Friday, February 26, 2010

Brit Assisted Suicide Legal Guidelines Bad News for the Disabled and the Vulnerable

Reactions to the just-released Brit guidelines are coming thick and fast right now.

John Keown over at The Cornerstone Group has a good backgrounder if you need to catch up on how things have gone in the UK lately, in his piece "Assisted Dying," the DPP and the Dutch.

Clare Lewis, a UK disability advocate, gets it right, I think, because the guidelines, in attempting to clarify UK law on assisted suicide, has actually made things worse, especially for people with disabilities:
Knock down the nursing homes - we need more graveyards, because around four fifths of the public will have its wish to get rid of Granny Burden with a guaranteed British InJustice System approved getaway vehicle. more
Lewis has a companion piece in today's UK Independent Disabled people need assistance to live, not die:
There is a saying among disabled people that goes: "If it hurts, we know we're alive". Like most humans our natural instinct is not merely to survive but to flourish. For this we need assistance to live, not die. Disabled people suffer so much neglect, isolation, exclusion and discrimination that some volunteer for euthanasia. But this is not the only way to address suffering. What about assistance to live? more
In spite of what the pro-death folks say, the Irish Independent gets it right, that not only do the guidelines loosen the restrictions around helping someone kill themselves, but that it's a stepping-stone to the ultimate - legalized euthanasia on demand, anytime, anywhere, for an reason:
'Back-door euthanasia' fears over rules on assisted suicide
CONTROVERSIAL rules on prosecuting assisted suicide cases could lead to "back-door euthanasia" and must be fully debated, British MPs warned yesterday. more

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hard on the Heels of the UK Assisted Suicide Guidelines Issued Earlier Today, Poster People Put on the Pressure

Well, it didn't take long for the poster people campaigning for completely legalized assisted suicide to come out and say that the guidelines are still too restrictive.

From The Guardian:
Law on assisted dying is inhuman, says GP with cancer
Dr Ann McPherson, a 64-year-old GP from Oxford, does not have long to live. Fourteen years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she now has terminal pancreatic cancer, with secondary cancer in her lungs. She is no longer receiving treatment and takes only the painkiller morphine. 
"The prognosis is that I am going to die in the next weeks or months," she said today. "Assisted dying is something I have considered. I have no idea if I want it, that depends on how my dying goes. But I want it to be there.
"I don't want to go to Zurich, to some anonymous facility; I would want to do it in my own bed. more

On Killing People, the Russians Don't Want to be Left Behind

A Russian tabloid journalist suggested a while ago that Russian children with disabilities should be "finished off." Apparently he's not alone, with a new report suggesting that many of his countrymen fell the same way. From RussiaProfile.orgOne out of Three Russians Agree That Children Who Are Born with Disabilities Should Be Euthanized. more

As Long as You Kill Compassionately, You'll Be OK in Britain

So, now we know how the legal eagles in Britain have succumbed to the pro-euthanasia lobby. Under pressure from vocal and media-savvy assisted suicide advocates and their poster-child, Debbie Purdy, Kier Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions has issued some clarifying "guidelines" for those who help kill other people.
Oh yes, and the august Director of Public Prosecutions insists this isn't the start of a slippery slope to legalizing euthanasia.
Uh huh . . . But hey, make up your own mind:
From SkyeNews:
Guidelines setting out when someone could face prosecution for assisting a loved one to commit suicide have been published. The motivation of a suspect will face more scrutiny, the document said. Acting out of compassion, to help someone with a "clear, settled and informed wish to die" is unlikely to lead to a prosecution. more

Now the Austrians Clamor for Decriminalizing Euthanasia

Europe's anti-euthanasia dominoes are toppling with alarming regularity. Assisted suicide is already legal in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and several other European countries are considering legalization. This poll just out that show strong support for removing criminal sanctions for those committing euthanasia in Austria.
From the Austrian Independent: Strong Support for Legal Euthanasia
Most Austrians think euthanasia in the final stage of a lethal disease should go unpunished, a poll has shown. more

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poll: You Choose

Not Everyone in the UK Thinks Legalized Assisted Suicide is a Good Idea

The UK has been battered for the last several years by calls for legalizing assisted suicide. This has been especially forceful through the assisted suicide advocacy of Debbie Purdy, a woman with MS who engaged in a public campaign forcing the hand of the Brit legal system to issue  a "clarification" on whether people who helped others commit suicide would actually be prosecuted under Brit law, wherein in are provisions for doing so.

