Monday, April 29, 2024

Canada's Federal Disability Benefit of $200 per month is inadequate to meet the needs of People with Disabilities.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition upholds that the Canadian federal budget announcement that people with disabilities, who qualify, can receive $200 more per month, is an insufficient amount to meet the basic needs of Canadians with disabilities. Alex Schadenberg

Meghan Schrader
Message from the Meghan Schrader

Instead of robustly funding the Disability Benefit that Canadian disability rights advocates had hoped would lift poor people with disabilities at least up to the poverty line, Justin Trudeau’s government allocated only $200 a month for the new benefit (twitter comment) and attached qualification for the benefit to the Disability Tax Credit, making it difficult to qualify for. (CTV news article).

The gutted sobbing of disabled people on disability benefits who were so hoping that they would finally be able to eat three times a day is an indictment of a government that prioritizes everything but disabled people. The fact that Canada’s government would give their starving and demoralized disabled citizens only an extra $6.18 a day is truly vile, and speaks to how much Canada, and the world, don't understand the needs of (Twitter comment) disabled people.

Moreover, the current Canadian government responded to the cries of disabled people with excuses and statements that Conservatives will simply cancel the benefit entirely. Every conservative voted for the benefit. The current government’s response is a hallmark of an abusive relationship: the government is telling the disabled people that they are killing and starving “no one will ever love you but me.” (Twitter comment).

One reason that I so strongly oppose assisted suicide is that there are too many in the United states who think like Justin Trudeau and the Canadian middle class (Article) and look longingly at Canada as a model (Article) for our country: “I want the free dental care, I want the $10 daycare, I want free lunches for my kids, I want the perfect autonomous death…” (Article) And those same people never consider the fact that they don’t actually need those entitlements in the same way that disabled people need accommodations and care; (Twitter comment) they don’t even think about the fact that disabled people exist. (Twitter comment) Others understand that their entitlements are coming at the expense of disabled people’s very lives, yet are willing to keep the people killing them in power because they want the free stuff.

Well, guess what, ableds: disabled people don’t owe you anything; we especially do not owe you our lives. You’re not entitled to anything at disabled people’s expense just because you want it.

All other Canadian political parties - the NDP, the Conservatives, the Greens - must roundly condemn the inadequate support for disabled people. (Twitter comment) And people in the United States need to stop looking at Canada as a model for how our society should function. All ethical people must join together and work hard to keep Canada’s degradation of the disabled people from oozing over our borders and making the already third class citizenship (Article) of disabled Americans (Meghan Schrader Twitter comment) even worse.

Meghan Schrader is an autistic person who is an instructor at E4 - University of Texas (Austin) and an EPC-USA board member.

Help the Calgary father of a 27-year-old autistic woman stop her euthanasia death.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director,
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Help the Calgary father of the 27-year-old autistic woman stop his daughter from being killed by euthanasia by donating to his legal expenses. (Link to the GiveSendGo campaign).

Due to a publication ban, the media refers to the father as (WV) and his daughter as (MV). WV contends that MV does not qualify for euthanasia because she is physically healthy, even though she is experience suicidal ideation.

I reported on April 9, 2024 that the father was granted an injunction preventing the euthanasia death of his 27-year-old autistic daughter, at least until the Alberta Court of Appeal decides on his challenge to the decision approving his daughters's euthanasia death.

This case is particularly distressing for me since I have an autistic son.

The Calgary father has already accumulated more than $100,000 in legal expenses in his attempt to prevent the euthanasia death of his healthy autistic daughter.

The legal expenses will continue to climb as his lawyers prepare for the Alberta Court of Appeal hearing in October 2024.

Help the Calgary father of the 27-year-old autistic woman stop his daughter from being killed by euthanasia by donating to his legal expenses. (Link to the GiveSendGo campaign).

