Sunday, March 3, 2013

Media Release: EPC wants BC Court of Appeal to reverse errors in assisted suicide court case.

Media Release - March 3, 2013

EPC wants BC Court of Appeal to reverse errors in assisted suicide court case.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), an intervener in the assisted suicide case at the BC Court of Appeal, wants the BC Court of Appeal to reverse the errors in the Carter decision concerning assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada.

Norman Kunc, a long-time disability rights activist will be speaking out against assisted suicide at Monday's courthouse demonstration.

Kunc has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. He would like to share his story and his perspective on behalf of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and explain why 2012's Carter case will harm citizens with disabilities. About one in seven Canadians have a disability.

EPC-BC chair Dr. Will Johnston expressed his concern that legal assisted suicide is already being extended to those who are not terminally ill in jurisdictions where it is practiced. "People have lost months and years of life after being steered to suicide by its availability."
John Coppard (2012 photo)

Johnston also stated: "Elder abuse, is already difficult to detect, would be no easier to combat when a suicide offer is always dangling before a vulnerable older person. Giving legal immunity to those who would provide suicide does not make our loved ones safer."

EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg, stated: “the Carter decision erred in several significant areas … the judge came to her decision by falsely assuming that there is a ‘right to suicide’ in Canada.”

Schadenberg further explained: “the Carter decision misinterpreted the data from other jurisdictions that have legalized assisted death when it suggested that there is no significant risk to vulnerable patient groups. A recent study found that 32% of all assisted deaths in Belgium were done without request. The same study revealed that incompetent people who are over the age of 80 are vulnerable to dying by an assisted death without request.”

EPC legal counsel Hugh Scher stated: “EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors, which is central to the protections set out under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.”

For more information, contact:

Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434,
Dr. Will Johnston, EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042,
Hugh Scher, EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115,
Norm Kunc, disability activist: (604) 366-6263,

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