Monday, July 22, 2024

At least 4 New Zealand suicide deaths linked to Canadian

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Two of the suicide substance victims
The Agence France-Press reported on July 22 that at least 4 New Zealand suicide deaths are linked to a Canadian who sold "suicide kits" online.

Kenneth Law was charged with 14 counts of second degree murder in December 2023. Law is believed to have distributed "suicide kits" to 1200 people world-wide who ordered the kits online. Recent news reports indicate that Law's trial will begin in September 2025.

According to Agence France-Press:

A New Zealand coroner has formally linked four deaths to the sale of “suicide kits” bought online from a former Canadian chef, according to findings published Monday.

Coroner Alexandra Cunninghame found that three students, aged 18 to 21, and one 40-year-old personal trainer killed themselves after buying kits from businesses linked to Canadian Kenneth Law.

Canadian police believe Law sent as many as 1,200 “suicide kits” to people in more than 40 countries between 2020 and his arrest last year — specifically targeting vulnerable people online.

Agence France-Press reported that at least 88 people died in Britain after receiving the suicide kit.

Imogen Nunn
On August 27, 2023 Jon Woodward reported for CP 24 that:

The British mom of a TikTok star is coming forward demanding justice after she found out her daughter died using a so-called suicide kit allegedly sold by a Canadian man, as deaths possibly tied to Kenneth Law rise to over 100.

Louise Nunn said it was sickening to learn that the death of her daughter Imogen, known as “Deaf Immy” to 710,000 TikTok followers, was one of 88 British people local police say died after ordering products from Law’s websites over a two-year period.

Nunn said it was heartbreaking to learn of other deaths months and years before Imogen’s, and believes many lives could have been saved if authorities had acted earlier.
Charges against Law include a 16-year-old suicide death in Ontario. CBC News reported on May 8 that 17-year-old Anthony Jones from Michigan allegedly died in connection to Law's suicide kit.

Law appeared for a bail hearing on Friday August 25, 2023 and plead not guilty. Woodward reported:
Police in Canada have warned about the websites, allegedly run by Mississauga’s Kenneth Law, ...Peel Police said at the time of his arrest that they had tracked some 1,200 products to 40 countries.
Law claims that he is innocent of the charges and had no control over what people did with his suicide substance. Law was selling a legal product, that was packaged in a lethal dose. Law was promoting and selling the "suicide kit" allegedly purpose of suicide.

Britain will debate assisted suicide bill this year.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain's Labour Party, has been a long-time promoter of assisted suicide. During the election Starmer promised that he would introduce a bill and allow a free-vote on legalizing assisted suicide in the UK. The July 4 election resulted in the Labour Party winning a massive majority with 411 out of 650 parliamentary seats.

After the election Starmer reiterated his support for assisted suicide and promised a free-vote within the year. BBC news reported:
Sir Keir Starmer has insisted he remains committed to giving MPs a free vote on assisted dying laws at some point.

The prime minister said he would provide parliamentary time for a vote if a backbench MPs proposed changing the law, but stressed the government had other "priorities for the first year or so".
Starmer continued:

"As to the timing of it, I haven't made a commitment on that and I don't want to.

"I'm not going back on the commitment I made, it's just we have got to set out priorities for the first year or so, but I will double down on the commitment that we are going to do that, we will allow time for a private member's bill, and there will be a free vote."

After the British election, a "lottery" determines the order for introducing private members bills. In the House of Lords, Lord Falconer received the right to introduce his private members bill second. Falconer, who has sponsored previous assisted suicide bills, will introduce the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Adults bill on Friday July 26.

Britain needs to fully examine Canada's experience with euthanasia and reject it. Hopefully the House of Lords will defeat the Falconer assisted suicide bill.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will keep you up-to-date on the British assisted suicide bills. I am already scheduled to speak in London England on September 28 and Glasgow Scotland on October 5.

Clergy distress related to euthanasia and assisted suicide (MAiD)

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is not a religious organization, so when I read the article With assisted death, Christian clergy face profound questions, by Richard Cuthbertson that was published by CBC news, I wondered how to comment.

