Monday, June 17, 2013

Legal euthanasia: will anyone be safe?

Natalie Sonnen from LifeCanada speaks to Mark Sutcliffe on CFRA about Quebec's recent tabling of Bill 52 which would provide "medical aid to die". The podcast is the one for June 14 with Natalie's name on it.

She tells us that people in Belgium and the Netherlands are killed without their consent by both nurses and doctors. A frightening reality.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells us that the Quebec bill is in fact euthanasia, and not assisted suicide, like they would have us believe:
"On June 12, the Quebec national assembly introduced Bill 52: An Act respecting end-of-life care to legalize euthanasia in Quebec. Euthanasia is an action or omission that is directly and intentionally done to cause the death of another person, to eliminate suffering. Euthanasia is a form of homicide.

Yes, Bill 52 legalizes euthanasia, even though media reports and other groups continue to refer to it as assisted suicide."

See what else Schadenberg tells us about Belgium, quoting research from both the Canadian and British Medical Journals:
"A study that was published in the CMAJ(June 2010) examining the responses to questionnaires by nurses regarding their experience with euthanasia in Belgium found that even though the Belgian euthanasia law does not permit nurses to assist death, 14 nurses admitted to doing so and two of those nurses admitted that they did it without consulting a physician. Clearly these acts are outside of the legal parameters of the Belgian euthanasia law. The data found that usually the patient was in the hospital and over the age of 80.

A second study that was published by the BMJ(Nov 2010) examining data by Belgian doctors to questionnaires, found that 47% of all assisted deaths were not reported. The data also indicated that the legal requirement to consult a second physician was only done 73% of the time when the assisted death was reported and only 12% of the time when the assisted death was not reported. Unreported assisted deaths usually involved patients who were in the hospital and over the age of 80.

A third study was published in the CMAJ(June 2010) examining the responses by doctors in the Flanders region of Belgium to questionnaires found that 32% of the assisted deaths were done without explicit request. This study found that 91% of these assisted deaths were done to people who were unable to request an assisted death. Usually the patient was in the hospital and over the age of 80."

It only took 19 years for abortion to become a free for all in Canada when in 1988, the Supreme Court struck down our 1969 abortion law. We went from abortion being illegal, to being fully legal without restriction. If Quebec legalizes euthanasia, which province will be next and how long will it take the whole country to accept the practice?

And will it stop there? What about euthanizing younger people?

Read these ominous words from the Vancouver Sun:
"Claude Leblond, president of the provincial order of social workers and family therapists, said the bill is a major step forward.

"It took women years to get recognition for their fundamental right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy," he said. "When acquired, the right to seek medical aid in dying will be a comparable victory." [Killing people is a "victory"?]

He said while only requests by adults will now be considered, the day may come when the wishes of children will also have to be taken into account." [Euthanizing children?]

If we legalize euthanasia, the gap between who is safe from intentional killing and who is not safe, will only narrow. From abortion and infanticide (Peter Singer already advocates this) at the beginning of life--to euthanasia at the end of life, and maybe even children.

All it takes is 19 years.

1 comment:

  1. NB : Link between the economy (finance) and euthanasia

    Robert Evans, a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, recognizes that non-voluntary euthanasia would be a way to improve the country's finances, but believe that it would NOT BE THE BEST WAY:

    "I would not suggest that the best way to improve the fiscal situation of Canada is to introduce a non-voluntary program of euthanasia for people over the age of 70".

    Source: Senate of Canada, Special Senate Committee on Aging , IMPLICATIONS OF AN AGING SOCIETY IN CANADA, Testimony of Mr. Robert Evans, December 10 2007, p.2: 34 , online:

    In its predictions and foreseeable scenarios for the years 2007 to 2036, the " Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center " ( DCDC ) of the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom stresses that euthanasia of the elderly could become the political instrument to serve the young to reduce the economic burden of care for the elderly. I quote:

    « Declining youth populations in Western societies could become increasingly dissatisfied with their economically burdensome ‘baby-boomer’ elders, among whom much of societies’ wealth would be concentrated. Resentful at a generation whose values appear to be out of step with tightening resource constraints, the young might seek a return to an order provided by more conservative values and structures. This could lead to a civic renaissance, with strict penalties for those failing to fulfil their social obligations. IT MIGHT ALSO OPEN THE WAY TO POLICIES WHICH PERMIT EUTHANASIA AS A MEANS TO REDUCE THE BURDEN OF CARE FOR THE ELDERLY ».

    Source : United Kingdom, Ministry of Defence, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme : 2007-2036, 3d ed., 2007 à la p.79, en ligne :

    See also:

    Japan is considering euthanasia as a solution to the economic burden posed by population aging on society.

    See the following article : Annabel Claix , "A Japanese minister asks its citizens to die , and quickly" (January 22 2013) , online:

    Already in 1958, Glanville Williams , who was vice-president of the "Voluntary Euthanasia Society" and regarded as "Britain's foremost scholar of criminal law", stated :

    "Kamisar expresses distress at a concluding remark in my book in which I advert to the possibility of old people becoming an overwhelming burden on mankind. I share his feeling that there are profoundly disturbing possibilities here ; and if I had been merely a propagandist, intent upon securing agreement for a specific measure of law reform, I should have done wisely to have omitted all reference to this subject. Since, however, I am merely an academic writer, trying to bring such intelligence as I have to bear on moral and social issues, I deemed the topic too important and threatening to leave without a word".

    Source: Glanville Williams, « "Mercy- Killing" Legislation - A Rejoinder » (1958) 43 (1) Minn . L. Rev . 1 p.11 .

    Eric Folot
    Lawyer and bioethicist