FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

Medical homicide: telling it as it is

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Perhaps in part because of the dwindling birth rates and a steadily ageing and costly population, it is customary now in Britain for the subject of active euthanasia to be revisited every year. Charles (Lord) Falconer is at it again seeking to legalise medical complicity in homicide. The subject comes before Parliament today.

Notwithstanding the horrific findings of widespread non-consensual sedation and dehydration in UK's hospitals, hospices and care homes and the Neuberger Review confirming the catastrophe, Falconer is seeking to open up new ways of eliminating the disabled, depressed, old and vulnerable.

A letter organised by Terence English, patron of Dignity in Dying, is being supported by 27 public figures including Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, Michael Rawlins, former chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Graham Winyard, a former NHS director.

It is argued that the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014

We were wrong, says former regulator of Dutch euthanasia

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Theo Boer is a Dutch medical ethicist who has changed his mind on euthanasia. This is an article he wrote for the UK's Dail Mail warning the House of Lords not to pass an "assisted dying" bill. Thanks to Alex Schadenberg.   

In 2001 The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia and, along with it, assisted suicide. Various safeguards were put in place to show who should qualify and doctors acting in accordance with these safeguards would not be prosecuted. Because each case is unique, five regional review committees were installed to assess every case and to decide whether it complied with the law.

For five years after the law became effective, such physician-induced deaths remained level - and even fell in some years. In 2007 I wrote that ‘there doesn’t need to be a slippery slope when it comes to… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 15 JULY 2014

Lord Carey’s suicide mission

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george carey
Lord Carey

 

Have the body-snatchers taken Lord Carey? This is what I ask myself as I read his support for an assisted suicide bill. He comes up with all the usual clichés used to justify turning doctors into assisted killers. Compassion, care, but worst of all, Christian love. He abuses each and every concept.

Lord Carey also conflates a number of key issues (perhaps conveniently, I am not too sure; I do not believe a man of his intelligence could be genuinely confused). I am tempted to go through his article line by line to point out the errors, but will desist.

First, he talks about a parishioner who suffered greatly at the end of her life and died. Lord Carey writes in Saturday’s Daily Mail: “Even the most devout believers will find their faith tested by the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

A man who disdains euphemisms

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The recent news concerning Dr Philip Nitschke, Exit International and the suicide death of two men who were not terminally ill has forced the Australian public to confront the issue of assisting someone to die.

As Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt points out, this is not something new. Nor is the public commentary from Dr Nitschke at the pointed end of the debate: when a bill is before an Australian legislature.

When Nitschke comments on such bills there's a noticeable cringe factor among state-based supporters of such legislation, with the most common response being that Nitschke's comments 'are not helpful'.

Even though these organisations have always been effectively 'on the same page' as Nitschke in seeking legislative change, what they reject is essentially that Nitschke tells it like it is. To his credit, he shuns euphemisms and advocates directly for any adult to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 1 JULY 2014

Killing Me Softly: a New Zealand report on euthanasia

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Over the past 20-odd years New Zealand has seen three legislative attempts to legalise euthanasia. Only the first (1995) went through the legislative process – where it was defeated by 61 to 29 votes. The third, introduced only last year by Labour MP Maryan Street, was withdrawn by her from the private members’ bill ballot to prevent it becoming a “political football” in the general elections being held this year.

There is no doubt, however, that if Labour was able to form a government after the September elections the Street Bill would reappear. They and the Green Party (their likely coalition partner) regard it as their mission to advance “progressive” causes – as the passing of New Zealand’s same-sex marriage law in April last year showed.

It is particularly easy to push such controversial issues through the New Zealand legislative system since it is unicameral (there is no upper house) and has only 120 members. Similarly there are few national… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 10 JUNE 2014

“Yes” to euthanasia brings a seismic shift in values

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euthan

Why, after millenniums of prohibiting the intentional killing of another human being, in particular by physicians, did Quebec politicians think euthanasia is a “progressive” idea that must be implemented without delay? Bill 52, originally introduced by the Parti Québécois government, was rapidly reintroduced by the Liberals and passed Thursday.

Why did Quebec politicians fail to give sufficient weight to the dangers and harms of legalizing euthanasia, especially to vulnerable people — those who are old and fragile or disabled, and whose lives are denigrated by euthanasia’s message that they are not worth living?

Why have their ethical imaginations, human memories (knowledge of history) and examined emotions failed to warn them that they are on the wrong path? Did they fail to distinguish between obligations to kill people’s suffering through good palliative care and pain management, and killing the person with the suffering? Did they fail to… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 6 JUNE 2014

Quebec legalises euthanasia

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Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard in the National Assembly this week.    

Quebec has become the first Canadian province to legalise euthanasia. Bill 52 easily passed in the National Assembly yesterday by a vote of 94 to 22. “I want to congratulate ourselves as parliamentarians,” said Carole Poirier, of the Parti Quebecois. “Quebec is a beautiful society, and again today Quebec has just shown that we are really, really a different society.”

Under the new law, an adult who is terminally ill, of sound mind, and in constant and unbearable physical and psychological pain may request a lethal injection. Quebec now joins the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg as the fourth jurisdiction in which euthanasia is legal. Assisted suicide is legal in across the border in Washington state and Oregon, but not euthanasia. 

The battle over the controversial law is not over, however.… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 6 JUNE 2014

Deacon arrested over Belgian euthanasia deaths

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Breaking news from a number of sources says that Belgian police have charged a 57-year-old man with 10 cases of illegal euthanasia. The man, identified as a Catholic deacon from the town of Wevelgem, was working in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Menin until 2002. Afterwards he continued part-time as a pastoral assistant until 2011.  The deaths seem to have taken place between the early 1980s and 2011.

Belgium’s euthanasia laws came into effect in 2002 presumably rendering any euthanasia deaths before that time subject to the Belgian criminal code on homicide.

The fact that these deaths are supposed to have occurred in a Catholic Hospital at the hands of a man holding the position of Deacon will be a significant embarrassment to the Catholic Church in Belgium. The Diocese of Bruges has commented that "Euthanasia and Deacon are two words that should not be in… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 15 MAY 2014

Why would a euthanasia practitioner tour Auschwitz?

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Tourists at the entrance to Auschwitz   

The leading practitioner of euthanasia in Belgium, Dr Wim Distelmans, is organizing an instructional tour to Auschwitz,  the Nazi extermination camp in October. In an invitation for healthcare professionals he describes Auschwitz as an ‘inspiring’ surrounding in which to ‘clarify confusion about euthanasia’.

In fact, Dr Distelmans’s tour does help to clarify matters: it shows that how little distance there is between Belgian euthanasia in 2014 and Nazi death camps in 1944.

Linking the right to die and the Nazis is a no-no in most circles. In fact, opponents are usually deemed to have lost the argument as soon as they mention the word “Nazi”. But Dr Distelmans’s breath-taking initiative could change that rule. To hold a seminar on euthanasia in an extermination camp where the idea of ‘lives not worth living’ took its most extreme form, is… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 14 MAY 2014

When life sentences draw to a close

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Angola State Prison in Louisiana is one of the largest maximum security prisons in the world. Louisiana’s sentencing laws are strict and half of the 5,000 inmates will die in prison. This is a very moving documentary about men coming to the end of their sentence and the men who care for them. Brilliant. 

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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