Sunday, November 30, 2014

Assisted suicide is about disability-phobia, not "choice" or "dignity."

This letter was published in the Norwich Bulletin (Connecticut) on November 16, 2014
Regarding your Nov. 6 editorial, "Terminally ill deserve a choice," safeguards in legislation are hollow and cannot be fixed. The Public Health Committee rejected two bills similar to Oregon's "Death With Dignity Act" allowing an heir and the heir's close friend to testify about the dispensing of the prescription and no witnesses at the death — a prescription for elder abuse. 
Other problems include misdiagnosis and incorrect prognosis, the deadly mix with a broken cost-cutting health care system where suicide becomes the cheapest "treatment," falsification of death certificates, suicide contagion and disability discrimination in suicide prevention. Every progressive national disability-rights organization that has taken a position strongly opposes the legalization of assisted suicide. 
Voters are also rejecting assisted suicide legislation and candidates who support it. State Rep. Betsy Ritter, the lead supporter of assisted suicide in the Legislature, lost her state Senate bid by a significant margin. Lead proponents were defeated in Vermont and New Hampshire. Two years ago, Massachusetts voters had second thoughts, rejecting a ballot measure to legalize assisted suicide. 
Assisted suicide is about disability-phobia, not "choice" or "dignity." Real choice means improved palliative care, hospice and home care so no one is driven toward suicide. 
Stephen Mendelsohn
New Britain
Stephen Mendelsohn is a member of the disability rights group - Second Thoughts Connecticut.

Friday, November 28, 2014

New Scientific discovery: Pain can be "turned-off"

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
Most people recognize that legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide will lead to abuse with some people dying without request or being coerced into euthanasia, with support for euthanasia based on the fear of living with uncontrolled pain. The control of pain has significantly improved since the late 1960's when Cicely Saunders began to develop modern hospice techniques in the UK.

On November 26, Science Daily reported on a great new scientific discovery concerning the control of pain. Researchers at the St Louis University Medical Center published results of research in the medical journal Brain showing that the researchers may have found a way to block pain pathways which could lead to the effective control of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is usually what has developed when people have uncontrolled pain.

Science daily reported that there may be an "off switch" for pain:

Saint Louis University researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. and colleagues within SLU, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions have discovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain including pain caused by chemotherapeutic agents and bone cancer pain suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief. 
The scientific efforts ... demonstrated that turning on a receptor in the brain and spinal cord counteracts chronic nerve pain in male and female rodents. Activating the A3 receptor -- either by its native chemical stimulator, the small molecule adenosine, or by powerful synthetic small molecule drugs invented at the NIH -- prevents or reverses pain that develops slowly from nerve damage without causing analgesic tolerance or intrinsic reward (unlike opioids).
This research offers hope for people who are living with chronic pain or pain that has developed while receiving treatment for cancer.

Assisted Suicide lobby used Brittany Maynard to dupe people into signing online assisted suicide petition

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Katie Buck from Iowa signed an online sympathy card connected to the Brittany Maynard website without knowing that her name would be used by Compassion and Choices, an assisted suicide lobby group, to lobby for the legalization of assisted suicide in her state.

Katie produced a video to explain what happened to her and to urge Americans to be aware of how the assisted suicide lobby launched a petition without choice. Katie's video: A Petition Without Choices.

Katie wrote:
The organization called Compassion and Choices used an online sympathy card to steal the names of people all over America to use for their petition to legalize assisted suicide. This video contains undercover proof linking the sympathy card and the petition
***UPDATE*** Now that Brittany has passed away, the "sympathy card" has been replaced with a "condolences card" for her family. I have confirmed this "condolences card" will also get you on their petition. I have undercover proof of this as well. Stay tuned for more information!
Compassion and Choices is obviously not about choices.

Euthanasia / Organ Harvesting spreads to the Netherlands

This article was originally published on Wesley Smith's blog on November 26, 2014.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

So, this is where euthanasia leads, and how its values spread like a virus.

Belgium permits euthanasia to be combined with organ harvesting.

That odious couplng has now apparently spread to the Netherlands, where Dickey Ringeling, age 61, came down with a serious case of MS. Rather than live with her disabling difficulties, she wanted be killed and harvested for her organs. And so it came to pass.

