Euthanasia in Belgium: A subtle but real form of coercion

This article was published on the Vivre dans la Dignitè (Living with Dignity) website.

Steenhout picture

A recent visit to a nursing home in Belgium reveals that residents are bombarded with the idea that euthanasia is a good choice. It was the "fortnight on 'end of life'". An admittedly important subject, but which must be discussed in a balanced way. Here, at the opening of the event, a video was presented, biased in favour of euthanasia. The rest of the program isn't objective either.

Under the pretense of informing residents, they plant the idea that euthanasia is a good solution. But nowhere is a balanced view presented in the program: they do not speak of options for life; they only speak of the choice of death.

We were told that most residents feel quite lonely. They no longer have friends. Their family does not come to visit them, or rarely. Even friendships formed at the rest home go out when friendslose their mobility or die. The sense of isolation is very strong for a majority of the residents of such nursing homes.

The schedule of this "fortnight on end of life" is displayed at the entrance of the residence, and also in the elevator and on each floor. This is part of the social activities of the residence. Not having very much to do, residents attend almost all of these social activities. The term "captive audience" comes to mind.

It is a form of subtle and very effective coercion. Nobody forces the individual to make that "choice." It's not like they twisted their arm, or that they held a gun to their head. No, nothing as obvious.

Yet, requests for euthanasia follow one another.

Link to the full article

Supreme Court to release assisted suicide decision on Friday

The Supreme Court of Canada is releasing its decision in the Carter case concerning Canada’s laws that protect people from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has intervened in this case at every level.

EPC legal counsel Hugh Scher states:

"EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors, which is central to the protections set out under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code."

EPC - British Columbia chair Dr Will Johnston states:

"This is an important public safety issue. The Court rejected assisted suicide in 1993 and prevented Canada from taking a wrong turn. In the 20 years since, human nature has not changed and people with disabilities and other vulnerable people are still at risk in our health care system. We are better at controlling symptoms, and we also see the abuses of euthanasia in those few jurisdictions where this practice has become entrenched. 
Let us hope that the Supreme Court once again confirms the protections in law from assisted suicide and direct killing of the sick, and that we stay the course by improving symptom control to all who need it."

Disability rights advocate Amy Hasbrouck of Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet states:

"People with disabilities, chronic illness and seniors are negatively affected by assisted suicide and euthanasia because it leads to the impression that our lives are lacking in meaning and value as compared to other Canadians."

EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg stated:

"In other jurisdictions, euthanasia has expanded to include people with depression, people with psychiatric problems, people with dementia, teenagers and incompetent people. The laws in other jurisdictions have been abused. 
Canada needs to focus on how it cares for people in difficult circumstances, not how to kill its people."

More information:

For further information contact:

• Dr Margaret Cottle (Vancouver) EPC VP: (604) 222-0288, mmcottle@mac.com
• Alex Schadenberg, (London) EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434, info@epcc.ca
• Nicolas Steenhout, (Montreal) Director - Vivre dans la Dignité: (438) 931-1233, info@vivredignite.org
• Hugh Scher (Toronto) EPC legal counsel: (416) 816-6115, hugh@sdlaw.ca
• Amy Hasbrouck, (Montreal) Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet: (450) 921-3057, info@tv-ndy.ca

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is a national coalition of groups and individuals that support positive measures and opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Contact EPC at: 1-877-439-3348 or info@epcc.ca or www.epcc.ca

The useless death of Yvan Tremblay

By Nic Steenhout - The Director of Vivre Dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity) in Quebec

                   Nic Steenhout

                   Nic Steenhout

We mourn the death of Yvan Tremblay, a man with disabilities who committed suicide rather than be forced out of his apartment on September 14. Isabelle Maréchal describes the situation well: 

"He decided to end his life because he could no longer deal with an inhuman system."

For 10 years, he lived in adapted housing. The managers of the building where he was staying expelled him because of new safety regulations imposed by the government. Apparently, he could not stay there because it would be impossible to evacuate him in case of fire. If he did not leave by himself, Mr. Tremblay would have been placed in a much smaller home, without even a kitchen. No space for his things. His options were drastically reduced.

Link to the full article