Euthanasia was legalized in Canada under the invented term (MAiD) in June 2016. Over the past 8 years EPC has dealt with many people who were seeking to die by euthanasia (MAiD), who were already approved for euthanasia or family members and friends who were wanting to prevent the euthanasia death. I have also been involved with helping or advising many clergy from different denominations as they were faced with a Church member who was approved for or died by euthanasia.

I also have significant experience with people who are suffering from grief and distress after a friend or family member has died from euthanasia. People have spoken to me with PTSD symptoms and others have talked about their profound grief.

Cuthbertson's article concerns interviews by April Hart, a United Church minister who is working on a Masters of Divinity. 

I wonder if the first story was dug up and dropped into the article to undermine the Catholic Church approach that opposes killing people. The opening interview was based on a Catholic man who died by euthanasia in February 2020. It is striking that there is no mention of the priest seeking to prevent the euthanasia death. The story explains that:

"(the priest) heard Peter's confession in the living room and anointed him with oil, a Catholic ritual known as the sacrament of the sick."

"Peter's funeral, officiated by another priest, was held in the local Catholic church, an imposing gothic revival sandstone building on the north side of town. He is buried in the graveyard across the street."

Cuthbertson did not interview the priests involved so it's hard to know if there were attempts to dissuade Peter from euthanasia, nonetheless if the article's rendition of the story is accurate then there are concerns with how it was handled.

Cuthbertson also writes about David Maginley who was a chaplain in Halifax. Cuthbertson tells Maginley's story:

David Maginley, a former chaplain in the Halifax hospital system who has sat at the deathbeds of hundreds of people, vividly remembers attending his first MAID in 2017.

The patient's body was withered by end-of-life cancer, but he had "shining eyes." The disease would kill him soon, likely within a week, but he didn't want to wait.

As the two talked, the man spoke of a childhood memory of lying in the grass, staring at the sky and eating a Jos Louis cake. Maginley popped out and bought him one.

Just hours later, with his wife holding him, the patient was injected with the drugs that would take his life. Maginley recalls him saying: "I love you and goodbye, thank you."

It was, it seemed, a "beautiful" death. But Maginley said he was struck by something unexpected.

"I'm at the foot of the bed and seeing that big, that gigantic white vial of medication go into him," he said. "It just felt so different than removal of life-support or natural death. It was so different. We were causing death."

Unsure what to do next, Maginley prayed the man would be at peace, that he could once again lie down in the grass in the sunshine, that he would watch over his family.

Maginley returned to his office, locked the door and "fell apart." What had he just witnessed? Had he colluded in death? Wasn't this compassionate?

Since then, he's been at the bedsides for about 10 more MAIDs. Some have been "horrible," most have been "what we would call kind." But his distress remained. MAID, he worries, is about clinging to control in a medical model that aims to fix things.

"Most people, as they die, move into a mystical or a transpersonal state of consciousness," he said. 

"They're filled with peace, equanimity, they have mystical visions — these are universal. And it really changes not only their fear of death, but the family's process of grief. It's beautiful. But I don't see it happening with MAID. We shut you off before you reach that stage."

He realized he could no longer attend assisted deaths. Unwilling to simply step back from those cases, leaving them to other chaplains, he took early retirement in January after 25 years in spiritual care, and has written a book about what he has learned that he expects to publish soon.

It is good that Cuthbertson included significant information about Maginley and his experience with euthanasia. Maginley expresses his concern with MAiD deaths but also points out how natural deaths are very different than euthanasia deaths.

Maginley expresses his experience with distress with relation to these deaths. The distress related to euthanasia is very common. As stated earlier, I have spoken to many people who were grieving or experiencing PTSD reactions. 

There are not easy responses to individual situations. My personal experience helps me recognize the emotional, spiritual and psychological distress that many people have experienced with relation to euthanasia deaths. Some people have said to me 'You don't understand' as if, since I oppose euthanasia I cannot understand these deaths, where in fact, nothing is further from the truth.

Killing is never caring or compassionate. Killing abandons the person in their time of need.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Americans with Disabilities Act - 34th Anniversary.