Articles on this topic:

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Canada's Euthanasia Regime - Interview with Dr Ramona Coelho

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr Ramona Coelho

An excellent interview of Dr Ramona Coelho by Jonathon Van Maren was published in the European Conservative on April 24, 2024. 

As stated by Van Maren, Dr Coelho is a family physician in London, Ontario, with a practice largely serving marginalized patients, she has testified before Parliament, laid out the dangers of legal euthanasia on TV and in print, and presciently warned policymakers of many of the scenarios we now see unfolding. Dr Coelho is a leading voice opposing Canada's euthanasia regime.

Van Maren begins the article by bringing up two of the most recent Canadian euthanasia stories and commenting on the issue of euthanasia for mental illness alone:

For the past several years, the euthanasia horror stories unfolding in Canada have captured the attention of the press on both sides of the Atlantic. I have detailed many of them in my reporting; as I write this, a desperate father is battling in court to prevent his healthy 27-year-old autistic daughter from dying by doctor-administered lethal injection; another Canadian has been approved for euthanasia after developing bedsores while waiting for necessary healthcare that is increasingly difficult to obtain.

At the end of January, the Trudeau government delayed, for the second time, their plan to expand euthanasia eligibility to Canadians struggling solely with mental illness. Initially, a strong majority of Canadians supported legal euthanasia in limited circumstances. The events of the past several years have begun to erode that support, and the Conservative Party is campaigning on a promise to pass legislation banning euthanasia for mental illness. It is an incredibly pressing issue: if suicide-by-doctor were to be made available to the mentally ill, Canada’s ever-rising euthanasia death rate would spike overnight.

Dr Coelho defines what the term MAiD means:

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is the Canadian term that refers to both euthanasia and assisted suicide, although up to this point 99.9% of cases have been euthanasia (physician administered lethal cocktail to induce death, usually by IV) so I think it’s accurate and clearer to refer to this as euthanasia. However, it is possible that there might be more cases of assisted suicide (patient self-administers the lethal cocktail of drugs) in coming years as both are permitted. I will refer to it as MAiD just for ease and as some very few cases do involve assisted suicide.

Van Maren then asks Dr Coelho to comment on euthanasia for mental illness:

MAiD really never should have been an option for those with mental illness. Canadians face major barriers to access mental health care and numerous Canadian psychiatrists have voiced serious reservations about this expansion. We do not even understand how clinically to distinguish between the overwhelming majority of those with mental illness, who recover with suicide prevention and services, and those very few who might not. Such an expansion would allow healthcare practitioners arbitrarily to decide who deserves suicide prevention and who is deemed eligible for MAiD, potentially placing many Canadians’ lives at risk.

The legislation permitting MAiD for mental illness should have been permanently abandoned. But despite recommendations from its most recent parliamentary committee and most Canadian provinces asking that the legislation be indefinitely paused, the government has chosen simply to delay its implementation once again, this time until 2027. Politically, the delay in implementation of this legislation, rather than stopping it altogether, seems imprudent for the current government, as it may become a significant election issue. I would say Canadians are increasingly recognizing the risks of expanding MAiD to include individuals whose sole medical condition is mental illness.

Dr Coelho then comments on possible further expansions of MAiD in Canada:

And besides this, we still have the 2023 parliamentary recommendations to include MAiD for “mature” children and advance directives for euthanasia next. MAiD was initially introduced as an exceptional procedure to be used only for those near death with intolerable suffering, but once society embraces the intentional ending of one’s life as a treatment for suffering, it becomes practically impossible to contain, with Canada being a case in point.

Dr Coelho then comments on the concerns with medical safety:

In February 2024, the Canadian Human Rights Commission expressed ongoing concern over reports indicating that individuals with disabilities opt for MAiD due to a lack of essential support services. The CHRC is joined by UN human rights experts, Canadian disability groups, Indigenous advocates, social justice groups, and numerous medical and legal professionals in these concerns.

