Saturday, May 31, 2014

Not Dead Yet - UK launches petition against British assisted suicide bill.

Sign the petition opposing the legalization of assisted suicide in Britain.

Not Dead Yet UK (NDYUK) is a campaigning group of disabled people who believe that it would be a mistake to legalise Assisted Dying. Lord Falconer’s bill in the UK aims to make it legal for doctors to end the lives of those they judge to be terminally ill, if the dying individual requests this intervention. This issue affects everyone, but our experience as disabled people, informs our belief that the assisted suicide law should not be changed.

NDYUK opposes assisted suicide because:

● It would be unacceptably dangerous to make it legal for one individual to end the life of another, because statutory safeguards cannot be made effective;

● People can be led to perceive themselves as a burden, especially when support services are cut, and this may contribute to their decision making;

● We believe that a positive approach to the lives of disabled people, old and young, should be a priority for society;
● This means appropriate support for living and an accessible environment;
● Disabled people are being hit harder than many by the recession, which gives us the clear message that our rights and opportunities are low priority when times get hard. ‘Assisted Dying’ is often linked with the cost of disability, particularly Social Care and Continuing Health Care, which are becoming increasingly unavailable. We find this a legitimate and relevant cause for concern;
● In a recent poll by the Royal College of GPs, 77% voted against legalising assisted suicide and many doctors acknowledge that it is very difficult to accurately predict when someone will die and they often get this wrong.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Starvation As The New "Death With Dignity"

By Wesley Smith, First Things - May 30, 2014 (Link to the original article).

Wesley Smith
Self-starvation has become the latest craze among the “death with dignity” crowd. This has been coming on for some time. Removing feeding tubes from cognitively disabled people who can’t swallow has been allowed for decades, under the right to refuse unwanted “medical treatment.” But what about people who can eat and drink by mouth? Assisted suicide advocates argue that it isn’t fair that they can’t die too.

So, activists promote a form of “self-deliverance” that they call “voluntary stopping eating and drinking,” (VSED), by which suicidal people declare their wish to starve to death. As a matter of respecting autonomy, doctors won’t force feed these suicidal people. Some even agree to facilitate the death by helping palliate the potential agony that can be associated with starving and dehydrating.

Some bioethicists even argue that nursing homes and hospitals should be legally required to starve patients who can eat and drink, if they have serious dementia and have ordered their starvation deaths in an advance medical directive. In Canada, a lawsuit has already been filed, and I consider it the most important—and dangerous—litigation in bioethics today.

The case involves Margo Bentley, a woman from British Columbia. A believer in assisted suicide, Bentley signed an advance directive instructing that she be refused life-sustaining medical treatment and even be euthanized if she had Alzheimer’s and could no longer recognize her children. Bentley is now in that condition, but she doesn’t require life support—so there is no treatment to withdraw—and willingly accepts food and water by mouth, meaning that the conditions of her directive aren’t met. And as for euthanasia, it’s illegal in Canada. Thus, there is no immediately available legal way to make her dead even though that is what she clearly wanted.

Palliative Care Motion 456 receives near unanimous support in Canadian Parliament

Alex Schadenberg
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Congratulations to Charlie Angus (MP NDP) who successfully steered Motion 456 through parliament. Motion 456 calls for a National Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy in Canada. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) was one of many groups that supported Motion 456. 

Motion 456 is the result of the work of the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care that released its report: Not to be Forgotten: Care of Vulnerable Canadians, on November 18, 2011 that focused on improving: palliative care for all Canadians, suicide prevention strategies and protecting people from elder abuse.

Motion 456 hopes to lead to the creation of a pan-Canadian Palliative and End-of-Life Care strategy that would enable the Provinces, the National government and other important stake-holders, to work together for a common implementation and improvement of palliative and home-based care for all Canadians.