A newspaper there reports the story and calls her “a heroine.” From “MS Patient Saves Lives of Five People,” published Dageli Ikse Standard (Google translation):

Ringeling’s course [made her] a real heroine. Patients who received her organs should for her life be grateful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Euthanasia and Organ Donation in the Netherlands.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
For the past few years doctors in Belgium have linked organ donation to euthanasia. Now the Dutch media has reported that Edith Schippers, the Dutch Minister of Public Health supports the practice of euthanasia/organ donation.

The media report stated:

Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health is working on a protocol to guide people who want to donate organs after their euthanasia. 
This means, for example, that they will not be able to die at home, but will have to die in the hospital. The doctor should also perform the euthanasia in the hospital. The guidelines established for this is a practical implementation of laws, said Schippers. The first version of the guidelines was written by the Rotterdam Erasmus MC and the University Hospital of Maastricht (MUMC).
Euthanasia/organ donation can become a form of coercion to die by euthanasia.

It is one thing to kill someone as a false means to a "good death," it is another thing to kill someone to improve public health.

Euthanasia/Organ Donation can coerce people with disabilities who are not terminally ill to die by euthanasia. Studies in Belgium indicate that people who have neurological conditions, mental or psychological issues or dementia make excellent organ donors, especially when linked to euthanasia because the organs are healthier than those from people who were terminally ill or nearing death.

Combining euthanasia with Organ Donation will cause fear that physicians will become willing to kill a person for their healthy organs.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Media seem indifferent to euthanasia-victimized families

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on November 23, 2014.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

Imagine you are at work, going about your day. The phone rings. You pick up and it is a mortuary informing you they have your mother's body.
"What do you mean you have my mother's body!" you exclaim in utter shock. 
"She was just euthanized today," the voice on the other end mildly answers. "What should we do with the body?"
That is exactly what happened in 2012 to Belgian chemist Tom Mortier, who spoke (via Skype) at the very well attended East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide. 

A self-described secular humanist, he described his agony at the euthanasia killing of his depressed mother, Godelieva De Troyer, by an oncologist. His continuing pain was vivid in every word he spoke.

You might assume that since De Troyer was killed by an oncologist, she had terminal cancer. Wrong. She was a cancer patient but knew she was cancer free at the time of her death.

But she did have chronic depression. She was killed without any notice to her son.

And here's the kicker: What I didn't know -- and it made my jaw drop -- was that Mortier's mother willed her body to science, as a result of which, he was forced to deliver his mother for dissection and experimentation to the very hospital at which she had been killed.

Maggie Karner urges fearless debate on assisted suicide.

By Ellen Kolb

I doubt that Maggie Karner rang in the new year thinking she was going to be asked to speak at a conference against assisted suicide. She probably didn’t foresee the suicide of Brittany Maynard or the very well-publicized media campaign that went along with it. She certainly didn’t expect to be diagnosed with a brain tumor. Yet there she was in front of me at the recent East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide, speaking quietly but without hesitation.

She’s as compelling a speaker in person as she is in her now-famous video message to Maynard, made in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade Maynard from suicide. As conference host Alex Schadenberg from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said after her presentation, “Maggie is a gift for us.” That “us” goes far beyond the people who were in the room at the time.

“I’m no expert. Just me.”

Maggie Karner (East Coast Conference)
Self-effacing but not shy, Karner began by advising her listeners at the conference, “I’m no expert. Just me.” She was diagnosed in April with glioblastoma, the same type of brain tumor that beset Brittany Maynard. She recorded her video message to Maynard with that common experience in mind. She found after her video went viral that her cancer was the one thing some news reporters found relevant in her message.

She described a recent interview she did via Skype with a news outlet in Bogota, Columbia. 
“It turned out to be an informal debate, and they didn’t tell me that. On the air with me was the communications director for Compassion and Choices [the pro-assisted-suicide group], who spoke Spanish, of course. I don’t. And a pro-euthanasia doctor from Miami, who also spoke Spanish. So I’m the only white gringo there who didn’t speak Spanish. One thing the producers and editors all mentioned was that they wanted to interview me because I had the same terminal brain cancer diagnosis [as Maynard], and apparently that made me qualified to speak on this topic of physician-assisted suicide. I guess they were looking for that emotional right hook as the media is wont to do. 
“But that left me wondering, does that mean that anyone without a terminal diagnosis can’t express their opinion on assisted suicide? Even after all the TV interviews and YouTube hits on the video to Brittany, I still got lots and lots of tweets and comments that basically said ‘who are you to judge her?’ Even with my brain tumor qualifications. So I guess that’s what our post-modern society has left us now: if you have an opinion on something, apparently you are judging the people who have a different opinion, and [I should] just shut up.’ What happened to the great free American marketplace of ideas? What happens to vigorous scholarly debate with issues that affect our whole society? I guess you can only have an opinion on something now if you’ve lived through it, felt its wrath, or walked in its shoes. Because it’s all about feelings. If you have evidence on the positives or negatives of something, that apparently doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how you feel about the issue and whether people like how you said it.”
“It’s a public policy issue”