I was interviewed for a documentary featuring the tragic MAiD death of Rosina Kamis, who, citing poverty and loneliness, chose MAiD due to insufficient support. Some Canadian bioethicists argue that MAiD under “unjust social circumstances” is a form of “harm reduction.” However, this is not a free autonomous choice, but death driven by desperation and structural inequalities.

Messages promoting suicide and easier access to lethal means heighten suicide risks. MAiD exacerbates these dangers, endangering vulnerable individuals by increasing the likelihood of being induced into a premature death. Additionally, healthcare providers’ often inaccurately rate the quality of life of individuals with disabilities as poor, which may lead to their biases leading to suggesting or approvals of MAiD, particularly when patients are experiencing transient low points in their lives.

Dr Coelho then comments on the model practise standard:

Health Canada’s “Model Practice Standard for Medical Assistance in Dying” suggests informing patients about MAiD if the practitioner suspects it aligns with patient values and preferences. In contrast, other jurisdictions discourage or prohibit raising death as a treatment option due to concerns about undue patient pressure. The model practice standard’s stance on “conscientious objection” supports “effective referral” of patients. This means that, if a physician is concerned that MAiD is not a patient’s best option, they must still refer the patient to ensure access to MAiD, instead of pausing or stopping the process.

Examples of these unsafe policies are evident in MAiD training videos. In one, an instructor recognizes that patients may choose MAiD for unmet psycho-social needs, suggesting referral for MAiD completion if discomfort arises. Another instructor in a separate video advises continuing the MAiD process even if a practitioner believes a patient doesn’t qualify for MAiD, suggesting doctor shopping is acceptable.

Certain regions in Canada have the highest MAiD death rates globally. By 2022, nearly 45,000 MAiD deaths occurred across Canada since its legalization—almost 13,000 in 2022 alone, with estimates for 2023 approaching 16,000. Canada’s MAiD regime has chosen to prioritize accessibility over patient safety.

Dr Coelho then comments on her experience with the disability community:

Realizing my political naivety while advocating for legislative change has been a profoundly sad and eye-opening experience. Despite the government’s repeated assurances of listening to the concerns of persons with disabilities and their advocates, the reality witnessed during parliamentary hearings has been disheartening, as their voices are frequently disregarded or dismissed.

Throughout these hearings, committee members have consistently challenged the credibility of accounts detailing abuses within the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) system. They assert an unwavering trust in MAiD assessors, portraying them as professionals deserving of complete faith and trust to get it right every time. However, this confidence is inconsistently applied, as committee members often interrupt and question the integrity of medical and legal experts expressing caution or offering alternative perspectives.

Furthermore, the presence of physicians who are now part of the government on MAiD parliamentary committees has not resulted in the expected depth of medical expertise or unbiased guidance. Instead, their contributions have often been marked by bias, with loaded questions designed to limit responses and paint concerned witnesses as advocating for prolonged suffering. This portrayal is starkly at odds with the reality faced by patients who endure lengthy waits for treatment. This waiting for care and being neglected by our society and health care system wears people down and can lead to choosing MAiD as the only accessible option.

Dr Coelho then comments on the euthanasia lobby:

Behind the scenes, powerful lobby groups in Canada wield significant influence in shaping the debate surrounding the expansion of MAiD. These groups, backed by substantial funding for government relations, dictate the trajectory of discussions, often overshadowing the voices of the underfunded and marginalized disability community. Despite the government’s claims of inclusivity, the reality is that this debate has been primarily driven by powerful interests, rather than the voices of those directly affected.

In essence, the legislative process surrounding MAiD in Canada has exposed systemic flaws and power imbalances, highlighting the urgent need for genuine inclusivity and meaningful dialogue that centers on the experiences and concerns of the real stakeholders, the disability community, which is most directly impacted by these policies.

