Thursday, September 18, 2014

Newborn case in France is falsely labelled as euthanasia.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The case of a premature baby in France, where the parents are demanding that medical treatment be discontinued and while the doctors believe that the child needs more time, is not a case of euthanasia, as the media has reported, but rather a case of who has the right to decide to withdraw medical treatment.

The story published by France24.com titled: Baby euthanasia case spurs debate in France - concerns a baby boy, Titouan, who was born prematurely on August 31. 


The article quotes Titouan's mother, Melanie as saying:
“We made this decision over a week ago,” 
“Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”
The article quotes Professor Fabrice Pierre of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at University Hospital Center of Poitiers (CHU) who said:
“If we want to be able to fully understand the consequences [of the haemorrhage], we can’t rush this. We need a few weeks to evaluate his condition.” 
“Currently, we are not giving him intensive treatment; we are simply giving him life support to give us the time to do a proper evaluation.”
Normally the parents or guardian have the right to decide to withhold or withdraw medical treatment. Sometimes the decision of the parents or guardian is not in the best interests of the patient. In France, it appears that the decision is made by the doctors. The article states:
... the 2005 law also puts the decision in the hands of the doctors. Faced with the repeated demands of Titouan’s parents, CHU’s neonatal unit sought out the advice of an ethics panel. They have yet to make a decision.
Labelling this case as euthanasia creates a false impression of what euthanasia is and is not. Euthanasia is to directly and intentionally cause the death of a person. It is usually done by lethal injection and it is a form of homicide.

If the doctors withdraw all treatment from Titouan, and if he dies, it would be a natural death, unless they lethally inject him or intentionally dehydrate him to death.

Safeguards will not protect you from physicians who are willing to take your life.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Alex Schadenberg

Re: Gifford-Jones – Not all lunatics are in the asylum.

In his righteous indignation, Gifford-Jones claims in his article that:

“Nor is there any evidence that the elderly, those with disabilities or those who simply do not want to be part of assisted death, have ever been forced to seek it.”
In 2002 Belgium legalized assisted death giving doctors the right in law to lethally inject patients. Three studies concerning the experience with assisted death in Belgium clearly indicate that Gifford-Jones is wrong.

The first study found that 32% of those who died by assisted death did not request it.

The second study found that 45% of the assisted deaths that nurses were involved with, the person who died didn’t request it.

The third study found that 47.2% of all assisted deaths were not reported.

When analyzing the data, all of the studies found that those who died by an assisted death without request or without reporting it tended to be over the age of 80, incompetent to make decisions for themselves, had an unpredictable end-of-life trajectory and died in a hospital.

There is clear evidence that many elderly and incompetent people in Belgium have been killed by an assisted death without request. The act is a silent crime since the doctor negated to report it.

Don’t be swayed by the propaganda being promoted by Gifford-Jones.

Safeguards will not protect you from physicians who are willing to take your life.

Links to similar articles:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Scotland debates independence, the UK debates assisted suicide.

By Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick is the Director of EPC - International and a leader of the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet - UK.

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
Today’s ‘great debate’ in the UK is: Should Scotland vote for independence? This is an emotional discussion with many practicalities to be unpacked, many complex arguments, political, financial, cultural, for a general public to understand. Both sides throw up what, in general translation, Socrates calls ‘bogeys’, trying to strike enough fear with the use of horrific examples, to sway people to vote your way. Scotland will vote, and whether the Yes campaign wins or loses, by a very slim margin as looks likely, there is a sense that things have already changed, forever.

The debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide is similar. Except for one crucial difference.

One side, the pro-euthanasia lobby, bombards public consciousness with dreadful, painful cases for knee-jerk, ill-considered reactions based on emotion not rationality. The opposition to legalising euthanasia or assisted suicide, point to what is actually happening – but our under-resourced voices are drowned out by the wealthy lobby, and the terrible imbalance from the media.

Press Release: Disability Rights Activists to Protest International Euthanasia Group Meeting in Chicago

IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS
September 17, 2014 
Diane Coleman 708-420-0539 or Gary Armold 773-425-2536 

Diane Coleman
The disability rights group Not Dead Yet announced today that it would lead a three-day protest vigil against the World Federation of Right to Die Societies during the Federation’s biennial meeting being held in Chicago. The American group Final Exit Network is hosting the meeting, which runs from September 17-20 at the Embassy Suites Chicago. The group has scheduled a rally to open the protest vigil at 511 North Columbus Drive on September 18 at 12 PM.

