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  Living With Dignity Newsletter
  Vol. 20, July 2017

A Word from the Director

During the month of July, some media reported confidently and eagerly that euthanasia requests had decreased during the last 6 months in Quebec. According to their analysis, this decrease would be contrary to the trend observed in other countries that legalized death on demand before us. But is that correct? Not quite, actually. Several points need to be clarified and corrected in these fast-paced statements.

First, the available data are still partial: only 20 of the 28 institutions have published their data so far. This means that the 373 applications identified so far between December 2016 and June 2017 could potentially exceed the 389 applications identified in the previous six months. At this point, what should have been emphasized is the slowness of some institutions that do not seem to be in a hurry to publish their data by the deadline foreseen in the law...

Secondly, it should be noted that other countries had an experience similar to Quebec’s in the early days of their law authorizing euthanasia or assisted suicide. Thus, it took four years for the rate of increase in euthanasia requests to stabilize in the Netherlands. On the other hand, Oregon (United States) experienced surges in the first 8 years before the cruising speed finally settled permanently. This means that Quebec's pattern is not an isolated case or an anomaly compared to other countries that legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide before we did. With time we will no doubt reach the same curve as elsewhere, that is to say a sustained and even exponential growth in the number of applications and deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Finally, the media have made a big case around the fact that euthanasia is more often granted in remote areas than in Montreal. According to them, it is better to live in remote regions to have a greater chance of dying by euthanasia... Yet, rather than obsessing about eligibility, they would do well to ask a more essential question: Do people living in remote areas have access to the same care that is offered in Montreal?

On the other hand, the month of July has again been full of examples of the slippery slope of euthanasia and assisted suicide, those cancers that we have let into our health system. The case of Mr. Cadotte, accused of killing his wife with Alzheimer's disease, is turning into a plea for extending euthanasia to those who are no longer able to express their consent at the time of their killing. Also, in Labrador, the media reported the story of a mother whose doctor suggested euthanasia for her daughter living with a disability, calling her "selfish" when she refused. Finally, the suicide of a woman who parked her car in front of a moving train because she was afraid of losing her autonomy and becoming a burden to her entourage was presented as a new case that shows that the criteria for euthanasia should be extended: "Rather than living like that, dependent on society, I understand her very well," explained one of the victim’s daughters...

In the face of this hysteria that promotes suicide as a solution to suffering (as long as it is done by a doctor in a white coat), rest assured that Living with Dignity will continue to make the voice of those who want to build a caring society rather than facilitate the death of those who need help. We count on your support and encourage you to participate in the debates by calling phone-in shows, writing to journalists, contacting your MNA and writing your comments under the 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

  • July 7, 2017: Michel Cadotte, man accused of killing his wife, is granted bail before his trial. (>>) (>>)
  • July 10, 2017: Independent members of the Board of Directors of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) announced their resignation, deploring Minister Barrette's refusal to "engage in dialogue" with them. (>>)
  • July 13, 2017: After a very large increase in 2016, the number of requests for euthanasia decreases slightly in Quebec according to partial data. However, all requests for euthanasia made in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Côte-Nord were accepted. (>>) (>>)

 

News in Canada

  • June 27, 2017: In Ontario, a nurse who refused to euthanize patients under the Assisted Suicide Act was forced to resign. (>>)
  • June 28, 2017: In granting a 77-year-old woman with osteoarthritis permission to "receive medical aid to die", the Superior Court of Justice interpreted the law on medical aid in dying more broadly. (>>)
  • July 3, 2017: Some Canadian doctors are no longer accepting referrals for euthanasia because of inconsistent and insufficient reimbursement for time taken to help patients die. (>>)
  • July 5, 2017: A study from the B.C. Medical Journal found that there were 72 cases of medically assisted deaths on Vancouver Island from June to December 2016. (>>)
  • July 6, 2017: In Ontario, only 74 physicians have signed up to the new phone line that pairs patients seeking medical assistance to die for health care professionals. (>>)
  • July 7, 2017: 548 people were euthananized in Ontario. Cancer was the most common underlying condition in most cases. (>>)
  • July 24, 2017: A Canadian mother says doctor brought up assisted suicide option as sick daughter was within earshot. After saying she was not interested, doctor told her she was "being selfish." (>>)

 

VIVRE DANS LA DIGNITÉ DANS LES MÉDIAS (English and French)

  • Euthanasia: the slippery slope sold as desired progress: article by Aubert Martin on the expansion of euthanasia legislation in Canada. Read more >>

