Saturday, April 30, 2016

Declare Total Non-Cooperation With Assisted Suicide.

The article was published by First Things on April 29, 2016.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

I recently gave a speech to a group of conservative senior citizens in California, arguing against assisted suicide, which is due to become legal there in June. Assisted suicide is not an issue that allows for fence-sitting, so although I expected (and received) a friendly reception for the most part, I knew that at least a few people would use the Q & A to tell me that I was full of beans.

Sure enough. “You have made a cogent and reasoned presentation, Mr. Smith,” one of the first questioners told me, his voice rising in anger as he spoke. “But if I want to die, I want to be able to die, and I don’t want my family or me stigmatized by people saying I committed suicide!” In other words, nothing that I said mattered. The man was set in his opinion, and neither the facts about euthanasia practice nor the need for accurate terminology regarding self-killing would change that.

And so it went. Those who agreed with me—the majority of this particular audience—spoke of how their vulnerable loved ones would be endangered by the law, while the law’s supporters mostly made angry assertions about their right to die. Dialogue? What’s dialogue?

When I began advocating against assisted suicide twenty-three years ago, those on both sides of the debate used the same moral lexicon. That is no longer the case. Today, supporters and opponents of the culture of death have radically different and mutually exclusive worldviews, outlooks that do not necessarily track with the usual left-versus-right, religious-versus-secular paradigms that often roil our public controversies. In such a milieu, all that either side can do is hold a mirror up to the benefits and consequences of these divergent philosophies and wait for people to decide which path they wish society to follow.

Usually—still—that means defeat for assisted suicide. The more details people hear about the issue beyond emotional appeals and bromides of “choice,” the less people tend to support legalization. Indeed, Massachusetts voters rejected legalization in 2012 even though early polls showed popular support. Last year and this, more than half the states saw energetic and committed legislative attempts to allow assisted suicide, including in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Colorado. All were defeated decisively, with the awful exception of California. On the international front, the United Kingdom’s Parliament overwhelmingly rejected legalization in 2015, but the Canadian Supreme Court imposed a right to euthanasia across that country a year earlier.

What should opponents of the culture of death do if they—like I, a native Californian—live in a jurisdiction that legalizes assisted suicide? I suggest a policy of total and unequivocal non-cooperation with the suicide agenda.

1. Do not participate in efforts to regulate medicalized killing: After the Canadian Supreme Court issued its decision, I was particularly disheartened when a prominent opponent of legalization served on a panel to recommend regulatory guidelines to govern doctor-administered death. Her intention was to help limit the harm. Understandable as that is, I disagree vehemently with the approach. Participating as a colleague with pro-euthanasia believers in fashioning suicide rules validates euthanasia as a policy. It says that your previous opposition to legalization was not based on bedrock moral principle but was merely a matter of negotiable policy differences. It also makes you complicit in the workings of the policy. Moreover, the harm limitations that may be achieved will likely be short-lived, as the guidelines will eventually be expanded or ignored. Better to remain consistent in opposing the now-legal procedure as bad medicine and even worse public policy. Who knows? Such consistent opposition may help persuade some not to end their lives.

Friday, April 29, 2016

EPC needs you to contact Members of Parliament.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights will be hearing interventions concerning Bill C-14, the bill that will legalize and “regulate” euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) will be presenting to the committee next week. We will be represented by: Amy Hasbrouck (EPC – VP), Hugh Scher (EPC – Legal Counsel) and 
Dr Will Johnston (Chair of EPC – BC)

Several MP's have said that they are receiving more communication from members of the euthanasia lobby than from our supporters. 

EPC needs you to contact members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with your concerns about Bill C-14.



Resources for your communicating with committee members:
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Alex Schadenberg.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by the Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Dr Will Johnston (EPC - BC).
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Charles Lewis.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Andrew Coyne.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Amy Hasbrouck (Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet).

