Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dutch Minister Endorses Mobile Euthanasia Teams

Whatever shred of decency remained in the Netherlands in terms of euthanasia, has finally collapsed. A pro-deather group last week suggested that mobile euthanasia teams be set up, kind of a roving death squad. Guess what? The Dutch health minister actually endorses the idea! The Netherlands is now almost completely depraved. Imagine how they will handle medicalized murder 10 years from now - chilling.
Mobile euthanasia teams not ruled out, says minister
People who are faced with unbearable suffering and want to end their lives can be referred by their doctors to special mobile euthanasia teams if necessary, health minister Edith Schippers told MPs on Wednesday. more

Not Guilty Verdict In New Zealand Assisted Suicide Case

The New Zealander who was charged with aiding his wife's suicide (see post below) has been acquitted.
Not guilty verdict in assisted suicide trial
Eva Palairet as a young woman - her husband of 47 years Michael Palairet has been on trial for aiding and abetting her suicide. Photo / supplied
A jury in the trial of a Wellington man charged with aiding and abetting the suicide of his wife of 47 years has delivered a unanimous verdict of not guilty.
The jury returned its verdict this afternoon after three hours of deliberation at the High Court at Wellington.
Michael Palairet, 71, denied helping his wife Eva, to die in April last year. more

Canada: A Good Piece Opposing Euthanasia

Here's a great piece by Canadian Mark Pickup, who himself lives with a severe disability
The Eyeless “I” of Assisted Suicide, Fighting it in Canada
A Canadian court is considering a challenge to the nation’s law prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia. Consequently the topic is in the news. I received an email from a woman who doesn’t know what to think as the assisted suicide camp is pulling out all their compassionate sounding euphemisms to promote death. She wanted my thoughts. Below is the text of my comments to her:
Assisted suicide is not about pain control. Palliative care in the 21st Century has come so far as to be able to eliminate virtually all physical pain. Assisted suicide is about the illusion of personal control even over death.
Death is not a right, it is an eventuality that will visit us all regardless of what any law may state. It is life that must be protected. more

Assisted Suicide In A Nebraska Jail

Here's an unusual assisted suicide case where one prisoner helped another commit suicide.
Inmate accused of assisted suicide
A Sarpy County Jail inmate is charged with assisting another prisoner in a suicide attempt.
Prosecutors said that Justin A. Hogan, 20, of La Vista, entered the cell of another inmate on Oct. 15 and provided information about how to commit suicide by hanging. Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Miralles said Hogan then placed a noose made from a bed sheet around the man’s neck and secured it to a table in the cell. more

Interesting Suicide Case From New Zealand

Here's a somewhat interesting case from New Zealand where a husband bought suicide equipment that his wife eventually used. However - this can't be said enough - how will we ever know whether the wife actually did the deed on her own or was she coerced by her husband? Looks like he didn’t in this case, but we'll never know for certain.
Accused in suicide trial tells of love for wife
For years Michael Palairet devoted his time and money to trying to keep his wife happy and alive. Now he stands accused of handing her the means to take her own life.
"I wanted to have her around. I have never stopped loving and admiring and adoring her," he told the Wellington jury that has decide if he assisted her suicide.
Eva Palairet, 68, was a former beauty who spiralled into depression and alcohol abuse as her looks faded and her four childr left home, the jury has been told. more

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Australia: Another Commentary On The Euthanasia Debate

This is another piece worth reading about the euthanasia/assisted suicide debate in Australia.
Do you have the right to die?
Prosecutions were pointless… the offender was already dead. Assisting anyone in any way to take his or her own life is still a serious criminal offence.
Penalty? Ten years.
So while you can take your own life, you put in jeopardy anyone you may ask to assist you in the task.
Even if the assistance is rendered for the most humane and compassionate reasons at the conscientious request of a loved one suffering through a terminal illness, the law as it stands determines that it is a crime. more

