Friday, February 28, 2014

Assisted Suicide for the healthy in Switzerland.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director/International Chair Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Daily Mail reported last week that Oriella Cazzanello, 85, travelled to the Dignitas suicide clinic in Basel, Switzerland, where she paid €10,000 for an assisted suicide because was unhappy about losing her looks.

The woman, who was in good mental and physical health, left her home in Arzignano, near Vicenza in northern Italy, without telling her relatives where she was going.

Her family, who had reported her to the police as missing, only learnt of her death after they received her ashes and death certificate from the clinic.

News reports of the death of Oriella Cassanello came shortly after a study was released that examined the officially reported assisted suicide deaths at the three suicide clinics in Switzerland.

An article published the previous day in the Daily Mail reported reported on a study based on data from 1301 assisted suicide deaths that was analysed by researchers at the University of Bern and published in the Journal of Epidemiology.

The study found that: 
Women, highly educated, divorced and rich people are more likely to die from assisted suicide, new research has revealed and around 16 per cent of death certificates did not register an underlying cause. In other words, they had no underlying illness. 
A previous study of suicides by two right-to-die organizations showed that 25 per cent of those assisted had no fatal illness, instead citing 'weariness of life' as a factor.
The study indicated that:
In the age group, 25-64 years the majority had cancer (57 per cent), followed by diseases of the nervous system (21 per cent).

Eleven people had a mood disorder listed as the first underlying cause, and three had another mental or behavioural disorder. 
In the 65-94 years age group, cancer was again the most common underlying cause (41 per cent), followed by circulatory (15 per cent) and diseases of the nervous system (11 per cent).

Thirty people had a mood disorder, and six had another mental or behavioural disorder.
The Daily Mail article stated:
Lead researcher Professor Matthias Egger said: 'The higher rates among the better educated and those living in neighbourhoods of higher socio-economic standing does not support the 'slippery slope' argument but might reflect inequities in access to assisted suicide.

On the other hand, we found a higher rate among people living alone and the divorced. Social isolation and loneliness are well known risk factors for suicide and our results suggest that they may also play a role in assisted suicide.
Mrs Cazzanello died by assisted suicide because she was ‘weighed down by ageing and the inevitable loss of the looks of which she was proud’ the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The well-to-do pensioner was also suffering from loneliness.

Pietro D'Amico
The Dignitas suicide clinic in Basel Switzerland also assisted the suicide death of Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria in southern Italy, in April, 2013 after D'Amico received a wrong diagnosis.

Society should be concerned by the number of assisted deaths of people who are not terminally ill and not even listing a reason to die. Once suicide is an answer to one social problem then it also becomes the answer to other social problems. In this case, loneliness is the primary cause for mnay of these deaths.

I am concerned about the accuracy of the data. The sole source of information are the Swiss suicide clinics who oppose any regulation for assisted suicide. Studies need to be done by third parties who interview people before they die by assisted suicide and interviewing their family members.

Links to similar articles:

Attorney General of Canada, responds to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Correspondence from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Thank you for your correspondence concerning euthanasia and physician‑assisted suicide. I regret the delay in responding.

Many Canadians are concerned about this complex ethical, legal, and medical issue. We recognize that people have widely divergent and strongly held views about this issue.

As you know, the Criminal Code prohibits the practices of euthanasia and physician‑assisted suicide in Canada. These laws exist to protect all Canadians, including the most vulnerable members of our society, such as those who are sick or elderly and persons with disabilities.

We believe that the provisions prohibiting a medical professional, or anyone else, from counselling or providing assistance in a suicide are constitutionally valid. As you know, in April 2010, the legalization of euthanasia and physician‑assisted suicide under certain conditions was debated in the House of Commons. A majority of Parliamentarians voted against changing our criminal laws. I personally voted against this bill.

As you may be aware, on January 16, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal the decision of October 10, 2013, by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), which found that the prohibition against physician‑assisted suicide was unconstitutional. Please be assured that the Government of Canada will vigorously defend the constitutionality of the existing laws in this area before our country’s highest court.

Thank you again for writing.

Yours truly,

The Honourable Peter MacKay

Thursday, February 27, 2014

20 most popular articles on euthanasia & assisted suicide.

1. Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Recipe for Elder Abuse and the Illusion of Personal Choice. - February 17, 2011. 

2. Euthanasia is out-of-control in the Netherlands – September 25, 2012.

3. Declaration of Hope – January 17, 2013. 

4. Belgian twins euthanized out of fear of blindness – January 14, 2013.

5. Nitschke continues to promote Nembutal sales over the internet – June 22, 2010.

6. Dr Phil show: Woman wants to euthanize her adult children with disabilities. – April 16, 2012.

7. Belgium euthanasia study finds that nearly half of all euthanasia deaths are not reported. – December 4, 2010.

8. 5 reasons why people devalue the elderly – May 25, 2010.

9. Trisomy 18 is not a Death Sentence. The story of Lilliana Dennis – May 29, 2012.

10. Québec's euthanasia Bill 52 is lethal. December 12, 2013.

11Elder abuse caught on video, incident is not isolated. May 22, 2013.

12. Depressed Belgian woman dies by Euthanasia – February 6, 2013.

13. Botched sex-change operation victim euthanized in Belgium – October 1, 2013.

14. Suicide/Asphyxiation Exit Kit company raided by FBI. – May 26, 2011.

15. Oregon Suicide rate soars after legalizing assisted suicide. - September 12, 2010.

16. Bill to outlaw euthanasia by dehydration passed by Italy’s lower house. – July 13, 2011.

17. Euthanasia Poll: What do the people of Quebec really want. – November 22, 2010.

18. Mild stroke led to mother’s forced death by dehydration – September 27, 2011.

19. Belgium Senate will vote on Bill to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities – November 21, 2013.

20. Oregon 2012 Assisted Suicide statistics - January 24, 2013  

Other prominent articles:
Responding to the disturbing decision by Justice Smith in the Carter case – June 20, 2012.
Hassan Rasouli to be transferred from Sunnybrook hospital – January 6, 2014.
Belgian woman with Anorexia Nervosa dies by euthanasia – February 10, 2013.
Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide – December 4, 2012

Arizona House passes bill for prosecuting assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director/International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Associated Press has reported that an Arizona bill designed to make it easier to prosecute cases of assisted suicide passed on the Arizona House on Tuesday. The article stated:
Republican Rep. Justin Pierce of Mesa says his bill will make it easier for attorneys to prosecute people for manslaughter for assisting in suicide by more clearly defining what it means to "assist." 
House Bill 2565 defines assisting in suicide as offering and providing the physical means used to commit suicide, such as a gun. Current state statute does not clearly define what it means to "assist." 
The proposal was prompted by a difficult prosecution stemming from a 2007 assisted suicide in Maricopa County. 
The House approved the bill by a 41-18. It will now move to the Senate.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dr Tom Mortier's mother was killed by Belgium's leading euthanasia doctor in 2012. An official complaint has now been launched against this doctor with Belgian medical authorities.

