Covenant Health in Alberta will not participate in euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last February, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton stated clearly that Covenant Health will not participate in acts of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

A few days ago, CBC news reported that Alberta's Associate health minister stated that:

physicians and other health-care workers will not be forced to take part in this procedure if it goes against their beliefs. She said procedures are being set up to move patients, if necessary.

"We're working to set out a framework of protocols and processes to ensure that if a patient in a facility where medical assistance in dying is not available, that there will be a process in place for transfer of care likely through Alberta Health Services,"

Payne stated that this framework for transferring patients will be in place by June 6.

Covenant Health has proven that protecting Conscience rights requires a clear and united position by health care professionals and institutions. Thank you Covenant Health.

Will Johnston - speech euthanasia on euthanasia Bill C-14 - Victoria BC - May 12, 2016

Will Johnston

Will Johnston

Dr Will Johnston , Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC

I have a dream, and in that dream the Parliament of Canada debates far into the night to perfect a new law. The new Bill has the support of the majority of our elected representatives. It strives to get just the right balance between Federal and Provincial powers over matters of life and death. In my dream hundreds of Canadians testify before Committees and Panels and town hall meetings. They all want a better Canada. In my dream our Parliament is working against a deadline to get a law into place which honors the highest aspirations of our civilization. Finally the law has passed through the Senate and passed through Parliament and one day, let’s imagine June 6 of the year in my dream, the law goes into force.

What a law! What an achievement, worth every one of those late nights of intense Parliamentary debate and Special Joint Committees and Provincial Territorial Expert Panels and External Panels and town hall meetings and letters and papers and open-line radio shows and documentaries. 

In my dream the new law says that anyone in severe pain anywhere in Canada is treated like a cardiac arrest, an emergency which activates a team of specially trained people. Anyone who is depressed and suicidal, anywhere in Canada, is treated like a house on fire, with immediate attention from another team of specially but of course differently trained people. People who are trying to live independently with major disabilities are funded and equipped like a Canadian Olympic team should be. Families with children with disabilities are treated like royalty. Having a disability or having a family member with a disability guarantees you will be kept far above the poverty line, never below that line and forgotten in the economic ditch. A report of possible elder abuse is by law to be treated like an Amber Alert, and abusers exposed to the clear light of emergency inquiry. 

What a dream. When the real Canada wakes up on June 6th, it will be to a new law far removed from my dream. Instead, our great nation labored and brought forth – what?- a legal excuse to protect a doctor or nurse from a murder charge as long as they are under the opinion that you fit the right criteria before your death is inflicted. The law will let someone else sign you up, unlimited doctor shopping to find two of them to agree you are better off dead, no independent objective review before the planned death, no required notification of family members, no need for you to be actually dying, no need to be offered alternatives to suicide, no guarantee the death certificate will state the true cause of inflicted death, no requirement for a pain control assessment, no ban on health care workers being intimidated to cooperate.

The new law is careful to protect doctors. Mind you, doctors are not protected in order to use their consciences, they are protected while making mistakes causing wrongful death. 

The polls show that people can imagine choosing the time of their own deaths. People expect that when that time comes , they will be in control. They think they have been given a new right, but instead they have lost the protections built into the old law. Someone will have control, all right, just maybe not always you.

Link to the full article

Belgium's Advice to Canada: Protect Doctor's Conscience Rights!

New Online Video Series: "Belgium's Advice to Canada."

Protect Doctor's Conscience Rights!

The first two videos in the series were released last week.
The first video in the series was: “Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There!
The second video in the series was: Safeguards Are An Illusion.

Today EPC is releasing the third video in the series Belgium’s Advice to Canada titled: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights!” Two doctors from Belgium discuss the contentious issue of conscience rights in their country since the law on euthanasia was passed 15 years ago. The online video features Prof Dr Benoit Beuselinck MD, PhD, Oncologist, Belgium; Catherine Dopchie, MD, Oncologist, Belgium; and Marnix Coelmont, Teacher, Advocate.

As Canadians deliberate on the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 imposed deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” - select clips from our upcoming film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception, coming June 2016.

Please consider making a donation to the production of this film. We need and appreciate your support of any amount. Link to donate.

The final video in the series will be released on Thurday, May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada. 

Declare Total Non-Cooperation With Assisted Suicide

The article was published by First Things on April 29, 2016.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

I recently gave a speech to a group of conservative senior citizens in California, arguing against assisted suicide, which is due to become legal there in June. Assisted suicide is not an issue that allows for fence-sitting, so although I expected (and received) a friendly reception for the most part, I knew that at least a few people would use the Q & A to tell me that I was full of beans.

Sure enough. “You have made a cogent and reasoned presentation, Mr. Smith,” one of the first questioners told me, his voice rising in anger as he spoke. “But if I want to die, I want to be able to die, and I don’t want my family or me stigmatized by people saying I committed suicide!” In other words, nothing that I said mattered. The man was set in his opinion, and neither the facts about euthanasia practice nor the need for accurate terminology regarding self-killing would change that.

And so it went. Those who agreed with me—the majority of this particular audience—spoke of how their vulnerable loved ones would be endangered by the law, while the law’s supporters mostly made angry assertions about their right to die. Dialogue? What’s dialogue?

