Monday, October 31, 2022

Canadian Senate Bill S-248 would permit involuntary euthanasia (MAiD) by advanced directive.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Senator Pamela Wallin, who strongly supports euthanasia, known as Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) in Canada, introduced Bill S-248: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), to permit involuntary euthanasia (MAiD) by advanced directive when a person is not capable of consenting to be killed.

The purpose of S-248 is to amend the Criminal Code to
(a) permit an individual whose death is not reasonably foreseeable to enter into a written arrangement to receive medical assistance in dying on a specified day if they lose the capacity to consent to receiving medical assistance in dying prior to that day; and

(b) permit an individual who has been diagnosed with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability to make a written declaration to waive the requirement for final consent when receiving medical assistance in dying if they lose the capacity to consent to receive medical assistance in dying, are suffering from symptoms outlined in the written declaration and have met all other relevant safeguards outlined in the Criminal Code.

When Canada legalized euthanasia (Bill C-14) in 2016 it specifically created an exception to homicide in the Criminal Code. S-248 would amend the Criminal Code by creating another exception - enabling a person to sign a contract so that, if a person loses the ability to request or consent, a medical or nurse pratitioner can still:

"administer a substance to a person to cause their death"

Bill S-248 also enables the person to include in the contract a specific date and time that they have chosen to be administered a substance to cause their death.

Senator Wallin includes a proviso. S-248 states - Advance consent invalidated:

(3.‍4) Once a person demonstrates, by words, sounds or gestures, in accordance with subsection (3.‍2), refusal to have the substance administered or resistance to its administration, medical assistance in dying can no longer be provided to them on the basis of Insertion start subsections (3.‍21) or (3.‍22) Insertion end.
Section 3.4 refers to the Netherlands coffee euthanasia death whereby a woman with dementia, who had requested euthanasia in her advanced directive, resisted when the euthanasia doctor was trying to kill her. The euthanasia doctor put sedatives in her coffee, but she continued to resist. The euthanasia doctor then had the family hold her down to enable the euthanasia to be completed.

S-248 contravenes the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision which limited MAiD to competent people.

As much as I oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide Bill C-7 already permitted most of what S-248 is trying to permit, with the exception of enabling the advanced request to be made within a 5-year time frame.

What did Bill C-7 do?

1. Bill C-7 removed the requirement in the law that a person’s natural death be reasonably foreseeable in order to qualify for assisted death. People who are not terminally ill can die by euthanasia.

2. Bill C-7 permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved for assisted death.

3. Bill C-7 waives the ten-day waiting period if a person's natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable.

4. Bill C-7 creates a two track law. A person whose natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable has no waiting period while a person whose natural death is not deemed to be reasonably foreseeable would have a 90 day waiting period before being killed by lethal injection.

5. Bill C-7 permits euthanasia (MAiD) for people who are psychologically suffering in a manner that is intolerable to the person and that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers acceptable. Bill C-7 permitted euthanasia for mental illness alone.

Bill S-248 and the recent push by the Quebec College of Physicians to approve infant euthanasia, undermine that a person needs to be able to request or consent to euthanasia. (Infant euthanasia proposed by Quebec College of Physicians)

How should we respond.

Contact the Senators and contact your Member of Parliament

Tell them that Canada has expanded MAiD beyond what was approved by the Supreme Court of Canada, Carter decision and that euthanasia without consent is too dangerous and beyond what should be considered tolerable.

Tell them that you oppose the extension of MAiD to infants, who cannot consent, and you oppose the extension of MAiD to people with dementia or other cognitive issues, who cannot consent.

Canadian retailer exploits a young artist’s euthanasia to market its fashions

This article was published by Mercatornet on October 31, 2022

By Michael Cook
Editor of Mercatornet

Sign our boycott petition to Simons (Link).

Sometime after Canada’s Thanksgiving Day on October 10, a 37-year-old woman named Jennyfer was euthanised. A few days later, on October 24, one of Canada’s best-known fashion retailers, Quebec-based La Maison Simons, launched an advertising campaign based on her wish to die.

As part of its “All is Beauty” marketing strategy, the company released a stunning three-minute video on YouTube called “The Most Beautiful Exit” about Jennyfer as she prepares for “medical assistance in dying”, as it is called in Canada.

The film opens with an empty hospital room. “Dying in a hospital is not what’s natural, that’s not what’s soft. In these kinds of moments you need softness,” she says. And suddenly the hospital room is washed out to sea from a sandy beach.

“I spent my life filling my heart with beauty, with nature, with connection,” Jennyfer says. “I choose to fill my final moments with the same.”

It shows her on a chair at a beach at the centre of a circle of mute white-clad figures, mostly women. Giant spiral glyphs etched in the sand are erased by the waves.

In a forest, she eats cheesecake with laughing friends, lit by the flames of a bonfire. Giant luminescent puppets — jellyfish and a whale —float in the air. In the darkness around the celebration, silhouetted against the lurid flames are young dancers carrying lanterns on poles.

“Even now as I seek help to end my life, with all the pain in these final moments, there is still so much beauty,” she says. “You just have to be brave enough to see it.”

The video ends with the words “For Jennyfer: June 1985 to October 2022,” and then “All is beauty” with a small reference to La Maison Simons beneath.

