MONDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2010

Advertising Standards Bureau – Exit common sense

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On the 26th of November, the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) dismissed complaints against Exit International’s billboard advertising campaign that ran in Sydney. The billboard, white writing on purple background, displayed the text: 85% of Australians Support Voluntary Euthanasia. Our Government Doesn’t! Make them Listen.

The ASB received a number of complaints, some focussed, others expressing a more general sense of outrage. A number made the suggestion that the claims made were misleading (more on that later). A large number focussed more directly on the problem with promoting suicide.

Australia has a significant problem with youth suicide in particular. Australian media and those working with children and young people are extremely sensitive about the mention or portrayal of suicide in any manner. Any television program that contains even a remote connection bears a warning and also the contact details for support organisations such as… click here to read whole article and make comments


 
 
WEDNESDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2010

Has society failed US quadriplegic?

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A man who has been a quadriplegic since he was 3 is the latest focus of right-to-die news in the US. For about 18 months Dan Crews, 27, of Antioch, Illinois, has demanded that his ventilator be removed. But his local hospital has refused. Doctors say that he is depressed and is not capable of making an informed decision. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and ABC News both ran features on Mr Crews late last month emphasing the limitations of his day-to-day life.

"I have no friends. I have no education. No education prospects. No job prospects. I have no love prospects," he told the Journal-Sentinel. "All I want is to no longer live like this… I feel like I'm the only person in the country who does not have a way or an option to kill myself.”

He was swamped with letters, emails and phone calls after… click here to read whole article and make comments


 
 
TUESDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2010

The UK’s bogus commission

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Lord Falconer, chairman of the Here’san alternative view of the UK’s recently-formed Commission on Assisted Dying.It plans to investigate assisted suicide and euthanasia and come up with anobjective answer.

 

Poppycock,says London Telegraph columnist George Pticher.

But its findings are already a done deal, of course. To recap: not only is Lord Falconer a well-known advocate of euthanasia, who has tried to introduce it into legislation in the Lords, but he is chairing the “Commission”. At the last count, nine of the 12 “Commission” members are on record as supporting some change in the law to allow some form of euthanasia in the UK (the remaining three are best described as neutral-to-wobbly, so there are no actual opponents of a change in the law here). The “Commission” is bankrolled by Sir Terry Pratchett, the novelist who believes those of infirm mind should be put to… click here to read whole article and make comments


 
 
THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2010

Commission on assisted suicide slammed for lack of independence

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A stalwart supporter of assisted suicide in the UK, Lord Falconer, the former lord chancellor, will chair a commission to investigate whether it should be legalised. Sponsored by the left-leaning think tank Demos, the self-styled “Commission on Assisted Dying” plans to hold public hearings and take evidence from experts before issuing a report in December 2011.

Lord Falconer says that the commission will be objective: "We approach the task, each one of us, determined to come up with a report of quality which will be respected as an objective, dispassionate and authoritative analysis of the issues and as providing a reliable way forward.”
However, critics have already complained about its independence and its funding links to the lobby group Dying with Dignity.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, told the BBC: "we are deeply concerned that this pseudo 'commission' will not reflect the concerns and… click here to read whole article and make comments


 
 
THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2010

Netherlands marks ten years of legal euthanasia

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The tenth anniversary of the legalization of euthanasia in the Netherlands on November 28 passed almost unnoticed. It was the first country in the world to set down legal guidelines which allowed doctors to kill people. In a brief feature, Radio Netherlands asked why so few other countries had followed the Dutch example. Only neighbouring Belgium (2002) and Luxembourg (2009) have legalised euthanasia, although in Switzerland and the US States of Oregon, Washington and Montana assisted suicide is permitted.

According to medical ethics expert Evert van Leeuwen, other countries still believe that killing is only allowed in wartime and for state-mandated executions of criminals. “Here in the Netherlands, we tend to take a different view,” Prof Van Leeuwen says. “Here, a doctor gets to choose between his [Hippocratic] oath and his patient’s wishes. If his patient wants to die, he is allowed to assist them”.