By Meghan Schrader

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

It’s disability pride month in the United States, when the disabled community is celebrating the 34th anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As with countries around the world, the experience of being a disabled citizen is a mixed bag. As a disabled American, I personally think of America as the equivalent of a dysfunctional family member-like a brother, mother, aunt, cousin, etc. who you know has a drinking problem and has been in and out of rehab, but for whom you have great admiration and hope as well, because they’re your family and you’ve been there to experience their triumphs & good qualities. I think that’s probably the right approach-recognizing the country’s problems but also working with hope to make the country better. 

One example of a recent improvement for disabled people is that Florida just legalized Supported Decision Making, an alternative to guardianship where disabled people retrain the right to make their own decisions, but with a team of support people that the disabled person chooses. Another important change that occurred recently was the updated Section 504 regulations that require that doctors and politicians not make policy or medical decisions based on the dehumanizing premise that disabled people’s lives are not worth saving. Among other improvements to the medical system, this would seem to preclude policies that facilitate disabled people’s suicides or forced DNRs. That’s very important progress.

But, the deep ableism in the world continues to wound, demoralize and oppress people with disabilities. For instance, in addition to California senator Blaspear ‘s failed bill to subject that state’s disabled community to a Canada-like euthanasia law, Democrat governor Gavin Newsom spearheaded Proposition 1, which, instead of funding community mental health treatment, gives the state an inappropriately high level of latitude to institutionalize mentally ill people against their will. The Republican National Convention recently denied the American Association of People with Disabilities request for accommodations at the Republican National Convention. When asked by 90 disability rights organizations to make the recent presidential debate accessible to disabled people and to integrate disability rights issues into the debate questions, CNN merely gave instructions on how to turn on the captions on a TV. That means that issues pertaining to things like better opportunities for students enrolled in Special Education, intersectional disability justice, sub-minimum wages, marriage penalties for SSI recipients, deinstitutionalization, various Supreme Court cases, and life-threatening medical discrimination against disabled people were not addressed by the candidates and were not visible to the greater populace. 

The long-standing pattern of disabled people being invisible to our culture that many people don’t mind if we die was maintained. During the debate the American Association of People with Disabilities posted on X, “Assisted suicide is eugenics, and should never be praised or considered a viable alternative to providing disabled people with comprehensive, high-quality affordable medical care. #CripTheVote.” But, of course the debate did not address that issue, because the ongoing influence of eugenics on our culture means that disabled people are invisible. To many people, disabled people aren’t really a marginalized group, and we aren’t worth including in a vision for America.

Because of this oppression, many disabled people are so demoralized that they have a tough time celebrating disability pride month. Disability justice leader Alice Wong posted on X

“This July is the 34th anniversary of the ADA and it is beyond disappointing how little has changed. We still have to fight for the right to be in public spaces and live in the community instead of institutions. I am not in a celebratory mood.” 

Disability rights attorney Gregory Mansfield posted on X

“It is infuriating that, 34 years after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), cities are still developing transition plans to comply with it. It amounts to another generation of exclusion of disabled people.”
Generally, I’m with Alice and Gregory. I haven’t given up hope for our country or the world, but the extreme prejudice that disabled people face is exhausting and pisses me off. As disability rights icon Judy Heumann said in the 1970s, 

“I’m tired of being grateful for accessible toilets.” 

Yes, that. I am tired of disabled people being expected to be grateful for having crappy jobs. I am tired of disabled people having to be grateful for just being in a general education classroom or graduating from high school. I am tired of disability history being invisible. I’m tired of disabled people being the victims of interpersonal violence. I am tired of disabled persons having to justify our existence to bioethicists, to the mainstream media and to legislators worldwide. It makes me mad that in 2024, disability justice advocates are still having to spend our time opposing neo-eugenic ideas from Ancient Rome and the 1930's.

So, I find myself thinking back to my first annual meeting of the Society of Disability Studies in 2011. At the SDS community dance that happens at the end of the conference, the DJ played the song, “We Are Family.” And, as I interacted with so many other people who also had atypical bodies, and were also passionate about disability justice, it really felt true. SDS was one of the first environments where I felt fully accepted as a disabled person. I’ve found a similar environment at my current job, where students and teachers work together to help each other pursue dignity and happiness.

