied with the current parameters of the law (they would like to expand them), Liz Carr shares this  this terrific articulation of the slippery slope:
To me, this is what’s alarming about assisted death legislation; how easily a law can be changed once it’s introduced. The Luxembourg campaigners pushed for a law with strict limits and safeguards, which seems reasonable to most. But then the next step is to extend it to less straightforward groups like under-eighteens or people with dementia. Campaigners against assisted suicide like me often talk about the slippery slope. And I think this is what it means; Once a law’s in it’s unlikely ever to go away and when it gets extended it’s without all the debate and discussion that we have when it first goes through. It hasn’t happened in Luxembourg yet, they’ve only had five cases so far. But the way the people who pushed it through talk about the law makes me worried about the future.
Having listened to both parts of the “Euthanasia Road Trip” documentary at least 3 time through, I appreciate Carr’s work more than every. She had barely 50 minutes to work with – 50 minutes in which she covered 3 European countries and 2 American states.  All that and she managed to make it engaging and informative – I don’t think there’s a wasted minute. It’s a fantastic piece and can’t recommend it enough.

BBC – Liz Carr Presents ‘When Assisted Death is Legal” (Euthanasia Road Trip) Part 2

Liz Carr, the incredibly thought provoking, usually funny and always intellectual disability rights leader from the UK produced a program for the BBC entitled: When Assisted Death is Legal.

The following is the commentary by Stephen Drake from Not Dead Yet concerning Episode 2 of: When Assisted Death is Legal - Episode 2.
By Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet - February 22, 2013
Liz Carr at Dignitas
Correcting an oversight in yesterday’s blog post, to the left is a picture of Liz Carr, shared with her permission, that was taken as she arrived at the “Holy Grail of assisted suicide tourism, the Little Blue House aka Dignitas” (taken from her description of the photo on Facebook).
In Part 2 of her Euthanasia Road Trip, Carr visits the Netherlands and then goes to the US states of Oregon and Washington, which both have legalized assisted suicide for a relatively narrow range of people.
In the Netherlands, Carr spends most of her time with NVVE – both with representatives and at a conference they hosted. NVVE is a “right to die” advocacy group in the Netherlands.  Carr notes how the practice of euthanasia has expanded over time in the Netherlands and where it seems to be going now:
About 3000 people died through euthanasia last year. About 3 percent of total deaths, a number which increases each year. They’re mainly cancer patients, but the latest discussion in the Netherlands is about extending the law to another group of people – the over 70s, who may not be ill or dying but are simply tired of life or as NVVE call it, people who have reached a “completed life.” (Quotation marks around term “completed life” added by editor)
After further discussion eligibility of those who have reached a “completed life” with an NVVE member, Carr tells us:
Completed life is going to be the next major debate in relation to assisted suicide and euthanasia in the Netherlands.
Once in the US, Carr interviews both proponents and opponents of assisted suicide – they’re informative and revealing. Among others, she interviews Barbara Coombs Lee of Compassion, and Choices, Kenneth Stevens of Physicians for Compassionate Care and disability activist/advocate Marilyn Golden. These are interviews you should listen to, even if you think you’ve heard it all from players in Oregon and Washington state. You’ll definitely hear some different slants and/or new info – I did.
While even proponents can’t point to any kind of hard evidence that the law has applied to a broader range of people than the law allows, the system in both states makes actual practices hard to verify. What will the future look like? Here’s Carr again:
So is it the case that once you introduce assisted suicide and euthanasia for one group that it’s naturally extended to others and that the numbers increase? People talk about a slippery slope in relation to assisted suicide and euthanasia and I’m worried that that’s what it actually means – that once a law’s in, it’s much easier to extend it.
As it turns out, there’s plenty of reason to expect that to happen here in the United States, once the assisted suicide advocates feel that they’ve reached some kind of “critical mass” both in terms of the number of states legalizing assisted suicide and the amount of public support for it.
And that’s where we revisit the concept of “slippery slopes.” Carr has given us a brilliant and useful definition for one aspect – or definition – for the slope. As long-time readers of this blog might remember, “right to die” advocate Margaret Battin and colleagues published an article looking at the same countries Liz Carr did – and declared no evidence of a “slippery slope,” because their definition of the slope didn’t include “expansion of eligibility and practice.”
In the past, I’ve talked about another aspect or definition of the slippery slope – the “slippery slope” can be a political strategy, better known as an incrementalist strategy.
If you listen to Carr’s interviews and commentary, it’s clear that expansion of practices in the European countries didn’t just happen – there were – and are – groups that laid groundwork for the expansion.
There’s good evidence the same groundwork is being laid here.  For example, Compassion and Choices has an active campaign to promote VSED – Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking – for people who aren’t terminally ill but want to die.  So far, that means people who are elderly and “tired of living.”  They have also gotten hospice professionals on board to facilitate the process for elderly people who choose to end their lives this way.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to predict that – within a few years – Compassion and Choices will switch gears.  They’ll point out that more and more doctors are cooperating with nonterminally ill patients who want to die through VSED.  They’ll add that – unfortunately – dying through VSED isn’t acceptable to a number of people.  The punchline will be this – “If these people who are “tired of life” have the right to starve themselves to death, shouldn’t they have the right to assisted suicide?”
For clarity’s sake, I’m not holding my formulation of slippery slope as better than the one Liz Carr ended up being concerned with.  I think they’re both valid and they’re both useful.  Carr backs up her definition with instances of how things have worked in other countries – that’s both new and extremely useful for us all.
Having listened to both parts of the “Euthanasia Road Trip” documentary at least 3 time through, I appreciate Carr’s work more than every.  She had barely 50 minutes to work with – 50 minutes in which she covered 3 European countries and 2 American states.  All that and she managed to make it engaging and informative – I don’t think there’s a wasted minute.  It’s a fantastic piece and can’t recommend it enough.