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wesley Smith: Assisted Suicide causes PTSD

This article was written by Wesley Smith and published on his blog on November 24, 2014.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith
A study in European Psychiatry shows that 20% of close friends or family who witness assisted suicide develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From the study:
Of the 85 participants, 13% met the criteria for full PTSD (cut-off≥35), 6.5% met the criteria for subthreshold PTSD (cut-off≥25), and 4.9% met the criteria for complicated grief. The prevalence of depression was 16%; the prevalence of anxiety was 6%. 
CONCLUSION: A higher prevalence of PTSD and depression was found in the present sample than has been reported for the Swiss population in general. However, the prevalence of complicated grief in the sample was comparable to that reported for the general Swiss population. Therefore, although there seemed to be no complications in the grief process, about 20% of respondents experienced full or subthreshold PTSD related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide.
By way of comparison: 11 percent of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan have PTSD, and 20% of Iraq veterans. So, witnessing assisted suicide would appear to be equivalent in upset to serving in war zones. Perhaps that will give the suicidal pause before they order the pills.

Of course, the suicide pushers at Compassion and Choices aren’t bothered in the least, sending “counselors” to give advice in many cases. Indeed, C & C acts as death matchmaker or otherwise helps facilitate more than 80% of all assisted suicides in Oregon.

But, you know, normal people react to the awful nature of what is done. That’s healthy, and as I said, in an ironic way, perhaps a cause for hope that the death tide will ebb.

Facts on the ground prove a slippery slope is here.

Published by True Dignity Vermont on November 24, 2014

“You don’t see people marching in the street demanding the right to be killed by a doctor,” Attorney and Award winning Author Wesley J. Smith told a packed conference room at Saturday’s East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide in Hartford, Conn., coordinated by the Family Institute of Connecticut and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

“Suicide pushers are a small group. We look like America, they don’t,” Smith emphasized.

Wesley Smith
he “we” to whom Smith referred, are essentially anyone for whom legally sanctioned, assisted suicide poses a very real risk. The elderly, the frail, the mentally ill, those who face serious illness or disability of any kind– all eventually may be judged as “better off dead” in a culture where the solution to suffering is to kill the sufferer, Smith told the audience.

“We’re not talking about a theoretical slippery slope, we’re talking facts on the ground,” he said.
Yet, despite their small numbers, the persistent efforts of the “suicide pushers” to pass legislation to allow doctors to help patients kill themselves have begun to change the national consciousness about suffering and perhaps more significantly, about those who suffer. The exploitation in recent weeks of Brittany Maynard by Compassion and Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, has catapulted the topic into the headlines and onto social media, putting a sympathetic, but deceptive face on the realities of legalized assisted suicide.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Assisted suicide opponents meet in Connecticut

By Alex Schadenberg 
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

(right side of the room)
The Associated Press reported on the East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide today.

The Associated Press reported that:

Organizers say about 140 people have turned today for conference on assisted suicide. 
The two-day event, dubbed East Coast Against Assisted Suicide, was wrapping up on Saturday in Windsor Locks. It was sponsored by several groups that oppose legalizing the practice, including the Connecticut-based Family Institute of Connecticut and Second Thoughts Connecticut. 
Other sponsors included the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Second Thoughts Massachusetts. 
Speakers include experts from the region and around the world who oppose assisted suicide legislation in the U.S., particularly the East Coast. 
Last year marked the second straight year that a Connecticut legislative committee held a public hearing on legislation allowing physicians to prescribe medication to help terminally ill patients end their lives. The bill was not brought up for a vote.
The East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide was an incredible success. It was organized to train people from all political and social points of view to understand the issues related to assisted suicide and to effectively oppose it in their state.
Read more here:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may need to Veto assisted suicide bill

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

Governor Chris Christie
It seems likely that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may need to veto the State assisted suicide bill. 