The man behind the video is Peter Simons, who has just stepped down as CEO to become chief merchant of La Maison Simons, the oldest family-owned company in Canada. He explains his marketing strategy in a supplementary video. “We are a company that values community, connection, and compassion,” he explains. “The events of the past few years have shown us just how important and necessary these values are in our world today.”

“[We] have made the courageous choice to use the privilege of our voice and platform to create something meaningful, something that is less about commerce and more about connection,” he says.

As a Canadian marketing website notes, “The trend of marketers speaking out on important social issues has been taken to a new level,” with the “All is Beauty” campaign. It is bound to be controversial – especially when the 30-second abridged version hits television screens.

The video is very unsettling. La Maison Simons is treating euthanasia as performance art – a brilliant collage of photography, dance, puppetry, music, and sand art integrated into a beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in the province of British Columbia. Perhaps it’s appropriate that it was released shortly before Halloween, as some of the scenes are reminiscent of a witches’ coven.

Jennyfer does not identify her illness but at the very least she is lucid and able to interact with her friends. She doesn’t seem to be disabled by pain or terminally ill. You don’t have to be terminally ill in Canada to request euthanasia. But is it ethical for a company to use her death as the centrepiece for a major marketing campaign to sell its products? The glittering video can’t quite hide the ghoulish side of this stunt.

This video was not cheap; dozens of friends and actors were involved in filming it over two days just before Thanksgiving. The Canadian advertising company must have worked frantically to edit the film by October 27. Peter Simons’s personal interest and investment must have made it all but impossible for Jennyfer to change her mind about dying. Does he really think that it is ethical to ask her to die according to an advertiser’s timetable?

While Mr Simons and Jennyfer applaud euthanasia as a beautiful choice, stories are beginning to appear in the Canadian media about marginalised people who feel forced to access MAiD because they have only one choice — and it’s ugly. 

Sign our boycott petition to Simons (Link).

Thirty-one-year old Denise has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and has applied for MAiD because she cannot find housing where she will not be exposed to cigarette smoke and air fresheners.

Forty-year-old Mitchell Tremblay suffers from severe depression, anxiety, alcoholism, personality disorders and continual thoughts of suicide. He is unemployed and poor. He can’t wait to become eligible for MAiD. “You know what your life is worth to you. And mine is worthless,” he told CTV News.

Fifty-four-year-old Amir Farsoud is applying for MAiD because he is homeless. “I don’t want to die but I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die,” he told CityNews. “I know, in my present health condition, I wouldn’t survive it anyway. It wouldn’t be at all dignified waiting, so if that becomes my two options, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.”

Euthanasia as performance art is the prerogative of the well-to-do, the well-connected and the privileged. Euthanasia as social injustice will be the lot of the down-and-outs, the abandoned, and the marginalised. If La Maison Simons really valued “community, connection, and compassion”, it would be subsidising housing and medical care for people like this. Instead it is exploiting the death of a young artist to burnish its brand as a champion of progressive values.

Article: Canadian fashion company advertises with euthanasia (Link).

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Euthanasia bill delayed in Portugal's parliament.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Portugal's Parliament
The Portugal Resident news reported on October 26 that Portugal's euthanasia vote has been delayed. The article by Natasha Donn stated:

The vote on the replacement text on medically assisted death has been postponed yet again at the request of the ruling Socialist party today because they believe the bill needs “thorough analysis to have conditions” to be voted on in its first reading. A source for the leadership of the PS parliamentary bench has told Lusa that the request for postponement was “because this is a matter in which there can not be the slightest doubt” – taking into account the two vetoes by President Marcelo in earlier versions of the draft law.

An Associated Press article by Barry Hatton published on June 9, 2022 explained that Portugal's legislature is attempting for its third time to legalize euthanasia in 18 months.

President Marcelo de Sousa
On January 29, 2021, Portugal's parliament passed its first euthanasia bill. On February 19, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa did not to sign the bill into law but referred the bill to Portugal's Constitutional court for evaluation. President de Sousa stated that he thought that the bill was: 

"excessively imprecise," potentially creating a situation of "legal uncertainty."
On March 15, the Portuguese American Journal reported that the Constitutional court rejected the bill and stated:
“the law is imprecise in identifying the circumstances under which those procedures can occur.” The court stated the law must be “clear, precise, clearly envisioned and controllable.” The law lacks the “indispensable rigor."

On November 30, 2021, President de Sousa vetoed the second euthanasia bill because of contradictions in the language of the bill. The Associated Press article reported:
This time, the president is returning the reworded law to the national assembly, according to a statement posted on the Portuguese presidency’s website late on Monday, arguing that further clarification is needed in “what appear to be contradictions” regarding the causes that justify resorting to death with medical assistance.

Whereas the original bill required “fatal disease” as a pre-requisite, the president’s argument followed, the renewed version mentions “incurable” or “serious” disease in some of its formulation. No longer considering that patients need to be terminally ill means, in De Sousa’s opinion, “a considerable change of weighing the values ​​of life and free self-determination in the context of Portuguese society.”