Irish Supreme Court hears appeal in assisted suicide case.

RTE News in Ireland is reporting that the Irish Supreme Court have begun to hear the appeal of the unanimous decision by the High Court in Ireland, that upheld the Irish assisted suicide law. This is an important case for Canadians because the Fleming case used similar arguements and testimony as the Carter case in British Columbia that will be heard by the BC Court of Appeal next week (March 4 - 8)

The article in the RTE News stated:
Seven judges of the Supreme Court have begun hearing an appeal by Wicklow woman Marie Fleming against the refusal of the High Court to relax the absolute ban on assisted suicide. 
In January, the High Court ruled against the 59-year-old, who took a landmark case challenging the law on assisted suicide.
Ms Fleming, who has multiple sclerosis, wants an order declaring the ban on assisted suicide declared invalid under the Constitution and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. 
However, the High Court said while her rights were affected by the ban it could not agree the legislation was disproportionate.
The court agreed personal autonomy, especially in medical matters, was a core Constitutional value affected by a ban on assisted suicide, but said it could not agree that it was a disproportionate interference with this right.
Opening the case this morning, senior counsel Brian Murray said it would be his submission that the High Court was wrong in this decision.  Mr Murray outlined Ms Fleming's condition to the court and said she was in constant pain and distress and suffered indignity. 
He said she did not seek to have another person kill her, but she wished to and could take that step herself but needed assistance to do so. 
Mr Murray said she was unable to take a course of action open to an able-bodied person. 
He said the court would be asked to decide if the ban on assisted suicide impaired Ms Fleming's rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. 
If so, the court would be asked to decide was it justified in doing so in the public interest and if it was proportionate. 
Mr Murray said the court would also be asked to decide if there was a discrimination between Ms Fleming and an able-bodied person who can take their own life. 
He said she has a right to a dignified death and to choose the manner and timing of that death. 
Mr Murray said the cruel irony was, were she able bodied and not experiencing the same acute degree of suffering, she would be able to do what she now wants to do. 
The appeal is expected to last three days.
The High Court decision was balanced, unanimous and should be upheld.

For more information about the case read the article: Irish court says NO to assisted suicide.

Euthanasia Euphemisms

The following article was written by Wesley Smith and published on February 22 under the title: Euthanasia Euphemisms.

Wesley Smith
Wesley Smith, February 22, 2013

When a social movement must rely on euphemisms to obfuscate its goals, it is a good bet that there is something wrong with its agenda. From the very beginning of the modern movement, euthanasia advocates have euphemistically bent language as a means of convincing society to endorse killing—an accurate and descriptive term that simply means to end life—as an acceptable method of ending human suffering.

Euthanasia, from the Greek, literally means “good death.” As the historian Ian Dowbiggin has noted, the term once described “a calm and easy” natural death at home, “so family members and friends could say their farewells.”