The media has reported that Stephen Sweeney (D), the President of the New Jersey State Senate, has agreed to be the primary sponsor for New Jersey Senate Assisted Suicide Bill 382, after Joseph Vitale (D) withdrew his sponsorship of the assisted suicide bill.

Vitale, the Chairman of the State Senate Health Committee, told the New Jersey media:
“I initially supported the idea of the bill and signed on. After a time, I had more questions and concerns than answers. So I thought it was honest to remove my name and continue to think about it.”
On November 13, the New Jersey State Assembly passed the assisted suicide bill A 2270 by a vote of 41 to 31 after pushing for a quick vote on the bill while the Brittany Maynard story was fresh in the minds of the state legislators.

New Jersey citizens are urged to contact their State Senators to defeat the assisted suicide bill.

Everyone can sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

Links to more information:

Swiss Federal Court drops charges by assisted suicide campaigner against police and forensic team

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Criminal trespassing charges filed by Ludwig Minelli, the founder of the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic against Swiss police and a forensic medical team was rejected by the Swiss Federal Court.

According to the Swiss media:

The court decided that there would be no criminal proceedings against seven members of canton Zurich’s prosecution, police and forensic medicine teams. In August 2012, they were called to a house in Pfäffikon for a legal inspection involving a person who had committed assisted suicide. In another room, they noticed a second person who was not dying as expected but gasping for air. 
The civil servants decided to take the 67-year-old woman ... to the hospital, where she received painkillers and died the same day. The government employees stayed at the house owned by Dignitas until the paramedics arrived.
Ludwig Minelli
Minelli filed criminal trespassing charges because the authorities didn't leave the Dignitas suicide clinic after he asked them to leave. The media article stated:

...the Federal Court in Lausanne concluded that it is understandable that the people present had assumed that something had gone wrong in the case of the second accompanied suicide, and that they had tried to uphold the rights of the unconscious woman. The judges said that by virtue of their function it was correct to stay in the Dignitas house and take measures to protect her.
The Dignitas assisted suicide clinic has been associated with several controversial assisted suicide deaths. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Veto the Assisted Suicide Bill.

Dear Governor Christie, 

Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

I urge you to veto the assisted suicide bill A2270. 

Through this bill vulnerable elders will be put at risk. Every year in New Jersey, it is estimated that out of 1 ½ million people over age 60, there are 175,000 reported and unreported cases of abuse.

Depressed people will be harmed by this bill. Oregonian Michael Freeland, where assisted suicide is legal, easily obtained a lethal prescription for his terminal diagnosis, despite a 43-year history of severe depression, suicide attempts, and paranoia. The prescribing doctor said he didn't think a psychological consult was "necessary." Oregon’s statistics for the last four years show that an absurdly low 2% of patients who died by assisted assisted were referred for a psychological evaluation.

Governor Chris Christie
Please think about New Jersey residents, elders and disabled people who may be vulnerable and without the sort of support and control assisted suicide proponents take for granted, innocent people who will be impacted by this piece of bad social policy.

A2270 is not safe. Assisted suicide is not safe.

Links to more information:

Few Swiss doctors participate in assist suicide

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A study published today by the Swiss Academy of Sciences found that the majority of Swiss doctors are unwilling to participate in assisted suicide while the majority approved of assisted suicide.

The Swiss Academy of Sciences sent questionnaires to 4800 Swiss physicians and received only 1318 responses (27%). Due to the low response rate the results of the survey may not be accurate.

The Swiss media reported that:

For the majority of the 1,318 respondents, support for assisted suicide depended on the specific situation: the more clearly a purely physical and terminal disease is present, the greater the acceptance of physician-assisted suicide. Three-quarters were opposed to assisted suicide in the case of people who are old but otherwise healthy, while over half rejected assisted suicide for patients with mental illness.
The study, also examined physicians’ personal experiences in this area: 
less than half of the respondents had, on at least one occasion, received a serious request for assisted suicide.

About a quarter had, at least once, evaluated whether the eligibility criteria for assisted suicide were met. Most of the physicians concerned have done so very rarely, while individual respondents have undertaken such an evaluation at least 50 times.
In jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, very few doctors are willing participate in causing the death of their patients. Out of the 1318 physicians who responded to the study, only 111 had participated in an assisted suicide.