The following article was written by Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, the director of EPC - Europe with the cooperation of Tom Mortier and published on the EPC - Europe blog.
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Just after their government legalised euthanasia for children of any age, Belgian medical authorities have received a formal complaint against the leading practitioner in Belgium, Dr Wim Distelmans. Although Dr Tom Mortier's mother had told him she was intending to go for euthanasia, he had been reassured that she would be refused, and she had not, so far as he knew, been accepted under Belgian criteria. In the end, she was killed by Distelmans in 2012 without Mortier's knowledge.
Tom Mortier
Mortier along with Dr Georges Casteur, allege that Distelmans did not have the expertise to evaluate whether Godelieva De Troyer, was ready for voluntary euthanasia. Distelmans is an oncologist, not a psychiatrist and was not even De Troyer's doctor beforehand. She was physically healthy and not suffering from physical pain, and had spoken with psychiatrists who thought that her emotional distress was at least treatable. In fact, she was taking medication at the time, which can cause suicidal ideation - so clearly a treatment plan was in place and it may have been causing serious side-effects. Distelmans, it seems, did not take that into account.
Tom Mortier's mother
The media generally describe euthanasia as a tender death with patients surrounded by loving family in agreement with the person's wish to commit suicide or be euthanized. But De Troyer refused to involve her family because, Tom Mortier believes, of her clinical depression which was very much exacerbated by her 'losses' - the break-up of her own relationship, and with the accompanying break from her family. That depression, he believes, might have been helped if she could have re-established contact with her children and grandchildren.
Euthanasia supporters argue that, under Belgian law, if the patient refuses, it would be a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality to contact the relatives. Mortier acknowledges this but is convinced that any doctor truly concerned about helping his mother should have insisted that this at least be tried, certainly before euthanasia could be considered. Distelmans is not a psychiatrist (but an oncologist): how could he be the judge of De Troyer's treatment, or the possible impact of that family contact?
Mortier also reports that two months before she died his mother made a donation of 2,500 Euros to the Life End Information Forum (LEIF) which Distelmans co-founded. 'Can it be right that patients give money to an organization where the chairman subsequently kills them?' he asks. Should anyone involved in euthanasia ever be open to accusations of profiteering? But regulation of euthanasia in Belgium is a huge issue.
In a bizarre twist, Distelmans administers euthanasia to many patients, yet he leads the commission which is supposed to investigate any failure to observe the euthanasia law! Surely, this is a clear conflict of interest? Especially when this commission has not prosecuted one single case brought before it (and remember only 53% are actually reported - the rest are not). And when former senators who voted for the euthanasia law are now in this commission. with nearly half of all assisted deaths being left unreported (illegal), nurses being involved in killing patients (illegal) and people with dementia who cannot possibly give informed consent also being euthanized - again illegal under Belgian law. This law is seriously compromised for adults never mind young children.
Now it is too late for the seriously depressed adult Godelieva De Troyer, and for Tom Mortier and his wife who took the call from the clinic announcing they had killed her mother-in-law and for their three young children.
Distelmans apparently did not wish to make any detailed comment to the media on the complaint, but he did point out that it was the first complaint which had ever been made against him, in 11 years of doing euthanasia.
Maybe that's because he has had free rein until now - what is needed now is more of the tenacity and sheer courage of people like Tom Mortier to expose the truth about what is really going on in the name of the law in Belgium.
Links to similar articles:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

British doctors maintain strong opposition to assisted suicide

The following article was written by Dr Peter Saunders and published on his blog on February 21, 2014. 

Peter Saunders
By Dr Peter Saunders, 
campaign director for the Care Not Killing Alliance

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has today soundly rejected any change to its long opposition to the legalisation of assisted suicide or euthanasia (see RCGP full report and analysis of responses and Pulse report).

The change had been proposed by former chairman Clare Gerada and led to an extensive consultation last autumn but members have overwhelmingly rejected the move.

Overall 77% of individual responses opposed any change.

In a letter to members today, current chair Maureen Baker, wrote:
‘We have just finished debating the results of the College-wide consultation on whether, as a College, we should change our collective stance on assisted dying. I can confirm that Council has resolved to maintain the College’s position of opposition to a change in the law on assisted dying. 
Council decided last February that consultation with our membership was necessary as, since 2005 when the position was last debated, we have welcomed many new members to the College and views could have changed.  
Any change in the law to permit assisted dying would have a huge impact on our profession and this was one of the most comprehensive consultations of membership that we have ever undertaken, with over 1,700 responses. 
Thank you to everyone who exercised their right to voice an opinion on this – it is imperative that our membership has the opportunity to inform Council debates on key policy issues.’

The First National Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is May 2 - 3, 2014 in Minneapolis Minnesota.

The First National Symposium on EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE is Friday & Saturday May 2 - 3, 2014 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Minneapolis Minnesota.

Groups that oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia need to send representatives and concerned individuals need to attend this historic conference.

Link to the registration information.

Speakers: Alex Schadenberg (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition), Bobby Schindler (Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network), Julie Grimstad - (Life is Worth Living), Nancy Elliott (former New Hampshire representative / EPC - International), Cristen Krebs (Catholic Hospice), Ryan Verret (Louisiana Center for Medical Ethics), Tim Rosales (Wayne Johnston agency - public affairs), Mary Kellett (Prenatal Partners for Life), Mark Pickup (Disability speaker).

• Coalition Building seminar - May 2 (1 - 5 pm) ($30 registration) or
• Patient Advocacy Training - May 2 (1 - 5 pm) ($20 registration)

• First National Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide May 2 - 3.
May 2 (7 - 9 pm) May 3 (9 am - 5 pm) ($50 registration - includes Saturday lunch).