Charlie Angus MP
Charlie Angus responded to the support for Motion 456 with the following media release:

As Canada's ageing population puts unique stresses on our medical system, it is increasingly important that we have a coherent strategy for palliative and end of life care across Canada. 
This is an issue that touches every Canadian and leaves an impact on every single family. When we have good options for palliative care, we can ease the many burdens on families so they are able make these difficult transitions. Where the services are fragmented, too many people fall through the cracks - right when they need support the most. 
We are happy there was all-party support for a Pan-Canadian Strategy for Palliative and End of Life Care as laid out in motion M-456. Together, we must thank the many people and organizations across the country who worked hard to advance this important issue.
EPC recognizes that the federal government already supports the Pallium Foundation of Canada a group that EPC also supports.

It is our hope that every Canadian will receive excellent care in their time of need.

Links to related articles:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Belgian euthanasia deaths increase by 26% in 2013.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 2013 Belgian euthanasia report indicates that the number of reported euthanasia deaths in Belgium increased by more than 26% in 2013 to 1807 reported deaths

Sign the EPC - Europe Petition demanding a moratorium on euthanasia in Belgium.

In 2012 the number of reported euthanasia deaths in Belgium increased by 25% to 1432 reported deaths.

The Belgian euthanasia report indicates that the number of reported euthanasia deaths is growing at a faster rate. In Belgium, there were 1133 reported euthanasia deaths in 2011 and 954 reported euthanasia deaths in 2010.

At the same time Belgium has recently extended euthanasia to children. The child euthanasia bill was passed after protests against the bill were held in Brussels and 160 Belgian Paediatricians denounced the child euthanasia bill.

Studies concerning the practice of euthanasia in the Flanders region of Belgian in 2007, found that: 32% of all assisted deaths were done without request, 47% of all assisted deaths went unreported, nurses were euthanizing patients even though the Belgian euthanasia law prohibits nurses from doing euthanasia. There has never been an attempted prosecution for abuses of the Belgian euthanasia law.

In Canada, the Québec government should be very concerned about the practice of euthanasia in Belgium since they have based euthanasia Bill 52 on the Belgian euthanasia law.

In January, the Belgian media reported that a euthanasia doctor admitted to not reporting his euthanasia deaths. The article confirms that many euthanasia deaths in Belgium are not reported and the actual number of euthanasia deaths is much higher than 1816.

In February, Dr Tom Mortier launched an official complaint against the doctor who euthanized his healthy mother who was living with depression. Mortier questioned:
"how it is possible for euthanasia to be performed on physically healthy people"
In April 2014, a 20-year-old Belgian woman, named Margot launched a second official complaint against the same euthanasia doctor in response to the euthanasia death of her 47-year-old mother who was physically healthy but living with depression. Margot asked:
"how could someone who has not even received treatment for depression, get euthanasia?"
There are also serious questions being asked concerning the purpose and effectiveness of the Belgian euthanasia control and evaluation committee. The President of this committee is the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium who also operates a euthanasia clinic with half of the membership of the committee composed of members of the euthanasia lobby.

In November 2013, I debated Dr Jan Bernheim, a pioneer of the Belgian euthanasia law. During the debate in Brussels I quoted from the earlier studies showing that euthanasia deaths were occurring without request, that euthanasia deaths were not being reported and that nurses were ignoring the law and euthanizing their patients. Bernheim responded to those statements by saying:
"There are problems with the Belgian euthanasia law."
I responded by saying:
"That is cold comfort for the dead."
The safeguards and controls in the Belgian euthanasia law do not work. The Belgian government needs establish a moratorium on its euthanasia program and re-evaluate its euthanasia law, or the number of euthanasia deaths will continue to grow exponentially.

Lifting the veil on euthanasia in Belgium: a nurse's story.

Claire-Marie Le Huu-Etchecopar is a French nurse who worked in Brussels for 6 years, and who witnessed many euthanasia deaths. Le Huu-Etchecopar wrote the following which was published on the Collectif Plus Digne La Vie website.

Link to the EPC - Europe Stop Euthanasia in Belgium Petition.
Like many healthcare professionals in Belgium, Claire-Marie Le Huu-Etchecopar denounces, based on her observations on the ground, the downward spiral in the application of euthanasia law since 28 May 2002. Her testimony is important and contributes to the wider debate.

