Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Euthanasia promoting doctor admits that safeguards fail.

When safeguards fail, in the case of euthanasia, it means that someone has wrongfully died.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week, the Psychiatric Times published Part 2 of his series of articles titled: The Case for Medical Aid in Dying. by 
Dr Douglas Heinrichs.

In Part 2 Hendrichs responds to the arguement against MAiD concerning the consequences of legalization. Hendricks, who supports euthanasia, doesn't actually analyse the opposition to killing based on consequences but rather he examines the issues of safeguards and whether or not euthanasia undermines other policy priorities.

For those who oppose euthanasia, among other things, we oppose giving government, or another groups, such as physicians and nurses, the right in law to kill. 
This is the same reason that many people oppose capital punishment. Essentially opposition to MAiD is based on the belief that no group or individual should have the right in law to kill people.

It is interesting that Hendrichs acknowledges that "safeguards" fail. Hendrichs states:
This is not to say that every effort should not be made, both in formulating MAID legislation and fine-tuning it once it is enacted, to optimize safeguards that are effective as well as practical. But such safeguards will never be perfect. All laws about anything result in some instances in which the outcome is other than what the law intends.
Hendrichs is correct, but unlike other circumstances, MAiD is the intentional killing of a person. If the "safeguard" fails, it doesn't mean, as one of his examples state, that a person who is not disabled collects disability benefits, but rather it means that the person is dead.

Hendrichs then states:
Models designed to project risk and harm can be useful to consider, but they are notoriously unreliable, given that they always involve a host of assumptions that are only approximately true in the real world. As fallible human beings, the best we are likely to do is to make reasonable attempts to provide sensible safeguards and be prepared to fine-tune over time as experience accumulates. This is the equivalent of post-marketing reports of adverse effects with a new therapeutic agent.
I think that Hendrichs is correct but once again, with MAiD, when fallible human beings wrongly kill someone, that person is now dead. This is precisely why drug companies are expected to spend millions of dollars on research to ensure that the public will not expericne adverse effects of a new therapeutic agent. Nonetheless, if the therapeutic agent caused the recipients to die, the agent would hopefully be stopped.

Hendrichs, in part 1, argues that people who oppose MAiD usually do so from a religious point of view. Many people come from many different points of view nonetheless what unifies people who oppose MAiD is the belief that the government or a group of people, must not have the right in law to kill.

My life became less safe after Canada has legalized euthanasia.


Chuck said...

In addition to opposing the right of governments to execute convicted felons, one of the serious objections to capital punishment is, rightly, that the risk of executing an innocent person is too high to take. We have seen enough cases of innocent people spending sometimes decades in jail to trust the justice system never to put an innocent person to death. This high standard of certainty is obviously not necessary in the case of doctors killing patients. Yes, mistakes will be made but, oh well. This reflects the attitude that seems to be all too common now that euthanasia has become entrenched in Canada. No matter how mismanaged the system may be, euthanasia must continue. I would expect that if Canada re-instituted capital punishment and one wrongful execution took place the outcry would be enormous, and rightly so. One is too many. But apparently the same attitude does not hold for euthanasia.

What seems to be operating in the case of the pro-euthanasia absolutists is at least one of two things. People have an absolute right to seek and obtain death from a physician for reasons that are compelling to them alone. My life, my choice. And once medically administered death becomes legal, the conditions which make it legal become technicalities. Thus, even if conditions “safeguarding” patients aren’t met, there’s still nothing really wrong with killing them. One would expect an executioner who finds he’d killed an innocent man to feel remorse; no need for a doctor to feel that way about a euthanized patient. The fact that he or she sought euthanasia legitimizes it regardless of the safeguards.

Hendricks contention that most people who oppose euthanasia do from a “religious point of view” is nothing put pandering to prejudice. Holding religious beliefs does not, in fact, disqualify someone from formulating sensible and coherent arguments for or against anything. If I can argue in a compelling way against euthanasia, what different does it make what my religious beliefs or any other beliefs are? Secularism is hardly a guarantee of rationality. Hendricks and many like him are simply trying to marginalize an entire class of people based on something he disagrees with about them so as not to have to deal with anything they say. How then to deal with atheists who oppose euthanasia? Apparently the secular magisterium will have to find some way to disqualify them as well.

Anonymous said...

The law also assumes that the person seeking assisted death is being reasonable. That is often not true. Many people who have failed in trying to commit suicide have expressed great thanks. They acknowledge that they were struggling with mental illness at the time of their attempt. After obtaining counseling & medical help, they realize they have much to live for and that their problems had solutions that were far less invasive than death/suicide. It is irresponsible of a government to allow mentally ill persons to choose death. I don't know about Canada, but this is why attempting suicide was illegal in the USA. Criminalizing the attempt enabled the govt. to force individuals to get treatment for their depression.. My own mother is alive, well & enjoying being a grandmother because the law enabled/ forced her to get help 30 years ago. The MAID law does not go anywhere close to far enough in an attempt to get help for people. In reality they are giving mentally ill people authority to make decisions that they are too ill to make. It is completely irresponsible!

Jeff said...

I agree with the opposition to euthanasia on all points that have been variously expressed in your emails and articles, but I don't think one can classify capital punishment the same way. The two commands given to Noah and his family after the flood were, multiply and fill the earth (establishing family), and, whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for (because) God made man in His own image (establishing our self-governance, the highest duty of which is to protect the sanctity of human life made in God's image by executing murderers). If you want to do away with capital punishment you must also do away with family. Canada has done away with one and is feverishly working to do away with the other through feminism and gender ideologies.

Euthanasia is wrong for the same reason abortion is, that no one, including government, has the right to destroy human life made in God's image. Rather, everyone, especially government, has the responsibility to protect it. It is not about a right to kill. Remember that God who told Noah and the Israelites you shall not kill told the same Israelites to cross the Jordan and kill. And He himself said he raises up nations to punish nations, and that always resulted in bloodshed. The difference is motive, and righteous judgement.

We don't do away with a right principle because it might be misapplied in practice. If we did, we should eliminate all legislation, police, and courts because someone could be wrongfully accused and fired, as happened to my father once. We should eliminate all heterosexual monogamous marriage because someone might have an affair, and all family because one child might be abused or neglected or suffer lack through socioeconomic circumstances. We should eliminate all education because there might be a bad teacher, or a department of education might lose a diploma test result as happened to my daughter this year.