Coelho is then asked about what must be done to reduce MAiD:

Thomas Insel’s book Healing drives home the critical role community life, support networks, and purpose have in dictating mental health outcomes, thereby highlighting the need for proactive measures. Firstly, the government must fulfill its duty to ensure everyone gets timely care, counseling, and the community resources they need. It’s unfortunate that we’re offering death as an option without properly supporting people who are struggling. At the same time, establishing a national suicide prevention framework is imperative to mitigate the risk factors that could contribute to MAiD decisions.

Palliative care centers have to be prioritized, offering a range of services including pain management, emotional support, end-of-life planning, and counseling individuals facing terminal illness, alongside robust access to disability and mental health services. This entails a concerted effort to build expertise, expand medical care systems, and ensure widespread accessibility.

Investment in community systems is essential too, fostering relationships and a sense of purpose and belonging. By organizing regular community gatherings, support groups, and educational workshops, communities can forge stronger bonds, mitigating feelings of isolation and despair. On the ground level, everyone can be involved in making sure neighbours and family members feel they are needed and cared for.

Furthermore, Canada’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must be upheld, ensuring the provision of essential services and support for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The government has to address the systemic lack of social, economic, and health supports in order to alleviate the suffering that may otherwise drive individuals towards MAiD. We know that suffering from social and economic deprivation actually increases overall suffering from disability as it becomes conflated.

In essence, reducing the number of victims under Canada’s MAiD regime requires a comprehensive approach. Only through concerted efforts across these fronts can Canada ensure the dignity and well-being of its citizens, particularly those facing vulnerability and suffering. We need to make people feel they can live with dignity.

Dr Coelho is then asked what a future government must do:

Sadly, many Canadians remain unaware of the risks of our MAiD regime. As I mentioned, once a society embraces ending life as a solution to suffering, containing this procedure becomes nearly impossible. Tragically, the victims of this system are dead and can be forgotten, silenced, unable to recount the injustices that may have influenced their “choosing” death.

Therefore, to start, completely repealing Bill C-7 is imperative. Anything less is unacceptable to the disability community and greatly perpetuates the risks that death is driven by unjust circumstances.

There is also an urgent need to redefine the terms used in legislation, particularly ambiguous terms like reasonably foreseeable natural death (RFND). Through broad interpretations, individuals with potentially years of life ahead of them are prematurely ending their lives through the RFND track—a practice that was intended only for those in the final stages of life. Moreover, we have people who are simply stating they will refuse care to make themselves sick enough to qualify for RFND; MAiD should only be available to those with a disease prognosis of six months or less, not to individuals deliberately inducing sickness to qualify.

It is necessary to stem the influence of powerful lobby groups and expansionist medical advocacy organizations like the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers (CAMAP). CAMAP received 3.3 million Canadian dollars in funding from Health Canada to educate MAiD assessors and providers and has many problematic guidance policies. A balanced independent panel of experts, as urged by the Canadian Human Rights Commissioner, should be convened to review the MAiD regime. This panel should guide legislative amendments, Health Canada policies, and provincial regulatory bodies to increase patient safety.

Many existing policies clearly require revision, including raising MAiD unsolicited, enforced mandatory referrals, and the worrisome trend of integrating MAiD into all care facilities. Ideally, a civil board comprising a multidisciplinary team should evaluate each case before approval to mitigate choices to die that are driven by structural inequalities. We also need better, publicly available, data collection all around.

This is not merely a matter of individual autonomy; it is a public safety concern that is affecting marginalized and disabled individuals. When discussing autonomy, we must consider relational autonomy—what we owe to each other and society as a whole. MAiD is a public policy, so we must consider the well-being of all—not just those seeking to end their lives on their own terms.

Previous articles by or articles concerning Dr Ramona Coelho (Article links).

EPC-USA Disability Rights Opposition New Hampshire to Assisted Suicide Bill HB1283.

Dear Senator

Meghan Schrader
EPC-USA's Fact Sheet is testimony regarding the social harms attached to assisted suicide legislation like HB1283. However, given that assisted suicide’s negative impact is going to fall primarily on the disabled community, the EPC felt that we should submit a more detailed analysis of how assisted suicide undermines disability rights, and whose advice on this matter ought to be heeded by members of the Assembly.