By Claire-Marie Le Huu-Etchecopar

In his press conference January 14, 2014 François Hollande, the President of France, listed the terms of the Belgian law on euthanasia without ever mentioning the word. In Belgium, they boast that there is no drift in their law, which is completely controlled by a Federal Commission for monitoring and evaluation of euthanasia. To date, according to the Commission, every single one of all identified euthanasia deaths were performed according to the conditions and procedure laid down by the law of 28 May 2002.

As a nurse in Brussels, I first worked in a cancer ward and in a care unit support. So I was very quickly confronted with the demands and the practice of euthanasia. For six years, I have seen how this law significantly undermines the links of solidarity we have for the sick. More than just highlighting dubious procedures, today we are now helping along a radical change in attitudes towards death and care of the dying.

Euthanasia legal, ethically precarious

From my arrival in Belgium in 2008, I witnessed first-hand many euthanasia deaths. All were accountably legal and registered officially in the medical records of patients. From the moment I took on the role, and despite my limited knowledge at the start, I found serious failures of ethics and moral obligations. Through my personal experience in care services practising euthanasia in Belgium, I wish to show that it is possible in a hospital room, just like in a television programme, to manipulate opinions and consciences, to transform euthanasia into an ideology of dying with dignity’.
Monsieur R. never asked for euthanasia: he was released from life out of ‘compassion’
This was the view of an oncologist just after the euthanasia of Mr R. Some days before, the doctor informed his wife that her husband was in the terminal phase of lung cancer. The doctor added that the patient ‘will suffer enormously, even though he was showing no signs of pain or distress at the moment’.

His wife asked the specialist not to say a word to her husband ‘so he doesn’t suffer further’ and at the same moment seeks euthanasia to spare him the ‘horror of the end of life’. Mr R died by euthanasia without ever knowing of his illness and without deciding or even once expressing the wish to have recourse to euthanasia.

Following this euthanasia death, I asked for explanations from my superiors in the multi-disciplinary team meeting. In a chorus, the psychologist, the head of service, the nurse director and the cancer specialists explained to me how this death was ‘gentle, peaceful and painless’ ‘a dignified end of life’ (‘a fitting end’) in summary. In a patronising tone, they reminded me that ‘in respect of caring, we must be compassionate’ that ‘the prognosis of Mr R was imminent death’ and that ‘he would certainly have suffered terribly’. The aplomb of their speeches, the logic, appearing implacable and reasonable, reduced the care team to silence.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Medical error, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A power point presentation developed by Christine Koczmara RN BSc and Cathy Isman RN(CPN) (C) for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices states that it was estimated in 1999 that 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical mistakes. This is almost equal to the number of yearly deaths from Car Accidents, Breast Cancer, and Aids (Link).

A Canadian study in 2004 found that 7.5% of patients in Canadian hospitals were harmed from their care, 37% of the adverse events were preventable and more than 9250 Canadians died that year from medical errors (Link). The same study estimated that only 3% – 6% of all medical errors are reported (Link).

Pietro D'Amico
In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico (62) from Calabria Italy died at the Dignitas suicide clinic in Switzerland after receiving a wrong diagnosis. Medical errors will often lead to negative health conditions, some medical errors will lead to death, whereas, assisted suicide always causes death (Link).

July 2013, a Swiss regional court found Dr Philippe Freiburghaus guilty of assisting a suicide without a proper diagnosis of the patient. On April 23, 2014, the Swiss court of appeal overturned the conviction of Freiburghaus on technical grounds (Link).

In September 2013, Nancy Verhelst asked to die by euthanasia in Belgium after experiencing a “botched” sex change operation (Link).

Statistics from Belgium indicate that up to 32% of all assisted deaths are done without explicit request (Link) and up to 47% of all assisted deaths go unreported (Link). In the Netherlands the rate of assisted death without explicit request is lower than in Belgium and the rate of unreported assisted deaths is 23% (Link).

Since acts of assisted death cause the direct and intentional death of the person, and since the “safeguards” that are designed to protect patients, in the law, are not followed, can legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide ever be safe?

