Vol. 18: May 2017



Q u i - v i v e   

  Living With Dignity Newsletter
  Vol. 18, May 2017

A Word from the Director

In the previous newsletter, I spoke of the need to question the underlying motives behind deaths by euthanasia so as to avoid falling into the trap of an analysis based solely on impersonal figures. By happy coincidence, May ended with the revelations of a Canadian study that specifically examined the reasons behind euthanasia cases in four major hospitals in the Toronto area.

The results of the study demonstrate that the main factor behind euthanasia deaths relates to existential distress. Indeed, the primary reason given by patients concerned the loss of autonomy – and not the unbearable pain that was conveniently sold to us from the beginning. Other reasons included fear of becoming a burden to those around them, fear of losing one's dignity, or the fact of no longer appreciating one's life.

In other words, the Canadian picture continues a portrait well known in other parts of the world, in which the same motives are evoked to request assisted suicide. This pattern also confirms what we already knew: euthanasia is primarily a question of how we relate to others and how society views vulnerable people. Moreover, when loss of autonomy is evoked as an indignity that deserves death, we should first see it as a petty social judgment that affects all persons who suffer from a disability or a serious illness. Furthermore, we have the duty to fight this pernicious and intolerable verdict.

Besides, Dr. Yves Robert, secretary of the Collège des médecins, recently published a letter in which he expressed his concern at the emergence of "speech demanding a form of death à la carte." Among other things, he rebelled against opinion leaders and media chroniclers who denounce euthanasia refusals as a form of exclusion, by asking a crucial question about the logical sequence of events: "Why and to what extent should new criteria be introduced when, no matter the criteria for access to PAD, there will always be some excluded by definition?”

On this point, and at the risk of repeating myself, I recall that this is the logic inherent in all laws on euthanasia as they sell induced death as a blessing and as an adequate response to suffering. In the face of this real ideological scourge, we must continue to promote a benevolent and inclusive vision that values ​​those who are made vulnerable by sickness, old age, or disability by giving them the means to live with dignity and to be accompanied and comforted until their last breath.

On our side, be assured that Living with Dignity will continue to make the voices heard of those who want to build a caring society rather than one that facilitates the death of those who are needing help. We count on your support, and we encourage you to participate in the debate by calling open lines, writing to journalists, or contacting your MPs, and by writing your comments under articles that defend our vision.

I thank you in advance for your support.

In solidarity,


Aubert MARTIN, executive director, Living with Dignity


News in Quebec

  • May 16: the secretary of the College of Physicians, Dr. Yves Robert, publishes an open letter to express his reluctance to expand assisted dying (>>) (>>)


News in Canada

  • May 17: the government of Manitoba introduces a bill to protect conscientious objection to medically assisted death. (>>) (>>)
  • May 23: a second plaintiff has been added to the constitutional challenge to the Trudeau Government’s assisted dying legislation to request its extension to people who are not at the end of life. (>>)
  • 25 mai : a Canadian study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveales that the primary reason why patients requested assisted dying was to relieve “existential distress”. (>>) (>>)


Euthanasia and assisted suicide news around the world (English and French)

  • AUSTRALIA: Euthanasia campaigner is selling £250 ‘home brew’ suicide kits online: Euthanasia advocate Dr. Philip Nitschke is selling ‘do-it-yourself’ euthanasia kits disguised as equipment for home-brewing beer. Read more >>
  • AUSTRALIA: Tasmania votes down voluntary euthanasia bill for third time in 10 years: The defeat of Tasmania's third attempt to introduce voluntary euthanasia laws has been met with anger and disappointment, with MPs labelled cowardly. Read more >>
  • BELGIUM: Belgian Catholic psychiatric hospitals ‘adjust’ their view of euthanasia: A religious order in Belgium, the Brothers of Charity, announced that from now on, it will allow euthanasia to take place in their psychiatric hospitals. Read more >>
  • BELGIUM: Vatican launches Belgium euthanasia investigation: The Vatican is formally investigating a group of psychiatric care centers in Belgium run by a Catholic religious order which has enforced that doctors in the facilities perform euthanasia. Read more >>
  • UNITED STATES (MAINE): Assisted Suicide Loses in Maine: House lawmakers rejected a bill in Maine that would have allowed doctors to prescribe fatal doses of medication to terminally ill patients who want to end their own lives. Read more >>
  • BELGIQUE : La Belgique bien au-dessus de la moyenne mondiale pour les suicides : Chaque année, plus de 2000 Belges se suicident. Avec un taux de suicide de 19 pour 100 000 habitants, la Belgique se place bien au-dessus de la moyenne mondiale de 14,5 pour 100 000, ressort-il du rapport de l'OMS. Lire l’article >>
  • BELGIQUE: Le don d’organes après euthanasie encouragé en Belgique pour des donneurs « en quasi mort cérébrale » En Belgique, « des voix commencent à s’élever pour encourager le don d’organes après euthanasie », dans l’optique de proposer des organes aux 1500 personnes en attente. Lire l’article >>
  • ÉTATS UNIS (OREGON) : LE SUICIDE ASSISTÉ POUR REMPLACER DES CHIMIOTHÉRAPIES TROP ONÉREUSES ? Une étude publiée par JAMA oncology révèle que « 3% des suicides assistés recensés par l’Autorité de Santé sont justifiés par l’incapacité à financer une chimiothérapie », et que 25,2% des demandes de suicide assisté sont la conséquence d’une prise en charge inappropriée de la douleur. Lire l’article >>
  • PAYS-BAS : Des directives pour faciliter le don d’organes après euthanasie : Au Pays-Bas, le don d’organes après euthanasie s’organise. Depuis la dépénalisation de l’euthanasie dans ce pays en 2012, 23 cas ont été recensés. Lire l’article >>