Members of the EPC board with training in the fields of disability studies and advocacy have noted that some assisted suicide advocates are trying to hijack disability rights for their own purposes. For instance, an able-bodied man named Christopher Riddle has done pro-assisted suicide advocacy in the Northeast while presenting himself as a “disability rights advocate.” Riddle is a colleague of Udo Schuklenk, one of the architects of Canada’s euthanasia program, and Riddle enthusiastically approves of that program.

Moreover, Riddle’s theories about disability rights have been reasonably criticized as lacking any empirical grounding in the experiences of disabled people. He has no experience or personal stake in the practical implications of his ideas.

Furthermore, Riddle’s scholarship dehumanizes disabled people who are harmed by assisted suicide; he frames anyone who might be harmed by assisted suicide as the equivalent of a car accident statistic. He asserts that harm that assisted suicide might cause for people with disabilities “ought not to be of special concern.” Hence, Riddle is willing to sacrifice people with disabilities for the right to die movement’s agenda; he is not the “disability rights advocate” he claims to be.

For a more accurate understanding of how the disabled community has approached the issue of assisted suicide, we encourage you to watch a video created by disability studies ethicist Harold Braswell about disability rights opposition to assisted suicide. Braswell has studied the right to die issue extensively.

There are other very important facts that legislators must take into account when considering how assisted suicide is impacting the disabled community:

The American Association of Suicidology made a 2017 statement saying that “MAiD” was not suicide. But in 2023 the AAS had to retract that statement because it was used in the 2019 Truchon decision that expanded assisted suicide to disabled Canadians, which was opposed by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.The consequences of the AAS’s statement are an example of how green lighting assisted suicide for the terminally ill easily results in violence against people with disabilities.

In 2021, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of People with Disabilities asserted that all assisted suicide laws violate its Convention On The Rights of People with Disabilities.

Peer-reviewed research establishes that people are more likely to view suicide as acceptable if the victim is disabled, and people with disabilities often lack access to comprehensive suicide prevention care. This bill exacerbates that problem by laying the scaffolding for “MAiD” to become a substitute for the suicides of persons with disabilities.

Well-known right to die leader Thaddeus Mason Pope has tweeted that it’s good for disabled people to die by suicide; the director of Compassion and Choices appeared on Dr. Phil with Pope in 2023. If you pass this bill, you empower and reward a contingent of people who want disabled people’s suicides to be a “medical procedure.”

We urge you to allow HB1283 to die this session because regardless of its content, it rewards a movement that is hostile to people with disabilities. Exacerbating the oppression that disabled people already face so that the proponents can plan their deaths is unwise and unjust.


Meghan Schrader, Disability Rights EPC-USA
Josephine L.A. Glaser, MD.,FAAFP
Colleen E. Barry, Chairperson
Kenneth Stevens, MD
William Toffler, MD
Gordon Friesen
Alex Schadenberg



Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Letter to British Parliamentarians opposing euthanasia.

This letter was sent to elected representatives in the British Parliament and shared.

Ann Farmer
Dear ... 

As your constituent I am writing to draw your attention to the above debate, in the hope that you will be able to attend and speak against attempts to legalise assisted suicide/euthanasia, now going under the euphemism 'assisted dying'.

Given the appalling outcomes reported from those jurisdictions that have gone down this route, most notoriously Canada, where 'strict safeguards' have been swiftly dismantled to allow death for disability and also poverty, it is vital that we do not follow them down this slippery slope.

Significantly, advocates of 'assisted dying' neglect to mention that this issue has been thoroughly debated and decisively rejected by Parliament in the past few years, on the very valid ground that there is no safe way of killing.

I trust you will attend, or alternatively make the case for 'assisted living' for all, rather than the money-saving expedient of euthanomics.