The Associated Press article last June reported that the new bills do not fulfill President De Sousa's concerns. According to the article:

But none of the four new bills addresses Rebelo de Sousa’s specific concerns. Instead, they attempt to simplify circumstances where euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are justified by referring to “a situation of intolerable suffering, with a definitive injury of extreme seriousness or a serious and incurable disease.”

That omission is unlikely to please the president.

I hope that either President De Sousa or the Constitutional Court will once again reject the euthanasia legislation. Sadly, the previous election resulted in the election of a stronger contingent of pro-euthanasia legislators.

Assisted suicide is a disability rights issue.

This story was published by the Minnesota Alliance for Ethical Healthcare.

Kathy with her son Kylen
My name is Kathy Ware. I am first and foremost a mother to two sons, my twenty-one-year-old, Kylen, and Connor who is fourteen. Secondly, I am an MNA union dues paying nurse of seventeen years. I want you to know that assisted suicide is an attack on disability rights and that’s why I’m here.

Kylen Ware has incurable and irreversible medical conditions and lifelong chronic disabilities. He has a seizure disorder, quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and profound mental retardation. I have spent the past twenty-one years of my life as a disability advocate trying to get people to see the dignity and the value and the worth of his life.

Oregon Public Health lists the top five reasons for seeking physician-assisted suicide. Number one is “losing autonomy”; that is Kylen Ware, that is disability. Number two is being “less able to engage in activities;” that is Kylen Ware, that is disability. Number three, “loss of dignity”, which is what I am trying to maintain my son has to the world and to the state of Minnesota. “Losing control of bodily functions” is number four. This one just makes me angry. My son has been diapered for twenty-one years. I don’t think that should be a reason why we go to a doctor to seek physician-assisted suicide. Is that really a reason? Because a person is diapered therefore their lives are less dignified? I don’t think so. “Burden to family and caregivers,” that’s the last one on the list for Oregonians seeking physician-assisted suicide. People wouldn’t pursue physician-assisted suicide if they had the help and the care that they need to take care of their loved one. If this bill was passed, it would be telling people that if you don’t want to feel like a burden, you should go to the doctor to end your life. I don’t want people to look at my son and see a dollar sign, to see a burden and not my son who is inherently valuable to us.

As people from the disability community, we aren’t asking for pity. We want support and we want help and we want our lives to be recognized as valuable. Again, I have worked as a registered nurse for seventeen years. I know the medical bias in the community, I’ve experienced it. I have had nurses come out of patients’ rooms and say, “Jeez if I ever get like that, tattoo DNR/DNI on my chest.” (Do Not Resuscitate/Do Not Intubate.) And I have sat at the nurses’ station and thought, get like what? Like my son?

Recently, I took both my sons in for dental procedures. Same exact dental procedure. Why does the medical community want to know if Kylen Ware is DNR-DNI and do not resuscitate him? But nobody asks me that about my healthy, non-disabled fourteen-year-old? Why is that? What if I want to make Connor DNR/DNI? Are you all okay with that? Because if you’re not, why are you okay with making Kylen DNR/DNI? These are the issues of a population with disabilities. This is a disability rights issue.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Canada has become a world leader in euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kevin Yuill
Kevin Yuill, who authored the book, the Secular case against assisted suicide, wrote an article explaining how Canada has become the world leader in euthanasia that was published on October 26 by Spiked.

Yuill explains that in March 2023, Canada will permit euthanasia for mental illness alone. This would be the second expansion since Canada legalized euthanasia. He wrote:
On 17 March 2023, Canadian law will change to make people whose sole underlying medical condition is mental illness eligible for what Canada refers to as ‘medical assistance in dying’ (MAID). MAID covers both euthanasia and assisted suicide, although the vast majority of cases in Canada are euthanasia, which means that a doctor actively ends a person’s life, rather than giving that person the means to do so him or herself.

This will be the second expansion of euthanasia since it was legalised in 2016. In March 2021, Canada made a new category of patients eligible for MAID. Before then, only those whose death is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ were eligible. ‘Track Two’, however, is available to those with a ‘serious or incurable condition’ for whom death is likely but not imminent. Patients are now said to qualify for MAID if they suffer from a condition or disability which ‘cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable ’.
Yuill tells the stories of Mitchell Tremblay and a Veteran living with PTSD. He writes:
The next expansion could lead to a ‘rush for the doors’. These are the words of 40-year-old Mitchell Tremblay, who is hoping to take advantage of the law change. Tremblay was diagnosed with severe depression as a teen and also suffers from anxiety, alcoholism, personality disorders and continual suicidal thoughts. He can’t work and lives on a disability payment of just under $1,200 (£800) a month. ‘You know what your life is worth to you’, he told interviewers recently, ‘and mine is worthless’.