Committee Chair: Anthony Housefather (Lib) - Anthony.Housefather@parl.gc.ca


Committee Vice Chair: Ted Falk (CPC) - Ted.Falk@parl.gc.ca

Committee Vice Chair: Murray Rankin (NDP) - Murray.Rankin@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Chris Bittle (Lib) - Chris.Bittle@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Michael Cooper (CPC) - Michael.Cooper@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Colin Fraser (Lib) - Colin.Fraser@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Ahmed Hussen (Lib) - Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Iqra Khalid (Lib) - Iqra.Khalid@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Ron McKinnon (Lib) - Ron.McKinnon@parl.gc.ca

Committee Member: Hon. Rob Nicholson (CPC) - rob.nicholson@parl.gc.ca

EPC also encourages you to send letters to your Members of Parliament. Link to contact your Member of Parliament.

You can mail letters to Members of Parliament (Postage Free) by sending letters to:

(Name) Member of Parliament
House of Commons
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0A6

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Belgium's Advice to Canada: "Safeguards Are An Illusion"

New Online Video Series


The first video in the series: Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There! was released two days ago.

As Canadians debate the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 Supreme Court imposed legislation deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” from selected clips from our upcoming documentary film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception

In January 2016, a film crew went to Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. Victims and advocates offer a stern warning to Canada and any country considering enacting laws that allow assisted death. 

The first video in the series was: Medical Assistance in Dying" - Don’t Go There!.

Vulnerable – The Euthanasia Deception is produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment

Upcoming Videos:
May 3: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada

EPC needs your financial support to complete this most important documentary film. Donate here.

www.vulnerablefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Link to the promo video: Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception.
Link to the short video: Mark Pickup - The problem with assisted suicide.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Native leaders oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Francois Paulette
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The chair of Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Health Authority Elders' Advisory Council, Francois Paulette told CBC news that: 
Indigenous people are bound by spiritual law, not man-made law.
Robert Falcon Ouellette
Last week Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg Centre, said that he will vote against Bill C-14 the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide

According to the APTN report:
Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society. 
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat,” 
“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,”

“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”
Dr Alika Lafontaine
CBC reporter, Sonja Koenig reported that Canada's Indigenous community is concerned about legislation that legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill C-14 was introduced in the House of Commons on April 14

According to the Koenig report Indigenous leaders have not been consulted. Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the president of the Indigenous Physicians Association said, 
so far, there's been no meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups.  
Lafontaine says even though the new legislation has been tabled, it isn't too late. 
"Even if these regulations are written up, there is still an opportunity to create our own in-house solutions when it comes to medically-assisted dying in our communities." 
Paulette spoke to the issue at a Dene leadership meeting today in Yellowknife.

Canada's Indigenous communities need to organize in opposition to assisted dying before Bill C-14 becomes law.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Belgium warns Canada: Medical Assistance in Dying - Don't Go There!

NEW ONLINE VIDEO SERIES:



Testimonies from the upcoming film Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception

As Canadians debate the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 Supreme Court imposed legislation deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” from selected clips from our upcoming documentary film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception.

In January 2016, a film crew went to Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. Victims and advocates offer a stern warning to Canada- and any country considering enacting laws that allow assisted death. 

Vulnerable – The Euthanasia Deception is produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition  (EPC) in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment.

Upcoming Videos:
April 28: “Safeguards are an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 3: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada


EPC needs your financial donations to complete this most important documentary film. Donate here.

www.vulnerablefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Link to the promo video: Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception.
Link to the short video: Mark Pickup - The problem with assisted suicide.

