Native leaders oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The chair of Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Health Authority Elders' Advisory Council, Francois Paulette told CBC news that: 

Indigenous people are bound by spiritual law, not man-made law.
Francois Paulette

Francois Paulette

Last week Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg Centre, said that he will vote against Bill C-14 the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide

According to the APTN report:

Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society. 
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat,” 
“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,”

“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”

CBC reporter, Sonja Koenig reported that Canada's Indigenous community is concerned about legislation that legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill C-14 was introduced in the House of Commons on April 14

According to the Koenig report Indigenous leaders have not been consulted. Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the president of the Indigenous Physicians Association said, 

so far, there's been no meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups.  
Lafontaine says even though the new legislation has been tabled, it isn't too late. 
"Even if these regulations are written up, there is still an opportunity to create our own in-house solutions when it comes to medically-assisted dying in our communities." 

Paulette spoke to the issue at a Dene leadership meeting today in Yellowknife.

Canada's Indigenous communities need to organize in opposition to assisted dying before Bill C-14 becomes law.

Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette will vote against euthanasia bill C-14

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Robert Falcon Ouellette (Liberal MP)

Robert Falcon Ouellette (Liberal MP)

Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP representing Winnipeg Centre, said that he will be voting against Bill C-14 the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide

According to the APTN report:

Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society. 
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat,”

Attawapiskat is a Cree community in the James Bay region that is experiencing a suicide crisis. Ouellette stated to APTN:

“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,” 
“If grandma, grandfather decides they had enough in life…if they weren’t able to carry on, why should I carry on? If they weren’t strong enough, why should I be strong enough? 
I think that is a question that is asked in Attawapiskat more often than not and the ripple effect of assisted dying is not the same in Toronto as in other places.”

Ouellette explained that his position on the issue was influenced by a conversation he had with his Sundance chief about three years ago.

“We were talking about suicide and he was talking in the lodge about this and he said, ‘Never forget the spirit of suicide, you have to fight the spirit of suicide, make sure it doesn’t come into our lives,’” 
“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”

The Liberal government should use the Notwithstanding clause to give them more time, as Ouellette has said is necessary. The Notwithstanding clause would give the  government at least 5 years to determine how to handle this issue.

[1] Section 33 of the Canadian Constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, also known as the “notwithstanding clause,” is a legislative power that allows the Parliament or a Legislature to override certain Charter section.

Why on Earth is Anyone Surprised By the Rise in US Suicides? Advertising Works.

This article was published by True Dignity Vermont on April 22, 2016.

News sources are reporting with surprise and seeming alarm on the Center for Disease Control’s newly released statistics showing that deaths by suicide in the entire US are on the rise. Why the surprise? It has been common knowledge since the rise of mass media, and even before, that advertising works. 

True Dignity has neither the expertise nor the time to analyze the CDC report’s statistics in detail. A few quotes will suffice to paint the picture of our current situation.

“The suicide rate in the United States increased by 24% from 1999 through 2014…among all groups. The increase in suicide rate has been steady since 1999, before which there was a consistent decline since 1986…” (USA Today, April 22, 2016).

The USA Today article speculates (which is all anybody can do) that the rise is linked to a poor economy. We at True Dignity cannot fail to note that the rise began just as the economic boom of the 1990s was beginning to wind down, and continued through the fairly affluent 2000s, admittedly rising at a higher rate beginning in 2006, on the brink of the Great Recession. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Though the economy may well have contributed to this rise, True Dignity calls everyone’s attention to a fact that is being ignored. 1998 was the year in which Oregon became the first state in the nation to put legalized assisted suicide into practice. This happened after a furious and widely publicized public argument between pro-assisted suicide forces and those opposing it, an argument waged in the courts and eventually decided by the US Supreme Court, which allowed it in Oregon but declined to make it a right nationally. 1999 was the first year for which the state of Oregon issued its annual report on its assisted suicide deaths. Ironically, this supposedly neutral government report called assisted suicide by the attractive name given to the law that made it legal: Death with Dignity.

The World Health Organization has warned the media that: 1) “Language that misinforms the public about suicide or normalizes it should be avoided”, and that the media should 2) “Avoid prominent placement and undue repetition of stories about suicide.” Yet, beginning in the period leading up to the implementation of the Oregon law and reaching a climax with Brittany Maynard’s picture on the cover of People, there has been relentless media promotion of suicide, relentless misinformation about laws that allow medical professionals to facilitate deaths of people who could have lived years and that contain virtually no protections against euthanasia or even murder of a person who, believing him or herself to be terminally ill, has obtained a lethal prescription. We have detailed the ways in which the laws allow this to happen so many times that we won’t repeat ourselves here, only urge you to search our topic list.

Bottom line: Compassion and Choices has engaged in an ad campaign, both paid and freely given by the media, and it has been effective. The only thing that should surprise us about the rise in suicide deaths is that it has not been even bigger. We hope that the efforts of many individuals and groups, including ours, have, by calling suicide exactly what the World Health organization has urged the media to call it, “a public health problem”, contributed to that fact, the only silver lining to a terrible cloud hanging over our nation and the world.

Will we be able to hold the line? California has been the only US state to [pass] assisted suicide legislation since the Maynard campaign, but legalization is a threat in multiple states. Canada’s highest court has ruled that assisted suicide is a right, and has ordered Parliament to write laws to regulate it.

Assisted Suicide Advocacy & the Increase in Suicide

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on April 22, 2016

By Wesley Smith

There has been a huge and alarming increase in the U.S. suicide rate. From the CDC announcement

From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006… 
Suicide is increasing against the backdrop of generally declining mortality, and is currently one of the 10 leading causes of death overall and within each age group 10–64…  
This report highlights increases in suicide mortality from 1999 through 2014 and shows that while the rate increased almost steadily over the period, the average annual percent increase was greater for the second half of this period (2006–2014) than for the first half (1999–2006). 

Color me decidedly not surprised. We are becoming a pro-suicide culture. 

I believe the assisted suicide movement bears partial responsibility. Suicides have increased at the very time the assisted suicide movement has been vigorously and prominently promoting self-killing as a proper means to alleviate suffering. 

Moreover, assisted suicide is often portrayed sympathetically in popular entertainment and the media is completely on board the assisted suicide bandwagon. Don’t tell me that doesn’t give despairing people lethal ideas. 

At the same time, suicide prevention campaigns usually ignore this toxic elephant in the room. 

It is also noteworthy that the suicide rate increased faster after 2006–the very time when the assisted suicide movement has become the most vigorous and made its most dramatic advances. 

There is no question that assisted suicide advocacy is not the only factor causing this alarming increase in suicides. But I am convinced that the correlation could also be at least a partial causation. 

Look at it this way: If we say that suicide is okay in some circumstances–but not others–at best we are sending a mixed message, making it more difficult for the anti-suicide message to sink in. 

In this regard it is like telling someone, “Don’t smoke, but if you do, use filter cigarettes.”

One study has already found a weak linkage. I would like to see a more concerted investigations that aren’t afraid of making a controversial connection.

Rushing toward death - Euthanasia in the Netherlands

Theo Boer

Theo Boer

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In July 2014, Professor Theo Boer, who was member, for nine years, of a euthanasia regional review committee in the Netherlands, wrote an article that was published in the Daily Mail urging the British parliament to reject the legalization of assisted suicide. Boer then gave the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition permission to publish the full text of his article entitled "Assisted Suicide: Don't go there."

Today Professor Boer published a significant critique of the Netherlands Euthanasia Law under the title: Rushing toward death?

Boer begins by explaining how euthanasia became legal, and how the law works in the Netherlands. He wrote:

In 1994 the Netherlands became the first country to legalize assisted dying. The Dutch added a clause to the Burial and Cremation Act allowing doctors to help a person die as long as the patient made an informed request and faced unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement; a second doctor concurred in the decision; and medically advised methods were used. The clause was further codified by the Assisted Dying Act in 2001. Belgium followed suit with similar legislation in 2002. 
In the Netherlands, five regional review committees, each consisting of a lawyer, a physician, and an ethicist, were charged with keeping an eye on the practice and assessing (after the fact) whether a case of assisted dying complied with the law. 
Two forms of assisted dying are legally practiced: euthanasia, in which the action of the physician causes death, and physician-assisted suicide, in which a physician provides the patient with a lethal drink administered by the patient. The overwhelming majority of patients who make use of the law (95 percent) choose euthanasia.

Boer then explains why he originally supported the Netherlands euthanasia law.

Link to the full article

Euthanasia contagion - it exists!

The writer asked to remain anonymous for the privacy of the family. 

My grand-mother is 95 years old. She lives in a nursing home in Belgium, and we, her family, live on another continent. Last year, she became critically ill and told us she wanted to ask for euthanasia. Her doctor was against the idea, and then her health improved. We then used technology to better stay in touch with her. After that, she stopped talking about requesting euthanasia.

This year, on her birthday a few weeks ago, when we gave her best wishes, she said that the best wish would be that this was her last birthday. She was quite depressed after spending Christmas and New Year on her own. But we kept in touch with her, with several video calls each week. Her spirits lifted, she was happy, enthused and appeared relaxed on recent calls with her.

Today, she informs us that her only real friend at the residence, a “young woman of 75”, had requested euthanasia and her request had been approved on the basis of Parkinson’s. She is to be killed tomorrow.

My grand-mother is now extremely upset and distressed. She spoke about losing her only friend. She spoke of feeling alone and isolated. She spoke of the fact that maybe it was time for her to look at euthanasia again.

How many other residents in that home are feeling similarly? How many requests for euthanasia will happen in that nursing home in the next few weeks?

I have no hard data about “contagion effect”, but I see the very real impact her friend’s upcoming euthanasia has on my grand-mother.

Link to the full article

Assisted Suicide Coercion Happens Behind Closed Doors

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on September 18, 2015.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Assisted suicide propagandists insist that doctors will never assist suicides if they think a person is being coerced to die. 

How in the hell would they know? Family pressure isn’t exerted with a gun to the head that can be seen on an X-ray. It occurs in daily nudges and winks–subtle pushes–that drive the vulnerable person toward the abyss.

One such example appears in the New York Times Magazine today, in a first person account of Carlos Framb, who pushed his mother–growing blind and debilitated with old age–into assisted suicide in Colombia. From, “Jumping the Wall” (my emphasis) 

For me, it has always been clear: Life is worth it only if you want it. And my mom didn’t. 
So I started talking to her. I wanted to lead my mom from her belief that suicide is a sin to my own view that suicide is a sovereign right every person has. 
But for my mom, religion was company, comfort. It would be wrong of me to try and convince her of something different. So I was just trying to lead her to the notion of a compassionate God, a merciful one. 

He didn’t finish the sentence: “Who would approve and understand when she committed suicide.”

Framb eventually got his way, as the mother’s resistance finally collapsed. He made the poison for her and gave it to her to drink.

He then tried to kill himself, but with no one there to make sure he died, he failed. 

And then Framb makes a pro-suicide pitch of the kind we often see in the ilk of the New York Times these days: 

I enjoy my life now, but I don’t see why I have to for the pleasure with a quota of pain at the end. 
When the conditions of life are no longer golden, which will come, obviously, then I will be more than willing to leave the way I want. 
Because that cocktail can be very sweet if you put enough sugar in it. 

This is proselytizing for suicide. I don’t see any other way to look at it. 

Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death?