Considering the problem of medical error, the reality that human beings fail, the reality that many physicians have been taught to believe that certain human lives are not worth living (Quality of Life) and considering the regularity of medical error and the reality, can legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide ever be safe?

These facts and many more speak for themselves.

Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice launch court case to stop Québec euthanasia Bill 52

Euthanasia : Since Québec has turned a deaf ear, 
they are now turning to the Courts in order to be heard

MONTRÉAL, May 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/
A Motion for Declaratory Judgment is in the process of being filed in the Superior Court of the district of Montréal.

The Plaintiffs are Ms Lisa D'Amico, a handicapped person, and Dr. Paul J. Saba, a family doctor. This Motion is instituted against the Attorney-General of Québec and also impleads the Attorney-General of Canada, in order to obtain a declaration to the effect that:

(1) The euthanasia of a human being by his doctor, a notion more known in Québec under the euphemism «medical aid in dying» or «aide médicale à mourir», is not medical care.

(2) Québec does not have jurisdiction to legislate on this subject.

(3) Euthanasia is contrary to the Canadian and Québec Charters of Rights, the Criminal Code of Canada, The Civil Code of Québec, the Health and Social Services Act of Québec, the Doctors' Code of Ethics and The Constitution Act, 1867.

(4) It is not and will not be possible in Québec for patients concerned by euthanasia to provide a free and informed consent because of their vulnerability which is exacerbated by a lack of resources in the health care system, because of their medical condition and the lack of universal access to palliative care for all persons who require such care, particularly to diminish suffering.

(5) It is illogical to entrust doctors only to verify the conditions for euthanasia and provide the lethal injection, as this would cause them to be in violation of their Code of Ethics as well as the criminal law.

Ms. D'Amico has a personal interest to act because she fears that the shortfall of medical care and social care in Québec will put her in a very vulnerable position and entice her to accept euthanasia as a result of the evolution of her condition.

Doctor Saba believes that no one should ask a doctor to perform euthanasia. He reminds us of two of the fundamental principles of the practice of medicine:

Swiss group to assist the suicides of elderly healthy people.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Swiss assisted suicide death.
Assisted suicide is facilitated in Switzerland by suicide groups who assist the suicide deaths of their members. The assisted suicide groups charge a "membership fee" and fees for assisted suicide itself. Assisted suicide groups have their own "rules and regulations." There are few national regulations for assisted suicide in Switzerland.

Assisted suicide is when someone, or a group, assists the suicide of a person who has asked to die.

Last weekend, at their annual general meeting, Exit, an assisted suicide group in Switzerland, decided to extend assisted suicide to healthy elderly people who are living with some form of physical or psychological pain.

Psychological pain refers to a person who lives with depression, mental illness or "feelings of hopelessness."

The UK Guardian reported that Dr Jürg Schlup, the President of the Swiss Medical Association denounced the decision to extend assisted suicide to healthy elderly people by stating:
"We do not support the change of statutes by Exit. It gives us cause for concern because it cannot be ruled out that elderly healthy people could come under pressure of taking their own life"
The Vice President of Exit, Bernard Sutter told the media:
"Our members told us to get active on this subject. It was ripe for a decision,"
A recent study found that in 16% of the assisted suicide deaths in Switzerland, the person had no underlying illness.

Pietro D'Amico
Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria in southern Italy, died by assisted suicide in Basel Switzerland in April 2013 after receiving a wrong diagnosis.

In March 2010, the Atlantic monthly magazine did an exposé on the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. The exposé confirmed the rumors that the leader of the suicide clinic kept jewelry and other items that were left behind after a client died to re-sell it and that crematory urns had been dumped in Lake Zurich.

Swiss assisted suicide organizations gained legal status in the 1980′s. The shift by Exit came shortly after a doctor was acquitted by a Swiss appeals court for administrating life-ending drugs to a 89-year old man without examining him first.