Tragically, MAID is increasingly being seen as a solution to people’s distress, no matter the cause. Some doctors and counsellors are even recommending it to certain patients and clients. In August, for example, an army veteran seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury was rightly outraged to be offered MAID by an employee of Veterans Affairs Canada, entirely unprompted.
Yuill states that its not surprising that the number of euthanasia deaths has increased so quickly. He writes:
Last year, euthanasia accounted for 3.3 per cent of all deaths, a third more than in 2020. Statistics from Health Canada show that social reasons for wanting euthanasia are already important and will likely climb as the criteria for eligibility expands. In 2021, for instance, 17.3 per cent of people cited ‘isolation or loneliness’ as a reason for wanting MAID. In 35.7 per cent of cases, patients believed that they were a ‘burden on family, friends or caregivers’.
Yuill then writes about the expansion of euthanasia to people with mental illness:
Dr John Maher, a psychiatrist, was shocked when a patient recently discussed the possibility of MAID with him ‘because of his belief no one will ever love him’. No wonder it rattled him. Psychiatrists get up in the morning to help those in mental distress and to prevent suicide – not facilitate it.

Until recently, the Canadian public had been broadly sympathetic to MAID’s original goal – of alleviating suffering among the dying and seriously ill. But there is no majority support for allowing MAID for mental-health conditions. In a poll conducted this year, fewer than half of all Canadians supported extending MAID to adults diagnosed with a serious mental illness.
Yuill continues by commenting on the recent proposal to extend euthanasia to infants and those who are "tired of living":
Dr Louis Roy of the Quebec College of Physicians recently recommended to Canadian lawmakers that MAID be ‘offered’ to children born with severe disabilities up to the age of one. This disturbing proposal was unsurprisingly met with fierce criticism. But another of Roy’s shocking suggestions went almost unnoticed: that MAID should be provided for those elderly people who are ‘tired of being alive’.
Yuill then comments on the euthanasia lobby's past connection to eugenics.
These and other arguments marshalled in favour of euthanasia in Canada bear a striking resemblance to those made in the past to justify eugenics. At the turn of the 20th century, the most fierce proponents of euthanasia and eugenics were physicians and academics. In the US, Dr Ella K Dearborn cheerfully called for ‘euthanasia for the incurably ill, insane, criminals and degenerates’. Dearborn thought it entirely reasonable that everyone should pass an examination allowing them to continue living. In 1906, one sociologist noted in the Minneapolis Journal: ‘I would personally rather administer chloroform to the poor, starving children of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and other American cities, than to see them living as they must in squalor and misery.’

The steady expansion of Canada’s euthanasia laws has echoes of this dark eugenicist vision. Take the case of Amir Farsoud, an impoverished 53-year-old with a chronic back condition, who is about to be made homeless. Farsoud has applied for MAID not because he wants to die, but because he fears the future. ‘I don’t want to die’, Farsoud said, ‘but I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die’. He already has one of the two doctor’s signatures required.
Yuill ends the article by suggesting that Canada's euthanasia law should cause other countries to reject euthanasia. He writes:
But perhaps Canada is also doing the world a favour. In six short years, it has shown that the initial justification for MAID – people’s freedom to alleviate their own suffering from terminal illness – is only a more palatable precursor to something much darker. What we’re seeing in Canada today is what happens when a country convinces itself that lethal injections are a normal part of healthcare. It is what happens when death is treated as a solution to life’s problems. This anti-human movement must be resisted.
Kevin Yuill is a long-time writer on issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Canadian fashion company advertises with euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director,
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

Simons, a Canadian designer and fashion company produced a three minute commercial promoting their products with euthanasia (MAiD). 

Sign our boycott petition to Simons (Link).

The video titled: All Is Beauty - starts with the statement, dying in a hospital is not what's natural, it is not soft, in these type of moments you need softness.

Many people agree that dying in a hospital is not natural or soft but killing is also not natural or soft.

The words then appear on the screen: 
The most beautiful exit. 

The video continues with warm scenes of nature, of friendship and commentary by the woman who will soon die by (MAiD) euthanasia. The woman says:
"It can take dying to figure out what living is all about."
What does this message say to someone who lives with suicidal ideation?

We all have a wish to be remembered and to live a full life, with friends, experiences, beauty and joy. Simons has created a concept commercial that sells their products as part of a "complete life" and dying by euthanasia (MAiD) as the fulfillment of a "complete life."

The reality is the opposite. 

Euthanasia is about killing. 

Killing is not beautiful. 

Euthanasia is not about living a complete life, 

Euthanasia is not about caring for someone, 

Euthanasia is about abandoning someone to death. 

Euthanasia is not about fulfillment but ending life without fulfillment. 

Euthanasia is not about friendships and closure but it is about ending life without closure.

The commercial finishes with a tribute to Jennyfer who died in Oct 2022.

Sign our boycott petition to Simons (Link).

Before buying products from Simons remember who you are giving your money to. Maybe its better to buy from their competitors?

We need an ethical definition of death.

When reading the recent articles on brain death and new organ donation techniques, you may think that I oppose organ donation. I do not oppose organ donation, I support the dead donor rule. It is concerning that the new organ donation technique known as normothermic regional perfusion (NRP) appears to violate the dead donor rule. It appears that the demand for organs seems to have led to the belief that the end justifies the means. Is killing for organs OK because other people will benefit?  Alex Schadenberg

The following article was written by Dr Heidi Klessig and published by the American Thinker on October 25, 2022.

By Dr Heidi Klessig

While the definition of death is being fiercely debated in the medical literature, the public has been kept in the dark. Or is the public being intentionally misled? As bioethicist David Rodriguez-Arias writes, "[t]he history of death determination in the context of organ donation can be described as an indoctrinating attempt to settle a moral controversy."