Link to the full article

Canada’s euthanasia Leviathan

This article was published by Careful a Mercatornet blog on April 26, 2016.

Supporters invoke Thomas Hobbes in a proposal to crush conscientious objection to euthanasia. 

By Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Canada is soon to have legislation permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide, as decreed by its Supreme Court last year. One question, however, over which some uncertainty hovers is how much wriggle room should be left for doctors who have ethical objections to the new regime.

For one of the country’s most influential bioethicists, Udo Schuklenk, the answer is straightforward: none.

In an article published last weekend, he wrote that “conscientious objection has no place in the practice of medicine”. If doctors feel that they cannot practice euthanasia or refer patients to another doctor for euthanasia, they should find another job.

Dr Schuklenk is worth listening to. He is the co-editor of Bioethics, one of the world’s leading journals in the field, and a professor of philosophy at Queen’s University, in Ontario, Canada. He was one of the authors of an influential white paper commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada for the debate which eventually led to legalisation.

His stand on conscientious objection is not new, but the timing is significant. Bill C-14 was introduced into the Canadian parliament last week implementing the Supreme Court ruling.

Only doctors will be allowed to perform euthanasia, but it is still not clear whether they will have the option of conscientious objection. Dr Schuklenk’s essay in the Journal of Medical Ethics (written with a colleague, Ricardo Smalling, also from Queen’s University), is sure to influence the debate in the weeks before the Supreme Court’s June 6 deadline for passing legislation.

Link to the full article

Jean Echlin: Letter to the Minister of Justice on euthanasia

Jean Echlin RN, MScN

Jean Echlin RN, MScN

As a nurse consultant for 36 years in palliative care & gerontology I believe that hospice palliative care for every Canadian must be the priority. 

How dare we ask our doctors and nurses to put patients to death when a safer option exists. Healthcare providers must never assume the role of killers or refer to another who will provide the "death management." Trust and legal issues will make more problems for our sick and elderly. 

Abuse of the elderly and "copycat" suicides will increase. If economics are driving this movement and if we are honest cost-savings will be an outcome, we are a society bereft of moral and ethical values. 

Just study the statistics from the Netherlands, especially Belgium and you will understand the fatal results of this death promotion. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in 2013, more than 1000 deaths were hastened without explicit request and more than 2800 died by euthanasia in Belgium. Does that promote a feeling of safety and security when we require acute or chronic care? Certainly many will fear institutional admission when the future reveals the magnitude of the coming "death tsunami." 

I fear that the "true north strong and free" is no longer a democracy if those who help us get cures and stay well are also denied their conscience rights. Please think how you would feel if society (government) stripped you of your rights and freedoms under our Canadian Charter? Would you quietly acquiesce or demand fair treatment under your Charter Rights? Please consider these thoughts. 

Thank you.
Jean Echlin RN, MScN
President - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

Euthanasia bill provides perfect cover for acts of murder

By Alex Schadenberg , Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying) was tabled today in the House of Commons. 

Bill C-14 appears more restrictive in comparison to the radical recommendations from the government assisted dying committee. The bill does not extend euthanasia to mature minors, to people with dementia, or to people who seek death by lethal injection based only on psychological reasons and it appears to require the person to have a terminal condition. 

In reality the bill provides legal immunity to anyone, who kills another, while the bill fails to provide effective oversight of the law or conscience rights for healthcare professionals.

There are significant problems with the design of the bill. Here are a few examples:

1. The bill does not provide effective oversight of the law. The bill requires approval for euthanasia or assisted suicide be done by two independent physicians or nurse practitioners, without requiring before the death oversight from an independent third-party. The bill permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to approve the act to be the person who does the act and to be the person who reports the act. There is no effective oversight when the same person approves the lethal injection, does the lethal injection and reports the lethal injection. Once the person is dead, it is too late to find out that the person who died was incompetent or coerced.

2. The bill provides legal immunity to “any person” who directly participates in euthanasia and assisted suicide. Section 241(3) provides legal immunity to any person who does anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying. Section 241(5) gives legal immunity to anyone who does 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. These sections of the bill may be interpreted to apply to family members or friends who are involved with the act of ending life. But at the same time, the bill lacks definition, so in fact it could be interpreted to apply to anyone.
This bill provides the perfect cover for acts of murder. 
3. The bill does not provide conscience protection for medical practitioners or nurse practitioners. Medical professionals who consider killing patients as the antithesis to medical care are not provided conscience protection and they are required under (Section 241.31) to send requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide to a “designated recipient” or the Minister of Health.

This bill does not provide effective oversight of the law. This bill provides the perfect cover for acts of murder by enabling “other people” who directly participate in the act. This billdoes not provide conscience protection for medical professionals who oppose killing patients. This bill is not a harm reduction model, nor does it provide safe spaces for people who are particularly opposed to being killed by lethal injection. 

With any legislation, the devil is in the details. The details in this bill are particularly dangerous for Canadians in their time of need.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is a national organization of citizens and groups who support caring measures and oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. EPC has more than 25,000 supporters.