In Switzerland, assisted suicide is carried out by assisted suicide groups. The physician assesses the person who requests assisted suicide and prescribes a lethal dose, but the assisted suicide groups facilitate the death.

Barbara Kay: Euthanasia is killing

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The National Post published an excellent article by Barbara Kay, one of Canada's most respected columnists, titled: Beware of euthanasia's friendly face.

Barbara Kay
Kay's article accomplishes two tasks: it properly defines the language and purpose of Bill 52, the Québec euthanasia bill that passed last June, and she reports on her experience at a dinner organized by the Physicians for Social Justice opposing Québec's euthanasia law, that was held in Montréal.

Kay points out that the Québec euthanasia law, that is scheduled to come into effect in December 2015, legalizes euthanasia and not assisted suicide. Kay wrote:
In general, even intelligent and educated people have rather fuzzy notions about euthanasia (which is not assisted suicide, though many people conflate the two). The only reason the Quebec government is calling euthanasia “medical aid in dying” is that they believe it creates an end run around the Criminal Code, which proscribes the killing of patients by doctors. But euthanasia is killing by doctors. Surveys show 60% of Quebecers do not realize the bill provides for death by lethal injection, just like the death penalty in the U.S. — and euphemisms do not change that. 
There is only one form of medical treatment that can accurately be described as “medical aid in dying,” and that is palliative care. Which is why palliative care doctors, as well as many family physicians, are almost as appalled by the wording of the bill as they are by euthanasia itself.
Kay then writes about the response from prominent Québec physicians to the euthanasia law:
I spoke with Manny Borod, a palliative care physician at the Montreal General Hospital, who articulated the grievances his peers feel. Foremost is the illicit intrusion of the government into medicine’s jurisdiction. Governments should not be in the business of deciding what is or what is not a medical treatment. If the government can decide euthanasia is a medical treatment, Dr. Borod asks, “what’s to stop them from legislating other medical treatments?” Like many of his colleagues, he would like to see less aggressive, technology-heavy treatment applied to dying patients and more attention paid to enriching and enlarging the palliative resources that would give those patients a better death.
Dr Balfour Mount
Kay then wrote about the speech given by Balfour Mount, at the event. Dr Mount is the father of palliative care in North America and a leading opponent of euthanasia: Kay wrote:
Most galvanizing were the words of Balfour Mount. ... Dr. Mount’s passionate disdain for the medicalization of euthanasia remains undimmed. Calling euthanasia “medical aid in dying” is a “cowardly distortion of language,” he said. The dying do not want to be killed; they want an “easy death,” and “that is what palliative care gives them.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dutch Health Minister calls for tighter euthanasia guidelines

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Edith Schippers
Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schippers, reacted to comments by Professor Theo Boer by calling for tighter guidelines for euthanasia. Boer, an ethicist who was a member of a Euthanasia Review Committee for 9 years and oversaw more than 4000 euthanasia cases in the Netherlands.

Recently Boer wrote an article calling for reform of the Dutch euthanasia law. Boer stated that euthanasia is being granted to people who have years to live. 

The media reported that Schippers is calling for tighter guidelines on euthanasia. The article stated:
Minister Schippers wants a geriatrician to be always involved in euthanasia of people with dementia and in the case of psychiatric patients a psychiatrist must always play a role. The latter often happens in practice though, but it should be according to Schippers clearly laid down in guidelines.
Schipper also wants: 
 a second specialist to always be involved in complex euthanasia cases.
Theo Boer
Last July Boer wrote an article opposing euthanasia where he stated:

I used to be a supporter of euthanasia. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a different view.

Boer argued that the number of euthanasia deaths, and the reasons for euthanasia have greatly expanded since the introduction of the euthanasia law in 2002. Boer stated that:

"Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved. 
Whereas the law sees assisted suicide and euthanasia as an exception, public opinion is shifting towards considering them rights, with corresponding duties on doctors to act. 
Pressure on doctors to conform to patients’ (or in some cases relatives’) wishes can be intense. Pressure from relatives... is in some cases an important factor behind a euthanasia request."

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Jersey Assisted Suicide bill sponsor withdrew sponsorship.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Senator Joseph Vitale (D)
New Jersey Senator, Joseph Vitale, (D) withdrew sponsorship of the New Jersey Senate Assisted Suicide Bill. Vitale, who is the Chairman of the State Senate Health Committee, told the New Jersey media:
“I initially supported the idea of the bill and signed on. After a time, I had more questions and concerns than answers. So I thought it was honest to remove my name and continue to think about it.”
On Thursday November 13, the New Jersey State Assembly passed the assisted suicide A 2270 by a vote of 41 to 31.