Canada: A Fairly Balanced Piece On The Euthanasia Debate

Here's a piece that at least attempts impartiality in discussing the euthanasia issue currently being debated in Canada
Self-chosen death
About a decade ago, Camosun College student Joanna Webber’s uncle decided he wanted to be euthanized.
Half of Webber’s family lives in Holland, where assisted suicide is legal. When her uncle, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis, started considering this end-of-life decision, her entire family was involved and backed him up.
“The whole family came together and made the decision,” she says. “Everyone was really supportive.” more

More Aussie Pro-Deather Spin

Here's another good example of pro-deather spin, this time from Australia.
A challenge to our leaders – why don’t we legalise euthanasia?
We can choose so many of our life experiences, but it seems we can have no say in whether we die in pain or at peace. Today we consider why we don’t have a policy on physician-assisted suicide.
It’s often said that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. In reality, of course, if you’re willing to pay lawyers and accountants enough, you might be able to avoid taxes. But no matter how much you spend on doctors, the best you can do is prolong your mortality. And for some, the cost of extending life isn’t financial, it’s the pain and anguish associated with delaying the inevitable. more

A Pro-Deather Response To The Idea Of A Right To Live

Here's a pro-deather response to the article below related to a right to living.
Matt Gurney: Euthanasia’s foes, out of arguments, settle for fear-mongering
In Monday’s National Post, Derek Miedema movingly wrote of his twin. Due to complications during childbirth, his brother was left permanently disabled. Today, at 39 years of age, he is not able to talk, is confined to diapers and a wheelchair he cannot control himself. Miedema still is grateful for his brother’s life, and writes that “he has taught me more about what it means to be human than anyone else I know.”
Powerful stuff. more

Let's Talk More About The Right To Live

Here's a good piece pushing back against the pro-deathers in Canada.
Derek Miedema: My right to live trumps your right to die
Letter-writer Anneke Jansen thinks her two severely disabled sons would be better off dead (Bring An End To My Children’s ‘So-Called’ Life, Nov. 23). I give thanks every day that my disabled twin brother is alive.
 Due to complications at birth, he is still in diapers and fed via a feeding tube even though he’s 39. He gets around in a wheelchair only when pushed by someone else. He can’t talk, and yet, he has taught me more about what it means to be human than anyone else I know. 

UK: Another Disabled Person Asks For Euthanasia

They keep on coming - disabled people who want to die, that is. Latest from the UK, a man severely impaired by a stroke wants to be euthanized. Stay tuned . . .
Court bid to 'lawfully' end life
A severely-disabled 57-year-old man is to ask a High Court judge to allow a doctor to "lawfully" end his life, solicitors have said.
Lawyers want a ruling that a doctor could intervene to end Tony Nicklinson's "indignity" and have a "common law defence of necessity" against any murder charge.
They expect a judge in the Family Division of the High Court to begin hearing arguments in the near future and say the case will be a "test" which raises "difficult" questions about euthanasia. more

Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Zealand Response To The Pro-Death Crowd

Here's a good piece arguing against the legalization of assisted suicide/euthanasia in New Zealand, commenting on the recent Davison case.
John Kleinsman: No case for killing society's most vulnerable
The case against Sean Davison has provoked debate about whether euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide should be legalised.
Few would argue that Mr Davison was not motivated by a sense of love and duty for his mother in doing what he did - he thought he was doing the best thing for her. But, as far as the bigger picture is concerned, Mr Davison's motivation is beside the point. It is drawing a very long bow to argue that this one "hard" case merits the legalisation of euthanasia. more

Sunday, November 27, 2011

India: More Impoverished People Seek Euthanasia

So it goes. Hard on the heels of the Aruna Shambaug case in India, which precipitated the Indian Supreme Court to open the door for euthanasia, is another patient asking to die - read all the reasons, and see how in impoverished countries euthanasia is an awfully attractive option.
Impoverished heart patient seeks euthanasia
Suffering from abject poverty and excruciating pains, a bed-ridden woman in Ganjam district has requested to be granted euthanasia.
Jhunu Behera (38), a resident of K Barida village under Beguniapada block, has sought permission from President Pratibha Patil and Odisha governor M C Bhandare to be allowed to die. "I don't want to give any more trouble to my family members, I just want to die," said the mother of four in a recent letter to the President. more