The definition of life as a body-soul union helps us when it comes to defining death. Most religions of the world have some form of this belief. It is different from the Renaissance view that we are our brains, brains who operate and direct their bodies like machines. Death occurs when the spirit departs from the body, causing the body to lose the complex integration of all its systems, leading to the disintegration of those systems. In biological terms, death is the loss of integration of the organism as a whole. At death, the body stops maintaining itself with heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, temperature control, digestion, and waste management and becomes a corpse.

This definition of death prevailed until 1968, when the ad hoc committee of Harvard Medical School redefined death to include people in an "irreversible coma" as dead. They did this by decree; there were no new studies, tests, or evidence that comatose people were actually dead. The committee listed only pragmatic and utilitarian reasons for this new definition. Its chairman, Dr. Beecher, said not only that it is a waste of resources to keep the hopelessly unconscious patient on the ventilator, but also that society cannot "continue to condone the discard of [their] tissues and organs ... when they could be used to restore the hopelessly ill but otherwise salvageable individual."

In 1981, the ad hoc committee's findings were signed into law as the Uniform Determination of Death Act. This act, known as the UDDA, allowed people with beating hearts to be declared legally dead and taken for organ-harvesting while still biologically alive.

The current UDDA reads as follows:
An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.
Since the UDDA was passed into law, much debate has taken place as to whether the standards have been used to bypass the Dead Donor Rule, which states that organ donors cannot be killed to obtain their organs. Doctors Miller, Truog, and Brock wrote in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy:
Nevertheless, scholars have argued cogently that donors of vital organs, including those diagnosed as 'brain dead' and those declared dead according to cardiopulmonary criteria, are not in fact dead at the time that vital organs are being procured[.] ... This leaves the current practice of organ donation based on the 'moral fiction' that donors are dead when vital organs are procured.
"In response to a number of recent lawsuits related to brain death determination," the American Academy of Neurology has proposed a revision to the UDDA, the RUDDA. The revisions to the UDDA are not inconsequential. The first change would seek to replace the term irreversible in the standards with the term permanent. At first glance, this may not seem like much of a change, but the definitions make a difference. "Irreversible" is commonly held to mean "not capable of being reversed." The term permanent is being offered as meaning that "no attempt will be made to reverse the situation." So, because doctors are not going to attempt to correct the patient's problem, it now becomes "permanent." Dr. Ari Joffe clarifies this for us: 

"[i]s a drowning man dead because no one will swim out to save him? Or is he merely going to die?" The term "permanent" is being inserted to allow patients whose prognosis is death to be called dead.
The second change would narrow down the definition of brain death from "the entire brain" to just selected functions of the brain stem that can easily be tested at the bedside. This change recognizes that current practice does not test all functions of the entire brain, since most people diagnosed as brain-dead still have a functioning hypothalamus, a part of the brain. Many also still have electrical activity on electroencephalogram (EEG), which is one of the reasons that EEG testing as a requirement for a brain death diagnosis was dropped in the 1970s.

The third change would standardize the brainstem testing protocol. The current UDDA states only that "[a] determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards." Since the standard isn't defined, every medical center decides for itself which brainstem tests are performed. This has aided lawyers suing on behalf of patients declared as brain-dead by introducing doubt as to the validity of the brain death testing at one center compared to another.

The fourth change would eliminate the necessity for obtaining consent prior to testing for brain death. The apnea test for brain death disconnects patients from their ventilator for 6–8 minutes to see if they will breathe independently. This test has absolutely no value for the brain-injured patient and can only cause harm to a patient not yet declared brain-dead. When the ventilator is disconnected, rising levels of carbon dioxide in the blood cause intracranial pressure to rise, further damaging the brain. It is like making a heart attack patient with chest pain run on a treadmill. The test can only make the patient worse and only serves the interests of the transplant industry.

The Uniform Law Commission is currently studying these revisions to the UDDA and intends to report its conclusions by 2023. Clearly, the proposed revisions favor the interests of the transplant industry over the interests of patients and their families.

So what is an ethical definition of death? A return to the biological definition would be a good place to start. An individual who has sustained irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions leading to loss of the integration of the organism as a whole is dead. This definition is consistent with the reality of biological death and sound ethical principles.

I realize that returning to this definition will allow for living donation only of one of a paired set of organs, a lobe of lobular organs, or the donation of tissues from corpses. People often ask me, "But what about patients who need a heart transplant?" The tragedy of people dying in need of an organ transplant is heart-breaking. But so is the tragedy of living people being killed by organ-harvesting under the UDDA.

I think that if we hadn't been pouring all our research and monetary efforts into treating people with unethical transplants, science likely would have come up with safe, ethical solutions to these problems by now. And often these transplants don't turn out to be a real solution anyway. According to the 2020 Milliman Report, transplant outcomes are worsening over time in the current unethical system, not improving.

I maintain that for the current transplant system, the ends don't justify the means. Ethicist Dr. Michael Nair-Collins writes, "Appealing to the good consequences of organ transplantation in an attempt to justify the lack of transparency, if not outright obfuscation on which the transplantation enterprise rests, is not a very compelling argument."