Take Action in June

  • SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS so that we can continue to speak on your behalf:


  • Purchase the Euthanasia Deception Documentary, a thought-provoking, emotionally-gripping film that will impact hearts and minds by effectively dismantling the fallacies of euthanasia proponents’ appeals to compassion and autonomy. APurchase or rent documentary here >>
  • Support Project Value by liking their Facebook page (>>). This initiative offers videos made by people with disabilities to challenge the popular idea of what it means to have a disability. Each video begins with a description of the diagnosis and prognosis of the person and a description of their functional limitations. Then the person talks about their quality and value of life beyond their condition. Share!


Recommended readings and documents (English and French)

  • Do suicides increase where euthanasia is legal? An article by Margarete Somerville on the connection between elevated suicide rates and euthanasia legalisation. Read more >>
  • L’euthanasie pourrait stimuler le don d’organes, conclut une étude : Une entretenue avec Jan Bollen, de l'Université de Maastricht, auteur principal de l’étude publiée dans le Journal de l’Association médicale américaine. Lire l’article >>
  • Plongée dans un coma artificiel mais consciente, elle se souvient des médecins qui voulaient la débrancher : Aujourd’hui Jenny fait « le récit » de ces jours « les plus traumatisants de son existence » pendant lesquels elle est restée immobile dans le coma. « Je ne répondais à aucun test de réflexe basique. Le médecin a conclu que je n’avais aucune chance de m’en sortir. Que je serai un légume toute ma vie. » Lire l’article >>


Press Review (English and French)