Link to the registration information.

Book your room at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 1330 Industrial Blvd., Minneapolis Minnesota for $85.00 per night by calling: 612-331-1900.

• Learn how to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide. 
• Learn how Stealth Euthanasia may effect you and your family.
• Become a trained and effective leader.

The First National Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is co-sponsored by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Human Life Alliance.

Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics (April 25 - 26, 2014)

Space is limited! Please Register ASAP. 

A groundbreaking event for disability rights advocates to advance the disability rights perspective on bioethics issues: 
– Withholding Medical Treatment 
– Assisted Suicide Laws 
– Reproductive Technologies [and more]
… and to develop our advocacy strategies on these issues. Register Today.

April 25 and 26, 2014 (8:45 AM to 5:30 PM)
Participants are requested to stay for the full two–day Institute.

Crystal City Marriott, Arlington, Virginia Across from Crystal City Metro Station 1999 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202  (703) 413-5500
Space is limited! Please Register ASAP
The Institute registration deadline is March 28. 
The deadline for hotel registration at the Crystal City Marriott is April 3.

 Join us for this exciting and first-ever Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics (DRLIB), where disability rights advocates will gather for two focused days of learning, discussion, and honing our advocacy skills on the key bioethics issues facing the disability community in the United States (some speakers will provide an international perspective as well).

Speakers will include:

Liz Carr, Comedian, Actor in a BBC drama series, and NDY United Kingdom
Diane Coleman, President, Not Dead Yet (NDY)
Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Genetics and Society (CGS)Dr. 
Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick, Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Europe (EPC Europe)
Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Ari Ne’eman, President and co–founder, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Registration for the Institute itself: $175, which will help to cover a number of meals as well as other DRLIB expenses including meeting space, speaker expenses, and disability accommodations.
How to register for the DRLIB:
1. First, register on-line for the Institute itself. 
2. Second, if you need a hotel room at the Crystal City Marriott, you must book your own hotel reservation. The hotel deadline is April 3. Call (703) 413-5500 and mention our group name, the Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics. Hotel room rate is $139 per night plus tax.
Questions? Contact Tim Fuchs:

The Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics is sponsored by:

• National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA)
• Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
• Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
• Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC)
• National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
• Not Dead Yet (NDY)
For the complete Announcement, go to here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Liberal Party of Canada convention supports euthanasia.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On Sunday, February 23 the delegates attending the Liberal Party of Canada convention, passed a resolution to decriminalize euthanasia.

The Globe and Mail indicated that the resolution was passed by a tight vote on Sunday at the convention and the National Post reported that Justin Trudeau, the Liberal party leader, did not take a position on the issue.

November 2, 2013, the Conservative Party of Canada convention supported a resolution to protect Canadians from euthanasia and assisted suicide by passing a resolution rejecting any legislation that would legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The Liberal Party resolution is confusing by its use of imprecise language. The euthanasia resolution assumes that euthanasia can be effectively controlled. Abuses of a euthanasia law results in the intentional death of a person. There is a false impression that the safeguards in the Belgium and Netherlands euthanasia laws have worked. There is ample evidence that significant abuse has occurred in both of these jurisdictions.

An article in the Hamilton Spectator reported that:
A delegate who described himself as an anesthesiologist called it "horrifying" that he could be paid through provincial health plans to end the life of a patient. 
"We have enough trouble trying not to harm people who are having treatments right now. We don't need to get into the business of doing it deliberately."
The Hamilton Spectator article also stated:
The resolution did not sit well with all Trudeau's 35 MPs, either, which may explain why he has avoided taking a stance. 
"I have great difficulty with it, I'm very uncomfortable with it," Toronto MP Judy Sgro said in an interview. 
Nevertheless, she said Canadians want a debate on the issue, and the resolution will help get it started. 
John McKay, another Toronto MP, said convention debate on the issue was superficial and didn't get into alternatives to assisted suicide or the "downsides" of legalizing it.