Links to similar articles: 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Federal government opposes Québec euthanasia Bill

Petition: Stop Euthanasia Bill 52 in Quebec.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Justice Minister Peter MacKay
A spokesperson for Justice Minister Peter MacKay responded on May 23 to the re-introduction of the Québec euthanasia Bill 52 by stating:
"The issue of assisted suicide creates great excitement and divisions among many Canadians. Our government believes that the provisions of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia are used to protect all people, including the most vulnerable people in our society."
The spokesperson for the Justice Minister also stated that the federal government uses the terms euthanasia and assisted suicide, rather than end-of-life care.

Québec's Bill 52 will give doctors the right to lethally inject their patients based on the patient having physical or psychological pain.

Bill 52 masks the reality of the bill by defining euthanasia as a form of medical treatment that is part of "end-of-life care."

Québec Premier Philippe Couillard responded by stating:

"This is a bill about end of life care, the continuum of care,"
If Bill 52 is passed by the Québec National Assembly, groups in Québec have already stated that they will bring the government to court based on the fact that euthanasia is a form of homicide and not medical treatment and therefore the Québec government does not have the right to legislate on this issue.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Petition: Stop euthanasia Bill 52 in Québec

Dear Honourable Peter MacKay,

We urge you to act by bringing an injunction against the Québec euthanasia bill 52 and by asking the court to strike down the bill as unconstitutional.

Please consider the following reasons:
  1. Euthanasia is recognized as a form of homicide in the federal criminal code.
  2. Bill 52 defines killing by euthanasia as a part of "health care".
  3. Bill 52 will give Québec doctors the right to lethally inject their patients when they are physically or psychological suffering.
  4. 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 doesn't define "end of life" and it allows euthanasia for psychological suffering, which cannot be defined.
  5. Bill 52 targets people with disabilities. The bill states that a person must be in “an advanced and irreversible decline of function.” Many people with disabilities fit this criteria. Since the bill does not define "end of life" euthanasia will be easily extended to people with disabilities.
  6. Choice is illusory. It is impossible to ensure that a person is not under pressure, directly or indirectly. It is common for a dependent person to not want to be a burden to their family.
  7. Children will gain access to euthanasia. Bill 52 limits euthanasia to adults, but since theQuebec government has defined euthanasia as part of "Health care" therefore the courts will soon extend euthanasia to children based on the equality and human rights of children.
  8. Bill 52 cannot be controlled. Bill 52 requires a doctor to notify the Commission on end of life care within 10 days of lethally injecting a person. Doctors in other jurisdictions who abuse the euthanasia law do not self-report abuse. A 2010 Netherlands study found that 23% of all assisted deaths were not reported and a study from Belgium found that doctors do not report assisted deaths that are done outside of the law.
  9. Bill 52 defines “medical aid in dying” (euthanasia) as a part of end-of-life care.
Bill 52 creates a right to end-of-life care. Since euthanasia is defined as part of end-of-life care, the bill therefore creates a right to euthanasia.
[Your Name]

EPC and its Québec counterparts want you to know: 
  • Euthanasia is defined as homicide in the federal Criminal Code. Bill 52 defined killing by lethal injection as "health care" in order to avoid the Criminal Code prohibition.
  • Bill 52 gave Québec doctors the right to lethally inject their patients for physical or psychological suffering. Bill 52 does not define 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 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. 
Bill 52 is unconstitutional and needs to be challenged in the court.
Bill 52 is imprecise and open to abuse.
Bill 52 is lethal. 
Links to other articles:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Belgium students protest child euthanasia during general election

By Paul Russell, the director of Hope Australia.
This article was published on the Hope Australia blog on May 23, 2014.

Paul Russell
An anonymous group of what is understood to be mainly Belgian students have rallied against their country's child euthanasia laws by taking political action in the current Federal Election.

Some members of parliament have claimed that the defacing of candidates' election posters with a sticker saying: "He / she voted for the euthanasia of children" and the attendant 'thumbs down' is vandalism. Other more circumspect MPs have simply called it free speech.

Some media outlets have tried to characterize the group as being from the 'Catholic Ultra-Right'; something the group rejects.