The "clarification" is due to be made public tomorrow. Ahead of tomorrow's decision, PM Gordon Brown has publicly declared that assisted suicide should not be legalized.
Here's a refreshing take on Purdy's latest pronouncements from the Telegraph:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown writes in the Telegraph today that assisted suicide must never be legalised. And he makes the very strong point that the Director of Public Prosecutions’ guidelines on when someone assisting a suicide may expect not to be prosecuted, published tomorrow, make the case for a change in the law on euthanasia becomes much weaker, because all the acceptable compassionate circumstances surrounding an assisted death will be clear and accountable – and those not meeting them can expect up to 14 years in jail under the Suicide Act if they don’t satisfy all of them. more

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poll: Canadians Leaning Toward Assisted Suicide

Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have already fallen for the assisted suicide/euthanasia deception. The UK is fast headed in the same direction.
Now Canada is showing the results of unrelenting propaganda by the pro-death crowd to make assisted suicide legal.
The anti-euthanasia people, headed by my good friend Alex Schadenberg, among others, are fighting a brave fight.
Alex heads the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, a great outfit that I'm proud to be part of.
From LifeSiteNews:
An Angus-Reid poll released last week found that approximately two-thirds of Canadians nationwide support the legalization of euthanasia. At the same time, however, a prominent anti-euthanasia activist has questioned the results, saying that “there's still an awful lot of misunderstanding” about euthanasia. more

Euthanasia Blues

This isn't new, but it's spot-on.

If you need a seriously quick primer on euthanasia or assisted suicide, and how grim a euthanasia-friendly medical profession might be, check it out.

Institutionalizing the Mentally Ill is Back

When we closed many institutions in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, both sides of the issue contributed to the sad state of affairs in the videos below. One the one hand, the deinstitutionalization movement demanded that those with serious psychological and psychiatric problems did not deserve to be closeted away, but that they deserved to be more integrated into society. On the other hand, deinstitutionalization and the subsequent closing of major institutions in almost every state was seen as an effective way to cut government costs.

The result? Many people with serious mental illness are unable to cope in the real world, services are stretched, and often the easiest solution is to place them in jails, where their often disruptive behavior quickly leads to solitary confinement - probably one of the most severe forms of institutionalization imaginable.

h/t Mostly Water

Monday, February 22, 2010

UK Public Opinion on Assisted Suicide

Well, I'm not surprised that another poll taken in the UK finds people thinking assisted suicide is OK. The UK is increasingly cranking up the support for assisted suicide based on all the old arguments, autonomy, fear of pain, the utter worthlessness of living, etc., etc.
Awful, just awful:
Assisted suicide should be allowed says Brighton
2:30pm Monday 22nd February 2010
By Emily Walker, Chief Reporter

Terminally ill and elderly patients suffering unbearable pain should be allowed a to commit suicide with the help of their doctor, people in Brighton and Hove believe.
A poll of the city's residents found the overwhelming majority agreed in assisted suicide, where terminally ill patients were expected to die in less than six months.
A poll conducted by Kindle found 76% of 1,000 city residents agreed doctors should be able to help a dying patient in pain to end their life.
Most residents also agreed elderly people suffering from serious, but not terminal health problems should also be allowed help dying if it was what they wanted.
When asked if “a mentally competent adult should be legally allowed to receive a doctor's assistance to die if they are very elderly and suffering unbearably from a variety of serious health problems that they will not die from and it is their persistent request”, 35% said they strongly agreed and 32% said they tended to agree.
The survey also found that half of residents had never heard of a living will, which tells doctors the medical treatment they would like to receive if they could no longer communicate. Less than one in ten people already had a living will.

Ethical Disability: Storing Things in Freezers

Well, this just out . . . Many issues to talk about ethically, but certainly we can all agree that storing frozen fetuses is probably a poor ethical decision.
It's also more than a little creepy. The piece speculates that the frozen fetuses might have been the result of illegal abortion procedures. Well see.
Again, can we all agree that this is very darkly macabre?
From the report:
Philadelphia and Federal authorities raided a doctor's office after a woman died during an abortion and made a shocking discovery: more than two dozens frozen fetuses.
And later:
Sources also told Eyewitness News that during the search, investigators recovered more than two dozen fetuses stored in a freezer, some dating back 30 years.
The fetuses are now being analyzed to reveal if illegal late-term abortions may have been performed.
At the very least, questionable . . . 
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