That changed after an 1870 essay by a teacher named Samuel D. Williams was published arguing that the value of human life depends on whether it is “worthwhile”— an idea known today as the “quality of life ethic” — and moreover, that mercy killing and assisted suicide should be allowed for those who are “hopelessly suffering.” The essay went viral —to use today’s terminology—and within a few years, the word euthanasia had taken on its modern meaning. The euthanasia movement has been coining new definitions and idioms ever since.

The movement’s latest euphemistic phrase is “aid in dying,” promoted most prominently by the (euphemistically) named assisted suicide advocacy organization Compassion and Choices (which came into being after a merger with the more descriptively named Hemlock Society). According to C&C, when a terminally ill patient swallows an intentionally prescribed lethal overdose of barbiturates, it isn’t really suicide. Why? Because the word “suicide” has negative connotations, and C&C wants people to feel positive about some self-killings.

Here’s the idea: A terminally ill patient doesn’t really want to die, but has no choice. Hence, taking an intentionally prescribed lethal overdose of “medication”— another euphemism, since the purpose is not to treat but to poison oneself—doesn’t constitute suicide. Thus, in a C&C press release from a few years ago boosting use of “aid in dying,” the (late) Peter Goodwin, a prominent assisted suicide-participating doctor, said, “As a physician, I resent the term ‘physician-assisted suicide.’ I never felt I was assisting a suicidal patient, but rather aiding a patient with his or her end of life choice.” Since then, “aid in dying” has become ubiquitous in media stories and assisted suicide advocacy.

Note that Goodwin’s complaint had nothing to do with accuracy and everything to do with emotions. He “feels” rather than “thinks.” And that’s how C&C wants listeners and readers to react—emotionally rather than rationally—toward the end that people are more likely to approve of legalizing assisted suicide if it isn’t called what it actually is.

But surely, accurate language must still mean something in public policy debates. Suicide is defined as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind.” Thus, under C&C’s reckoning, if the distraught owner of, say, a failed business intentionally takes an overdose of prescribed sleeping pills, it’s suicide. But if the same man takes the pills because he has cancer, and the doctor prescribed the pills for that purpose, it isn’t suicide. That’s nonsensical.

Assisted suicide proponents claim that changing the lexicon is necessary to avoid furthering a supposed stigma associated with suicide. I am not sure whether that stigma exists anymore. But if some suicidal people don’t kill themselves because they worry what others might think, why is that so bad? I mean, the outcome is a saved or extended life. Indeed, many once-suicidal terminally ill people later come to be glad that they didn’t do the deed. Aren’t their lives worth protecting?

I want to make it very clear that I don’t think we should judge or condemn anyone who is suicidal or commits suicide. None of us knows what our own emotional limits might be. Given sufficient despair, fear, or pain, any of us might be attracted to the siren song of self-destruction. The good news is that such causes of despair can often be treated and overcome—including in the dying.

The real issue, then, is how we react to our brothers and sisters who have fallen into a darkness sufficient to make them want to end it all. Should we engage in suicide prevention for all, or only for some? I believe that the dying deserve to have their suicidal desires treated just as seriously as the despairing widow or the troubled teen.

That’s certainly the hospice philosophy, the truly compassionate approach to terminal illness. In contrast to assisted suicide—which is about dying—hospice is about living. Hospice does not seek to simply “extend life” but maintain its quality to the natural end, and that explicitly includes suicide prevention.

Assisted suicide is suicide.The term is descriptive and accurate. When legalized, it amounts to state-approved suicide, an issue too culturally consequential for us to allow gooey euphemisms to serve as the sugar that helps the bitter hemlock go down.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Press Release: House Bill 505: A bill to clarify the law of assisted suicide; and to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in Montana.


FOR:  IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 25, 2013
FROM:  Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, A Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation
CONTACT:  Bradley Williams, 406 531 0937,                           
SUBJECT:  House Bill 505: A bill to clarify the law of assisted suicide; and to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in Montana
HELENA - This week, legislation to end the dispute over whether assisted suicide is legal in Montana will likely be heard on the House Floor. House Bill 505 is a short two page bill that clarifies the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide. The bill’s other purpose is to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in Montana.

Assisted suicide means that someone provides the means and/or information for another person to commit suicide. When a physician is involved, the practice is physician-assisted suicide.

