Andrew Coyne: Assisted Suicide What begins in compassion seems to end in eugenics.

This article was written by Andrew Coyne and published in the National Post on Dec 9, 2014.

By Andrew Coyne - National Post Columnist

Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne

The case for assisted suicide and euthanasia, at least as it has been presented, is that we may freely dispense with certain moral distinctions, once considered of some importance — between killing yourself and having someone else kill you; between refraining from prolonging life and deliberately ending it — while continuing to insist on any number of others.

The issue is thus invariably cast as if the practice would be reserved for adults of sound mind, in the final stages of a terminal illness, suffering unbearable physical pain, freely consenting to have done to them what they would surely choose to do themselves were they not so disabled. In its most complete form, the patient must not only consent, but actually initiate the process in some way (hence “assisted” suicide, versus euthanasia, where someone else does the deed). At all events we are assured the task would be performed by a licensed physician, no doubt with a sterilized needle.

So it is that a cause advanced in the name of a limitless individual freedom (self-annihilation, it is said, being the ultimate assertion of personal autonomy) defends itself with reference to how acutely limited that freedom would actually be. Advocates, impatient with such arbitrary distinctions as that between suicide and assisted suicide — of what use is the right to kill oneself, they ask, if you are physically incapable of carrying it out? — are nevertheless at pains to preserve the distinction between terminal illness and mere depression, between adults and children, between the mentally competent and incompetent, between personally consenting and having someone else consent on your behalf.

But it cannot be. By erasing the one distinction, they eviscerate the rest. For the right asserted in this case is not merely a negative right, in the old-fashioned sense of the right to be left alone, but a positive right, a claim on others, entitling one to their assistance. It is not a civil liberty, such as the right to vote, implying a degree of competency or at least free will such that it might justifiably be restricted to adults, but a more fundamental sort of right, like the right not to be tortured, that does not hinge upon agency in the rights-holders, but inheres in them simply as human beings (or even animals).

Link to full article.

Canadian Senate Bill to Legalize Euthanasia of Disabled

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Like I keep saying: Euthanasia/assisted suicide is not about terminal illness. It is ultimately about allowing anyone with more than a transitory desire to die to be killed–whether by a doctor, a lay suicide facilitator, or even, family and friends. 

And here we go again! Canadian legislation would legalize active lethal-injection euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with disabilities. From S. 225 (my emphases):

Link to the full article.

A critique of Canadian Senate Bill S - 225 - An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (physician-assisted death)

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

Senate Bill S - 225 is designed to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide by amending Section 14 and Section 251 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) opposes the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide for several reasons including the fact that legalizing physician-assisted death gives physicians, in law, the ultimate power to cause or assist the death of their patients. When abused, the result is the death of a vulnerable Canadian.

EPC supports measures to improve: disability rights, pain and symptom management and suicide prevention.

The bill was originally written by Stephen Fletcher MP for his own potential death, and thus it is written for a person who is not terminally ill, who requires a wide application for euthanasia and assisted suicide.

  • The bill specifically allows euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with disabilities. 
  • The bill is not limited to terminal illness. 
  • The bill allows euthanasia or assisted suicide for "psychological suffering," which is not defined.
  • The bill requires physicians to self report the death after it has occurred. This assumes that physicians will self-report abuse of the law and it does not provide protection for the patient. 

Bill S-225 is particularly concerning because it specifically focuses on intentionally causing the death of people with disabilities who already lack equality and acceptance within Canadian culture.

Our concerns related to the conditions in Bill S-225 are:

Link to full article.