Not Dead Yet (NDY) Celebrating 20 Years in the Fight for Our Lives

This article was published by Not Dead Yet on April 26, 2016.
Dear Disability Rights Supporter:

Twenty years ago, on April 27th, at a disability rights gathering in Dallas, Bob Kafka, one of the leaders of ADAPT, said to me, “I’ve got a name for your group.” For years, ADAPT had been supportive of disability advocacy to challenge the assisted suicide movement and other deadly forms of medical discrimination. With the increasing popularity of “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian, whose body count was mainly people with disabilities who were not terminally ill, there had been growing talk of a street action group like ADAPT to address this critical threat to our lives. So, from a running gag in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Bob suggested “Not Dead Yet.” On that day, as over 40 disability rights leaders from across the country signed onto Congressional Subcommittee testimony co-authored by Carol Gill and myself, Not Dead Yet (NDY) began.
The struggle against assisted suicide was about to take a dramatic turn. On June 21, 1996, NDY activists held our first direct action, picketing outside the Michigan cottage where Kevorkian was known to stay. The AP newswire carried a photo of the protest, the first media notice of our opposition. Three years later, when Jack Kevorkian was finally back in a Michigan courtroom, on trial for one of his self-confessed assisted killings, disabled activists appeared for the first time to call for the equal protection of the law, to demand that the court and jury “Jail Jack,” and to declare before the court and the public at large that we were “Not Dead Yet.”
The presence of disabled activists at this fifth Kevorkian trial finally led to a murder conviction, and announced to the world the movement of disabled people against the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Supported by a 1997 position statement by the National Council on Disability, a Resolution adopted by the membership of the National Council on Independent Living, and positions taken by many major disability rights groups, Not Dead Yet continued the struggle against assisted suicide, euthanasia, and other discriminatory ending-of-life practices into the new millennium. According to the Patients’ Rights Council, more than 175 assisted suicide legislative proposals in more than 35 states were defeated between 1994 and 2015; only four such laws have passed. NDY has built a network of activists throughout the country that has responded, over and over again, to educate legislators about the dangerous public policy of state-sanctioned selective killing.
In addition to direct action tactics, Not Dead Yet has continued using the full array of advocacy strategies, including filing friend-of-the-court briefs in over ten cases, two with the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to briefs arguing against a constitutional right to assisted suicide, NDY has filed briefs in support of efforts to protect people with disabilities from involuntary withholding of life sustaining medical treatment by guardians or health providers, and in support of regulations protecting the right of disabled newborns to medical treatment.
Though less high profile, NDY’s more traditional efforts to influence public policy are an important part of our work, as well. By submitting detailed public comments on proposed governmental and quasi-governmental policies, NDY has opposed disability discrimination in protocols for procuring donated organs, physician orders on life-sustaining treatment, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, best practice guidelines in adult protective services, advance care planning and related educational materials, and much more.
NDY has made a lot of progress in 20 years. We are now a “go to” source for media outlets looking for quotes on the issue of assisted suicide. We have cultivated and lived up to our reputation for the highest standards of integrity and intellectual rigor. We have distinguished ourselves and our positions from that of the faith community, and earned the grudging respect of our opponents. And we remain the articulate and principled voice of disability rights opposition to the legalization of medical killing.
Though Kevorkian is gone, we still have to contend with death-advocates like Peter Singer and the mainstream bioethicists who agree with him, with the well-funded PR campaigns of assisted suicide advocates, and a never ending stream of public policy initiatives that need our perspective on living well with disabilities. Time has already taken from us many invaluable members and allies along the way, yet those still here will continue as long as we are Not Dead Yet.
On this, the 20th anniversary of the founding of NDY, we’re asking you to join us in renewing our pledge to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, through the courts, the legislatures, the ballot box, and public policy. There are many ways you can help.
  1. Donate to NDY. Five bucks or five hundred bucks. We promise to steward it well and put it right back into the fight!
  2. Pro Bono Attorneys. We have regular need for attorneys to help us file briefs, assist individuals whose life-sustaining care is threatened, and lend their smarts to other legal matters, and we would love to build up our network of supportive attorneys across the country. Let us know if you might be willing for us to call on you from time to time to see if you can help us out in your state!
  3. Community Organizers. Whether it’s advocacy at the statehouse or a protest at an assisted suicide or bioethics conference, we’d love to hear from you if you’re willing to join us as a participant or organizer when the rubber meets the road!
  4. Letters to the Editor. Has the assisted suicide fight come to your state in full swing? NDY’s got a great online toolkit to help you sound like the policy buff you really are on this topic and help give you fodder for writing a letter to the editor the next time your hometown paper touts the proposed bill’s virtues! (Be sure to write us and tell us if your letter is published!)
  5. Coalition Support. Do you lead a nonprofit that would love to partner with NDY on activities related to issues like assisted suicide, “futile care” policies, surrogate healthcare decision-making, equal rights in organ donation, or just learn more about them?
  6. Become an Online Foot Soldier. You already told us you love us, so like NDY on Facebooksubscribe to our blog, and follow us on Twitter to help signal boost our message to help us get the disability perspective out there on assisted suicide and other health care issues.
  7. Send Us Your Stories. S/he who hath the best arguments does not always prevail. We have always felt we have the data on our side in our arguments, but that doesn’t always sway policymakers. We need stories to share that will drive our points home and give them a personal face. If you have a story (yourself, a loved one, friend or client) you think could benefit our advocacy, please send it our way!
Together we can build a society where the threat of assisted suicide and euthanasia no longer hang like a sword of Damocles over the heads of disabled people seeking medical assistance, and where disabled people have truly equal life choices.
Sincerely,
Diane Coleman                                                Anne Sommers
Founder, President and CEO                            Board Chair