Vitale will hold hearings on the assisted suicide bill in the State Senate Health Committee. The New Jersey Assisted Suicide bill may be defeated in the State Senate. If it passes in the Senate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie must uphold his promise and veto the bill.

Links to more information:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Assisted Suicide groups are allowed into Swiss nursing homes.

This article was published by Bioedge on November 15, 2014.

By Michael Cook

The legislature of the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel has voted overwhelmingly to force government-funded nursing homes to allow representatives of assisted suicide groups to advertise their services.

(Neuchâtel is in the west of Switzerland, bordering on France, and is predominantly French-speaking.)

There are no exemptions for conscientious objection by managers in the homes. The only critierion, according to, is the personal choice of the patients. Personal autonomy must take precedence over the rules of the nursing homes. About 60 institutions will be affected by the decision.

The new regulations specify that nursing home personnel will not be allowed to interfere if a patient chooses to die. In fact, they are required to set aside a room where the staff of the assisted suicide organisation Exit will help the person to die.

The law establishes some conditions for such procedures. The disease or condition must be serious and incurable and other end-of-life options must be discussed. If the nursing home refuses to cooperate, the patient can complain to the authorities. Only homes which do not accept government funding will be allowed to close their doors to Exit.

Exit (whose full name is Exit ADMD Suisse Romande) caters for French-speaking Swiss. Another group, called simply Exit, caters for German-speakers. Last year the French Exit began to offer its services to elderly people who did not have a terminal illness but wished to die. According to one report, it assisted the suicide of 155 people last year, and its German counterpart 459. Apparently nursing homes in the German cantons are far more amenable to visits by Exit.

Friday, November 14, 2014

German Parliament opposes assisted suicide groups.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

German Bundestag
The German Bundestag debated the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide yesterday. German legislators did not debate a bill but rather they debated the general issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide in order to determine the direction of future legislation. The media stated:

An unusual, highly emotional debate in German parliament ended with the majority expressing support for prohibiting organized assisted suicide. But not all representatives called for an outright ban of the practice.
The Majority of the members were opposed to the assisted suicide business. Volker Kauder (CDU) pointed to a recent development that he said is a cause for concern:
Organizations that offer assisted suicide services to their members. He said it was a "perversion" that, according to the amount in membership dues paid, assisted suicide services would be provided either immediately, or after a certain waiting period. "What does that have to do with humanity? " he asked. "Is that something we want to have in our society?"
According to the media, the German Health Minister opposes assisted suicide.
Health Minister Hermann Groehe said he opposed doctor assisting suicide. He said Germany should instead expand its network of hospices, so everyone has access to palliative care and the best painkillers while dying.
The media reported that the German Health Minister will likely introduce an assisted suicide bill in February 2015.

Philip Nitschke (Dr Death) on trial in Darwin Australia.

The following is an excerpt from the article by Paul Russell, the director of HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide and Vice Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International, titled: Three Days in Darwin, concerning the Philip Nitschke trial.

Paul Russell
By Paul Russell

Nitschke’s defence during the Darwin appeal revolved around his claim that he was not Nigel Brayley’s doctor and had therefore no obligation to try and dissuade him from suicide and that, in his assessment, Brayley was rational in his decision.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Jersey Governor must veto assisted suicide bill

By Alex Schadenberg

Nancy Elliott with
Governor Chris Christie.
Today, the New Jersey Assembly passed bill A 2270, a bill to legalize assisted suicide by a vote of 41-31.

The New Jersey Assembly brought the assisted suicide vote up quickly because the assisted suicide lobby wanted to capitalize on the death of Brittany Maynard.