”We are here to contradict the message of these groups that it’s better to be dead than disabled,” said Not Dead Yet president Diane Coleman of New York.
The meeting is being hosted by the Final Exit Network, an American group known for its use of “Exit Guides” to instruct and assist people with “irreversible physical illness, intractable pain, or a constellation of chronic, progressive physical disabilities” to kill themselves using “Exit Bags” filled with helium.

John Kelly
The 2012 PBS documentary, “The Suicide Plan,” included statements and video in which Final Exit Network leader Ted Goodwin admitted and demonstrated holding the person’s arms down to prevent them from pulling the Exit Bag off of their head.

“This is a collection of reckless suicide fanatics,” said John Kelly of Second Thoughts Massachusetts, whose group was instrumental in defeating assisted suicide bills and a referendum in that state.
The World Federation of Right to Die Societies was organized in 1980 to bring together the various groups in Europe and Anglophone countries which promote euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Federation last met in the United States in 2000, when it was also protested by Not Dead Yet in Boston.
“These are the people that we have seen in the news, people who condoned the suicides of the Belgian twins who were losing their sight, or of the woman who was afraid she would not be able to see a stain on her shirt.” said Amy Hasbrouck from the Canadian group, Toujours Vivant/Not Dead Yet, which is working to defeat Canadian initiatives that will be promoted at the conference. Hasbrouck and other Canadians will be joining the Chicago protest vigil. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What does the World Federation of Right to Die Societies not want me to know?

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
As an International leader of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) I decided to register for the World Federation of Right to Die Societies - 20th World Conference in Chicago (September 17 - 20) that is co-sponsored by the Final Exit Network.


My registration was accepted, my flight was booked, my hotel room was reserved, but then I received an email informing me that my registration was revoked.

Thaddeus Pope, who is speaking at the Chicago conference, registered and attended the recent conference that EPC co-sponsored in Minnesota.

What does the World Federation of Right to Die Societies not want me to know?

Maybe they don't want me to hear about their promotion of euthanasia for people with dementia.

The Belgian legislation that extended euthanasia to children originally included a section to extend euthanasia to people with dementia.

Maybe they don't want me to hear about their promotion of euthanasia for people with psychiatric conditions.

Recently the Dutch Health Minister stated that 45 people died by euthanasia for psychiatric conditions in 2013 in the Netherlands.

Maybe they don't want me to hear about their promotion of euthanasia for depressed people who are otherwise healthy.

Professor Tom Mortier recently launched a court challenge concerning the euthanasia death of his depressed mother in Belgium.

Maybe they didn't want me to hear the conversation among the delegates in the hallway.

When I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference in 2006 I learned, through personal conversations, that many of the delegates had been involved with causing the death of a relative or others. I learned that volunteers are trained to assist deaths, to provide the means, to counsel suicide, sometimes completed the act with a pillow, or held the hands of person, preventing them from removing the asphyxiation/suicide hood.

Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide gives someone else the legal right to cause your death. Euthanasia is dangerous.

Alex Schadenberg is the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and the Chair of EPC International. 

Contact Alex Schadenberg at: info@epcc.ca or by calling: 1-877-439-3348.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Belgium Euthanasia and Capital Punishment.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last January, Frank van den Bleeken, who was convicted of rape and murder in Belgium, requested death by lethal injection (euthanasia) for reasons of psychological suffering.

On Saturday, a Belgian news agency reported that van den Bleeken euthanasia request was recently approved. van den Bleeken is the first Belgian prisoner, who is not terminally ill, to approved to die by euthanasia. The Belgian news article reported that another Belgian prisoner, who has currently served 27 years for murdering 2 people, has also asked to die by lethal injection (euthanasia).


Reuters reported that van den Bleeken requested euthanasia for psychological suffering because: 
"he had no prospect of release since he could not overcome his violent sexual impulses and so he wanted to exercise his right to medically assisted suicide in order to end years of mental anguish."
The van den Bleeken euthanasia death is complicated by the fact that he was living in an aging psychiatric hospital and he had challenged the Belgian penal system for its overcrowding and unacceptable living conditions. The January 2014 article stated:
In January, the court ruled in favour of three Belgian inmates and ordered damages be paid, citing a “structural shortcoming” that resulted in about 1,000 prisoners with mental problems being held in aging, overcrowded, inadequately staffed special prison wings.
... Mr. van den Bleeken and Justice Minister Annemie Turtelboom are now locked in a court fight over the issue. 
Mr. van den Bleeken’s still unresolved case is the latest controversial example of applicants who are not terminally ill but suffer psychological pains.
The expansion of euthanasia to include prisoners with psychological suffering represents the latest expansions of the Belgian euthanasia law.