Canada’s euthanasia Leviathan

This article was published by Careful a Mercatornet blog on April 26, 2016.
Supporters invoke Thomas Hobbes in a proposal to crush conscientious objection to euthanasia. 
Michael Cook
By Michael Cook

Canada is soon to have legislation permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide, as decreed by its Supreme Court last year. One question, however, over which some uncertainty hovers is how much wriggle room should be left for doctors who have ethical objections to the new regime.

For one of the country’s most influential bioethicists, Udo Schuklenk, the answer is straightforward: none.

In an article published last weekend, he wrote that “conscientious objection has no place in the practice of medicine”. If doctors feel that they cannot practice euthanasia or refer patients to another doctor for euthanasia, they should find another job.

Dr Schuklenk is worth listening to. He is the co-editor of Bioethics, one of the world’s leading journals in the field, and a professor of philosophy at Queen’s University, in Ontario, Canada. He was one of the authors of an influential white paper commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada for the debate which eventually led to legalisation.

His stand on conscientious objection is not new, but the timing is significant. Bill C-14 was introduced into the Canadian parliament last week implementing the Supreme Court ruling.

Only doctors will be allowed to perform euthanasia, but it is still not clear whether they will have the option of conscientious objection. Dr Schuklenk’s essay in the Journal of Medical Ethics (written with a colleague, Ricardo Smalling, also from Queen’s University), is sure to influence the debate in the weeks before the Supreme Court’s June 6 deadline for passing legislation.

Some Canadian doctors already fear that they will be forced to perform the procedures or refer patients to more compliant doctors. Writing in the Canadian Family Physician, one general practitioner, Dr Nancy Naylor, declared that she was throwing in the towel:
"I refuse to let anyone or any organization dictate my moral code. For this reason I am not renewing my licence to practice medicine. I have practiced full scope family medicine, including palliative care for the past 37 years and solely palliative care for the past 3 years. I have no wish to stop. But I will not be told that I must go against my moral conscience to provide standard of care."
Such words will not move Schuklenk and Smalling. In a nutshell, they contend that medical professionals have made a contract with society. In return for a lucrative monopoly on the provision of an essential service, patients have a right to demand that they provide them with legal and socially acceptable services. “Forcing patients to live by the conscientious objectors' values constitutes an unacceptable infringement on the rights of patients.”

By withholding their services, doctors are also are exploiting the power differential between them and patients. They cite approvingly American bioethicist R. Alta Charo, who has said:
“claiming an unfettered right to personal autonomy while holding monopolistic control over a public good constitutes an abuse of the public trust—all the worse if it is not in fact a personal act of conscience but, rather, an attempt at cultural conquest”.
And finally, they believe that conscientious objection, based as it is on indemonstrable premises, is arbitrary and fickle. “Today it might be abortion and assisted dying, tomorrow it might be the use of the tools of personalised medicine or something else altogether.”

