Monday, May 6, 2019

Magazine article promotes euthanasia for people with dementia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

There is a concerted campaign led by Canada's euthanasia lobby to extend euthanasia to people with dementia, who previously expressed a wish to die by euthanasia. Audrey Parker died on November 1, 2018 as part of a DWD campaign to promote euthanasia for incompetent people (Link to the article).

An article in MacLean's Magazine fits the discription of an advocacy article. The article by Shannon Proudfoot titled: For people with dementia, a fight for the right to die, focuses on Ron Posno, from London Ontario, who was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, which leads to dementia and Jim Mann from Surrey BC who opposes euthanasia for people with dementia. Posno's story is presented:

Ron Posno was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment—a precursor to dementia—in 2016, and soon after, the London, Ont., resident re-wrote his will. He already had a Do Not Resuscitate order in place, and to this he added instructions for the niece who was his substitute decision maker that at a specific point in the progress of his illness, she was to seek medical assistance in dying on his behalf.
The article does not offer balance on the issue but rather it promotes the legalization of euthanasia for incompetent people and undercuts the opposing view presented by Mann.

The article also ignores the story in the Netherlands proving that euthanasia for dementia is not always voluntary. In 2016, a 74-year-old woman with dementia died by euthanasia, even though she resisted. The woman had requested euthanasia, when she was competent, but the doctor lethally injected the woman, even after the woman said NO and resisted by secretly putting a sedative in her coffee and then asking relatives to hold her down as she was lethally injected. (Link to the article).

Posno, who is a Dying with Dignity volunteer, claims to learn that euthanasia for people with dementia is not "legal" in Canada. Posno responds:
“I am declining. My mind, literally, is being destroyed on a daily basis. There’s nothing I can do about it, there’s nothing anybody can do about it… It’s just disappearing,” the 79-year-old says. “I do not want to live like that. I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to inflict it upon the people who care for me.”...

MAID is “likely the most compelling piece of health legislation” Canada has crafted in decades, he says, “And yet it fails, and it fails primarily because it discriminates against people with dementia.” Posno has spent the last year waging a vocal campaign of advocacy and agitation against what he sees as a galling infringement on the rights of people with dementia.
The article undercuts the opposition by the Canadian Alzheimer Society to euthanasia for incompetent people when quoting Pauline Tardiff, the group's current executive director, who states:
“When I arrived at the Alzheimer Society a few years ago, it’s the first question I asked: ‘How did we come up with this and why did we end up there?'” says Pauline Tardif, who took over as CEO in the spring of 2017. “It can be perceived in a negative way as non-supportive of people who may want to self-advocate or have authority over their affairs right to the end of life. For the same reason Ron is questioning it…I had the same question.
Like all good advocacy pieces, the author attempts to provide a voice from the other side of the debate. Proudfoot presents Jim Mann. Proudfoot writes:
As his mother’s illness progressed, they would often sit in the lounge of her long-term care facility and watch the show through the south-facing windows. Planes took off and landed at a nearby airport, and while his mom called them “the bus,” Mann knew exactly what she meant and it was a shared experience they delighted in. The landscape bloomed into life in the spring and took on a burnished palette in the fall, and they soaked it all in together. “That was joy,” he says. “I like to think you can still bend over and smell a rose; you might not know what it is, but the smell is lovely. Why miss out on that? I just wouldn’t want to.”
Instead of respecting Mann's position, Proudfoot undercuts Mann by imposing Posno's comments in response:
“I can talk to you, I can sing songs. You can keep me busy all day colouring a colouring book, I can go to bed every night with a teddy bear. That’s what they do!” he says, his voice leaping an octave in outraged horror. “That’s what’s considered a normal, happy life for a person in that last terminal [stage].”

“My mind will not have changed; my mind has disappeared. They have no right to say I’m happy and I deserve to live. I am not living at that point, I am existing,” he says. “Your life is in your mind, and when your mind goes, you are not alive.”
Posno's language suggests that people with dementia are not alive. These comments are very dangerous because they dehumanize a segment of the human population. History shows us that it is much easier to kill people who have been dehumanized.

The problem remains, once euthanasia is legal, the only remaining question is who can be killed?

Euthanasia cannot be controlled because there is always a compelling reason to kill people at the most vulnerable time of their life.

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