With all best wishes,

Ann Farmer
Woodford Green

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Scotland's assisted suicide bill allows 16-year-olds with Anorexia to be killed.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, 
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Professor David Jones
Georgia Edkins, the Scottish Political Editor for the Daily Mail reported on April 20, 2024 that 16 year-olds with Anorexia could be approved for assisted suicide under Scotland's assisted dying bill. Edkins reports:
Teenagers with anorexia could apply for state-backed ‘suicide’ under ‘extremely dubious’ laws proposed in Scotland, experts warned last night.

Newly published Holyrood legislation would allow NHS patients to request prescriptions for a life-ending cocktail of drugs that induce a coma, shut down the lungs and eventually stop the heart.
Edkins reporting on comments by ethicist David Jones writes:
David Jones, professor of bioethics at St Mary’s University in London and director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, said: ‘It is extremely, extremely dubious.

We’re talking about “assisted dying” as a euphemism, and it’s always assisted suicide.

‘Suicide is something that we should try to seek to prevent and provide alternatives to, whether it’s for an old person or a young person, whether they have progressive disease or disability.’

‘Terminal in the Scottish Bill is defined as someone having a progressive incurable disease from which you could die. It could cover anorexia.
Jones also warned that the assisted suicide bill that is sponsored by Liam McArthur would:
  • Let people as young as 16 die before their lives had properly begun;
  • Not require someone to be close to death to be eligible for ‘assisted dying’;
  • Not make a psychiatric assessment mandatory ahead of the life-ending procedure.
Edkins reported Jones as stating:‘
It is called the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill, so that proclaims itself as being restricted to people who are terminally ill, but it defines people that are terminally ill only as people who have a progressive incurable disease, which is at an advanced stage. It doesn’t mean that you’re dying.’

Jones referenced the fact that in Scotland, a person is deemed an adult at 16, whereas in Oregon the age is 18. Based on the definition of terminal illness in the bill, someone with Anorexia could be approved for assisted suicide at the age of 16. Jones states:

‘There have been cases of people with anorexia having assisted dying in Oregon.’
Edkins ends her article by stating:
Perhaps most troubling is Professor Jones’ suggestion that the embattled NHS in Scotland could resort to suggesting death as a viable replacement for treatment.

He said: ‘What you’re starting to see in Canada is that doctors will suggest to patients, “Have you thought of assisted dying”, including people who, for example, have had difficulty getting support for social services to live at home.

‘There’s nothing in the Scottish legislation that prevents that.’

Do No Harm and say No to Assisted Suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Amy Smith
While cleaning up my emails I came across this excellent commentary by Amy Smith, who is a physician-assistant in Minnesota titled: Pledge to 'do no harm' and say No to physician-assisted suicide. Smith's commentary was published in the Minnesota Reformer on April 13, 2024. Smith begins her article by explaining why she opposes assisted suicide.
I’ve spent the past 20 years of my career as a physician assistant saving lives in the emergency department. On a daily basis, I pledge to “do no harm” to my patients as I care for them and render lifesaving aid.

As a medical provider, the greatest harm I can imagine is being responsible for ending my patient’s life. That is why I am deeply troubled by ongoing conversations at the Minnesota Legislature to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

This proposed legislation goes against the fact that a health care providers’ obligation is to care for their patients — not to assist in killing them — no matter the circumstance.
Smith is also concerned with the inevitable future extensions to the legislation.
It is also evident that limits on assisted suicide erode over time. These laws often begin with eligibility limited to terminal illness and a six-month life expectancy; however, countries like Belgium, Netherlands and Canada have gradually expanded criteria to offer assisted suicide to people with depression, disability and chronic pain, as well as people with limited income. Patients often seek assisted suicide out of fear of becoming a burden. Legalizing it reinforces harmful misconceptions that people experiencing chronic illness are a burden and encourages people to end their lives prematurely. And euphemisms like “medical aid in dying” make it more palatable for people to accept this as okay, masking the fact that medical professionals are prescribing medication that results in suicide.
Smith continues by sharing personal experience with death and dying:
Like many Minnesotans, suicide is also a deeply personal subject for me. My dad ended his own life when I was 12 years old. Most people would say that my dad’s death at age 35 was a tragedy. They’d say we should try our best to prevent suicide. I agree.