Dr. Allen Shewmon and 107 other experts in medicine, bioethics, philosophy, and law have agreed that whereas the UDDA needs to be revised, the RUDDA is not the way to do it. When there is so much controversy on this issue among academics, the public deserves to be informed before another standard is imposed upon them by force of law. It is urgent that the public be made aware of the current unethical definition of death as well as its proposed revisions. Besides not signing a donor card, and documenting your refusal to donate (a downloadable refusal card may be found here), you can also contact the Uniform Law Commission here with your concerns. One of the most helpful things you can do is continue to share this information. Tell new young drivers not to sign donor cards, help loved ones make ethical end-of-life decisions, and raise public awareness simply by talking with your friends. We all deserve an ethical definition of death.

Dr. Heidi Klessig is a retired anesthesiologist and pain management specialist who writes and speaks about organ donation. Her work may be found at respectforhumanlife.com.

Rape survivor asks for euthanasia in India.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A 30-year-old woman in India has asked President Draupadi Murmu's permission to die by euthanasia after being allegedly raped by her stepson and a friend of her husband.

Ashima Sharda Mahindra reported for TimesNow news:

A woman allegedly raped by her stepson and husband’s friends for months, has written a letter to President Draupadi Murmu seeking permission for death by euthanasia.

Media reports say the 30-year-old woman, a resident of BareIlly in UP has written that she has lost all hope for justice.
Mahindra reported for TimesNow that the woman has been unable to gain justice:
“I have struggled enough and don’t think I will get any justice. So, I want to end my life with your permission,” she wrote in the letter.

According to the woman, who married a 55-year-old farmer for the second time after her divorce, she was approached by the stepson for an illicit relationship but refused and was sexually assaulted, repeatedly, ever since.
Police say an investigation is underway but no arrests have been made.

This is a very upsetting and different reason for requesting euthanasia. The woman is experiencing incredible pain after being criminally violated and she feels that her life is not worth living.

Similar to euthanasia requests in Canada, many people are seeking death for other reasons, such as poverty, an inability to get needed medical treatment and to avoid become homeless.

No one should be put in such a vulnerable position that they feel that death is preferable to life.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Toronto Star: Canada is going too far with (MAiD) euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article titled - Canada is going too far with medical assistance in dying. The danger of abuse is becoming ever more apparent - would not be a surprise if it were published by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, but on October 14 the Toronto Star published an article by columnist Andrew Phillips with that title.

Let me explain. The Toronto Star has been one of the more prolific promoters of euthanasia.

Phillips is writing his article in response to the presentation by Dr Louis Roy for the Québec College of Physicians to The Special Joint Committee on MAiD on Friday September 7 urging Canada's Federal government to expand euthanasia to infants. But Phillips doesn't limit his criticism to infant euthanasia. Philips writes:

How does the unthinkable become not only thinkable, but seemingly inevitable? How do we normalize things we recently considered not just abnormal, but horrifying?

The question arises because a major Canadian medical organization is pushing the idea of allowing doctors to do something that’s long been considered unthinkable and abnormal: killing infants who are born with conditions that make survival impossible.

Phillips continues by expressing his support for euthanasia while stating how the law has expanded:

Now, Canada’s laws on MAID have long been stretched far beyond the original (and praiseworthy) concept of sparing terminally ill people from unnecessary agony at the end of their lives, allowing a so-called “death with dignity.” When the law was passed in 2016 it didn’t specify that a person must be terminally ill to qualify for a medically assisted death, and last year it was amended to remove the requirement that death be “reasonably foreseeable.”

The system is about to be expanded even more. In March, the rules are to be changed to allow a person to qualify for MAID if they’re suffering from a mental illness alone. And the debate on extending it to those “mature minors” is an active one. The prospect of a badly depressed 16-year-old being euthanized in this country can no longer be dismissed as just the nightmare of those “slippery slope” thinkers who always feared that MAID would turn into death on demand.

Phillips expresses caution with the direction of the law:

The government seems to be swept along by this logic, unable or unwilling to find a reason to draw a line anywhere. But as the law is widened, the danger of abuse is becoming ever more apparent.

Extending MAID to those with mental illnesses carries obvious risks, given that suicidal thoughts can be part and parcel of some psychological conditions. Advocates for the disabled warn that widening the MAID criteria makes their lives seem more disposable than others, and worry people with disabilities will feel pressure to go that route.

Les Landry
Phillips wrote about the 51 year-old woman with MCS who died by euthanasia based on poverty and Les Landry who has asked to be killed by euthanasia because of poverty. He explains that euthanasia is not rare with the 2021 statistics indicating that 10,064 Canadians reportedly died by euthanasiarepresenting 5% of all deaths in the provinces of Québec and British Columbia.

Phillips concludes by stating:

To state the obvious, or what ought to be obvious: we should not have a system that kills people because they’re desperate or disposable or too costly to keep alive. But right now we’re heading toward something like that, and it seems we don’t know how to stop.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition appreciates Andrew Phillips for recognizing the trend and the Toronto Star for publishing the article, but Canada got into this mess because politicians and the media ignored us, as alarmist, when in fact we were the canaries in the coal mine.

Belgian Constitutional Court makes it easier to kill by euthanasia.