Physicians are Healers - Not Killers

Statement of the American College of Pediatricians
Media Release - Gainesville, Florida – February 17, 2014
It is the role of every medical professional to deliver care to ailing patients with  compassion, always striving to preserve the patient’s life and dignity. The American College of Pediatricians is appalled by Netherlands’ recent legalization of Neonatal Euthanasia and Belgium’s legalization of euthanasia for terminally ill children of any age, and alerts healthcare professionals to the possibility of similar legislation in the United States.
The concept of euthanasia is based on a utilitarian worldview that defines the value of the individual in terms of that individual’s contribution to society. This ideology relegates neonates, especially those infants with congenital defects, to an expendable status.  
Dr. Den Trumbull states, 
“This belief system underlies many of the current proposals for the allocation of healthcare resources in America. Even the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prescribes that scarce resources be focused on adolescents and adults under 50. The youngest who have not yet contributed to society and the oldest that have already “lived long enough” are to receive only attenuated interventions. Under this system, certain newborn infants would be considered the least worthy to be recipient of available medical resources.” 
Physicians are healers not killers. An individual’s future quality of life cannot be predicted by caregivers. The role of the physician is to promote health, cure when possible, and relieve pain and suffering as part of the care they provide. The intentional neglect for, or taking of, a human life is never acceptable, regardless of health system mandates. The killing of infants and children can never be endorsed by the American College of Pediatricians and should never be endorsed by any other ethical medical or social entity.
For more details and information, visit the link to the full statement Neonatal Euthanasia: The Groningen Protocol at:

Fact-checking claims of "well regulated euthanasia"

The following article was written by Dr Margaret Somerville and published by Mercatornet on February 24, 2014.

Margaret Somerville
By Margaret Somerville

Recently, the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, published an editorial, “Quebec gets it right on the right to die”, which articulated the strongest case that can be made for supporting legalizing euthanasia and Quebec’s Bill 52 which seeks to do just that.

At the time of publication of the editorial, the Bill was expected to pass within days. As events have unfolded that has not occurred due to an unexpected move by the opposition Liberal party members of the Quebec Legislative Assembly, which delayed the Bill being put to a vote. In the interim, a budget bill was introduced and seems almost certain to be voted down, which will lead to a provincial election. Bill 52 will fall with the calling of an election, but if the Parti Quebecois is re-elected it is certain to again be brought forward, so this might be a temporary reprieve.

But here I want to address the Globe’s editorial. Like Bill 52, it focuses only on the individual person who wants euthanasia, and, moreover, is in “unbearable pain”. The editors see the goal of Bill 52 as seeking “to sensibly regulate how a physician can deliberately end a patient’s life”. And they accept that doing so is “a medical and not a criminal matter”.

They take comfort in recognizing that “Quebec’s criteria [governing euthanasia] closely resemble the rigorous six-part test offered in the Netherlands” and reassure us that “Quebec has given no indication that it seeks to emulate Belgium’s approach” of recently extending euthanasia to children.

I will critique these points in order. Good ethics depend on good facts and we need to get our facts straight.

First, the terminology of a “right to die” is problematic. If you have a “right to die”, someone else has an obligation to kill you. Rather, as is fully recognized in Canadian criminal and civil law, and medical ethics, you have a right to be allowed to die by refusing medical treatment. This is a natural death, not euthanasia.

The discussion of the consequences of euthanasia must go beyond its impact on the individual person, important as that person is. Legalizing euthanasia is also a major issue for society, as a whole, and the institutions of medicine and law, which in a secular society, such as Canada, carry the societal value of respect for life.

Pope Francis statement on euthanasia.

The following is part of the statement by Pope Francis to the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life (February 19, 2014)

Pope Francis speaks to
Alex Schadenberg &
Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
on February 19, 2014
...It is a topic that is extremely relevant to our own day, and something likewise always very close to the Church’s heart. Indeed, in our society one encounters the tyrannical dominion forced upon us by a logic of economics that discounts, excludes and at times evens kills our elderly––and today so many fall victim to this. “We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised––they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’ (EG, 53).” The social-demographic predicament of the aged is a stark reminder of this exclusion of the elderly person, and especially when he or she is ill, disabled or for any other reason rendered vulnerable. One easily forgets that the relations among human beings are always relations of reciprocal dependence, which manifest themselves according to different degrees throughout the life of a person and become indispensable in situations of old age, illness, disability and indeed suffering in general. This requires of all of us our offers of necessary help through interpersonal as well as community relationships, in an attempt to answer the present need of these persons in their respective situations.