The leader of this anonymous group, Olivier, told La Libre that, "We think this is a non-violent way to enter the democratic debate and attract the policy that you would like them to deal with real problems in our country rather than legislate on matters ethics for which we did not ask them."
"(t)his was an issue that was not in any manifesto in previous elections and we feel that there has not really been listening to citizens and experts. I recall that 180 experts sent an open statement against the bill and there had been several interventions of international organizations, notably at the International Congress of Pediatric Palliative Care Mumbai letter."
So far the group has marked nearly 2000 candidate posters across Belgium and also has a strong social media presence.

It was this same group that was responsible for the action that led to the filing of flowers, teddy bears and candles outside the gates of Parliament when the law was under debate.

Olivier claimed that, in debating child euthanasia without raising the matter as a platform at the previous election: 

Oregon Runs Out of Death Drugs

By Wesley Smith - May 22, 2014 (originally published on Wesley Smith's blog

Wesley Smith
It appears that Oregon has run dry on death drugs. You see death penalty opponents have made the supply of a prime death-causing drug used in assisted suicide scarce. Of course, the media misses the irony. From the Willamette Week story:
Death-with-dignity [assisted suicide] patients are victims of a global political battle over capital punishment in the U.S., according to the federal Food and Drug Administration, which regulates pharmaceuticals, and the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees application of the state’s Death With Dignity Act. 
Access to pentobarbital, also known as Nembutal, has all but ended in the United States because U.S. prison officials use it in lethal injections for executions.
Like I always say, “cruel and unusual death with dignity.

Now, it seems to me that if the drugs are wrong to use in lawful executions, they are also wrong to prescribe to people who want to kill themselves. Death-causing is death-causing, and that ain’t medicine.

But not to worry, the Hemlock Society C & C wants to go in the death-drug distribution trade:

Québec euthanasia Bill 52 is imprecise and open to abuse.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Québec government re-introduced Bill 52 at the stage that it was at before the Québec election.

Since the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a euthanasia case on October 15, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) asks why has the Québec government decided to re-introduce a euthanasia bill and why are they determined to pass the bill so quickly? what's the rush?

Sign the petition: Québec's euthanasia Bill is lethal.

EPC and its Québec counterparts want you to know:

• Euthanasia is defined as homicide in the federal Criminal Code. The bill defines killing by lethal injection as "health care" in order to avoid the Criminal Code prohibition.  
• The bill gave Québec doctors the right to lethally inject their patients for physical or psychological suffering and it does not define psychological suffering. 
• The bill does not limit euthanasia to terminally ill people. It states that a person must be “at the end of life” but the bill does not define end of life.   
• The bill targets people with disabilities. It 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.
Bill 52 is imprecise and open to abuse.
Bill 52 is unconstitutional and will be challenged in the court.
Bill is lethal.

For more information contact:
Nic Steenhout (Montreal) Vivre dans la Dignité (438) 931-1233 –
Alex Schadenberg (London) Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (519) 851-1434 –
Amy Hasbrouck (Montreal) Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet: (450) 921-3057 –

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Quebec Euthanasia Bill (May 22) Press Conference

Rushed adoption of Bill 52: 
a parody of democracy that invites legal challenges

MONTREAL, May 21, 2014 

Media representatives are invited to a joint press conference with the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia and the citizen network Living with Dignity. At this time, the spokespersons of both groups will announce their intention to challenge the possible adoption of Bill 52 by the National Assembly. The spokespersons will be available to answer questions.

When: Thursday, May 22, 2014 
Statements (14h) Opportunity for interviews (14h 15 à 15h)

Where: Vie autonome Montréal 
2120, rue Sherbrooke East, room 402

Sources: The citizen network Living with Dignity ( and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia (

For further information or to organize an interview with a spokesperson, please contact:

Nicolas Steenhout
Director General
Living with Dignity

- Sign the online petition: Québec's euthanasia Bill 52 is lethal.
- Québec's euthanasia bill is unconstitutional, imprecise and lethal.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vermont Assisted Suicide Law: One year later ...