In the last two years, three states have strengthened their laws against assisted suicide (Idaho, Georgia and Louisiana). There are only two states where assisted suicide is legal: Oregon and Washington. In these states, the following problems have emerged:

1.  The laws encourage people to throw away their lives.

The Oregon and Washington laws apply to patients predicted to have less than six months to live.  Predictions of life expectancy can, however, be wrong. Moreover, treatment can lead to recovery. Consider Oregon resident Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with cancer and adamant that she would “do” Oregon’s law. Her doctor, Kenneth Stevens, convinced her to be treated instead. Now, 12 years later, “she is thrilled to be alive,” says Stevens. Hall, herself, says: “If Dr. Stevens had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead.”

Diane Coleman, President and CEO of the national disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, provides a related comment: “As one of countless disabled people who has survived a terminal prediction, I can’t help but be concerned when the accuracy of a terminal prognosis determines whether someone gets suicide assistance rather than suicide prevention.”

With legal assisted suicide, people with many quality years left are encouraged to throw away their lives.

2. The Oregon and Washington laws have created new paths of  elder abuse

The Oregon and Washington laws have significant gaps so that people who use these laws are unprotected from abuse. The most obvious gap is a complete lack of oversight when the lethal dose is administered. 

Margaret Dore, an attorney from Washington State, says: “The assisted suicide laws do not require a doctor or even a witness to be present when the lethal dose is administered. This creates the opportunity for an heir, or for someone else who will  benefit from the patient’s death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent.” She adds “Even if he struggled, who would know? These laws create the opportunity for the perfect crime."

In the 2011 legislative session, Montana State Senator Jeff Essmann, made a similar observation:

“[All] the protections [in Oregon’s law] end after the prescription is written. [The proponents] admitted that the provisions in the Oregon law would permit one person to be alone in that room with the patient. And in that situation, there is no guarantee that that medication is self-administered.

So frankly, any of the studies that come out of the state of Oregon’s experience are invalid because no one who administers that drug against - to that patient is going to be turning themselves in for the commission of a homicide."        
3. Legalization has empowered Medicaid and individual doctors to steer patients to suicide

In Oregon, legalization of assisted suicide has empowered the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) to steer patients to suicide. The most well known cases are Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Each wanted treatment. The Plan denied coverage and offered to pay for their suicides instead. Wagner was devastated.  She said “I’m not ready to die.” Stroup said “This is my life they’re playing with.”

Today, the Oregon Health Plan continues to use financial incentives to steer patients to suicide. Dr. Stevens explains, “The Plan covers the cost.”

In Oregon, steerage also occurs at the individual doctor-patient level. Kathryn Judson provides this example: “To my surprise and horror, during the exam I overheard the doctor giving my husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide. ‘Think of what it will spare your wife, we need to think of her’” he said, as a clincher.” She says, “He was tempting my husband to commit suicide.”

        House Bill 505

Bradley Williams, President of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, based in Hamilton, describes how HB 505 works. “The bill makes clear that physician-assisted suicide is a form of aiding or soliciting suicide and that a victim’s consent is not a defense.” He says: With passage, there will be a clear tool for law enforcement, the medical profession and other interested parties to protect Montana citizens.” 
“HB 505 is consistent with Montana's civil law in which persons who cause or fail to prevent another person’s suicide can be found civilly liable. This is typically in a hospital or jail setting.” 
HB 505 is needed now because suicide proponents are falsely and aggressively claiming that assisted suicide is legal in Montana. Williams says: “A lie or half truth repeated enough times becomes the truth.” With a yes vote on HB 505, the law will be clear that assisted suicide is not legal in Montana. He concludes: “Tell your legislators to vote Yes on HB 505!”

To view a copy of HB 505, go here:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Quebec Physicians Rise Up Against Euthanasia

Press Release - February 19, 2013 
Physicians Rise Up Against Euthanasia: Growing numbers of physicians object to inflicting death on their patients
Montreal, February 19th, 2013 – At the historic Musée des Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, the Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia called on their colleagues and the population at large today to clearly sensitize them to the dangers of euthanasia and to the frailty of the consensus surrounding the future Quebec draft bill that would create the possibility of “medical aid in dying”. The Alliance’s declaration is being broadcast in the news media (La Presse, Le Soleil) and through social networking.

According to Dr Patrick Vinay, the director of a palliative care service and spokesperson for the Alliance, “euthanasia through lethal injection is not a form of care, but rather the definitive end of all care. Patients should never be forced to give up their right to be treated and cared for”. 

Drs Catherine Ferrier and Marc Beauchamp also took the floor, rejecting “a process through which physicians would lose all professional judgment and become legally bound to kill their patients on demand rather than to alleviate their suffering to the best of their abilities”. 

