Advanced Request For Euthanasia?

This article was written by Dr Catherine Ferrier and published on June 10, 2016 by impact ethics in Canadian BioethicsDeath & Assisted DyingLaw & PolicyMental Health

Catherine Ferrier a physician in the Division of Geriatric Medicine of the McGill University Health Centre, and is the president of the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia.

The June 6 deadline for legislation in response to the Carter judgment has come and gone, and our government has yet to adopt a law regulating medical assistance in dying. Too few of us have any idea what we are rushing into.

In the Carter decision the Supreme Court judges stated that the risks associated with physician-assisted death can be limited through a carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards. In contrast, the pressure is on to offer death as a solution for all forms of suffering, available to virtually everyone, including those who fear future suffering or disability.

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs wants Bill C-14 amended to include the recommendation of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, “That the permission to use advance requests for medical assistance in dying be allowed any time after one is diagnosed with a condition that is reasonably likely to cause loss of competence or after a diagnosis of a grievous or irremediable condition but before the suffering becomes intolerable….”

I have spent the last 30 years diagnosing, treating, and caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It takes no special insight to realize that they are the principal intended “beneficiaries” of this recommendation.

Link to the full article

Wesley Smith: Canada Senate Votes for More Euthanasia

This article was published by Wesley Smith on June 10, 2016.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Assisted suicide advocates in this country pretend it is about terminal illness as a political expedience. It’s baloney, but a lot of people fall for it. Ya gotta want to believe! 

The need for euthanasia advocates’ deploying this tactic was obliterated in Canada when the Supreme Court conjured a right to be lethally injected if one has a medically diagnosed illness causing irremediable suffering–as defined by the patient. That goes waaay beyond a terminal illness, perhaps to the mentally ill (as allowed in Belgium and the Netherlands) 

Now, euthanasia advocates, freed from having to persuade the public, are have revealed their true goals, pushing for the most radical and broad license to be killed in the world. 

The House of Commons passed enabling legislation that mildly reined-in the agenda, requiring death to be “reasonably foreseeable.” That’s a mere pretense of limitation–more a gesture than a policy–which isn’t the diagnosis of an actual terminal condition, just one that could become terminal…someday. 

Too restrictive! The Canadian Senate just removed the “foreseeable” requirement. From the National Post story

The Senate voted Wednesday to allow suffering Canadians who are not near death to seek medical help to end their lives, knocking out the central pillar underpinning the federal government’s proposed new law on medically assisted dying. 
Senators voted 41-30 to amend Bill C-14, deleting the requirement that a person’s natural death must be “reasonably foreseeable.” 
The amendment replaces the eligibility criteria in the bill with the much more permissive criteria set out in last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling, which struck down the ban on assisted dying. 

The Senate is indeed more in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling. 

But the Canadian Charter could have allowed the Parliament to temporarily void the ruling or make it nonbinding through a process know as the “notwithstanding clause.” (Would that the US had such an ability.) It didn’t even try. 

It it is beyond disturbing how enthusiastically–indeed, like being swamped by a dam bursting–Canada has being swept up into the culture of death. 

As our closest neighbor, both in proximity and culture, we will not be unaffected.

Bill C-14 needs to be amended or defeated

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

The House of Commons passed Bill C-14, the government bill to regulate euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, with a 186 to 137 vote. Canada's Senate will begin to debate Bill C-14. The Senate has the power to amend and/or defeat the bill.

For those who are concerned that Bill C-14 will not be passed by June 6, the date imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada, stop worrying, it will definitely not become law by June 6. Therefore the approach needs to be to amend Bill C-14 in the Senate and if it is not adequately amended, to defeat the bill.

I appreciate the amendments to Bill C-14, An act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying made by the House of Commons

I recognize that conscience protection language has improved and some of the language of the bill was improved, but the most grievous sections of Bill C-14 were not amended. 

If this bill passes, in its current form, the language of Bill C-14 will lead to significant growth of euthanasia. There will be many stories that people will refer to as a "slippery slope." Let me tell you now, these stories will not be the result of a "slippery slope" but rather they will be based on the fact that the language of Bill C-14 allowed these acts to occur.

When I stated that the most grievous sections of the bill have not been amended, here is what I meant:

1. Bill C-14 continues to allow anyone to cause death by euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

• Bill C-14 - Section 227(2) states: No person is a party to culpable homicide if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2
• Bill C-14 - Section 241(3) states: No person is a party to an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2
• Bill C-14 - Section 241(5) states: No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)‍(b) if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2.