Media Bias In New Zealand Assisted Killing Case

New Zealander Sean Davis essentially got off after helping kill his mother (see post below). If you ever thought the press was impartial on this issue, read this sympathetic piece. Poor Sean . . . bad, bad law.
The euthanasia campaigner
Sean Davison with his partner Raine and sons Finnian and Flynn in their home town of Cape Town.
Last Thursday morning, Sean Davison paced in a dingy holding cell beneath the Dunedin High Court. Within hours he would know his sentence, an end to the sinking sand of the unknown that had destabilised his life since his arrest in September last year for the attempted murder of his elderly, terminally-ill mother, Patricia, a charge that sickened him and one that he rejected. more

Sri Lanka:Calls For Considering Euthanasia

The pro-death contagion continues to spread in Asia. First India got into the act and now there are calls in Sri Lanka to consider legalizing euthanasia.
Should euthanasia be legalized in Sri Lanka in exceptional situations?
The termination of life decision represents one of the most difficult issues that physicians face worldwide because of its medical, legal, ethical and moral circumstances. more

The Killing Double Standard - Beware If You Have A Disability

The war against people with disabilities continues. Read this and see how the killing of the "defective" unborn child was obviously less of a trouble than killing it's "normal" twin. Horrific.
Medical bungle at Royal Women's Hospital kills healthy fetus
A HEALTHY 32-week-old fetus was accidentally terminated in a botched procedure at the Royal Women's Hospital.
A Victorian mother, pregnant with twin boys she had already named, had made the agonising decision to abort one of the babies on doctors' advice.
She had been told that one twin had a congenital heart defect that would require years of operations, if he survived at all.
An ultrasound clinician had checked the healthy baby, who was in a separate sac to the sick baby, before the termination.
But just after 2.30pm on Tuesday the wrong baby was injected, terminating the healthy pregnancy. more

No Safeguards Possible In Assisted Killing

Well . . . how will we ever know? The media, predictably, is saying that New Zealander Sean Davison got too harsh a slap on the wrist for being a loving son when he helped kill her. There's only problem - how will we ever know that he helped kill her because he loved her? Maybe he helped kill her because, well, fill in the blank. We'll never know, because his mother is dead.
Killing with kindness
Court acceptance that love motivated Cape Town-based Professor Sean Davison to help his mother die was decisive in a New Zealand judge giving him five months of home detention. more

Friday, November 25, 2011

Canada: People With Disabilities Will Be Pro-Deather Targets

Here's a piece reinforcing what many of us have been saying for years - that the pro-deathers, if they win, will target the most vulnerable first - people with disabilities.
Canada is currently in the midst of a heated euthanasia debate. One of the situations that has brought euthanasia to the forefront is the Carter vs. Attorney General of Canada case. Kay Carter recently ended her own life at an assisted dying association in Switzerland called Dignitas – by law, this is prohibited in Canada.
While euthanasia is currently against the law in Canada, many are concerned that Carter’s case may cause the Canadian government to rule in favor of those who would choose to terminate their own lives.
This is a big deal for the disability community of Canada. more

New Zealand: For Assisted Suicide The Law Is Wrong

OK, help kill your mother - an illegal action under New Zealand law - get busted, and then blame the law for being wrong. Ho-hum: Same old pro-death spin - it's not their heinous acts that are wrong, it's the law.
New Zealand court sentences assisted suicide scientist
A scientist who helped his mother to die has been given five months' home detention by a court in New Zealand.
Sean Davison, a South Africa-based forensic specialist, admitted that he gave his 85-year-old mother a drink laced with morphine in 2006.
Judges in the city of Dunedin said he had acted out of "compassion and love" and not for personal gain.
But Davison told reporters that the sentence was unjust and he should never have been prosecuted. more

New Zealand: Less Than A Slap On The Wrist For Committing A Crime

New Zealand is fast going the way of the UK - have a law criminalizing assisted suicide, and then don’t enforce it. Here's the sentencing of Sean Davison who travelled from his home in South Africa to help kill his mother. Instead of a just jail sentence, he gets less than a slap on the wrist. 
New Zealand court sentences assisted suicide scientist
A scientist who helped his mother to die has been given five months' home detention by a court in New Zealand.
Sean Davison, a South Africa-based forensic specialist, admitted that he gave his 85-year-old mother a drink laced with morphine in 2006.
Judges in the city of Dunedin said he had acted out of "compassion and love" and not for personal gain. more