I also lost my mom to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis when she was only 62. This proposed legislation tells us that it would not have been a tragedy for my mom, with the assistance of her medical provider, to end her own life prematurely. Instead, this legislation says it would have been the caring thing to do. I disagree.

Both situations are absolute tragedies. In both scenarios, a person should have access to supportive, person-centered care — not a legal path to suicide.
Smith concludes by repeating why she opposes assisted suicide.
Is physician-assisted suicide really how we want to care for patients in Minnesota? As a physician assistant, wife, mother — and as an orphan daughter — my answer is a resounding ‘No’.
Thank you Amy Smith for your personal and professional opposition to killing your patients.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Doctor comments on the Illinois assisted suicide proposal.

The following Letter to the Editor was published on April 20, 2024 by The News Gazette.

As a physician, I would like to share my perspective on physician-assisted suicide.

While I agree with common concerns like abuse, misdiagnosis, medication issues and lack of safeguards, I want to focus on another aspect, especially from an emergency physician’s standpoint.

With over three decades of practicing emergency medicine, I have encountered numerous patients at the end of their lives. In emergency medicine, our aim is to cure whenever possible, but above all, to provide care. Sometimes, this entails accompanying patients and their loved ones on their journey towards the inevitable end of life.

Reflecting on physician-assisted suicide, it is impossible to ignore that facilitating a patient’s death contradicts the fundamental principles of medical care, upheld from antiquity to modern medical science. It is disconcerting to see physicians suggesting or providing a direct pathway to end a patient’s life, thus neglecting their duty of care, even towards those with terminal conditions.

Physicians advocating for physician-assisted suicide lack coherence in their justifications, citing reasons such as “dying with dignity” or alleviating suffering by ending life.

Instead of delving into comprehensive approaches to pain management, addressing social support deficiencies, or exploring the psychological, spiritual and emotional aspects of patients’ suffering, they advocate for the ultimate shortcut — facilitating death as the solution.

Redirecting resources from initiatives for physician-assisted suicide toward research for better end-of-life care, enhancing mental-health resources and optimizing pain management would better serve patients and society.

We must reconsider this tragic deviation from our responsibility as healers and stewards of health care.



Senator Blakespear removed assisted suicide expansion bill.

The following article was published by Choice is an Illusion.

California Senate Chamber
Senator Catherine Blakespear has removed proposed Senate Bill 1196, seeking to expand assisted suicide and euthanasia in California, from consideration prior to its first hearing Blakespear said in a statement.

"At this point, there is a reluctance from many around me to take up this discussion, and the future is unclear,”

“The topic, however, remains of great interest to me and to those who have supported this bill thus far.”

Senator Susan Eggman, who authored the original act in 2016, commented that pushing forward now would would create a risk of pushback. She stated:

While I have compassion for those desiring further change, pushing for too much too soon puts CA [California] & the country at risk of losing the gains we have made for personal autonomy....

With just a few weeks left to pass bills through policy committees before the Legislature's summer recess, it's unlikely another lawmaker would propos[e] a similar measure this year.

Link to the original article.

Senate Bill 1196 shows us the direction of the American euthanasia lobby. The Bill was only withdrawn because, as Senator Eggman stated it was "pushing for too much too soon."

Article: Good news: California assisted suicide expansion bill is dead. (Link)

A call to defeat New Hampshire assisted suicide House Bill 1283 "An Act relative to end of life options"

Gordon Friesen
By Gordon Friesen
President: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

It is a widely shared principle that, as long as our actions cause no harm to others, we might all be allowed to do as we please.