The following report was published by True Dignity Vermont on May 20, 2014.

A year ago today, at the bill signing party for Act 39 held in the Governor’s ceremonial office, True Dignity Vermont launched a hotline and email address for individuals who suspect that a patient was being unduly influenced to request or ingest lethal drugs, or were being given such drugs against their will. That number is: 1-855-787-5455 or 1-855-STP-KILL, and
“We expanded our educational role to become a place where our network of health care providers and other supporters would have a place to take their concerns,” stated True Dignity spokesperson, Carolyn McMurray of Bennington. “The most alarming reports we have received to date involve two separate clinical psychologists, dealing with two different patients, both of whom had suicidal tendencies. In each case, the patients revealed their belief that suicide was more ‘acceptable’ now that the legislature had passed this law.”
Shortly after Act 39 went into effect, True Dignity Vermont received a call from a woman convinced that a health care facility was intentionally withholding treatment from her elderly mother. TDVT recommended that she contact the appropriate experts for further investigation.
Nearly six weeks ago, True Dignity Vermont received a call from an 85 year-old Korean War veteran from New Jersey who wanted information about how he could come here and get a “shot” to end his life. During the conversation, he revealed that he was not terminally-ill, nor physically ill in anyway. He said he was depressed, and he said the suffering of depression was terrible. The man believed, with all his heart, that the new law meant that he could come to Vermont and a physician would end his life. True Dignity Representative told him we did not want him to commit suicide and talked to him for as long as he wanted to talk. He said it helped him a lot to talk. The representative told him to get professional help and invited him to call back to talk whenever he wished. He has not called back.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Stephen Sutton lived everyday with dignity.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Stephen Sutton, who, at the age of 19, died of cancer on Tuesday, May 14 in Burntwood Staffordshire UK. 

Stephen was an inspiring example of a person who lived every day of his life with dignity.

When he was 15, he learned that he had terminal cancer. Sutton decided to live every day, so he drew up a bucket list consisting of 46 things he wanted to do before he died.

One of his goals was to write a book, which he accomplished in 2013. Another of his bucket list goals was to raise £10,000 for a Teenage Cancer Trust. Sutton raised nearly £4 million.

The UK Daily Mail reported his death in this way:
During his brief life, Stephen Sutton achieved something very beautiful. Not in the amount of money he raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust (although the £4 million plus is the largest donation they’ve received), but in reminding all of us of the meaning of life, and of the importance of celebrating each waking hour. 
His sheer determination, and his courage in enduring painful treatment for cancer, were inspiring beyond words. 
When Rebecca Hardy in this newspaper asked him how he put up with the pain, he replied: ‘At the end of the day, it’s going to give you so much extra life — and the extra life is definitely worth it. Life is brilliant.’
The Daily Mail concluded the article by stating:
It is humbling to witness, and a salutary reminder that each life is important, no matter how different or troubled it appears to be. 
It makes it all the more shocking to see people actively wanting to bring an end to their lives when you see others fighting to survive, fighting to live another day, because they recognise that our life on Earth is precious beyond measure; that it is a gift beyond price.
... Life is to be lived, in whatever guise it is offered to us, because, as the remarkable young man who was taken from us this week said: ‘Life is brilliant.’

French medical students say no to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The following article was written by Redazione West and published on May 19, 2015 by

Sign the EPC - Europe: Euthanasia in Belgium Petition.

France’s doctors of the future say no to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

It’s a point-blank rejection that comes from a group of young medical students from the collective Soigner dans la dignité (cure with dignity). 

They believe that assisted death is a shortcut that avoids confronting two problems. The first concerns the fact that in medical school, study of end-of-life is very short and incomplete. The students believe therefore that you can’t ask doctors, who are nigh-on inexperienced in the field, to bring an individual’s existence to an end, without giving it due importance. The second problem is purely scientific. The medical students say there is an alternative to euthanasia, which is more effective and in line with the teachings of Hippocrates: the use of palliative care, which is indicated by the Leonetti law of 2005.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Medical Aid In Dying" Euthanasia Bill In Québec

From One Totalitarian Party To Another?