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Canadian Experts Debate Royal Society Euthanasia Report

Here's a debate among several leading experts on the implications of Canada's Royal Society report that argued for legalizing euthanasia.
Experts on recommendation to legalise euthanasia in Canada
Last week, the Royal Society of Canada released the final report of their expert panel on end-of-life decision making. The report lists several recommendations, among them that assisted suicide and euthanasia be legalized. The report is available here.
Our colleagues at the Science Media Centre Canada collected the following comments: more

Margaret Somerville Calls Out The Royal Society Of Canada's Euthanasia Report

Here's more push back to the Royal Society of Canada's report recommending the legalization of euthanasia. It quotes Margaret Somerville - read everything you can by her, she's a Canadian philosopher and firm critic of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Royal Society of Canada's assisted suicide report disputed
Opponents of euthanasia have slammed a Royal Society of Canada expert panel report advocating decriminalization of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. more

Thoughtful Canadian Piece Against Euthanasia

Here's a very good piece that explains in detail while legalizing euthanasia in Canada will be disastrous.
Line between acts and omissions blurred, euthanasia critics argue
Decriminalization of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia is an unethical alternative to redressing current deficiencies in palliative care in Canada, physicians, ethicists and patient advocates argue.
Decriminalization would offer a false choice so long as Canadians lack access to palliative care, the critics contended while panning the recommendation of the Royal Society of Canada panel report, End-of-Life Decision Making, which called for sweeping reforms to the Criminal Code on the grounds that there is no ethical distinction between assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia, and withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from competent adults. more

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Doing Away With Down Syndrome - Maybe

Well yes, the murder of children with Down Syndrome is well under way and has been for years. While figures vary slightly, about 9 out of 10 babies with DS are aborted. This piece explains why this might not actually end DS in the workld.
A World Without People With Down Syndrome? At What Price?
One of the great philosophical divisions of our time is between those who believe progress is steadily making mankind happier, healthier, and all-around better; and those who believe human nature is basically constant, with new developments just as capable of yielding evil as they are good. Both worldviews collide in a recent New York Post story on a new method of testing for Down Syndrome: more

The Facts? Pro-Deathers Don't Really Care About Facts

Well, I agree that we should look at the facts in deciding whether to legalize medicalized killing. If we did so, we'd find that there is an horrific slippery slope to macabre nihilism that has very little to do with "compassion" or "dignity."
Op Ed: Facts should shape assisted-suicide debate
Last Wednesday in the Vancouver courtroom where assisted suicide is being litigated, a remarkable exchange took place.
A Government of Canada lawyer, Megan Volk, was cross-examining Dr. Marcia Angell, the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, the world's top medical journal. Volk was trying to demonstrate that the former editor was not an expert on the difficult subjects of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. more

Canada: Push Back To The Pro-Deathers

Here's a nurse's take on the current euthanasia/assisted suicide debate in Canada - it's a cautionary tale.
Ugly issue back again
With the advent of Carter versus the Attorney General of Canada, Canada's laws prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide are being challenged again. This despite the fact that our federal Parliament vetoed Bill C-384 that sought to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia by an overwhelming vote of 228 to 59 in 2010.
Included in the British Columbia appeal is an effort to legalize these practices as "medical treatment," meaning that a medical doctor or "a person operating under the general supervision of a medical practitioner" will be allowed to assist a patient's suicide. This could be a family member and could be done at home. more