No jurisdiction in the world offers legal immunity to anyone who does anything for the purposes of assisted dying. These sections must be struck from the bill.

2. Bill C-14 continues to provide medical practitioners or nurse practitioners total immunity for decisions or acts that contravene Bill C-14.

• Section 241.3 states: Before a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner provides a person with medical assistance in dying, the medical or nurse practitioner must: (a)be of the opinion that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1)
• Section 227(3) states: For greater certainty, the exemption set out in subsection (1) or (2) applies even if the person invoking it has a reasonable but mistaken beliefabout any fact that is an element of the exemption.

Sections 241.3(a) and 227(3) make it impossible to penalize medical or nurse practitioners for approving or doing an assisted death that contravenes the law, since the bill only requires them to: “be of the opinion” that the person meets all of the criteria of the law. This is the lowest possible standard. Further to that, Bill C-14 provides no effective oversight of the law.

If the person who died was incompetent, the medical or nurse practitioner would only need to state that he/she was “of the opinion” that the person was competent.

The Supreme Court of Canada in Carter approved assisted death based on: “a competent adult person who clearly consents to the termination of life.” 

Section 241.3(a), does not assure that the person is competent or clearly consents to the termination of life.  Therefore Bill C-14 does not respect the language of Carter. Unless Section 241.3(a) is amended to ensure that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1), Bill C-14 will be struck down by a future court decision. 

Bill C-14, in its current form, must be defeated.

Bill C-14 needs to be amended or defeated

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I appreciate the amendments to Bill C-14, An act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying made by the House of Commons

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

I recognize that conscience protection language has improved and some of the language of the bill was improved, but the most grievous sections of Bill C-14 were not amended. 

The House of Commons passed Bill C-14 with a 186 to 137 vote, now the Senate of Canada will begin to debate Bill C-14. The Senate has the power to amend the bill and/or defeat the bill.

For those who are concerned that Bill C-14 will not be passed by June 6, stop worrying, it will definitely not become law by June 6. Therefore the approach needs to be to amend Bill C-14 in the Senate and if it is not adequately amended, to defeat the bill.

If this bill passes, in its current form, the language of Bill C-14 will lead to significant growth of euthanasia. There will be many stories that people will refer to as a "slippery slope." Let me tell you now, these stories will not be the result of a "slippery slope" but rather they will be based on the fact that the language of Bill C-14 allowed these acts to occur.

Link to the full article

Some thoughts on a drive through traffic hell to rail against euthanasia.

By Charles Lewis

Many of you know I have been doing speeches against euthanasia since retiring from the National Post in January 2014. Most also know that I have a very painful spinal issue that limits my activities.

So it was with some trepidation that I agreed, many months ago, to speak at a dinner in Cambridge Ontario. I figured by the time it rolled around I would be feeling much better.

I was so wrong.

But a promise is a promise so on a recent Thursday I headed out to Cambridge west down the dreaded 401. What should have taken 70 minutes with no traffic or two hours with some traffic turned into three-and-a-half hours of misery. Then to add to the fun I got lost. Urbanites like myself do not do well with regional roads.

In the directions I was given I was told turn left at the bottom of a hill at a Canadian Tire gas bar. Guess what? There are a many Canadian Tire gas bars and many hills. So at some point, in pain and with a throbbing headache from said pain, I ended up in Guelph. I don't own a cell phone but I figured I'd be able to use a phone at a gas station or find a pay phone. Guess what? No one likes to let you use his or her phones for fear you'll call your Oma in Berlin or you favourite Aunt in Hong Kong. And, as I discovered, there are no pay phones.

Finally some good soul took pity on me and lent me his cell phone. The connection was so bad that I couldn't hear what was being said so I finally broke down babbling and yelling that I would never make it. It wasn't one of my proudest moments but every once in a while I cut myself a break.

Someone standing by where I was yelling heard me mention the conference centre. He gave me simple directions and miracle of miracle I did find the right Canadian Tire at the bottom of the right hill.

By the time I arrived at the conference centre I was in massive pain and sweating. As I got out of the car, hobbled, I thought that there was no way I can pull this off. Though I did.

Link to the full article

Netherlands: New push for suicide pill

This article was published on the HOPE Australia website on May 24.

By Paul Russell, the director of Hope Australia

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

There’s a question that I have put to those who are pushing for euthanasia and assisted suicide laws on occasion. Put simply I ask: If you are successful in your push for law reform on this subject, will you celebrate your victory and then close down your organisation? After all, if the objective is reached, what else is there to do?