  • ‘Tragic’ euthanasia law must be fought, Cardinal Müller tells Canadian audience: The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled, Parliament has legislated and provinces have set up new systems. For most Canadians, the assisted suicide debate is last year’s news story. But Cardinal Gerhard Müller, head of the Catholic Church’s theological watchdog-agency, begs to differ. Read more >>
  • Autonomy: what a useless idea! Autonomy has become a slogan justifying almost everything. And like most slogans, it is almost meaningless. Read more >>
  • Canadian Medical Killers Form Trade Association: Canadian death doctors and nurse practitioners who euthanize the sick, disabled, and mentally ill–soon perhaps, also those with Alzheimer’s–are actively embracing the very lethal act Hippocratic doctors forswore for the protection of vulnerable patients. Read more >>
  • Dr. Mitch Shulman: Some facts about suicide: ‘13 Reasons Why’ is a TV series appearing on Netflix based on the novel (of the same name) by Jay Asher. It relates the story of a fictional teenager, Hannah Baker, and her suicide. In all the hype over this series, some key messages may have been overlooked. Read more >>
  • Focus on life, not suicide, Christian Medical and Dental Society warns: Deacon Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDS), worries that the care co-ordination service soon to start in Ontario will be too focused on the assisted suicide option, which allows patients to self-refer for assisted suicide or allow their families and friends to refer if they can’t find a doctor willing to refer for an assessment. Read more >>
  • How euthanasia turns culture upside-down: The head of an anti-euthanasia group says one of the unsatisfactory results of the euthanasia movement is creating pressure for people to make that choice as if it's a good thing. Read more >>
  • Groups on both sides of assisted-death debate want more transparency: Advocates on both sides of the medically assisted dying debate say the Nova Scotia Health Authority should be more transparent about patients who apply to end their lives. Read more >>
  • Physicians, conscience, and assisted dying: By requiring that physicians make referrals for assisted dying, Ontario is forcing them to leave medicine or abandon their ethical framework. Read more >>
  • Opinion: Treatment, not assisted death, for mentally ill people: With the passage of Bill C-14 last year, medically assisted death, or assisted suicide, has become a reality for physically ill patients with intolerable suffering and for whom death is “reasonably foreseeable.” Read more >>
  • More seniors face elder abuse in Canada: Elder abuse is a growing concern in Canada, with data showing that reported cases have almost doubled in the past 10 years. Read more >>
  • Nitschke awards bad behaviour with encouragement to suicide: Exit boss and former medical doctor, Philip Nitschke recently awarded his 'Peaceful Pill Prize' to an elderly Australian couple because the woman cried an expletive at Professor Margaret Somerville on an Australian National current affairs program. Read more >>
  • No Choice - abuse and coercion to death: Euthanasia and assisted suicide is sold to the public as a matter of choice; perhaps the ultimate act of autonomy. But what if there seems to be no choice at all? Read more >>
  • How to End a Life: A year since assisted suicide became legal, only a small number of physicians are willing to perform the procedure, and their numbers are shrinking. Taking a life is harder than they thought. Read more >>
  • Truth: the first casualty: The Victorian Ministerial Advisory Panel charged by Premier Daniel Andrews with the task of developing a safe way to kill people and to help them to suicide, released its interim report. Read more >>
  • When doctors say No: An interview with Professor Michael Quinlan, dean of the law school at the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia, about the spread of controversial procedures and conscientious objection for healthcare workers. Read more >>
  • À quand l'aide médicale à vivre? « Bien que je respecte mes confrères qui offrent l'aide médicale à mourir, tout comme les patients la réclamant, jamais je ne pourrais être celui qui l'administre. Il en va de ma conscience et du cheminement personnel parcouru. » Lire l’article >>
  • De l'euthanasie pour le don d'organes : Qui arrêtera la machine qui s'est emballée ? Selon le Journal of Medical Ethics, près de 40 dons d’organes provenant de patients euthanasiés à leur demande ont été répertoriés en Belgique et aux Pays-Bas. Un nombre encore trop limité pour des médecins belges et néerlandais, qui s’exprimaient dans l’article. Lire l’article >>
  • Des chambres en soins palliatifs pour les hommes sans abri à la Maison du Père : À Montréal, la Maison du Père vient d'ouvrir des chambres en soins palliatifs et en soins de confort pour les hommes sans abri. Lire l’article >>
  • Don d’organes suite à une euthanasie : le Canada s’interroge : Récemment légalisée au Canada, l’euthanasie est aujourd’hui envisagée en parallèle des dons d’organes. Les bioéthiciens québécois ont en effet publié en décembre un article dans le Journal of Medical Ethics, plaidant pour réaliser des prélèvements d’organes sur les personnes euthanasiées. Lire l’article >>
  • L'euthanasie, une "distraction médiatique" qui éloigne des véritables enjeux de la fin de vie : Ezekiel Emanuel, bioéthicien américain, a appelé, dans un article publié dans le Medical Journal of Australia, « à se concentrer sur l’amélioration de la prise en charge de la douleur des patients plutôt que de voiler la réalité de la fin de vie avec des idées erronées sur l’euthanasie et le suicide assisté ». Lire l’article >>
  • Appel urgent pour financer les soins palliatifs : Alors que la Ministre des affaires sociales et de la santé publique de Belgique, Maggie De Block, prépare un nouveau plan de financement hospitalier, les trois fédérations des soins palliatifs (bruxelloise, wallonne et flamande) demandent à ce qu’elle se positionne en faveur des soins palliatifs par la réaffectation des moyens du secteur curatif vers le secteur palliatif. Lire l’article >>
  • Le suicide assisté n’est pas un droit fondamental : On le sait, depuis 2014, le Québec s’est ouvert aux soins de fin de vie. Il a légalisé l’euthanasie. Certes, on a cherché à encadrer cette pratique avec des balises rigoureuses. Il ne fallait pas banaliser une mesure devant demeurer exceptionnelle. Certaines personnes nous mirent pourtant en garde: une fois que l’on consentait au principe du « suicide assisté », on verrait ces balises tomber peu à peu. Lire l’article >>
  • Les aînés aussi nombreux que les jeunes de 15 ans et moins : De nouvelles données du recensement de 2016 devraient révéler mercredi que pour la première fois dans l'histoire canadienne, les aînés seront aussi nombreux que les jeunes de 15 ans et moins – voire plus nombreux encore. Lire l’article >>
  • Qu’est-ce qu’on fait avec nos vieux? En France, La Poste a lancé un nouveau service: « Veiller sur mes parents. » « Pour aider et rassurer les proches d’un parent vieillissant et rendre le bien-vieillir à domicile à la portée de tous, ce service, grâce à des visites régulières du facteur, vise à éviter l’isolement et à contribuer ainsi à la vie sociale des personnes âgées. » Lire l’article >>


Videos to watch (French and English)

  • The Euthanasia Deception: A trailer for the new documentary exploring assisted suicide and euthanasia in Belgium. Watch video >>
  • Coercion of Healthcare Practitioners in Canada: An appeal from groups of Ontario physicians who object to the policy of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario mandating that physicians unwilling to grant patients’ requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide must refer the patients to other physicians willing to do so. They seek a constitutional challenge to the CPSO policy saying that it is coercive. Watch video >>


To make a donation is... to take action!

Our organization would not exist without the support of people who share our vision of human solidarity and our mission to promote good palliative care for all. With your contribution, we can act on your behalf by advocating in person (conferences, panels), in the media (interviews, articles, press releases), and on social networks (blogs, website, Facebook, Twitter).

Thus, by contributing, you are directly participating in defending future generations, especially vulnerable people, threatened by euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

Thank you for your active support!