The Alliance wants to ensure that hospitals remain thoroughly secure healing environments,where no one will fear that their loved ones could be disposed of. The stakes in this draft bill are poorly understood and poorly defined, and they would bring about a substantial loss of rights both for patients and for health care professionals.

The Physicians’ Alliance invites its colleagues to sign the declaration and the population at large to support its stance by visiting its Web site,

The Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia includes to this day 317 members (including 238 from Quebec) who consider that any law allowing physicians to intentionally terminate the life of their patients is contrary to the goals of medicine and to patients’ well-being. Such legislation puts patients at risk, particularly the weak, the vulnerable and those who cannot raise their voices to defend themselves. 
SOURCE : The Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia.Available on the
For additional information or to schedule an interview with a spokesperson for the Alliance, please contact : Elaine Mayrand / Joanie Doucet or Massy Forget Langlois Public Relations /

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Should children and incompetent persons be euthanized in Belgium?

The AFP has reported that the Belgian legislators are debating extending euthanasia to Children, primarily newborns with disabilities and incompetent people with Alzheimers disease or dementia. The AFP article that is titled: Belgium debates euthanasia for minors stated that: 
Belgian legislators opened a debate Wednesday on whether to amend a decade-old law on euthanasia to cover minors, being told by experts that it was already taking place in practice without any set guidelines. 
Currently, the law applies to those over 18 but one expert told the upper house of parliament that it was clear that euthanasia was being carried out on younger people, the Belga news agency reported. 
"We all know it," said Dominique Biarent, head of intensive care at Queen Fabiola Children's University Hospital in Brussels. 
Faced with this reality, "doctors need a legal framework," Biarent was quoted as saying by Belga. 
It is clear that the guidelines that govern the Belgian euthanasia law including the prohibition of euthanizing children, are being abused and ignored.
Recent studies on the practise of the Belgian euthanasia law have found that:
2. Nurses are killing patients by assisted death, even though the law clearly prohibits nurses from doing it.
The AFP article then stated:
Another expert, Professor Chris Van Geet of Leuven University, said the proposed changes pose "an enormous ethical problem." 
The changes to the law, which would also include sufferers of Alzheimer's disease, were submitted to parliament in December and it is likely to be several months before any decision is taken on them. 
Belgium was the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalise euthanasia in 2002. 
A total of 1,133 instances -- mostly for terminal cancer -- were recorded in 2011, about one percent of all deaths in the country, according to official figures. 
Therefore the actual number of assisted deaths in Belgium, reported and unreported, are likely greater than 2000 per year.
For more information read the article: Euthanasia is out-of-control in Belgium.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) - Europe founded.

Huge Success: We celebrate the founding of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) Europe. 

EPC - Europe has established steering committee made up of: Dr. Peter Saunders, UK; Henk Reitsma, Netherlands; Gordon Macdonald, Scotland; Caroline Roux, France; David Fieldsend, Belgium; Andrea Williams, UK; Bert Vanderhaegan, Belgium; Carlos Alvarez, Spain; Joannes Bucher, Austria; and Christoph Keel, Switzerland.

EPC and the Care Not Killing Alliance - UK have agreed to contract Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick from Ireland/France. Kevin Fitzpatrick (far left side of the picture) is a strong voice in the disability community and a leader of Not Dead Yet - UK. 

Kevin Fitzpatrick

We will be sharing the progress of EPC - Europe over the next few years.

The historic meeting of EPC International and the founding of EPC Europe has created a unified network of leaders world-wide who work to prevent euthanasia and assisted suicide while supporting positive social directions to deal with human problems.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) International selects new leadership team.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) International had a successful meeting today in Rome. We discussed the current situation related to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in countries throughout the world. We discussed important research that has been done, is being done and needs to be done. We discussed resources and how to share resources, and we discussed our common directions. We also discussed the location and organizing team for the Fourth International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

The new leadership team for (EPC) International is:
Chair: Alex Schadenberg, EPC Canada; Vice Chair: Paul Russell, HOPE Australia; Dr. Peter Saunders, Care Not Killing UK; Nancy Elliott, United States; Henk Reitsma, Netherlands; Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ireland / France; Caroline Roux, France; Dr David Richmond, Euthanasia Debate New Zealand; Carlos Alvarez, Spain. David Richmond is the only leader who was not at the meeting.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Untruths used to push for euthanasia law

The following article was written by Licia Corbella and published on February 16 in the Calgary Herald under the title: Untruths used to push for euthanasia law.

