Montreal Euthanasia Symposium: Theory and Reality about Euthanasia

Media Release - October 30, 2015

The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, the Living with Dignity network and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) are coming together for a one day conference on Saturday October 31, 2015 at the Best Western Ville Marie hotel in Montréal, to discuss our common concerns and directions.

The Quebec euthanasia experiment is scheduled to begin on December 10. The vast majorityof physicians around the world have always rejected euthanasia, above all because it is a public safety hazard: it can drive people to throw away years of their lives and provide caregivers and heirs with enormous power. Although it gives an illusion of control, the option of euthanasia will undoubtedly erode medical diligence and creativity in the medical care of people both chronically disabled and acutely disabled by illness.  

Most patients fear suffering at the end of life. This has always been the case. But we must find a less dangerous option than the constant availability of “death on demand” to address these fears. In extreme cases, i.e. for the small minority of patients for whom other options are not completely effective, palliative sedation can answer all symptom control problems.

Quebec has the only law in the world which attempts to coerce doctors to refer patients for euthanasia. Such pointless authoritarianism, of which we already had a taste in September, is a dangerous precedent which must be formally rejected.   

From a logistical point of view patients do not need help from their treating physician to access euthanasia: the government could easily set up a system of self-referral to voluntarily licensed doctors who are willing to practice euthanasia. This would avoid trampling on the professional judgment and conscience of the rest of the medical profession. 

We reject the concept that euthanasia is any kind of health care. We reject bullying physicians into referring their patients for death. And we reject the concept that intentional death is a solution to human distress.

Dr Catherine Ferrier – President, Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia (514) 623-5737
Dr Will Johnston – Chair, EPC - BC (604) 220-2042
Dr Margaret Cottle – Vice President, EPC (604) 222-0288
Dr Marc Beauchamp – President, Living with Dignity Network.
Alex Schadenberg - Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (519) 851-1434

HOPE Ireland conference opposing euthanasia

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick

On June 6th 2015 the inaugural Hope Ireland conference will take place in the RDS in Dublin. This free-to-attend conference will focus on how euthanasia laws are rooted in discrimination against disabled people of all ages and will highlight the terrible consequences of legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide in other countries.

Speaking in advance of the conference, Director of Hope Ireland Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE said that the current law in Ireland protected vulnerable people and saved lives. ‘Those defences in law cover every citizen of Ireland and must be maintained, strengthened if possible, not overthrown.’

“We must look to the experience of other countries and states where we can see once euthanasia and/or assisted suicide is legalised those laws are very quickly extended to people who are not terminally ill at all, most often targeting vulnerable people. In Belgium one in twenty deaths are now deliberately caused. Euthanasia for children of any age is now legal. A Belgian government adviser stated publicly in 2013, their euthanasia law was drawn up specifically for disabled people who he believed were right to want to die. Now this includes considering euthanizing a man with bi-polar condition, and life-term prisoners who are fed up in jail.

Early this year Canada specifically legalised euthanasia even when the sole criterion was on the grounds of disability. Dr Fitzpatrick said that it was now impossible to deny euthanasia laws were rooted in discrimination against disabled people and were used to end the lives of people who were not terminally ill.

Link to the full article