Often Overlooked: The Spiritual Needs At The End Of Life

Here's a piece worth reading on an aspect of death and dying that too often gets overlooked - the spiritual aspects of the end of life.
Spiritual resources in the face of end-of-life suffering
There are enough people arguing about death in Canada – our right to choose it, our right to involve others to assist, our right to end suffering – that it’s no longer realistic or wise to keep religious views out of end-of-life discussions.
I don’t mean we need clergy at the B.C. Supreme Court, where emotional testimony to legalize assisted suicide is happening. It’s not where they’re wanted.
The court is hearing from 63-year-old Gloria Taylor, a loving grandmother and volunteer with the Kelowna ALS chapter. Since 2006, Ms. Taylor has been slowly slipping away to the perils of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and, according to the court affidavit, “wants to be able to obtain physician-assisted dying services in Canada should she resolve to end her suffering. … She wants the legal right to die peacefully, at the time of her own choosing, in the embrace of her family and friends.” more

UK: Aussie Dr. Death Spreads His Pro-Death Message

Here's an in-depth piece on Aussie Dr. Death Philip Nitschke's latest foray into spreading the pro-deather word in the UK.
Dr Death takes on a suicide mission... and insists his message is all about life
His books have been banned in his native Australia and his suicide workshops boycotted, Sarah Freeman speaks to Philip Nitschke, alias Dr Death It doesn’t take long for Dr Philip Nitschke to set up for one of his suicide workshops. There’s a computer, a projector, a couple of boxes of leaflets and one large purple banner which proclaims, “a peaceful death is everybody’s right”.
Most of it fits inside a couple of small suitcases – when venues have a habit of cancelling at the last minute, you quickly learn the benefits of being mobile. It was back in the late 1990s that Dr Nitschke founded the pro-euthanasia organisation Exit International and pretty much ever since he has been known in some circles Dr Death. more

Pro-Death Spin In Massachusetts

The pro-deathers in Massachusetts are spinning the media by claiming they have the necessary signatures to put assisted suicide on the ballot next year. Note that no official body has made this determination that there are sufficient signatures - just that the pro-deathers say so.
Sponsors Claim Enough Signatures For Euthanasia & Marijuana Ballot Questions
Sponsors of proposals to allow terminally ill patients to self-administer life-ending drugs and to legalize marijuana for medical purposes claim they have gathered enough signatures to move the measures closer to a spot on next year’s state ballot. more

Good Piece On Canadian Euthanasia Developments

Here's a good piece putting euthanasia developments in Canada in perspective.
Slippery Slope in Canada?
A battle has begun in a Vancouver courtroom over the status of Canada’s law against assisted suicide.
The fight comes just a year and a half after the country’s parliamentarians voted down a bill to throw out the law by a 228-59 majority.
But Canadian judges, like their American peers, routinely defy legislators. more

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Zealand Pro-Deathers Spin Increase In Elderly Suicides

Well no shocker here - that the New Zealand pro-deathers will jump on the increased number of elderly suicides to argue that this is a good reason to legalize euthanasia.
Record elderly suicides reignites end-of-life debate
The number of elderly New Zealanders killing themselves has surged 11% to a 10 year high, fuelling a foundation to call for a reassessment of New Zealand's end-of-life options.
The spate of deaths has pushed the country's overall number of death from suicide to 558, the highest since 1997.
While youth suicide rates continue to decrease, the 65-plus age group is growing, with 54 deaths this year - around 10% of all suicides.
The issue has reopened the debate on elective euthanasia, the New Zealand Voluntary Euthanasia organisation says. more

UK: Aussie Dr. Death Begins Pro-Death Workshops

Aussie Dr. Death Philip Nitschke has finally held the first of his death workshops in the UK.
Dr Philip Nitschke offers his advice on suicide
A controversial euthanasia campaigner has advised a York audience of about 40 people to learn how to end their own lives peacefully.
Dr Philip Nitschke of the right-to-die organisation Exit International, said yesterday that elderly and ill people should avoid “falling into the trap” of leaving it too late and putting close relatives at risk of prosecution by asking them to assist in their suicide.
He told the meeting at the Priory Street Centre that he was not assisting in suicide, which could lead to his prosecution, but merely providing information so people could make an informed choice. more

UK: Quick Update On End Of Life Developments

Here's a quick read on the latest developments related to assisted suicide/euthanasia in the UK.
The Care Not Killing Alliance (CNK), representing over 40 organisations which promote palliative care and oppose euthanasia, has just published its November 2011 update on end of life issues.
I have reproduced the highlights below. more
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