Licia Corbella
Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald, February 16, 2013

The case of Ruth Goodman is a perfect example of how confused, illogical, uninformed and sometimes untruthful many proponents of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide are.

Goodman killed herself on Feb. 2, with no assistance, at the age of 91 in her Vancouver home, in a bid to change physician assisted suicide laws. If you're scratching your head right now and saying, huh? don't be alarmed, you are thinking clearly and are not losing your mind.

In short, Goodman's final act makes no sense. The reason this woman's last act is so strange is because everyone already has the right to die. Suicide is not illegal.

"I am a 91-year-old woman who has decided to end my life in the very near future," wrote Goodman, who had worked at an abortion clinic and was involved with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

"I do not have a terminal illness; I am simply old, tired and becoming dependent, after a wonderful life of independence," she wrote. "By the time people read this, I will have died.

I am writing this letter to advocate for a change in the law so that all will be able to make this choice."

To reiterate, everyone already can make "this choice." It's not illegal to kill yourself. No laws have to be changed. Anyone and everyone can commit suicide as long as they don't endanger anyone else while doing so.

What so-called right-to-die activists are actually seeking is the right for people to help other people to die - they want the right to kill other people and to have other people kill them, making legal what has been illegal in most sane places, since time immemorial. In countries where euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are legal - like the Netherlands - it is documented that thousands of people have been killed involuntarily by their physicians without their consent, even when a full recovery was possible.

Alas, this illogical and discordant story about Goodman has garnered much media attention, and that in itself is disturbing when you consider another story about euthanasia that has not received any mainstream media attention.

On Jan. 21, a Quebec group called the Physicians' Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia (PATRE), sent out a news release deploring the Quebec government's commissioned report, that advocates for making physician-assisted suicide legal.

More than 300 Quebec physicians provided their signed support, beseeching all Quebecers to become aware of the dangers the report poses to their well being and urging them to implore the opposition majority in Quebec's National Assembly to condemn it.

"This report is the work of some hand-picked lawyers who present the act of doctors killing patients as if it were part of a natural continuum with good end-of-life care," said PATRE spokesperson Dr. Catherine Ferrier. "They and the politicians who appointed them introduce the term 'medically assisted dying' as if it were something different from killing patients. This act is abhorrent to us as doctors, and should appall Quebecers who care about social justice and building communities that care about the most vulnerable."

A coherent, clear statement - unlike the letter Goodman wrote.

PATRE was formed in the fall of 2012 by a core group of 24 Quebec doctors, including Drs. Patrick Vinay, former dean of medicine at the U of Montreal; Abraham Fuks, former dean of medicine at McGill; Pierre Durand, former dean of medicine at Laval and many other leading oncologists and palliative care specialists.

What's perhaps most astonishing is despite the heft of those who oppose the Menard report's push to legalize physician-assisted suicide, not one mainstream media organization has written about PATRE or called to speak to Ferrier, whose phone numbers were listed on the group's Canada-wide news release.

"You're the first journalist of a major news outlet to call me," revealed Ferrier.

As a journalist friend from Montreal said to me about the lack of attention PATRE received, "our confreres have quaffed the Kool-Aid from the promoters of medical killing. Journalism as Jonestown."

It really is shameful how the side in favour of physicians killing their patients must rely on suppression of the other side of the debate and misinformation to push their insidious agenda.

Next month, the federal government will challenge to the B.C. Court of Appeal a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that said the federal law prohibiting suicide assistance discriminates against people with disabilities and doctors should be allowed to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

B.C. Civil Liberties Association lawyer Grace Pastine, who is arguing in favour of legalizing euthanasia, said about Goodman's case: "None of the countries in the world, or the U.S. states that have legislation permitting physician-assisted dying, would allow for it, in this situation," because she was not terminally ill or in pain.

Pastine is wrong. In the Netherlands, physicians are killing mildly deformed infants, depressed teenagers can request that they be killed, and recently in Belgium, deaf twin brothers were euthanized after they learned that they were going blind. They were not terminally ill or dying and yet they were assisted in their suicide by a physician who has not been charged with their deaths.

Euthanasia proponents must rely on misinformation to sell their deadly end goal. Too few people are killing their untruths and that threatens the lives and worth of society's most vulnerable.

Licia Corbella is a columnist and editorial page editor.