Nancy Elliott, a member of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International Board spoke with Christie about his position last June and said, 
“I had the opportunity to speak with Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey. I know that a lot of you are concerned about the Assisted Suicide bill that passed the Health Committee in New Jersey. He assured me vehemently that he has not changed his position on Assisted Suicide, that he would veto it if it came to his desk and that as long as he was the Governor of New Jersey this was not going to become law.”
Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

Germany debates assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The German parliament will be debating assisted suicide in their lower house today. According to the media, there is no bill before parliament, but the members are debating between their divided positions. The media has reported that:
No legislation is on the table yet, but five caucuses have developed on the issue, mostly crossing party lines. Some want to tighten rules against euthanasia, and others to legalize it as Belgium and the Netherlands have done. 
Germany currently permits doctors to cease life-extending treatment or to administer powerful and dangerous sedatives at a dying person‘s request, but assisting a suicide is a crime. The debate in the Bundestag was a first airing of the issue before bills are moved for debate.
According to the media, German Health Minister opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Health Minister Hermann Groehe said he opposed doctors assisting suicide. He said Germany should instead expand its network of hospices, so everyone has access to palliative care and the best painkillers while dying.
The history of euthanasia in Germany should be enough to caution German parliamentarians.

Once you give physicians the right, in law, to cause death, ethical boundaries prohibiting the intentional killing of human beings are forever changed. The result is what we have seen in the Netherlands and Belgium where euthanasia began as a way of dealing with the "hard cases" and has now expanded to include euthanasia for children, people with dementia, people with psychiatric issues, loneliness, and for those who are "tired of living"

There is also significant number of unreported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the under-reported cases that are often related to abuses that include the intentional assisted deaths without explicit request.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Assisted Suicide and the suicide contagion effect?

By Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore
It is well established that a single suicide can encourage other suicides, which is called a "suicide contagion." If the additional suicides use the same method, they are "copy cat" suicides. Moreover, as explained below, this encouragement phenomenon is relevant to Compassion & Choices' media campaign.

A famous example of a suicide contagion is the suicide death of Marilyn Monroe, which inspired an increase in other suicides. This encouragement phenomenon can also occur when the inspiring death is not a suicide. An example is the televised execution of Saddam Hussein, which led to suicide deaths of children worldwide. An NBC News article begins

 "The boys' deaths - scattered in the United States, in Yemen, in Turkey and elsewhere in seemingly isolated horror - had one thing in common: They hanged themselves after watching televised images of Saddam Husseins' execution."
Groups such as the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization have developed guidelines for reporting suicide to prevent suicide contagions. Important points include that the risk of additional suicides increases "when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage."

Please consider the following: 
● Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law went into effect in 1998.
● By 2000, Oregon's regular suicide rate was "increasing significantly" See ("After decreasing in the 1990s, suicide rates have been increasing significantly since 2000").
● By 2007, Oregon's other (regular) suicide rate was 35% above the national average.
● By 2010, per the most recent report, Oregon's other (regular) suicide rate was 41% above the national average. 
The media campaign by Compassion & Choices, to promote the suicide of Ms. Maynard, violated and continues to violate all of these guidelines. We were told of the planned method, when and where it would take place and who would be there. There was and is repeated extensive coverage in multiple media. With this situation, the risk of suicide contagion associated with Compassion & Choices' media campaign is real. Moreover, in Oregon, where Compassion & Choices has already run similar, but smaller media promotions, there is statistical evidence suggesting, but not proving, a suicide contagion.

Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. She is a former Law Clerk to the Washington State Supreme Court. She is President of Choice is an Illusion, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. Choice is an Illusion welcomes everyone opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia regardless of your views on other issues. See and

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Dr Death (Philip Nitschke) on trial in Australia.

This article was published by HOPE Australia on November 10, 2014.

Paul Russell
By Paul Russell - Director, Hope Australia

Today (10th November 2014) in Darwin, Northern Territory, hearings began into the suspension of the medical licence to practice of Philip Nitschke, director of Exit International. Earlier, Nitschke had successfully challenged that the hearings should take place in the jurisdiction where he was registered; namely, the Northern Territory.

Nitschke’s medical practice licence was originally temporarily suspended following the death of Perth man, Nigel Brayley and the revelations contained in the ABC TV report concerning Nitschke’s relationship to Brayley prior to his suicide.

As the Guardian explained: 
“The board said at the time it took the interim action to “keep the public safe while other investigations or processes continue”. This week’s hearing does not relate to those investigations.”
The hearings this week concern only the matter of Nitschke’s licence to practice. The now twelve complaints to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, including yours truly’s complaint from 27 months ago, are separate matters.

Nitschke’s defence counsel has attempted to make the issue in the court about the question of so-called ‘rational’ suicide. This has been Nitschke’s defensive line since the Brayley matter became public. Counsel for the Medical Board, Lisa Chapman said that this ‘misses the point’.