By Michel Racicot, a retired lawyer who works with Vivre dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity) in  Québec.

Sign the online petition: Québec's euthanasia Bill is lethal.

At a meeting held on May 15, at the Good Shepherd Church in Brossard, with about 75 persons present, Dr. Gaetan Barrette made a few surprising declarations in a speech full of half-truths and errors about the content of the former Bill 52 which aimed, among other things, to decriminalize euthanasia under the euphemism of «medical aid in dying».

Gaetan Barrette
The Minister of Health stated that, earlier in the day, he had made a two hour presentation to the Liberal caucus, especially to brief the newly-elected MNAs, and that the caucus was not unanimous about the euthanasia bill. Last night, however, he asserted forcefully that Bill 52 would nevertheless be reintroduced in the state it was in before the dissolution of the National Assembly, as Dr. Couillard had promised during the electoral campaign.

Upon being questioned, Dr. Barrette admitted that this requires a unanimous decision of all members of the National Assembly and that there would be unanimity on this step, even though half of the Liberal MNAs voted against Bill 52 at second reading. Through a nice sophism, he interpreted the promise of his leader to hold a free vote as applying only to the third reading after reintroduction of the Bill but not to the decision to reintroduce Bill 52 in the state it was in when the election was called.

He even announced that there would be no amendments as compared to the prior version, except for three minor modifications in the English version because of errors in translation, and even that none of the amendments proposed by the Liberals when they were in opposition, and which were defeated by the previous PQ government, would be reintroduced. How much opinions change when you come into power, especially as a majority government!

This stunning about-face of the Liberal party, which now intends to withdraw from all its MNAs the full right to vote according to their conscience at all steps of the adoption process of a fundamental law dealing with the life and safety of thousands of Quebec citizens, and thereby abnegating the moral responsibility of those who participate in it, is a serious case of abuse of power at the highest level. We are probably witnessing a case of Minister Barrette bullying his colleagues, a situation which should sound the alarm about installing a culture of collusion/bullying in the new government. In the name of democracy and the credibility of our institutions, each elected member who believes that this bill contains dangerous elements for the most vulnerable members of our society, not only has the right, but also the duty, to oppose it at all steps of its adoption, even this causes a return to square one.

What will all the Liberal Ministers and MNAs who voted against Bill 52 when they were in opposition do now?

Will they accept being reduced to silence? Will they clear their conscience by not objecting to the re-introduction of Bill 52 while voting against it in third reading knowing full well that this risks leading to a rapid adoption of Bill 52?

What will the PQ MNAs do, now that they are in the opposition? Those of the CAQ?

Will there be one, a single one, to stand up with courage and state that there is no unanimity in favour of re-introducing this deadly Bill?

Me Michel Racicot
(Retired) lawyer
Ste-Thérèse, Québec

- Québec's euthanasia bill 52 is lethal.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The current debate on assisted suicide is sadly misplaced.

By Dr Rene Leiva, published in the Ottawa Citizen - May 17, 2014.

Sign the Declaration of Hope as a positive response to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

I find the current debate on assisted suicide in the Parliament sadly misplaced. As a doctor who has been caring for the elderly and dying for 12 years now, I believe we are missing the boat on this one.

To paraphrase a philosopher, the answer to euthanasia is not a pill but a person, not a word but an act. It is an act of loving presence. As Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl says, 
"love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality."
The experience of many, including mine, is that the presence of a loved one to the sick and fragile and the voicing to the patient that they are being truly and honestly loved is what gives true dignity.

When suffering and loneliness arrives, if someone honestly tells the patient that they are worth so much to them no matter what, that they are loved and needed just by being present, I think it would be very hard for them to go ahead with their plan.

I can often spend only limited time with my patients, but friends and family can offer something I can't. I can deal easily with the pain of the body, but I can't do the same with the pain of the soul. At the end, it is all about the command that says, "I was sick and you took care of me."

I hope I can teach this to my children.

Rene Leiva, MD,
Palliative care and care of the elderly, Ottawa Ontario