And so it is that many principled people --and even many who are personally repulsed by the idea of assisted death-- feel a visceral duty to support the "right" of others to choose the manner of their own passing. Unfortunately, however, HB 1283 would not merely create a liberty of permission for this purpose. Indeed far from it.

At the heart of HB-1283[i] lies, first, the concept of "medical assistance in dying" (even though majority patient trust has traditionally been founded on the Hippocratic Physician's promise not to kill); and second, the associated legislative assertion that MAID is not suicide (even though it plainly involves people deliberately taking poison to end their lives). Together, these extraordinary definitions herald a radical conceptual transformation of assisted death --from forbidden medical homicide to legitimate medical treatment-- and therein lies the special significance of Bills like HB 1283.

For medical care is universally seen as a positive benefit and a human right. To legally define assisted death in this way is thus to necessarily create entitlements, obligations and mandates whose implementation is entirely foreign to any fundamental notion of free choice.[ii]

Moreover, if we look to our Northern neighbour, we can already see exactly how such a medically justified regime of assisted death is destined to unfold. For since the first appearance of the term "MAID" in Canadian legislation (Province of Quebec, 2014)[iii] legal statutes and regulations have been enacted which require the performance of euthanasia in all institutions; by all medical professionals (with limited conscience-based exceptions only); and the proactive mandatory discussion of MAID with all eligible patients. Indeed, Canadian hospitals, and care teams have normalized euthanasia, to such an extent, that the vast non-suicidal majority of eligible patients are now obliged to navigate a clinical environment which has become objectively indifferent (if not hostile) to their continued survival.[iv]

Very obviously, no coherent system of individual liberty might ever have produced such a result. Quite the contrary: the simplest and most direct explanation of Canadian euthanasia lies, not in personal choice at all, but in the utilitarian budgetary advantage --to the State-- of systematically purging expensive and dependent persons from the public role.

Most certainly, also, a principled defence of death-by-choice does not require liberty-minded citizens to espouse this extreme theory of death-as-care. Both Switzerland[v] and Germany[vi], for example, recognize a general right to suicide (including assisted suicide) but explicitly refuse to accord such actions any objective validation (medical or otherwise), precisely in order to avoid the disastrous effects of entitlements, mandates and obligations as described above.[vii]

In conclusion, therefore: Although I am personally opposed to any assisted death whatsoever, I also recognize that a sincere philosophy of "live-and-let-live" may indeed inspire principled support for death-by-choice. But not with just any Bill. And certainly not with this one.

In the end, we must decide whether New Hampshire’s medical industry will be structured to prioritize typical patient satisfaction, or that of a small suicidal minority. And above all: whether the radical new paradigm of utilitarian death-medicine now seen in Canada --and so clearly echoed in HB-1283-- will be allowed to high-jack the freedom agenda entirely.

With the greatest respect, I request the defeat of this legislation.

Gordon Friesen, President, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


[i] "An act relative to end of life options" New Hampshire HB1283, 2024 (Link to Bill).

[ii] Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946) as amended (2005) accessed April 17, 2024 (Article Link) accessed April 17, 2024

[iii] "Act Respecting End-of-Life Care" Province of Quebec, Canada, 2014, as revised 2024 (Link to Legislation) accessed April 17, 2024

[iv] Lessons from the Canadian Euthanasia Experiment, G. R. Friesen, April 4, 2023 (Link to article) accessed April 17, 2024

[v] Swiss criminal code art. 115 (Link to Swiss Criminal Code) accessed Nov 4, 2023

[vi] German High Court decision February 26, 2020 (Article Link) accessed Oct 28, 2023

[vii] Fundamental Considerations in the Creation of a Minimally Intrusive Liberty of Assisted Death (produced for the Irish Joint Committee on Assisted Dying), G.R. Friesen, November 12, 2023, (Article Link) accessed April 17, 2024.