This article was published by the National Review on October 21, 2022.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley J Smith

The headline on this Brussels Times story is says much less than it seems to: “Constitutional Court Voids Belgium’s Euthanasia Law.” 

Alas, the story about the ruling seems to indicate that the problem with the law was that it was too strictly written, rather than being a violation of fundamental rights.
In a remarkable ruling, Belgium’s Constitutional Court has declared the country’s euthanasia law to be unconstitutional and will therefore need to be modified.

The ruling does not imply that euthanasia is, or soon will be, illegal in Belgium: rather, it merely notes that key provisions of the law cannot be consistently reconciled with Belgium’s Constitution.
In its written judgment, the Court concluded that Article 3 of the current euthanasia law implies that violation of the so-called ‘procedural’ conditions for legally ending someone’s life is punishable by the same standards as the violation of so-called ‘fundamental’ conditions.

This, the Court argued, is both intuitively unreasonable — given that it implies that a doctor who violated a minor procedural condition while administering euthanasia would be technically guilty of murder — but it is also unconstitutional, insofar as it violates the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined by Articles 10 and 11 of the Belgian Constitution.
In other words, doctors who kill patients at their request will have to be better protected by law against prosecution — which is the kind of situation that led to this ruling:
The Court’s ruling follows that of a controversial recent legal case in the city of Dendermonde in East Flanders, in which several doctors were acquitted of the murder of Tine Nys, a 38-year-old patient who claimed to be experiencing “unbearable psychological suffering.”

The doctors’ defence counsel successfully argued that [it] was unjustifiable to accuse the doctors administering Nys’ euthanasia of murder when they had only violated a procedural condition.
Here’s the key point in the story:
Many in Belgium believe that the country’s current euthanasia law is not permissive enough, given that, among other things, it presents enormous legal barriers towards providing physician-assisted dying for those suffering from dementia.
Rather than restricting doctor-administered death, the ruling in fact means that the law will be amended to make it easier and less risky to euthanize the mentally ill, elderly couples who fear widowhood, very sick babies, the victims of botched sex-change surgeries, the chronically ill and disabled, people with PTSD, etc., with organ harvesting thrown in the deal as a plum to society.

Euthanasia legalization takes society down a one-way street towards having an ever-expanding killable caste.

Canada's Minister of disability inclusion opposes infant euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A presentation by Dr Louis Roy for the Québec College of Physicians to The Special Joint Committee on MAiD on Friday September 7 urged Canada's Federal government to adopt a Netherlands Groningen style protocol to permit infant euthanasia.

Article: Infant euthanasia proposed by the Quebec College of Physicians (Link)

Article: Quebec College of Physicians slammed for justifying infant euthanasia (Link).

A CBC News article by Catherine Cullen and Alexandra Zabjek reported on October 22 that Carla Qualtrough told CBC radio's The House that:
"I find that completely shocking and unacceptable. I would never support going down that road,"
The CBC report stated:

Qualtrough, who is legally blind, said that while she can't speak on behalf of the entire government, "there is no world where I would accept that."

People often make incorrect assumptions about the quality of life that someone with a disability experiences, she said.

Extending assisted death to infants is not one of the topics the parliamentary committee has been tasked with exploring — although it is reviewing whether the practice should be available to so-called "mature minors" who would be old enough to offer informed consent.
Qualtrough also expressed concern that people with disabilities are asking for (MAiD) euthanasia based on poverty or an inability to receive necessary medical treatment. The article reported:
Qualtrough also said she hears frequently that some people with disabilities are seeking assisted deaths because they can't find adequate housing or sufficient care.

"Working with the disability community and hearing very regularly that people's options around MAID are being driven by lack of social supports is devastating," she said.

The CBC report stated that The Special Joint Committee on MAiD that was scheduled to table its report on October 17 has now had the committee report extended to February 17, 2023.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is pleased that the committee report has been delayed but we remain concerned about the possible extension of the committee's mandate. We fear that the government is examining further areas of expansion of the euthanasia law.

Many people suggested that the Quebec College of Physicians only launched a trial balloon concerning infant euthanasia, nonetheless, the Netherlands approved the Groningen Protocol which permits infant euthanasia in 2005 and Belgium eliminated any age limit for euthanasia a few years ago.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Belgian Constitutional Court voids parts of the euthanasia law.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Belgian Constitutional Court declared that the country's euthanasia law is unconstitutional and must be amended. Thomas Moller-Nielsen reported for The Brussels Times on October 21 that: 

The ruling does not imply that euthanasia is, or soon will be, illegal in Belgium: rather, it merely notes that key provisions of the law cannot be consistently reconciled with Belgium's Constitution."

In its written judgment, the Court concluded that Article 3 of the current euthanasia law implies that violation of the so-called 'procedural' conditions for legally ending someone's life is punishable by the same standards as the violation of so-called 'fundamental' conditions.
Tine Nys with her sisters.
The Belgian Constitutional Court decision was based on the Tine Nys case. Nys died by euthanasia based on psychological suffering. She was approved based on being diagnosed with autism but her family states that she asked for euthanasia based on a broken love relationship.

The meaning of this decision will be explained after further analysis, but it appears that the court is suggesting that the law is too restrictive, meaning the court is stating that the violating the procedural conditions should not be punishable in the same way as ending someone's life, but rather a simple punishment for violating procedures, possibly a monetary fine.

