CARP assisted dying poll results may be skewed

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) may have skewed the results of their assisted dying poll. 

As a CARP member, I was sent a link to the "assisted dying" poll on March 3. Even though CARP claimed that it was a "members poll", the link to the poll could be accessed by anyone. After answering the poll questions I was shocked by the radically pro-euthanasia responses.

Late that evening, I checked the CARP poll results and noticed that there were already more than 5000 responses with the results remaining unbelievably one-sided.

Susan Eng

Susan Eng

On January 27, Moses Znaimer, the President & CEO of CARP, fired Susan Eng, the CARP executive VP based on her neutral stance on assisted dying and replaced Eng with Wanda Morris, the CEO of Dying With Dignity, a euthanasia lobby group.

Considering the recent results from official polls, it is possible that Morris sent the CARP poll to her euthanasia lobby contacts to skew the results of the CARP poll. I have no proof that Morris did this, but based on the unbelievable CARP poll as compared to the Nanos poll for the Globe and Mail and the Angus Reid Institute Survey, my assertion seems likely.

According to the CARP poll 80% stated that publicly funded health care institutions, including hospices and long-term care homes should participate in assisted dying. The Angus Reid Institute Survey found that 68% oppose forcing religiously affiliated hospitals to participate and 62% oppose forcing nursing homes to participate.

According to the CARP poll 85% stated that waiting periods should be flexible, while the Angus Reid Institute survey found that 88% support waiting periods.

According to the CARP poll 87% stated that a doctor must refer a patient for an assisted death, while the Nanos poll found that 75% support doctors having the right to opt-out from participating in assisted death.

Since the CARP poll could be done by anyone (even though it claimed to be a members survey) and the Angus Reid survey and the Nanos poll were scientifically done based on representative samples, it seems likely that the CARP poll was intentionally skewed.

Nanos poll: doctors should be able to opt-out of offering assisted dying - majority oppose assisted dying for minors and for psychiatric reasons

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In the past few weeks, three professionals polls have been done on Canadian views on euthanasia and assisted suicide, referred to as "assisted dying."

The recent Nanos poll of 1000 Canadians that was done March 31 - April 4, 2016 was commissioned by the Globe and Mail. The Nanos media release stated that the poll found:

Canadians believe doctors should be able to opt-out of offering assisted dying - majority oppose or somewhat oppose assisted dying for minors 
• The majority of Canadians think that doctors should be able to opt-out of providing access to assisted dying against the will of their patients. Most Canadians do not think people under the age of 16 and 17 years should be able to access assisted dying and a marginal majority think that those with mental illness or psychiatric conditions should have access.

• Ability of doctors to opt-out - Three-fourths (75%) of Canadians believe doctors should be able to opt-out of offering assisted dying against the will of their patients (50% agree; 25% somewhat agree). Twenty-one percent say they would disagree or somewhat disagree with the same thing (11% disagree; 10% somewhat disagree). Four percent of Canadians are unsure.

• Assisted dying and minors - Six in ten Canadians (60%) say that they would disagree or somewhat disagree (16% somewhat disagree; 43% disagree), that minors who are 16 and 17 years of age should be able to access assisted dying, while thirty-seven percent of Canadians either agree (13%) or somewhat agree (24%). Five percent are unsure.

• Assisted dying and mental illness - Half of Canadians (52%) would either somewhat disagree (18%) with letting people with mental illness or psychiatric conditions access assisted dying, or disagree (34%). Just over two fifths (42%) of Canadians think that people who are suffering from with mental illness or psychiatric conditions should be able to access assisted dying (22% agree; 20% somewhat agree), while six percent of Canadians are unsure. 
The full survey results can be found by visiting our website.

Link to the full article

Angus Reid survey: Canadians oppose for euthanasia for psychiatric reasons and forcing hospitals to do euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
An Angus Reid Institute survey of 1517 Canadians focusing on euthanasia and assisted suicide (also known as assisted death) done between March 21 - 24 found that the majority of Canadians oppose many of the recommendations in the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying report (report). The report made 21 recommenations including euthanasia for: people with dementia, people with dementia, and people with psychiatric conditions. The report provided recommendations for legislation on assisted death.

The survey found that 78% of Canadians opposed euthanasia for people with severe psychological suffering but no terminal illness, meaning they oppose recommendation 3, in the report, that supported euthanasia for people with psychological suffering.

The survey found that 68% of Canadians opposed forcing religiously affiliated hospitals to participate in euthanasia while 62% supported religiously affiliated nursing homes from having to participate in euthanasia. Therefore they oppose recommendation 11 in the report.

The euthanasia lobby has pressured the government to reduce funding for institutions that refuse to kill their patients. The survey found that only 24% of Canadians supported this idea.

The survey found that only 36% of Canadians supported forcing medical professionals who oppose euthanasia to refer their patients to a doctor who will kill their patient.

Link to the full article

Belgium doctors are hastening death without request

This article was published by OneNewsNow on June 4, 2015

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

A jump in support for assisted suicide in the United States fails to reflect the dangers of the practice.

Gallup poll tallies 68 percent support for assisted suicide for patients who request it, have an incurable illness and are living in severe pain.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is not surprised by the numbers after the extensive publicity on Brittany Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer and moved from California to Oregon for help to commit suicide.

He says there was a "media love-in" for Maynard's death, which affected the American public.

"So what's really missing here is the reality of what is the actual effect of legalizing assisted suicide," Schadenberg observes. "We don't see that readily being promoted by the media and we also don't see counter stories dealing with the same issues."

Gallup acknowledged that the poll results are questionable. The headline itself reads, 

"U.S. support for euthanasia hinges on how it's described," because support dropped from 70 percent to 51 percent when "help end a patient's life" was changed to helping "commit suicide."

Schadenberg points to a March report from Belgium that shows 1.7 percent of all deaths were hastened in the country without a person's request.

The head of a euthanasia committee in Belgium, he says, has admitted that an average 50 Belgians are dying every year due to psychiatric problems – a far cry from brain cancer.

Millions have been spent in America to change minds about assisted suicide and Schadenberg says it's time for a counter campaign to educate people on the truth of it.

Poll Shows Little Support for Assisted Suicide and Major Concerns

Link to the PR Newswire media release on April 16, 2015.

As assisted suicide failed to pass in state legislatures across the country this year, a new Marist Poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus found that a majority of Americans do not support assisted suicide and that strong majorities harbor deep concerns over such proposals.

Assisted suicide proposals have stalled since the start of the year in a number of states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and Nevada.

More than 6 in 10 Americans (61 percent) do not support a doctor prescribing or administering a lethal drug dose, saying that a doctor should instead only manage an illness or remove life support.

Additionally, 57 percent of Americans say they are less likely to trust a doctor who engages in assisted suicide.

Strong majorities of Americans also have deep concerns about assisted suicide, including:

  • 67 percent concerned that fewer life-saving options will be given at end of life.
  • 65 percent concerned that the elderly will be at risk in nursing homes.
  • 64 percent concerned that the depressed will be more likely to take their lives.
  • 59 percent concerned about a wrong diagnosis.
  • 55 percent concerned that the doctor could misjudge a patient's state of mind.
  • 55 percent concerned that it will become a cost-saving measure for health care decisions.
  • 54 percent concerned that patients will be pressured to take their life so as not to be a burden.

Between 4 in 10 and 6 in 10 of those who support assisted suicide also share each of these concerns.

Link to the full article

Assisted Suicide poll - shows that Canadians are divided on the issues

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Angus Reid Institute completed an assisted suicide poll in late November that shows that Canadians are divided and conflicted on the issues, and that a negative experience with palliative care directly effects the opinion of people on the issues.

In its description of the survey results, the Angus Reid Institute states:

Canadians express moderate to strong support for changes in legislation that would allow physicians to help patients who want to commit suicide, but the specific circumstances that might justify this course of action suggest deep divisions in public opinion. 
Canadians’ views on doctor-assisted suicide vary significantly based on the perceptions of recent experiences with loved ones receiving end-of-life care. 
Those reporting a negative experience with palliative and hospice based care are significantly more likely to support physician-assisted suicide.
... In the middle is the largest group of Canadians who are open to the arguments in favour of a new overall approach in law, but who remain highly uneasy about specifics.

The poll found support for assisted suicide as: 37% of Canadians strongly supported, 42% somewhat supported, 8% somewhat opposed, and 10% strongly opposed.

Link to the full article

UK poll: Assisted suicide is not safe

Peers urged to ditch dangerous assisted suicide bill, as new polling shows that one in ten Britons would favour rewarding older people for ending their lives.

1. More than four in 10 believe assisted suicide will be extended beyond the terminally ill if the current law is changed. 
2. Clear majority of public says there is no safe system of assisted suicide. 
3. Fewer than three in 10 believe changing the law on assisted suicide will not lead to increase in abuse of vulnerable people.

Peers are being urged to ditch a dangerous assisted suicide bill that could lead to more than 1,200 deaths a year. Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill has its committee stage in the House of Lords on Friday 7 November.

This is a joint call from disability rights campaign, Not Dead Yet and from Care Not Killing.

The two groups say that changing the law on assisted suicide would weaken protections for vulnerable people. They highlight the findings of a new poll from ComRes, which reveals high levels of concern among the British public around the proposed changes.

Link to the full article.