Therefore, as I’ve said in some of my other posts, I think the disabled community needs to embrace a philosophy of “chosen family,” to survive the ignorance that we endure. I think that community with one another, and with people of all abilities, is one of the best ways for disabled people to lead dignified and joyful lives in a society that often makes it hard to experience a sense of pride during disability pride month. And, I believe that people of all backgrounds have the potential to collaborate to improve the social condition of disabled people, on the premise that we are all members of a “human family.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Anorexia is not a terminal condition.

The following letter was sent to EPC from a woman in Honduras who was responding to a previous article concerning people with Anorexia dying by assisted suicide based on Anorexia being falsely defined as a terminal illness.

I couldn't sleep. I was really skinny in 2004.

I was daddy's little girl whom I lived with when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I suffered anorexia since 2004 without knowing that when dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer, I almost died. I couldn't work. I didn't eat. I tried and tried, but mom and I were focused on my father's illness.

My dad passed away on September 3rd, 2007, and I was really skinny, I didn't want to eat not exactly (that I didn't want to eat, I wasn't able to eat and got seriously depressed).

Fortunately, a Medical Doctor, an Internist of Tegucigalpa capital city of my hometown, Honduras Central America where I live, learned of my problem of Anorexia. What would I do without him and the Psychiatric treatment from another doctor, again and again what would I do without him?

Both helped me out when I suffered Anorexia and I can't thank them enough for the way they treated me with ethics and humanity. I will always be grateful for them. 

Now I work with elderly people and feel really happy with my job position and I am totally recovered of Anorexia. Thanks be to God and the physicians mentioned above!

Sincerely,

Eunice Lozano Oqueli from my hometown, Honduras Central America.

More information on this topic:

  • ANAD clarifies that Anorexia Nervosa is not a terminal condition (Link)
  • When I was Anorexic I would have chosen assisted suicide (Link).
  • Psychiatrist: Anorexia does not justify Aid in Dying (Link).

Teaching about euthanasia for mental disorders and suicide prevention.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Medical Education Journal has published an editorial by Marcel F D’Eon, Mark S Komrad, Jeremy Bannon called: Teaching suicide prevention: a Canadian medical education conundrum. The article focuses on the medical education curriculum and the tension around suicide prevention and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) also known as euthanasia, for patients with mental disorders. The editorial asks the question:

What are we educators to do when we find ourselves needing to teach about MAiD for mentally ill patients alongside suicide prevention and what we might consider for MAiD in general?

The editor writes:

At White Coat Warm (the) Art (International Congress on Academic Medicine, 2024), I was struck by the artwork and accompanying text by Nicole Graziano (University of Alberta) published in this issue of the CMEJ. Nicole’s art poignantly depicts what she called “the torment, grief, and freedom of suicide.” The white noose portrayed over a backdrop of light and dark sheds small white flowers filling the space. Her enigmatic set of words on its own caused me to pause. For me, her art juxtaposed the tragedy of suicide, liberation, and the expansion of MAiD, especially for those with psychiatric disorders. How does one help students and residents grasp the need to prevent suicide while offering MAiD to the psychiatrically ill?

The editor then examines the word suicide in relation to MAiD. He quotes Dr John Maher who stated:

Dr. John Maher, editor of the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, has also pointed this out. How are educators then, supposed to teach students to provide suicide prevention to some patients who exhibit “self-directed behaviour with an intent to die” and simultaneously assist patients who request MAiD thus also demonstrating “self-directed behaviour with an intent to die”? Learners will notice this incongruence and have questions. We need to help them find some resolution.

The editor points out that there are a wide range of views concerning the issue of MAiD and how it may apply to people with psychiatric conditions. The editor then writes:

For a broad discussion of this topic, we could also explain the history of human rights in Canada and around the world where Canada was considered a pioneer and model for other countries. But here too there are controversy and opposition: the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities; Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons; and Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights declared that MAID in Canada was not consistent with human rights. We need to acknowledge this wide range of local and international opinions on MAiD, including relevant rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada, and allow our learners to discuss these openly and transparently without repercussions.

