Delta BC hospice continues legal battle to prevent euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In February 2018 the Board of the BC Delta Hospice Society was given an edict from Fraser Health to provide euthanasia (MAID). At that time, the board of the Delta Hospice did not comply with the edict and continued its good work.

In December 2019, the Delta Hospice was then ordered to do euthanasia or lose its government funding.

In February 2020, Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health, gave notice that funding for the Delta Hospice would cease in February 2021 unless the Delta Hospice permitted euthanasia.
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians have stated that: Euthanasia is not consistent with the philosophy, intent or approach of hospice palliative care.

Yesterday, the Epoch Times published an article by Lee Harding concerning the current plight of the Delta Hospice Society. Harding interviewed Angelina Ireland, the chair of the Delta Hospice Society (DHS) board who stated:

The B.C. government mandated that all hospices without a religious affiliation must provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) on-site if more than half of their funding comes from taxpayers.

The DHS, which governs the privately operated Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, is not affiliated with any religion but is opposed to physician-assisted suicide on moral and philosophical grounds. It offered to forfeit $750,000 in annual public funding in order to continue operations without providing MAID on-site.

However, its offer was rejected by the provincial government and the Fraser Health Authority, which has jurisdiction over publicly funded health care in the region where the hospice is located. Instead, they said funding would continue until Feb. 25, 2021, after which the hospice would lose its licence and be unable to continue operations.
The Delta Hospice

The euthanasia lobby got involved by working with local activists to sell DHS memberships to people who support euthanasia. This group was also able to obtain an injunction to prevent the DHS from having a meeting to amend their statutes to recognize the Christian beliefs of the DHS founders and its board. The BC government does not force religious institutions to participate in euthanasia.

Harding reported that on June 12, Justice Sheila Fitzpatrick ordered DHS to accept all membership applications, even though the DHS is a private institution. Harding explains:

Lawyers for DHS argued before the B.C. Court of Appeal that the hospice was a private institution, not a public one, and that if B.C.’s Societies Act permitted such an order, it would violate the Charter freedoms of association and conscience.

On Aug. 17, the court announced it would allow the appeal, but no date has been set for hearings.

The legal question concerning a private institution being required to accept all memberships goes beyond the issue of the DHS itself and is a concern for many private institutions.

Harding interviewed Alex Muir, the co-chair of the Vancouver chapter of Dying With Dignity, a euthanasia lobby group, that indicated that euthanasia access at the Delta Hospice is important. Harding reports:

“Faith-based organizations are allowed to exempt themselves from providing medical assistance in dying if it’s against their beliefs. We don’t believe that should be allowed when they are publicly funded, and we don’t believe the government should be using taxpayer dollars to allow that to happen,” Muir said.

Dying With Dignity has launched a petition signed by over 1,500 people that calls on the province to end the MAID exemption given to publicly funded faith-based facilities. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has launched its own petition against forcing hospices to perform euthanasia, which has been signed by over 27,000 people.
Angelina Ireland

Harding reports that the DHS upholds that euthanasia (MAID) and hospice care are different. Ireland stated:

“You’d think that these were 10 magical beds the way that everybody has been after us, and the government. It’s 10 beds that we’re trying to protect for palliative care in this province, and that is all we’re trying to do,” she says.

“We don’t want to battle with anybody. And we’re being forced to battle not only with the provincial government but with a campaign of euthanasia activists trying every which way they can to get into our hospice and force us to kill our patients. And that’s what we refuse to do.”

Sign the petition: Hospice organizations must NOT be forced to do euthanasia (Link). 

Published with permission.
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Newfoundland abortion statistics from 2015-2019

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Newfoundland abortion statistics report lower than CIHI’s

by Patricia Maloney

Report from Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information

Action Life Note: This article points out how the number of abortions reported by the provincial health authority for Newfoundland are lower than the numbers reported by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).  CIHI is responsible for collecting, compiling and publishing national statistics on abortion in Canada. 