 

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

  • AUSTRALIA: Triple suicide in Queensland: why aren’t we celebrating? Three women died at a resort island as Queensland’s Gold Coast and, when evidence quickly emerged that they had used the same Exit suicide method, the organization’s head, Philip Nitschke claimed association. But why aren’t we celebrating their death? Read more >>
  • LUXEMBOURG: Luxembourg’s Euthanasia Practice is At Odds with a Respect for Human Rights: An international non-governmental organization has submitted a contribution to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s review of Luxembourg’s euthanasia practices. Read more >>
  • NETHERLANDS: Dutch Doctors Killed 431 Without Request in 2015: Since first permitted in the 1970s, the Netherlands has always had a problem with doctors killing patients who have not asked for euthanasia. Despite that being murder under the law, nothing substantial is ever done about it. Read more >>
  • NETHERLANDS: Euthanasia pioneer provides new information concerning euthanasia in the Netherlands: Recent articles hinting that Dutch psychiatrist and euthanasia pioneer Dr. Boudewijn Chabot may have become critical of euthanasia are not entirely accurate. Furthermore, the information he provides makes it impossible to suggest that euthanasia has not be extended in the Netherlands. Read more >>
  • NETHERLANDS: Netherlands study: 431 people were killed without explicit request in 2015: According to the Netherlands 2015 official euthanasia report there were 5561 reported assisted deaths in 2015 and yet the data from the study indicates that there were 7254 assisted deaths in 2015. Therefore, there were 1693 unreported assisted deaths (approximately 23%) in 2015. Read more >>
  • UNITED KINGDOM: Charlie Gard's parents angry that baby's lawyer is head of charity that backs assisted dying: The parents of Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old newborn suffering from a rare genetic condition, have privately expressed their concern after discovering that the lawyer appointed to represent their son in court heads a charity that backs assisted dying. Read more >>
  • UNITED STATES: 111 reported assisted suicide deaths in California in 2016: The recent assisted suicide report from the California Department of Public Health indicates that there were 111 reported assisted suicide deaths in 2016. Read more >>
  • UNITED STATES: US House Appropriations Committee approves repeal of the DC assisted suicide Act: The US House of Representative Committee on Appropriations approved an amendment by Representative Andy Harris (Maryland), who is also a physician, that prohibits funds for assisted suicide in the District of Columbia, and repeals the D.C. Death with Dignity Act. Read more >>
  • ANGLETERRE : Un anglais en phase terminale revendique le droit au suicide assisté : Diagnostiqué en 2014, Noel Conway, 67 ans, est atteint d’une maladie neuronale dégénérative au stade terminal. Il a réclamé à l’Etat anglais le droit de recourir à un suicide assisté. Lire l’article >>
  • BELGIQUE : les trois quarts des demandes d'euthanasie pour dépression proviennent de femmes : Entre 2002 et 2013, 179 personnes ont été euthanasiées en Belgique à cause de souffrances psychiques. Lire l’article >>
  • ÉTATS-UNIS : 111 suicides assistés en six mois : Le département de la santé publique en Californie a publié cette semaine son rapport annuel sur la fin de vie. Lire l’article >>à
  • ÉTATS-UNIS : 15 états rejettent la légalisation du suicide assisté : 15 états aux États-Unis ont rejeté des propositions de loi visant à autoriser « un médecin à assister un patient dans son suicide » : l’Alaska, l’Arizona, le Connecticut, le Kansas, le Maine, le Maryland, le Mississipi, le Missouri, le Nouveau-Mexique, le Tennessee, l’Utah et le Wyoming. Lire l’article >>
  • ÉTATS-UNIS: Entrée en vigueur de la loi sur le suicide assisté en Colombie aux États-Unis, le congrès en passe d'abroger la loi : Aux Etats-Unis, dans le District de Colombie, la loi concernant le suicide assisté a pris effet ce lundi 17 juillet 2017. Les patients âgés de plus de 18 ans et n'ayant plus que 6 mois, ou moins, à vivre peuvent désormais obtenir une prescription de produits mortels si les deux médecins le permettent. Lire l’article >>
  • PAYS BAS, BELGIQUE : Les médecins pratiquant l’euthanasie sur la « pente glissante » : « Même dans les pays où le suicide médicalement assisté est légal, les médecins ont souvent des réticences à aider les patients qui demandent à mourir. » C’est le constat fait par plusieurs études européennes, mais qui n'empêche pas l'accroissement du nombre d'euthanasie.
  • PAYS-BAS : Euthanasie aux pays-bas: "tuer" ses patients ou "mettre fin à leur vie" ? Le chef du parti chrétien protestant des Pays Bas (SGP), Van der Staaij, a déclaré dans un article du Wall Street Journal : « Aux Pays-Bas, les médecins vous tuent ». Lire l’article >>
  • PAYS-BAS : pionnier de l'euthanasie aux pays-bas, un médecin regrette l'extension de cette pratique : Le Psychiatre Boudewijn Chabot, pionnier de l’euthanasie en Hollande, a affirmé que les garanties légales pour l'euthanasie s'effondrent lentement et que la loi ne protège plus les personnes atteintes de troubles psychiatriques et de démence. Lire l’article >>
  • SUISSE : Un patient autorisé à mettre fin à ses jours à l'hôpital : Un homme de 78 ans, atteint d’une maladie incurable, a été autorisé à mettre fin à ses jours dans sa chambre aux hôpitaux universitaires de Genève (HUG) à condition « qu'aucun soignant ou médecin des HUG n'intervienne directement dans la réalisation du geste ». Lire l’article >>