The editor then deals with the question of autonomy:

First, that there are no choices that are completely and wholly autonomous. We all live in a context with intertwining relationships and limitations where our decisions are made, at least in part, after consideration of what is possible and desirable within our unique situations. Our teaching about the social determinants of health affirms this perspective. Patients with mental disorders face longer waits for care, have less access to state-of-the-art expertise in certain conditions, and are generally far less economically resourced then people with other illnesses. How could these circumstance not shape the  MAiD decision?

Second, autonomy is an instrumental value. Autonomy helps us lead a fuller, better life, one of our choosing. Self Determination Theory posits that autonomy supports two other major motivators in our lives. Namely, it helps us make a world of our choosing and to enhance our sense of both accomplishment and belonging. Looking back, we reflect and learn from what we ourselves have chosen, good and not so good. But the exercise of autonomy in the MAiD decision does not lead to a fuller life, and we do not get to live with an enhanced sense of accomplishment or belonging. For those who chose MAiD, they cannot ever say of their MAiD choice, the one facilitated by medical professionals, “I’m proud of what I’ve done” and hence their exercise of autonomy was for naught.

The editor completes the article by stating that there is a diversity of thought on these issues. One of the concerns in the Canadian culture is an attitude that "shuts down the debate" and imposes a point of view on the culture.

Marcel D'eon - professor Emeritus, University of Saskatchewan, Canada; Dr Mark Komrad - Faculty of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland, USA; and Jeremy Bannon - Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct), Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. Correspondence to: Marcel D’Eon, email: marcel.deon@usask.ca

Monday, July 15, 2024

Poems by a couple whose daughter died by euthanasia.

The Execution is a collection of original poems in memory of a daughter who was killed by euthanasia.

Purchase the collection of poems booklet from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for $12 (plus shipping and taxes). (Order Link).

I met the authors of the poems at a conference that I spoke at in Cornwall Ontario. They told me about the death of their daughter and it was clear that they were still experiencing the trauma of her death by euthanasia.

They shared with me several of the poems, in memory of their daughter, and I was moved by the poems.

I find the poems to be truly from the heart, from a place of sorrow and loss. I asked the couple if EPC could publish the poems because lately I am meeting many more people who have lost family or friends to euthanasia. The agreed.

It is my hope that these poems will help others express the truth of what euthanasia actually is. It is also my hope that people will find solace or an outlet for their own emotions after a euthanasia death.

I have republished the first poem only.

The Death Squad.

They marched down the corridor
like jackboots in a Hitler movie
I know because I was sitting
just outside the door in the palliative unit.

The anesthestist was a short woman
with grey curly hair and round
wire rimmed glasses framing her pallid face.
And she was cradling a large syringe.

They stood outside the door, talking in muted tones.
The little doctor held the needle
with the care and respect
reserved for something
that can snatch a life away in seconds.

She moved in a way that
told me she had done this before.

They were wearing protective gear,
in defence against the virus,
and to protect them from the guilt pangs
they would suffer after killing a human being.

They smelled of death, indifference and ideology.

When I was a kid I once watched
a group of government workers
dressed in yellow rubber coats,
shoot a hundred sick pigs with high powered rifles,
firing repeatedly into a mass grave.

And they had the same look on their faces
as the people outside the door.

But the thing is, I was now much older,
and I was also a father.

But not for much longer,
because you see,
I was sitting outside my daughter's door,
waiting for the death squad to wave me in.
Purchase the collection of poems booklet from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for $12 (plus shipping and taxes). (Order Link).

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Friday, July 12, 2024

Canadian woman pressured to "choose" euthanasia. She was told that she was selfish for living.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Heather Hancock
A few weeks ago I published a personal story by Heather Hancock, a woman who lives with spastic cerebral palsy, who stated that she was having medical difficulties she was pressured to "choose" euthanasia.

James Reinl, the Social Affairs Correspondent for the Daily Mail recently interviewed Hancock. The Daily Mail published the article on July 12. Reinl writes:
It was an odious encounter with a nurse in a remote Alberta hospital that persuaded Heather Hancock how Canada's euthanasia system was coming badly off the rails.

Hancock suffered from cerebral palsy since infancy and was used to bullying from her school days, but the treatment she got at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital was something else.