Other reasons… click here to read whole article and make comments

 
 
THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2010

Spanish retirement home orderly admits killing 11

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Joan Vila Dilmé being led awayAn orderly at a Spanish nursing home admitted Tuesday to killing 11 residents, reports say. Joan Vila, 45, confessed that he poisoned them with bleach, an overdose of insulin or drugs at the north-eastern town of Olot, according to Spanish media. He admitted he killed three residents “to end their suffering” when he was arrested in October. He then told a judge on Tuesday that he had killed eight more, Spanish news agency Efe reported. The admission came 10 days after a judge ordered the eight bodies be exhumed as part of an investigation into suspicious deaths at the La Caritat residence.

Doctors first notified police after finding burns to the mouth and throat of an 85-year-old woman who died last month. Mr Vila confessed he had killed her and two others by forcing them to drink bleach. In his latest… click here to read whole article and make comments

 
 
THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2010

Assisted suicide fails in Scotland’s parliament

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Margo MacDonaldScotland’s Parliament has overwhelmingly defeated a bill which would have legalised assisted suicide for the terminally ill. The final result was 85 votes to 16 with two abstentions.

MSPs were allowed to vote according to their conscientious convictions, not on party lines. However, Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that the government did not support the bill. Furthermore, she added,  "I personally find myself particularly concerned and fundamentally concerned about the difficulty I think would always and inevitably be present in determining that someone choosing to end their life had not been subjected to undue influence."

A parliamentary committee which reported on the issue in November failed to support it.

The Independent parliamentarian who sponsored the bill, Margo MacDonald, who has Parkinson’s disease, blamed the lobby group Care Not Killing for the defeat. Waving a piece of paper in the debate, she said: "I'll… click here to read whole article and make comments


 
 
SATURDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2010

Elderly man shoots sick wife in ‘‘mercy killing’’ at nursing home

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Police photo of Roy Charles LairdRoy Charles Laird, 88, was arrested this week after allegedly shooting his 86-year-old wife, Clara Laird, in her California nursing home. The couple’s daughter described the act as a “mercy killing”. Laird staunchly persisted in feeding and bathing his wife, Clara, 86, as dementia and crippling illness took away her ability to walk, sit up, feed herself or recognise visitors, according to the daughter, Kathy Palmateer, 68.

During a visit to the Country Villa Healthcare Center in Seal Beach on Sunday, around a month before their 70th wedding anniversary, Laird allegedly decided to end his wife’s suffering by shooting her in the head with a .38-calibre revolver. Laird was found sitting in a chair near his wife’s body, and did not put up a fight when arrested by police. Friends of the couple say Laird was loyal and devoted to… click here to read whole article and make comments

 
 
THURSDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2010

Euthanasia bill defeated in South Australia

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A bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia in South Australia was rejected by the Upper House on Wednesday evening (Nov 24). After a long debate, the private member’s bill was defeated on the voices. Although there was no formal count, it is believed that 12 would have voted against the bill, and 9 for it. This was the third voluntary euthanasia bill to fail in the SA Parliament since 2003. However, the fight is not yet over in South Australia. A separate bill by Labor MP Stephanie Key is being considered in the lower house.

Spectators supporting both side of the debate packed the public gallery, including euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke. Independent upper house member Ann Bressington was applauded after she said she could not trust the Government to administer the Bill. "I don't care if it is not hip to be pro-life," she said. "There are slippery slopes, they do exist."

Liberal Jing Lee,… click here to read whole article and make comments


 
 
TUESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2010

A dying bioethicist warns of the peril of euthanasia

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Melbourne bioethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filippini is dying and in pain. He has written a letter to the Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann, urging him not to support Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2010. This is one of the most eloquent and cogent expressions of the argument against euthanasia that I have ever read. Here are a few paragraphs. Read the letter in full here

I write this letter to you my own name only and not in the name of my institute, of any Government Committees in which I am involved, or of any organisation.  I write because what happens in South Australia on this matter will affect all Australians, particularly those who, like me, meet the requirements of the Bill.

Relevant to this matter is the fact that I am dealing with my own terminal illness (combination of renal failure, advanced ischaemic heart disease and Rheumatoid auto-immune disease) and… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

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Careful! is MercatorNet's blog about end-of-life issues. We respect the dignity of each person from the beginning of life to its natural end. Leave your comments at the foot of our articles. The more the better! Write to us at editor@mercatornet.com.


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