 

Take Action in August

  • 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)

  • L’euthanasie pourrait stimuler le don d’organes, conclut une étude : Entretien avec Jan Bollen, de l'Université de Maastricht. Lire l’article >>

 

Press Review (English and French)

  • 'A terrible shock': Man whose wife died calls for increased access to palliative care: Paul Adams, a Carleton University professor, said he and his wife should have been better informed about what to expect as she entered the final stage of cancer. Read more >>
  • Adam Maier-Clayton's controversial right-to-die campaign: A year ago, Canada legalised medically assisted suicide for terminally ill people approaching death. But one man's activism has forced Canada to ask difficult and controversial questions about the limits on an individual's right to die. Read more >>
  • Advice: Let Canada be your example and warning: An opponent of euthanasia believes Canada's statistics on the subject should send a strong message to the United States. Read more >>
  • Andrew Coyne: Michelle Carter case is the next step in the increasing normalization of suicide: Once upon a time, you were supposed to try to talk someone out of suicide. Now, once you define suicide as, not a tragedy to be prevented, but a relief to be provided, then all of the careful limitations its advocates assured us would be placed around it were sure to fall away. Read more >>
  • Assisted dying devalues the disabled: At first look, it all seems so sensible: people who find no value in their lives should be allowed the choice to end them. Right? Wrong, says Dr John Fox – and here’s why. Read more >>
  • Assisted suicide – is it all about the money? In the face of the high cost of palliative care, the economic benefits of legalizing euthanasia are enticing to some Australians. Read more >>
  • Charlie Gard's parents 'astonished' to discover lawyer representing terminally-ill son is HEAD of euthanasia charity: The parents of sick baby Charlie Gard are reportedly concerned the lawyer appointed to represent their baby son heads a euthanasia charity. Victoria Butler-Cole, who speaks on Charlie’s behalf in court, is chairman of Compassion in Dying, a sister organisation to Dignity in Dying. Read more >>
  • Comment: Our definition of ‘dignity’ is caught in a death spiral: The word “dignity” has been warped and misused to such an extent, and so effectively, that it has actually made euthanasia wildly popular. For years we have heard the term “death with dignity” and most now identify it with a pro-euthanasia view as opposed to natural death. Read more >>
  • Conscience and Canadian doctors: In the year since euthanasia became legal, we have witnessed a powerful political push to normalize it as part of medicine in Canada. Yet many doctors remain opposed to the practice. Most would like to see it rigorously limited. And some, for reasons of personal and/or professional conscience, refuse categorically to be part of it. Read more >>
  • How being friends with someone who has dementia can be good for you both: Friendship helps protect against loneliness even when oldsters do not have dementia. It can be especially beneficial for those who do. Read more >>
  • Dutch Euthanasia Is ‘Killing’: Apologists for euthanasia in the Netherlands often lie by omission. Rarely, for example, do they fully admit that the mentally ill are being killed. Nor do they discuss the conjoining of euthanasia with organ harvesting. Perhaps it a case of not seeing what they don’t want to see. Read more >>
  • Canada's Assisted Dying law - one year later: One year after the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, Canada has become the prime example of how legalizing assisted dying cannot be controlled and why these laws are naturally expansive. Society needs policies that encourage caring and not killing. Read more >>
  • Someone Else can Administer the Lethal Assisted Suicide Dose to the Patient: The proposed measure in South Dakota to legalize assisted suicide actually allows someone else to administer the lethal dose to a patient. Read more >>
  • University of Chicago Professor: Infanticide Is Morally Acceptable: Jerry Coyne, a professor in the department of ecology and human evolution at the University of Chicago, recently posted a defense of killing disabled infants on his Why Evolution Is True blog. This reasoning makes sense only in a “throwaway culture,” which presumes that it’s right to discard the weakest and most vulnerable simply because they don’t meet an arbitrarily imposed marker of when life is worth saving. Read more >>