A nurse was helping her into the bathroom at night, during a lengthy bout of care for muscular spasms in 2019, when the carer crossed a line into the unthinkable.

'You should do the right thing and consider MAiD,' said the nurse, referring to the country's Medical Assistance in Dying program.

'You're being selfish. You're not living, you're merely existing.'

Hancock, now 56, says she was 'gobsmacked' but stood her ground, telling the nurse that her life had value, even if she spent four fifths of it in a wheelchair.

'You have no right to push me to accept MAiD,' she recalls saying to her sneering carer.

She later complained about the nurse, who was taken off her care team, but did not make an official complaint.

Health Alberta said the nurse's comments were 'entirely unacceptable.'
Reinl states that it was the most egregious, but not the only time her supposed carers advised her to end her discomfort with a lethal injection. Hancock told Reinl that she has been pressured on three different occasions to "choose" MAiD (euthanasia).

Since legalization in 2016, Canada's euthanasia law has expanded quickly. Reinl explains:
Last year, doctors helped 15,280 suffering people end their lives prematurely, according to estimates obtained by DailyMail.com — a 15 percent jump on 2022.

Some 60,000 people have died from MAiD since the program was launched, and it accounts for 4.6 percent of all fatalities.

Doctor-assisted suicides helps recipients escape the misery of cancer, heart disease and other terminal illnesses, but for Hancock and others with disabilities, its availability has changed the way they are seen by carers.
Hancock told Reinl that medical professionals 'just view me as a drain on the medical system and that my healthcare dollars could be spent on an able-bodied person,'

Tracy Polewczuk with her husband
As bad as Hancock's experience has been that she is not the only one. Reinl continues:
Another Canadian, Tracy Polewczuk, came forward this month about suffering similar problems in Quebec.

Polewczuk has spina bifida, a birth defect that can cause weak bones, and bemoans the worsening daily home care visits she gets in Pointe-Claire, Montreal.

'Pain sucks. We all agree. It's terrible. I'm in pain 24/7. It never stops. I can survive that,' she told CTV News.

'I cannot survive being treated like a sack of meat.'

On two separate occasions and without prompting, Polewczuk says she was told she was eligible for MAiD by members of her care team.

'It feels like we are being pushed towards the MAiD program instead of being given the help to live,' Polewczuk said.

'I want to survive. I want to thrive. I want my life back. I want the opposite of what they're trying to have us do.'
Reinl then provides a little bit of history around Canada's euthanasia law and emphasizes that euthanasia is not limited to terminally ill people in Canada and euthanasia for mental illness alone is now scheduled to become an option in March 2027.

Heather Hancock points out that Canada's euthanasia practise is at least 10 times worse than the assisted suicide regimes in 10 American states but she shows concerns about where the law is headed. Hancock also pointed out her concern that Delaware recently passed an assisted suicide bill, but she pointed out that it could still be stopped since Delaware Governor John Carney has not yet signed the bill.

Reinl reports on Hancock's concerns:
Legislation in Delaware cleared both houses, leaving Gov John Carney with the ultimate decision about whether to sign it into law.
'Take a look at what's going on in this country,' Hancock said in a warning to Americans.

'It's a Pandora's Box. Once the lid is off, you cannot control it. All the restrictions disappear really quickly and your freedoms are undermined.'
Every jurisdiction that is debating euthanasia or assisted suicide need to recognize what has happened in Canada and then reject it. Hancock is correct. Legalizing medical killing is a pandora's box. It is sold as a autonomy and it becomes abandonment.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Compassionate homicide deaths are usually not compassionate.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kenzie Beach with Fox News Atlanta published an article on July 8, 2024 about the murder of Brenda Gelleny (65) by her husand Michael Gelleny. Michael Gelleny claimed that it was a "mercy Killing" that he killed his wife to end her pain and suffering. My concern is that the article uses this murder to promote the legalization of assisted suicide.

According to the Fox News report:
Michael Gelleny, 67, called the police on himself telling them he shot his wife Brenda, 65, in the back of the head on July 6 in Goodyear.

