Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Standing firm against assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Two weeks I published an article titled: Is assisted suicide a suicide? based on the ongoing debate in the Psychiatric Times between Psychiatrist, Dr Mark Komrad and long-time euthanasia activist Margaret Battin PhD.

Dr John Maher
Today I published an article by psychiatrist, Dr Komrad's responding to Battin's assertion that there is no proof of a slippery slope in jurisdictions that have legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Yesterday, eminent psychiatrist Dr John Maher also responded to the ongoing debate with his article published in the Psychiatric Times, titled: Why Stand Firm Against Physician-Assisted Suicide.

Maher who is president of the Ontario Association for ACT & FACT and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health also responds to Battin's theory negating slippery slopes in jurisdictions that have legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide. Maher responds to Battin by stating:

The letter objects to slippery slope arguments, saying that allowing medical aid in dying (MAID) will not lead to abuses. In response it must be said that there are already unequivocally widespread abuses in the Benelux countries (euthanasia without consent, euthanasia without standard treatments tried first, euthanasia with psychiatrists’ objections on eligibility being overruled/ignored, doctor shopping to get the desired outcome) and these abuses could not have occurred without the original practices being allowed, paving the way. The slippery slope is indisputably real, and the reality is that given an inch, proponents of MAID in those nations took a mile...

The letter claims that, “it is deeply contentious whether euthanasia for patients who regard themselves as having had a complete life, or who find that they are tired of living, is itself wrong.” This statement completely undermines the claim that slippery slopes are not a concern. Once assisted suicide is allowed for some, it will be allowed for others, for increasingly dubious reasons.

Maher then responds to Battin's assertion that legalizing assisted death does not negatively affect people with disabilities. Maher writes:

The letter also claims that “thus far there is no compelling evidence that aid-in-dying legislation in any country is causally associated with worsened treatment of patients with disabilities.” Is the repeated, passionate testimony from individuals with disabilities who were offered medical suicide before care not compelling? The 7-minute testimony of Gabrielle Peters before the Senate of Canada is particularly poignant and compelling in this regard. The stories and experiences of individuals with disabilities are being ignored.

Maher concludes his article by stating:

If you substitute the word suicide for MAID in this sentence what is apparent is that the important questions are really: can rational suicide be morally acceptable? And should psychiatrists do only selective suicide prevention? I believe the answer, to both questions, is no. Either psychiatrists have a unique and sacrosanct duty of care (that inextricably entails the preservation of life) or they do not. Our job as psychiatrists is to help bring meaning, purpose, and hope and to be unfailing in our efforts to do so.

Margaret Battin Phd has been a promoter of euthanasia and assisted suicide for most of her professional life. I thank these emminent psychiatrists for challenging Battin's false statements and beliefs. The euthanasia lobby has created a false reality by redefining suicide and denying the existence of a slippery slope. Experts are now challenging Battin's assertions.


A Martin said...

Thank you Dr. John Maher for speaking the truth.

Meriam said...

"Our job as psychiatrists is to help bring meaning, purpose, and hope and to be unfailing in our efforts to do so." Dr. Maher

It will be an excellent healthcare if medical practitioners and nurse practitioners have Dr. Maher's wisdom or true caring professional.

Thank you Dr. Maher.

Kristofeir said...

participating in killing in not health care. Where is the ethical and moral conscience of medical and nurse practitioners participating in killing?