Monday, April 8, 2024

Warning to Ireland: If euthanasia is legalized as a cure for suffering, then suffering people will be "cured" with euthanasia!

By Gordon Friesen
President, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Gordon Friesen
Through the years Alex Schadenberg has written many articles (and hosted many others) on the subject of euthanasia in the British cultural diaspora that are published on the EPC blog. By that term, I mean, above all, those countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand whose populations are (or at least recently were) of majority British stock. Most lately Alex has written pieces on the Channel Islands, Scotland, and the UK itself.

Unfortunately this very significant cultural and political group appears to have fully embraced the notion of euthanasia. And because all of its members have a largely common social structure, they appear to be on track to do so in one particular fashion, for which Canada most unhappily provides us with the template.

One final example, Ireland, is found at the heart of British history, being itself one of the "British Isles", but having resolutely rejected British Imperialism all the way back to William the Conqueror! In recent memory, the Irish have literally fought their way out of the Empire, slammed the door on the Commonwealth.

Unfortunately, however, that independent streak is not reflected in their evolving policy on euthanasia.

Over the last half year, the Irish Houses of Parliament (The Oireachtas), have studied euthanasia in a Joint Committee on Assisted Dying. Readers of this blog will be familiar with the names Leonie Herx, Trudo Lemmens, and Heidi Janz, all of whom spoke before the Committee (October 17, 2023: Assisted dying in Canada), and also Mark Komrad (October 3, 2023: Assisted dying in the United States). I personally submitted a pamphlet-length criticism of euthanasia but sadly, these efforts have proved fruitless, as we may plainly see in the recently released Final Report of that body (March 2024).

Conclusions of the Irish Joint Committee on Assisted Dying

In all probability the Irish will soon authorize euthanasia for people "diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition... causing suffering to the person that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person finds tolerable".

There are, of course, other requirements, such as an expected death within six months (or 12 for certain conditions); of full mental capacity (including at the time of euthanasia); and of major age. However, as experience has clearly demonstrated in Canada, there can be no logical basis for confidence in any such secondary requirements:

From the moment that we first admit the principle of euthanasia, practised as a cure for suffering, ALL classes of suffering individuals can (and eventually will) gain access to euthanasia through the vehicle of fairness-based judicial litigation and legislative extensions to eliminate discrimination. It might take a year or a few years. But given the assumptions of our commonly shared British sense of Justice, that outcome is reasonably inevitable.
Public responsibility for medical care

Another common assumption throughout the British diaspora is that medical care is a collective responsibility. As a medical treatment, then, euthanasia will be available, as in Canada, throughout the entire medical industry. It will not be a simple liberty. It will be a claimable right (entitlement). And this status is made clear by the fact that (despite individual conscience protection) objecting physicians will be required to make referrals to "participating health care professionals" (and/or) "a national oversight body" to get the job done).

Similarly, again (because medical homicide is to be an entitled medical treatment), there is no doubt that we are talking about true euthanasia and not assisted suicide, since: 

"any potential legislation for assisted dying should provide a means of access to treatment for individuals who require assistance during the administration."

As I have noted in previous articles, it is these two elements (true medical euthanasia employed as a "cure" or "treatment" for suffering) and euthanasia provided as a publicly guaranteed entitlement (rather than a simple liberty), which explain the amazing ten times greater frequency which separates Canada from Oregon-style assisted suicide regimes. And it is therefore the Canadian group to which Ireland will apparently belong.

I must in fairness mention a number of well-intentioned safeguards and social justice measures included by the Irish legislators in their recommendations. These include: ratification of the "Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" (UNCRPD); extensive capacity testing; measures to avoid coercion (without, however, recognizing the inevitably coercive effect of the entire projected regime); strict oversight; clinical separation of Palliative Care from assisted death; administrative separation of Palliative Care budgets; increased support of Palliative Care; information and counselling on alternatives to euthanasia, etc., etc....

However, pious assertions regarding care of the "least fortunate" and the "most vulnerable" can do little to change actual budgetary realities. And procedural safeguards (like the three member physician committees) tend to disappear like mist on a summer morning. Or to use a time-honoured Irish colloquialism: They are not worth a Tinker's damn!

Our Irish friends should, therefore, have no illusions: 

If euthanasia is legalized as a cure for suffering, then suffering people will be "cured" with euthanasia!
Indeed, "euthanasia" itself is but a misleading euphemism. The correct term is "medical homicide". And the plainest description is thus:
Suffering people will be killed.
Despite justified criticism, those of us who trace our roots to the British tradition may be rightfully proud of many positive political and social principles diffused around the globe.

Unfortunately, medical euthanasia is not one of them.

Gordon Friesen, April 7, 2024


Anonymous said...

Yay Gordon! Well said! Despite the well-reasoned arguments of anti-death advocates, the killing spree continues to spread. My own assessment for why it is that seemingly halfway intelligent people (politicians, bureaucrats and the like) succumb to the lure of homicide is quite simply prejudice. They look at someone who is old, disabled or saddled with a chronic, difficult-to-treat disorder or condition and think to themselves “I’d rather be dead than live like that”, thus precluding the correct response, which is CARING. It’s ironic that political liberals (of which I embarrassingly am a member) fall for this sort of bigotry, given the longstanding opposition of the left to prejudice when it comes to skin color, sex and sexual orientation. I also think that in order to conquer the spread of death-as-a-solution is to target most public messaging to this faction of the political landscape - liberals - with messaging that resonates specifically with them. Nobody seems to be doing this, so I’m sadly not surprised that the death movement continues to make gains. — Thomas Lester

Vi said...

Indeed, "euthanasia" itself is but a misleading euphemism. The correct term is "medical homicide". Exactly... :(

Coffeemare said...

Yeah that's all of us.