Belgium Euthanasia - A story of incremental extensions.

In May, a Belgian nurse wrote an article about her experience with euthanasia. She explained how euthanasia was being done in very questionable circumstances and how it has become unacceptable to challenge a decision to kill a patient.

A study that was published by the (BMJ Oct 2010) concluded that assisted deaths were significantly under-reported in the Flemish region of Belgium. The study found that only 52.8% of assisted deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium were reported.

A study that was published by the (CMAJ June, 2010) found that 32% of all assisted deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium were done without explicit request. A similar study that was published by the (CMAJ June, 2010) found that 45% of assisted deaths by nurses in Belgium were done without explicit request.

The study found that the demographic group that was most likely to die by an assisted death without request tended to be over the age of 80, incapable of consenting, had an unpredictable end-of-life trajectory and died in the hospital. The study concluded in their findings that this:

"fits the description of a vulnerable patient group at risk of life-ending without request."
Many euthanasia advocates claim that the Belgian euthanasia law has effective safeguards and yet the data indicates that many euthanasia deaths are not requested and not reported.

The number of people who are dying by euthanasia for psychological reasons is expanding.
How is it possible that people can be euthanised in Belgium without close family or friends being contacted? Why does my country give medical doctors the exclusive power to decide over life and death? ... What are the criteria to decide what “unbearable suffering” is? Can we rely on such a judgment for a mentally ill person? 
The Growth of Euthanasia in Belgium.

The 2013 Belgian euthanasia report states that the number of reported assisted deaths increased by more than 26% to 1816 deaths in 2013. This was up from 1432 euthanasia deaths in 2012 and 1133 in 2011. The Belgian statistics do not include the unreported deaths.

The Belgian euthanasia law has been expanded by changing the law and changing the interpretation of the law, to include new reasons for killing proving that a slippery slope has happened. 

Disability Rights Community Responds to the Tucker Hire

The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund coordinated bringing the disability rights community together for this response. (Link to this article published by Not Dead Yet).
September 13, 2014

Dear Board members, Disability Rights Legal Center:

We understand you have hired Kathryn Tucker as the new executive director of DRLC.

Many of the signatories to this letter have worked with DRLC for years, enjoyed our working relationship toward furthering disability rights, and appreciated the work of DRLC.

We wish to engage in dialogue with you about the serious concerns we have over Ms. Tucker’s work in her previous position at Compassion & Choices that has placed members of the disability community in significant danger.

As you probably know, many prominent disability rights organizations across the U.S. have taken formal positions opposing assisted suicide laws. The legalization of assisted suicide is a very serious problem, and is of the utmost importance to many in the disability community. Ms. Tucker’s actions have significantly and directly aided in establishing assisted suicide laws, and she has materially contributed to the efforts toward their further legalization, in state after state. While Ms. Tucker’s work on pain relief is laudable, it is overshadowed by her work toward the legalization of assisted suicide through her leadership role at Compassion & Choices.

As organizations many of which have partnered with DRLC in the past, and which hope to have productive collaborations with you in the future, we would be very troubled if the hiring of Ms. Tucker were seen as a message to the disability community—or to society at large—that the DRLC has taken, or may take in the future, an opposing position to that of the established disability community on the legalization of assisted suicide, isolating itself from its natural allies.

Recognizing the difficulties raised by this past work of Ms. Tucker, we hope you will engage with us in dialogue about this issue and how it might play out, if at all, during her tenure at DRLC.

If you are unfamiliar with the issue’s complexities or with how extensively it is misunderstood by the general public, we refer you to http://dredf.org/public-policy/assisted-suicide/ to learn more.

We suggest a teleconference with you—and, if you like, Ms. Tucker and/or other staff—to consider the above questions.

On behalf of the organizations and individuals who have signed on below, please communicate with Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), mgolden@dredf.org, (510) 549-9339.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.