What is crazy about this decision is that doctors have been violating the procedure of the law for years are they have not been punished. The concern was that Tine Nys was wrongfully killed, so this was more than just a procedural error.

Why did they kill my brother?

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alan (left) and Gary Nichols
I have written about the euthanasia death of Alan Nichols before, in fact I worked with the Nichols family in 2019, nonetheless, Flo Read wrote an excellent article about Alan Nichols that was published by UnHerd on October 18, 2022.

Read interviews Gary Nichols, Alan's brother. Alan was not sick or dying but he was depressed when he asked to be killed in 2019 at the Chilliwack General Hospital.

Read tells the story of Alan Nichols:

As a child, Alan Nichols had suffered complications from surgery which affected his mobility on one side and left him with hearing loss. Still, he was living independently before his death. Physically, Gary says, his brother had been doing much better: “He was being treated for absolutely nothing, no illness.” But Alan’s mental health was volatile. “He would go through stages where life was good and then he’d hit a stage for a while, for a month or two, where he didn’t feel like living.” He was prone to paranoia and reacted badly to change: if Gary was getting ready to leave, Alan might say: “Are you going to leave me home with all these knives?” And Gary would have to say: “Alan, I trust you. If that’s what you want to do, I can’t guard you 24/7.”

He did guard Alan, as well as he could. After their parents died, Gary and his other brother Wayne took turns in helping Alan to do tasks that overwhelmed him, such as banking. But they both had their own lives, and Alan struggled to accept help from friends. In the months before his death, he had begun to feel increasingly isolated. His local network was coming apart: Wayne had decided to take a trip across Canada; a trusted neighbour was planning to relocate; his favourite shop had closed. His story isn’t unusual: of the 31,664 assisted deaths in Canada, 17% of the patients cited “isolation or loneliness” as a reason for wanting to end their lives.

Gary Nichols
Read explains the circumstances of Alan's euthanasia death:

The week before Wayne was due to leave, Alan was found by paramedics on the floor of his apartment. The neighbour he trusted had raised the alarm after not seeing him for days. He was malnourished and clearly suffering a major depressive episode. He was taken to Chilliwack General Hospital.

Alan did try to resist being sectioned. Gary was told that his brother “was fighting not to go into the ambulance”. Gary rushed to the hospital to see his brother, who said to him: “If you’re not here to bust me out, you might as well leave.” Gary didn’t bust him out, a decision he now says he regrets. He trusted the hospital to look after Alan. When he called to get updates on Alan’s condition, the staff were optimistic: “The hospital would say, ‘Oh, he’s doing fine. He’s okay. Yeah, he’s eating.’” It made Gary think Alan was “getting back on track.” What the hospital didn’t tell Gary was that his brother had actually signed his own death warrant.
Gary & Trish Nichols
Patient confidentiality prevented Gary from knowing what was happening to Alan.
But what happens when there is no terminal diagnosis? What if your family don’t support your wish to die? In the days and weeks following his hospitalisation, Alan refused to take visits from his brothers. Gary tells me that patient confidentiality meant that the doctors didn’t have to inform them about Alan’s application for assisted dying. The people who loved him didn’t find out about it until a couple of days before the procedure was scheduled. Gary sees the hospital as partly responsible for keeping Alan from his family. “The last two weeks, they were treating him for nothing. They were giving him room and board.” He could have gone home. When, later, Gary asked the hospital, “Why did you keep him there?”, they said: “Alan didn’t think he should go home because you guys would try to convince him otherwise.”
Gary tried to convince Alan to live.
Gary did, indeed, spend the last day of his brother’s life trying to change Alan’s mind. He winces at the memory: “I think we came really, really close to convincing him not to do this.” Aware that his brother felt isolated, Gary told him: “Alan, I’m contemplating retiring this year, and possibly coming back to Chilliwack. To give you a little more support and a little more family close by”: “He just looks at me and says, ‘Geez, I wish I’d known that.’” In Alan’s view, it was already too late to alter his decision.

Now, Gary wonders if his brother would have regretted his attempt to end his life, had it not succeeded. It’s common knowledge in psychiatry that most previously suicidal people do. One Harvard study shows that “nine out of ten people who attempt suicide and survive will not go on to die by suicide at a later date”. Gary says he feels utterly betrayed by the hospital, the Canadian government, the whole system that undid all his family’s hard work to keep Alan alive.
The government is planning further expansions of the euthanasia law.
Gary suspects Trudeau will allow the laws to go even further. “Why don’t you just set up a walk-in clinic for it? Because that’s what’s going to happen: once the government opens the door, these physicians and medical teams are just going to open it wider.”
Read ends the article this way:

As we say our goodbyes, Gary remembers something:
“In 2008, my mum called me and said: ‘Alan didn’t show up for dinner last night.’ So I said: ‘Okay, I’ll go check on him.’

So, I went over to see him, and his door was locked and wasn’t opening. I called a locksmith who came and opened up the door, and we went in there and he was laying in his bed.

And he says: ‘I knew eventually somebody would come to see me.’”
Further articles about the euthanasia death of Alan Nichols: