Assisted suicide laws increase suicide rates, especially among women (UK)

Posner argued: People who have no immediate wish to die by suicide get reassurance from knowing that they can exercise the option of suicide at some point in the future. The study used data from ten US states that implemented an assisted suicide law up to the end of 2019. Assisted suicide laws increase overall suicide rates by about 18% and for women the increase is 40%. Assisted suicide results in an increase in unassisted suicides by about 6% and amongst women there is a 13% increase in unassisted suicides. Some argue that these results show assisted suicide empowers women to take control over end-of-life decisions. However, the alternative view is that they are disempowered and become more vulnerable to social pressures and therefore opt for suicide.

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Assisted suicide bill rejected in Connecticut (USA)

Assisted suicide has been rejected in Connecticut for the tenth time, after a close vote by senators on the State General Assembly’s judiciary committee. The disability rights group Second Thoughts Connecticut and The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA strongly opposed the plans. They warned “offering suicide prevention to most people while offering suicide assistance to an ever-widening subset of disabled people is lethal disability discrimination”.

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Application in the South Gauteng High Court to legalise euthanasia (South Africa)

Palliative care doctor, Suzanne Walter, and her patient, Diethelm Harck, started a court case to legalise euthanasia in South Africa. Walter was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2017, while Harck was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2013. Both wish to have the option to end their lives when they feel they cannot handle their illness any more. Due to their medical conditions, special arrangements were made in March for the evidence of Harck and Walter to be heard first via a commission headed by Judge Neels Claassen. Their application for an order directing the government to enact legislation which will allow for physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, is due to proceed in the South Gauteng High Court for six weeks from May 3.

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A Sceptic’s Report: Canada’s five years experience with medical termination (Canada)

Tom Koch, an ethicist and researcher, reviewed how things have evolved in the realm of euthanasia since its legalisation in Canada in 2016. Euthanasia has indeed shown to be a “slippery slope”. The eligibility criteria for euthanasia have broadened considerably resulting in a steady increase in the number of people opting for euthanasia. Between 2016 and 2020 the number of reported cases of medical termination increased from 1018 to 7589. This is the very definition of a “slippery slope”. Eligibility criteria have loosened to such an extent that people who are simply afraid of possible future illnesses can choose to end their lives. The other finding which raises concern is that euthanasia appears to be a substitute for palliative care and other supportive services. It was shown that euthanasia is at times promoted especially to those who live in areas where expert care and support are difficult to access. It appears that those so in need are somehow not worthy of supportive care that would make their life worthwhile. The results of the Canadian 5 year review are a cause for concern rather than a recommendation for euthanasia.

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Canada’s euthanasia lobby demands that religious medical facilities kill

The euthanasia lobby, Dying with Dignity, has started a campaign to force Canada’s denominational medical institutions to participate in, or provide euthanasia. Their main goal is to put an end to transfer of patients wanting euthanasia from a denominational medical institution refusing to perform euthanasia. The British Columbia government is already forcing medical institutions which are not affiliated with a denomination to provide euthanasia. In 2021 a non-denominational hospice ceased to receive funds because they refused to kill their patients.

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Assisted suicide: psychiatric assessment should be systematically provided (France)

The public debate about the legalisation of euthanasia in France is raging. Some psychiatrists published a study that reviewed the role of psychiatrists in cases of requests for assisted suicide. The study was based on 127 articles, mostly sourced from Pubmed and Cairn, dating from 1997 to 2020, involving Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and Oregon. The study emphasised the importance of an in-depth consultation with a psychiatrist in all requests for assisted suicide. This decision was based on the findings that the most prevalent reasons for a request to die are “spirituality, attachment style, social isolation, despair, depression […]. It was also found that a doctor’s qualifications influence the evaluation of patients and can obscure the motivations that lead a person to request euthanasia.

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French council of state rejects Dignitas’ appeal on a preliminary question of constitutionality (France)

Dignitas, a Swiss organisation that promotes “the right to die with dignity”, submitted a Preliminary Question of Constitution (PQC) to the French Council of State. The aim of the PQC was to counter the ban of the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital, in France. The French Council rejected the proposal and highlighted the risk of pentobarbital to public health. Dignitas is proud of its role in having assisted suicide recognised by the German and Austrian constitutional courts. They continue to try to achieve the same in France, however, thus far have failed. Their website explicitly criticises France for its suicide prevention policy indicating that Dignitas is striving to impose its deadly practices in foreign countries.

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LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Australia – Fatally Flawed Experiments in 21 countries with euthanasia

A booklet of 100 pages titled: “Fatally flawed Experiments in Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” documents the failure of euthanasia laws in 21 countries/states around the world. Euthanasia laws, once legalised, quickly moved goal posts that went from unbearable suffering to include depression, mental illness, symptoms associated with old age that were not fatal, child euthanasia, suicidal ideation, prisoners and mental health detainees, Disabilities, victims of sexual abuse, non-terminal conditions, and psychiatric disorders. Studies also cited how doctors and nurses often deliberately hastened death of a patient without explicit consent or request from the patient for euthanasia. Among the 21 listed countries are Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Spain and Western Australia. More, Fatally Flawed Experiments in Euthanasia.

USA – Organ Donation Euthanasia: the healthy can now die to donate

When organ transplant medicine began, the “dead donor rule” was instituted to assure a wary public that people’s vital organs would only be procured after the person was dead. A corollary to that rule assures the public that people will not be killed for their body parts. Many bioethicists are now pushing to allow doctors to kill via organ harvest, sometimes called “organ donation euthanasia” (ODE).

At first, this proposal was limited to patients on the verge of death or the permanently unconscious. Now, a prominent bioethics journal has published a piece urging that healthy people be allowed to die by removal of vital organs. The author claims that because people can instruct life-sustaining treatment to be withdrawn (LST), and can donate their organs after death, that ODE is also OK because it will result in death, too, and result in more usable organs procured and more lives saved.

Proponents of ODE argue that if the patient consents, it would be permissible to procure the patient’s organs before death. This will of course mean that the patient will die from donating his or her vital organs instead of dying from having his or her treatment withdrawn. However, this seems ethically immaterial in this situation since the outcome for the patient will be the same.

But that’s not true. Not everyone dies after having life-sustaining treatment withdrawn. Indeed, under current organ-donation protocols, if the patient doesn’t die, he is taken back to the ward and usually disqualified as an organ donor thereafter. If this does not constitute a slippery slope then people live in a state of denial or ignorance, wherever euthanasia is legalized it always morphed into something else. “If we can do this, then why not do that also?” More

USA – California seeks to expand euthanasia

The California assisted death lobby is supporting a court case to expand assisted suicide to euthanasia in California. 

Legally, assisted suicide is a form of suicide where the law requires a person to “self-administer” a lethal drug cocktail with the assistance of a “medical professional” while euthanasia is a form of homicide whereby the “medical professional” lethally injects the person with a lethal drug cocktail. In the past few years the American assisted death lobby has pushed the limits of state assisted suicide laws.

In 2019, Oregon eliminated the 15 day waiting period for assisted suicide and currently California is debating assisted suicide expansion bill SB 380 which, among other things, eliminates the requirement of a formal examination of the law. The New Mexico assisted suicide law only requires a 48 hour waiting period, that can be waived, and it redefined who could approve assisted suicide to include nurses. More

Australia – Politicians aren’t listening to logical, evidence-based arguments.

Five out of Australia’s six states have lawful assisted suicide and euthanasia: Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and recently Queensland joined. The new law has three serious flaws. First, health practitioners are permitted to initiate a discussion of “assisted dying” with patients. Second, doctors who have a conscientious objection to “assisted dying” are obliged to refer to a compliant doctor. And third, healthcare facilities must permit “assisted dying” on their premises, even if it violates their “institutional conscience”. These concerns were raised in the amendments and all of them were voted down. Opposition to euthanasia is not just religious; there are countless reasons to oppose it on medical, legal, and social grounds. More

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Canada – Mother seeks to expand euthanasia to her disabled 4-year-old son

A mother in Quebec seeks to expand euthanasia to enable her to euthanise her 4-year-old son which is severely disabled, is deaf, lives with severe intellectual disability, has daily intestinal problems, and has already come close to death several times. She said there was no possibility for her son’s quality of life to improve and invited two senators to her home of which one senator decided to champion the cause of child euthanasia. The current Canadian law permits euthanasia for people who are at least 18 years old and capable of consenting. For those who claim that legalizing euthanasia does not lead to a “slippery slope” think again. Michel Bureau President of the Commission on Life Care said, “This is what is dangerous; a slippage that only allows those who are beautiful and perfect to live,”

In January this year, United Nations Human Rights experts expressed alarm at a growing trend to enact legislation enabling access to euthanasia based largely on having a disability or disabling conditions, including in old age. The statement on their website condemned such legislation and said such legislation is grounded in ableist and stereotypical assumptions about the inherent ‘quality of life’ or ‘worth’ of the life of a person with a disability. The UN statement also recognised that such legislation normalises the act of euthanasia and condemned it. Mother-seeks-to-euthanise-4-year-old-son, Disability is not a reason to sanction medically assisted dying – UN experts.

Australia – Dissenting report opposes euthanasia

Dr Mark Robinson Member of Parliament (MP) in the Queensland Australia parliament wrote a dissenting report to the official parliamentary report on the proposed assisted dying bill. Dr Robinson’s report creates a strong basis for opposing assisted dying. Similar to another report on assisted suicide by Nick Goiran who wrote a report titled: License to Care not License to Kill opposing the legalization of euthanasia which was meticulously researched, documenting world-wide concerns with legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Dr Robinson’s dissenting report is 24 pages of strong arguments against euthanasia. He argues that physicians should not be involved in interventions whose primary intention is the ending of a person’s life, therefore acts of euthanasia are unethical. He emphasized that if proper end-of-life care and palliative care were available there would be no demand for euthanasia and points out that euthanasia has become an alternative to the lack of proper end-of-life care.

What is initially proposed as a measure to help a very small number of people, said to be in intolerable physical pain, is progressively broadened to apply to thousands of people, including those with no physical medical condition. Initial procedural safeguards are also relaxed. Once you lift the lid on Pandora’s box, there’s no going back.
Many vulnerable people experience subtle pressure to take their own life – some are made to feel almost duty bound to their family or to society to end their life prematurely. When elder abuse is combined with legalised access to euthanasia, it inevitably leaves the most vulnerable at risk of being coerced into ending their lives. Wrongful deaths have followed these laws everywhere they are introduced. Article (See both reports &/or download them below)

LIFEalerts – Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Canada – Medical Organisations: euthanasia will provide not prevent suicide.

Several countries have permitted euthanasia for patients with psychiatric illness opening the door to provide suicide rather than prevent it. The American Medical Association repeatedly concluded that euthanasia practices are “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as a healer,” and the World Medical Association is firmly opposed to euthanasia. Experts in Canadian law and medicine wrote: Bill C-7 will allow physicians to end the life of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses at their request and will require the system to ensure it happens even when physicians are convinced, based on their expert knowledge, that medicine offers options and even when the patient may have years or decades to live with a good quality of life if other options are explored and tried first. More

USA – Bioethicists look for different ways to eliminate incapacitated people

Two prominent bioethicists propose the implantation of a time-release suicide device that will cause future death at the time of the patient’s choosing. This is to eliminate people diagnosed with dementia when they become incapacitated. Belgium and the Netherlands permit advance orders to be euthanized. Another proposal gaining traction in bioethics would force caregivers to starve patients to death. This new idea was published in the Hastings Center Report — the world’s most prominent bioethics journal. This device is called an “advance directive implant, or ADI”. The ADI would require extensive engineering, would be computerized subdermal implant containing a lethal dose of a medication or combination of medications. Release of lethal dose would occur rapidly after a predetermined interval or after some specific event had occurred. The ADI would likely require a long-lasting battery, computerized control, and a pump or microfluidic mechanism. More

Netherlands – Assisted suicide now available without doctor intervention!

Recently a 28-year-old man was arrested and charged for selling a suicide drug to at least six people for 20 euros over the internet. Some of his clients were young people police said. According to police, the man also had links to Cooperatie Laatste Wil (CLW) (Last Wish Cooperative), a euthanasia group that promotes “assisted suicide without the intervention of doctors”. Similar groups operate under the radar in other countries. A long feature article in the popular newspaper de Volkskrant about the death of a 28-year-old woman named Marjolein in September 2020. She had a history of depression and mental instability. She also bought the suicide drug from and agent of CLW. She changed her mind almost immediately, but efforts to rescue her failed. Jos van Wijk, chairman of the CLW, indignantly rejected the family’s accusations of improper conduct saying they adhere to the rules of law. This is another example of how things get out of hand once euthanasia is legalized in a country. More