At the root of any discrimination and exclusion there is, however, an anthropological question: how much is man worth and upon what does one base this value of his? Health is certainly an important value, yet it does not determine a person’s value. Furthermore, health is not in and of itself a guarantee of happiness––this is verified even in the event of unstable health. The fullness toward which all human life is oriented is not in contradiction with any condition of illness and suffering. Hence, the lack of health or the fact of one’s disability are never valid reasons for exclusion or, and what is worse, the elimination of persons. The gravest deprivation experienced by the aged is not the weakening of one’s physical body, nor the disability that may result from this. Rather, it is the abandonment, exclusion and deprivation of love.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Official complaint launched against Belgium euthanasia doctor.

This article was written by Michael Cook and published on February 22 on Bioedge.

By Michael Cook

Tom Mortier
After 11 years of participation in euthanasia, an official complaint has finally been lodged with the Belgian Medical Association against the leading practitioner in Belgium, Dr Wim Distelmans. In a three-page letter Tom Mortier and Dr Georges Casteur allege that Distelmans did not have the expertise to evaluate whether Mortier’s mother, Godelieve De Troyer, was ready for voluntary euthanasia.

They point out that Distelmans is not a psychiatrist or even the woman’s family doctor, but a cancer specialist. However, De Troyer was physically healthy and not suffering from physical pain. Before contacting Dr Distelmans she spoke with psychiatrists who thought that she could recover from her evident emotional distress. She was also taking medication which can cause suicidal ideation, but Dr Distelmans did not seem to take that into account.

Godelieve De Troyer
Feature stories in the media describe tender deathbed euthanasia scenes of patients surrounded by grieving but serene relatives. But Mortier says that De Troyer did not want her family to be notified because she was suffering from clinical depression. He feels devastated because he was unable to bid her farewell when she died in 2012.

However, Distelmans’s supporters point out that the law is crystal clear about informing relatives of a euthanasia request. The doctors are supposed to inquire, but if the patient refuses, it would be a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality to contact the relatives.

Mortier and Casteur have also questioned how euthanasia is currently regulated in Belgium. De Troyer made a donation of 2,500 Euros to Distelmans’s right-to-die association, LEIF, two months before she died. Distelmans administers euthanasia to many patients, but he is also the head of the commission which investigates failure to observe the euthanasia law. They suggest that this is a clear conflict of interest and that the composition of the commission should change.

Distelmans was reluctant to comment on the complaint to the media, but he did point out that it was the first complaint which had ever been made against him in 11 years of doing euthanasia.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Québec euthanasia Bill 52 may be dead.

Québec National Assembly
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

It is possible that Québec's euthanasia Bill 52 will not go to a vote before the Parti québécois (PQ) government calls an election. If an election is called, Bill 52 will be dead.

On Thursday, February 20, the Québec National Assembly left for a break until March 11, without completing the debate or voting on euthanasia Bill 52.

Currently, the PQ government has minority standing with 54 of 125 seats in the Québec National Assembly. Recent polls indicate that the PQ government, under premier Pauline Marois, would do well if an election is called. Many reports indicate that Marois will call an election before the government returns from its current break.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and its Québec counterparts would like you to know that: 
• Bill 52 gives Québec doctors the right to lethally inject their patients when they are physically or psychological suffering. 
• Bill 52 does not limit euthanasia to terminally ill people. The bill states that a person must be “at the end of life” but the bill does not define end of life. Bill 52 allows euthanasia for psychological suffering, which cannot be defined. 
• Bill 52 targets people with disabilities. Bill 52 states that a person must be in “an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.” Many people with disabilities fit these criteria. Since the bill does not define "end of life" euthanasia will be extended to people with disabilities.  
• Euthanasia is defined as homicide in the federal Criminal Code. Bill 52 defines killing by lethal injection as "health care" in order to avoid the Criminal Code prohibition from causing death. 
Bill 52 is unconstitutional and if passed, would be challenged in the court.
Bill 52 is imprecise and open to abuse.
Bill 52 is lethal. 

Link to other articles: 
• Québec’s euthanasia Bill 52 is lethal.
• Expert’s condemn Québec’s Bill 52

• Quebec doctors are planning to expand euthanasia even before its legal.