  • Legalising assisted suicide is dangerous – just look at Canada: The British High Court recently heard a legal challenge from a terminally ill British man who wants the right to die. But before moving forward with assisted suicide legislation, legislators should look to the example of other countries. Read more >>
  • Non-francophones abandon Quebec Liberals over MUHC crisis: poll: Non-francophones are not impressed by how Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is handling the crisis at the McGill University Health Centre and it may hurt the Liberals in the next election, a new Montreal Gazette poll shows. Read more >>
  • We are a nation of laws and conscience: A physician not willing to arrange the killing of a patient is now seen by some as causing harm. While that is debatable in our pluralistic society, what is clear is that the protection of the patient’s life has always been the foundation for the trust in the patient-physician relationship. Read more >>
  • Dutch psychiatric patients may get euthanasia too easily, says US study: ‘A new study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has presented an alarming picture of physician evaluation of euthanasia requests in the Netherlands. The article found that 56% of patients reported having refused at least one kind of treatment, and of those, almost half refused because of ‘lack of motivation’. Read more >>
  • The law must protect, doctors must care, and euthanasia undermines both: Baroness Ilora Finlay, a Welsh doctor and Member of the British House of Lords, gives her perspective on euthanasia legalization. Read more >>
  • Triple suicide on Gold Coast prompts euthanasia concerns: With the push to legalise euthanasia gaining momentum in states across Australia, it’s a chilling end-of-life strategy, with grave implications according to Catholic ethicists. Read more >>
  • We need to talk about how assisted dying affects doctors: The British High Court will soon here the case of Noel Conway on whether he can receive a ‘medically assisted’ death. The key to that request is the word ‘medically’. Read more >>
  • « Je pensais ne jamais m’en sortir » : Sheryl Sandberg, brillante femme d’affaires et auteure du best-seller mondial En avant toutes, a vu sa vie chamboulée lors de la mort soudaine de son mari, David Goldberg, en 2015. Lire l’article >>
  • Barrette dit non à une autre consultation sur l'aide médicale à mourir : N'en déplaise à la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), le ministre de la Santé, Gaétan Barrette, a indiqué n'avoir aucunement l'intention d'accélérer le débat sur l'élargissement de l'aide médicale à mourir. Lire l’article >>
  • Bien vivre le temps du mourir dans l’accompagnement palliatif : Les pistes de réflexion suscitées par le travail d'Olivier Fouquet doivent servir à penser de nouveau les conditions de réalisation de l'alliance thérapeutique dans les milieux de soins de fin de vie. Lire l’article >>
  • Le nombre de congés de maladie pour santé mentale a explosé : Le nombre d’employés du réseau de la santé en arrêt de maladie pour des problèmes psychologiques est en forte croissance depuis quelques années. Un bilan « dévastateur » que plusieurs attribuent à la réforme Barrette. Lire l’article >>
  • Un cas de démence sur trois pourrait être évité : Un cas de démence sur trois pourrait être évité en visant dès l'enfance et tout au long de la vie à réduire neuf facteurs de risque de développer la maladie, selon une étude. Lire l’article >>
  • Gaétan Barrette : le saboteur : L’actuel ministre de la Santé est en voie de devenir le plus grand allié des think tanks de droite avec ses réformes et sa centralisation excessive qui rendent de plus en plus inefficace notre système de santé. Lire l’article >>

     

 

Videos to watch (French and English)

  • L'euthanasie légale a changé la Belgique : Dr. Sc. Tom Mortier parle de la façon dont la loi belge sur l'euthanasie a changé la société. Regarder la vidéo >>
  • The Euthanasia Deception: A trailer for the new documentary exploring assisted suicide and euthanasia in Belgium. Watch video >>
  • Euthanasia: a well-intentioned but colossal and dangerous mistake: Dr. Balfour Mount, considered “the father of palliative care in North America,” talks about why euthanasia places the most vulnerable among us at risk. Watch video >>
  • The Mother Situation : A short parody film providing some dark humour on euthanasia. 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!