I expect that there would be ‘rank-and-file’ members of the various societies and organisations on this bandwagon who may well think: job done, back to the gardening (or other pursuits). But not so the leadership.

Unless a parliament is willing, in the first instance, to legislate euthanasia and assisted suicide for everyone in any circumstance, there will always be more to agitate for. Of course, such a bold initial push is never likely to happen. That’s why, in observing repeated attempts to legislate in my home state of South Australia, we see variations on the theme in the many different ways that bills have been designed and presented, all with the primary goal of getting something (anything!) on the statutes. Go for the full agenda and failure is guaranteed; go for a minimalist approach and maybe success will come, enabling, thereafter, the possibility of an incremental agenda.

We are seeing this in Canada at the moment with the excise of euthanasia and assisted suicide for minors and for mental health issues from the debate and the promise of revisiting that agenda in three years’ time. Even in Belgium, which enacted the most liberal of euthanasia laws in 2002, we saw the amendment to include children pass in the parliament in 2013. In Holland there is continued agitation for euthanasia under the term ‘tired of life’ or ‘completed life’, ostensibly for people over the age of 70. The Dutch parliament is also looking into child euthanasia whilst already having euthanasia available for ‘emancipated minors’ from the age of 12.

Today the Dutch news is reporting that two euthanasia organisations are renewing their push for the so-called ‘Drion Pill’ to be available ‘for people who do not qualify for euthanasia.’

Link to the full article

Canada’s Bill C-14, which seeks to codify assisted suicide and euthanasia, is a recipe for elder abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY MAY 19, 2016 

Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore

Proposed recommendations by the Senate Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee do not solve the bill’s problems. The bill violates the Canadian Supreme Court case, Carter v Canada. Recent news stories have proven Carter wrong. This justifies a new look at the issue, including time for more study or a new law prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide. 

Contact: Margaret Dore: (613) 899-0366
margaretdore@margaretdore.com

Ottawa - Lawyer Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has been fighting efforts to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in the United States, Canada and other countries, made the following statement in connection with Canada’s Bill C-14: 

"The Senate Committee's thoughtful recommendations include that patient 'eligibility' be defined as a 'terminal illness, disease or condition' for people at the end of life," said Dore. "In Oregon, which has a similar criteria, chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes qualify, 

Dore said, "This is because the the eligibility determination is made without treatment. The typical insulin dependent 18 year old with treatment will have decades to live, but without treatment will have less than a month to live to therefor qualify for assisted suicide or euthanasia. (William Toffler, MD declaration) The Committee’s recommendation, if adopted and interpreted according to Oregon's precedent, will encourage people with years, even decades to live, to throw away their lives.”

“Doctors can, regardless, be wrong about life expectancy, sometimes way wrong,"said Dore. "This is due to actual mistakes and the fact that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. For this reason also, the bill encourages people with years, even decades to live, to throw away their lives

"The bill is also a recipe for elder abuse, with the most obvious reason being a complete lack or oversight at the death" said Dore. "In the case of assisted suicide under the bill, no doctor, not even a witness is required to be present. This creates the opportunity for someone else, such as an heir who will financially benefit from the death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient, in private without consent. The drugs used are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be administered to a restrained or sleeping person. Even if the patient struggled, who would know?" 

“The bill is a response to the Canadian Supreme Court decision, Carter v. Canada, which envisioned a ‘carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards, ” Dore said. “With no required oversight at the death, the bill has no such system.” The bill violates Carter. 

"Carter understood that that the 'slippery slope' phenomenon, in which restrictive legal euthanasia blooms into expansive euthanasia for all types of conditions and people, including children, would not happen in Canada," said Dore. (Carter, paragraphs 111 to 120) "Recent news stories prove this understanding wrong as euthanasia proponents now demand such expansion, This new development gives Parliament an opening to follow its own path, to protect the public. This could include more study or a new law prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia." Dore concluded, "This is the only sure way to protect the public." 

For more information, see: 

1. Margaret Dore, Legal/Policy Analysis of Bill C-14, May 15, 2016. Memo available here:https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/memo.pdf Attachments available here: 

https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/memo-index-final.pdf 

2. Margaret K. Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009, 

3. Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty: Washington’s new ‘Death With Dignity’ law allows doctors to help people commit suicide-once they’ve determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they’re wrong?" The Seattle Weekly, 01/14/09.