He reportedly told police the morning that he killed her, that he kissed her and told her he loved her before getting the gun in the other room and pulling the trigger.

Gelleny reportedly thought about taking his own life, but instead turned himself in. Police paperwork states his reasoning was to make it as quick as possible and put an end to her four years of pain and suffering.

Gelleny is accused of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

It appears by the article that Gelleny originally planned for the death to be a murder-suicide. Another news article stated that Gelleny had been planning the death for a couple of weeks.

The media sometimes jumps to supporting the compassionate homicide defense when in fact these murders are rarely compassionate. Donna Cohen, a suicide researcher, and others prove that murder / suicide is rarely related to "compassionate" homicide.

Cohan stated the following in a Minnesota Tribune article from March 2009:
When people read reports of a murder-suicide they will often ask the question, was this an Act of love, or desperation? Cohen who has researched this question tries to find answers. 
She stated in the article:
That notion is common in murder-suicides, said Cohen, who has testified before Congress, written extensively and helped train families and physicians. She is a professor of aging and mental health at the University of South Florida and heads its Violence and Injury Prevention Program. 
"If they were consulted, families usually would try to stop it,'' she said. "In fact, murder-suicide almost always is not an act of love. It's an act of desperation."
Cohen also recognizes that murder-suicide does not equate with assisted suicide. Cohen stated:
Some people equate murder-suicide with assisted suicide and the right to control when you will die, Cohen said. "It usually is not the same. This is suicide and murder.''
Future reports may or may not uncover further reasons for his action but Cohen's research is clear. These cases are usually an act of murder, not a compassionate homicide.

Further to that the Fox News report stated:
In 2013, 86-year-old George Sanders shot and killed his wife Ginger. He was charged with first-degree murder after his wife allegedly begged him to kill her.

He got two years probation.
By claiming that the murder was based on compassion he may be more likely to get a lesser sentence. 

Even if his wife, Brenda, was experiencing a difficult health condition, she deserved a proper treatment, care and support, not death. The law should also recognize the vulnerability of the spouse in these cases.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Montreal woman with Spina Bifida offered euthanasia twice without requesting it.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tracy Polewczuk with her husband.
Matt Gilmour reported for CTV news Montreal on July 5, 2024 that Tracy Polewczuk, a woman who lives with Spina Bifida, on two separate occasions was urged to request euthanasia by a medical professional without initiating the request.

Tracy Polewczuk, who lives in Pointe-Claire Québec, on Montreal island stated in an interview with Gilmour that:

On two separate occasions and without prompting, she says she was informed that she would be eligible for medical assistance in dying (MAID), once by a nurse at the rehabilitation centre at Ste-Anne's Hospital and another time by a social worker at the Verdun Hospital.

"It feels like we are being pushed towards the MAID program instead of being given the help to live,"

Polewczuk who had broken her leg in an accident two years ago lives in pain because her leg didn't properly heal after the accident. Polewczuk told Gilmour that:

"Pain sucks. We all agree. It's terrible. I'm in pain 24/7. It never stops. I can survive that. I cannot survive being treated like a sack of meat,"
Dr Paul Saba
Family physician, Dr Paul Saba told Gilmour:
...that it's seen as a recommendation whenever a doctor makes a suggestion or a health care worker.

"We need to improve our health care system for everybody regardless of their condition, regardless of the disability,"
Heather Hancock
Polewczuk told Gilmour that:
...she often feels like a burden, but her choice is clear.

"I want to survive. I want to thrive. I want my life back. I want the opposite of what they're trying to have us do,"
Polewczuk is not alone in her experience. Recently Heather Hancock sent an article to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition with a similar story. Hancock, who lives with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, has also been pressured by medical staff on several occasions to ask for euthanasia.

What happened to Delaware assisted suicide Bill HB 140?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Everyone needs to contact Governor John Carney and urge him to veto assisted suicide 
Bill HB 140. Email him at:  john.carney@delaware.gov

A news story by Sarah Mueller for whyy news stated:
Democratic Rep. Paul Baumbach, the prime sponsor, said the bill has not yet been sent to the governor. A spokesperson for the governor said lawyers were reviewing the legislation. Requests to clarify their answers received no response.
I was reading the Medical Futility blog by euthanasia activist, Thaddeus Pope, which indicated that Delaware was now the 12th US jurisdiction to legalize assisted suicide since Governor John Carney had not signed or vetoed HB 140 within 10 days after transmittal.