The original edition of Leviathon by Thomas Hobbes
Now here’s the interesting part: the writers cite Leviathan, a pioneering political tract by the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in support of their attack on the rights of conscience. It’s a tell-tale reference, for Hobbes is generally regarded as intellectual patron of the modern totalitarian state.

Hobbes was writing in a time of bitter religious conflict. A civil war in the middle of the 17th century divided England between royalist Cavaliers, mostly Anglican, and parliamentarian Roundheads, mostly Puritans and Presbyterians. For a decade armies crisscrossed Britain and Ireland. A hundred thousand people or more died in England; in Ireland, 40 percent of the population may have perished.

Hobbes had a gutful of pointless disputes by the king’s subjects over religion. Disagreement led to slaughter and anarchy; peace depended on obedience to the sovereign, or the government, which was, in his words, “that mortal god to which we owe, under the immortal God, our peace and defence”. Unanimity is the hallmark of Hobbes’s state: “seeing a Commonwealth is but one person, it ought also to exhibit to God but one worship”. In these words are the seeds of both the Nazi Leviathan and the Communist Leviathan.

With this in mind, it is astonishing that Schuklenk and Smalling open their argument by citing Hobbes on the question of freedom of conscience. They point out that the subject of Hobbes’s sovereign has no need of an individual conscience, for “the law is the public conscience by which he hath already undertaken to be guided”. Doctors and other healthcare workers in Canada ought to heed this ominous allusion. The euthanasia Leviathan will brook no opposition. And they admit quite candidly their admiration for Hobbes:
"Of course, Hobbes is not quite our archetypical defender of liberal democracies, but the point he is making here is valid, it applies to the case of conscientious objectors in liberal democracies, too."
Yes, there will be problems in trying to accommodate conscientious objectors to euthanasia, but the answer is not a new totalitarianism.

The problem with an ethical framework in which conscience has no rights is that it works too well – not just in Canada, but in, say, Saudi Arabia. If a doctor there refused to amputate the hand of a thief, would Professor Schuklenk argue that he should to get another job? If he shrank from female genital mutilation, would Professor Schuklenk write a white paper suggesting that refusniks be fired?

When William and Mary came to the throne in 1688, England faced much the same problem as Canada does today. Britain was a patchwork of antipathetic religions: Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Puritans, and a bewildering variety of non-conformists such as Quakers, Baptists, Socinians, Muggletonians, Ranters, Philadelphians, Levellers and Diggers. England’s great achievement was to repudiate the idea of the all-powerful sovereign and accommodate these opposing beliefs without too much friction.

In their call for the abolition of conscientious objection Schuklenk and Smalling are effectively turning the clock back to 1651, the year Hobbes published Leviathan. If Canadian MPs listen to them, 300 years of liberal democracy are at risk.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

Dutch horror dentist confessed to assisting the suicide of his wife.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr van Nierop
The Netherlands Times reported that the Dutch "Horror Dentist" was convicted of defrauding and mutilating more than 100 patients, while he practised in Chateau-Chinon France.

Dr van Nierop was originally arrested in Canada in September 2014 on an international arrest warrent and deported to the Netherlands after confessing to killing his wife. In January the Netherlands extradicted van Nierop to France to face trial on the charges of mutilating and defrauding his patients.

van Nierop was not tried in the Netherlands on the charge of assisting the suicide of his wife.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette will vote against euthanasia bill C-14

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Robert Falcon Ouellette (Liberal MP)
Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP representing Winnipeg Centre, said that he will be voting against Bill C-14 the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide


According to the APTN report:
Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society. 
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat,”
Attawapiskat is a Cree community in the James Bay region that is experiencing a suicide crisis. Ouellette stated to APTN:
“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,” 
“If grandma, grandfather decides they had enough in life…if they weren’t able to carry on, why should I carry on? If they weren’t strong enough, why should I be strong enough? 
I think that is a question that is asked in Attawapiskat more often than not and the ripple effect of assisted dying is not the same in Toronto as in other places.”
Ouellette explained that his position on the issue was influenced by a conversation he had with his Sundance chief about three years ago.
“We were talking about suicide and he was talking in the lodge about this and he said, ‘Never forget the spirit of suicide, you have to fight the spirit of suicide, make sure it doesn’t come into our lives,’” 
“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”
The Liberal government should use the Notwithstanding clause to give them more time, as Ouellette has said is necessary. The Notwithstanding clause would give the  government at least 5 years to determine how to handle this issue.

[1] Section 33 of the Canadian Constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, also known as the “notwithstanding clause,” is a legislative power that allows the Parliament or a Legislature to override certain Charter section.


Why on Earth is Anyone Surprised By the Rise in US Suicides? Advertising Works.

This article was published by True Dignity Vermont on April 22, 2016.

News sources are reporting with surprise and seeming alarm on the Center for Disease Control’s newly released statistics showing that deaths by suicide in the entire US are on the rise. Why the surprise? It has been common knowledge since the rise of mass media, and even before, that advertising works.

True Dignity has neither the expertise nor the time to analyze the CDC report’s statistics in detail. A few quotes will suffice to paint the picture of our current situation.

“The suicide rate in the United States increased by 24% from 1999 through 2014…among all groups. The increase in suicide rate has been steady since 1999, before which there was a consistent decline since 1986…” (USA Today, April 22, 2016).
The USA Today article speculates (which is all anybody can do) that the rise is linked to a poor economy. We at True Dignity cannot fail to note that the rise began just as the economic boom of the 1990s was beginning to wind down, and continued through the fairly affluent 2000s, admittedly rising at a higher rate beginning in 2006, on the brink of the Great Recession. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Though the economy may well have contributed to this rise, True Dignity calls everyone’s attention to a fact that is being ignored. 1998 was the year in which Oregon became the first state in the nation to put legalized assisted suicide into practice. This happened after a furious and widely publicized public argument between pro-assisted suicide forces and those opposing it, an argument waged in the courts and eventually decided by the US Supreme Court, which allowed it in Oregon but declined to make it a right nationally. 1999 was the first year for which the state of Oregon issued its annual report on its assisted suicide deaths. Ironically, this supposedly neutral government report called assisted suicide by the attractive name given to the law that made it legal: Death with Dignity.

The World Health Organization has warned the media that: 1) “Language that misinforms the public about suicide or normalizes it should be avoided”, and that the media should 2) “Avoid prominent placement and undue repetition of stories about suicide.” Yet, beginning in the period leading up to the implementation of the Oregon law and reaching a climax with Brittany Maynard’s picture on the cover of People, there has been relentless media promotion of suicide, relentless misinformation about laws that allow medical professionals to facilitate deaths of people who could have lived years and that contain virtually no protections against euthanasia or even murder of a person who, believing him or herself to be terminally ill, has obtained a lethal prescription. We have detailed the ways in which the laws allow this to happen so many times that we won’t repeat ourselves here, only urge you to search our topic list.


Bottom line: Compassion and Choices has engaged in an ad campaign, both paid and freely given by the media, and it has been effective. The only thing that should surprise us about the rise in suicide deaths is that it has not been even bigger. We hope that the efforts of many individuals and groups, including ours, have, by calling suicide exactly what the World Health organization has urged the media to call it, “a public health problem”, contributed to that fact, the only silver lining to a terrible cloud hanging over our nation and the world.

Will we be able to hold the line? California has been the only US state to [pass] assisted suicide legislation since the Maynard campaign, but legalization is a threat in multiple states. Canada’s highest court has ruled that assisted suicide is a right, and has ordered Parliament to write laws to regulate it.