Stephen Mendolsohn, who is a great political researcher, disagreed with Pope stating that the Delaware rules require the Governor to act within 30 days of adjournment or the legislation is "pocket vetoed" when 
a bill reaches the Governor after the session adjournment. The second scenario is in play in Delaware.

Today I called Governor Carney's office and asked for the status of HB 140. The response was that HB 140 has not yet reached the Governor's desk. A recent news article stated that Governor Carney has asked lawyers to examine the bill based on his concerns.

Everyone needs to contact Governor John Carney and tell him to veto assisted suicide Bill HB 140. Email him at:  john.carney@delaware.gov

Previous articles:

Retired doctor/assisted suicide activist, charged with manslaughter in New York State.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Stephen Miller
Marlene Lenthang reported for NBC news on February 6, 2024 that Stephen P. Miller, of Tucson, Arizona, a former doctor and advisory board member with the group Choice and Dignity, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and assisting a suicide in a New York motel in November, 2023. 

Assisted suicide activists, Derek Humphry and Richard MacDonald are also advisory board members with Choice and Dignity.

Lenthang stated that:
The investigation started shortly before noon on Nov. 9, when police responded to a report about an unconscious and unresponsive person at a Super 8 on Washington Avenue in the city of Kingston, about 100 miles north of New York City, Kingston police said in a statement Friday.

First responders found a person who initially appeared to have died by suicide alone in the motel room, police said.

But further investigation led to evidence that a second person had been present who “contributed to or assisted in the suicide,” the statement said.

An investigation by police and the Ulster County district attorney’s office led to an arrest warrant’s being issued for Miller citing second-degree manslaughter under the state penal code regarding a person who "intentionally causes or aids another person" to die by suicide.
Ed Shanahan reported for the New York Times on July 8, 2024 that the woman who died was Doreen Brodhead, a 59-year-old Kingston New York native.

Shanahan also reported that Stephen Miller served three years in jail for tax evasion. The article stated:
In 2006, court records show, federal prosecutors charged him with tax evasion. He had hidden more than $1 million in income offshore with the help of a corrupt financial planner, they said.

He was convicted despite insisting that the planner had duped him. His wife divorced him, and he spent three years in prison and three more on probation. Regulators in Texas and California revoked his medical licenses, according to government documents; his licenses in Arizona and Massachusetts expired.

After leaving prison in 2009, Mr. Miller moved to Tucson, Ariz. His older brother, Alan Miller, spent part of each year there, and they lived together for about a year until Stephen moved into a trailer. His main income was $2,000 a month in Social Security benefits.
Shanahan also reported on the evidence concerning how Doreen Brodhead died. Based on my concern for people experiencing suicidal ideation I will not share the information.

Shanahan reported that Robert Rivas the former general counsel for the Final Exit Network, a group that assists suicides in states where it is not legal told the New York Times that:
philosophically speaking, Mr. Miller “probably deserves a medal as far as I’m concerned.” As a legal matter, however, Mr. Rivas added: “He’s toast.”
Shanahan also interviewed Jim Schultz, the board president of Choice and Dying who said:
...he had only learned of Mr. Miller’s role in Ms. Brodhead’s death from news accounts. He declined to comment on the criminal charges. He said he was impressed by the “dedication to his cause” Mr. Miller had shown by traveling to New York to be with Ms. Brodhead.
In his release agreement, Miller's lawyer agreed that his client wouldn't be involved in anything related to assisted suicide. Shanahan reported that Miller was recently involved with a
Mr. Schultz said Mr. Miller had recently participated in a Choice and Dignity class on “deliberate life completion,” including alternatives when legal methods like medical aid in dying are not available.

The discussion included a how-to on the option Ms. Brodhead chose.
This is another case of an activist who decides to become an "angel of mercy" by killing people upon request. 

Assisted suicide is not about autonomy but rather it's a form of abandonment of a person in a time of need. 

Abandonment to death.