Patricia Maloney blogs at:

Republished with permission

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Gaining insight into New Brunswick’s abortion statistics

Friday, June 26, 2020

Gaining insight into New Brunswick’s abortion statistics

By Peter Ryan

(Peter Ryan was Executive Director of New Brunswick Right to Life from 1999 to 2016. He recently published his Memoir The God of Life Lives: A Memoir)

The following is an attempt to shed insight into New Brunswick abortion statistics for 2015-19, as compiled by Patricia Maloney.

Ever since the advent of legalized abortion in Canada in 1969, abortion has been anything but a settled issue in New Brunswick. In the early 2000’s, for instance, two of the main hospitals (in Moncton, Fredericton) stopped doing abortions. A third major hospital (Saint John) did few or no abortions for decades. On the other hand, two formerly Catholic hospitals (Bathurst and Francophone hospital in Moncton) began doing abortions.

These instances of institutional aversion to or acceptance of abortion reflected the drama of decisions by individual obstetrician-gynecologists at the different locations. They also reflected New Brunswick’s unusual and, in comparison to most provinces, more restrictive policy: Until 2015, Medicare only covered abortions if they were performed in a hospital by an obstetrician-gynecologist after being certified by two physicians as medically necessary.(4)
That policy became a major issue in the 2014 provincial election. The victorious Liberal party under Brian Gallant campaigned on removing abortion barriers. In 2015 the rules requiring two doctor approval and an ob-gyn were annulled.

Interestingly, the in-a-hospital requirement remained. As a result, the private abortion clinic that has operated in Fredericton since 1994 (first by Henry Morgentaler, then since 2015 by a different owner) is the only one in Canada not publicly funded.

Statistically, the profile for many years – before 2015 – was that about 1,000 surgical abortions a year took place in the province: about 400 in hospitals, and about 600 in the private clinic. This meant an abortion rate of about 13-14 abortions per 100 live births, less than half the Canadian average.

In my judgment New Brunswick’s reduced abortion rate, more restrictive Medicare policy, and exclusion of funding for private clinics reflect a more pro-life social and political culture than elsewhere. That culture was likewise expressed for a number of years when one-third or more of the sitting Members of the Legislature, and coming from both of the main parties (Liberals and Conservatives) attended the annual March for Life in Fredericton.

The ground shifted in 2015, with newly elected premier Brian Gallant touting abortion as a “Charter right,” though it is not. Under government auspices, a new abortion “service” was soon opened at The Moncton Hospital. A provincial hotline was also set up to give women “access” at hospital sites.

Three hospitals were publicly identified as offering abortions: beside The Moncton Hospital, the Dumont Hospital in Moncton (serving Francophones), and the Chaleur in Bathurst. What was not publicly disclosed, and has just now come to light, was that, starting in 2015, the province’s other five regional hospitals also began to perform a small number of abortions each year.

Predictably, hospital surgical abortions rose significantly in 2015, 2016 and 2017 according to provincial government figures: 560, 608 and 656, respectively. (1) An average increase of over 50% compared to the 400 per year previously.

The increase for 2015-17 is even greater according to Canadian Institute for Health Information stats: an average of 734 per year, an increase of over 84% from pre-2015 years.

I have no explanation for the discrepancy between NB’s health department stats and those of CIHI. One thing is clear: Public policy changes after the 2014 election had a dramatic impact on the loss of prenatal lives.

As one examines the stats for individual hospitals, one is struck by how The Moncton Hospital has become the dominant center for surgical abortions, with an average of 292 abortions a year from 2016-19.

In 2017 a new phenomenon emerged: “medical abortions,” referring to chemical or mifegymiso (containing RU-486) abortions. That year New Brunswick became the first province to offer free chemical abortions. The government reported 162 in 2017. (2)

Chemical abortion stats then surged hugely in 2018 and 2019: 520 and 704, respectively. At the same time, surgical abortions decreased to 522 and 405, respectively. (3)

What is so dismaying for pro-lifers is that the net total number of Medicare-funded abortions has, during the past two years, reached an annual average of 1,075, more than two and a half times the pre-2015 average.

To give an accurate provincial picture, we must also factor in surgical abortions at the private clinic in Fredericton. While no public stats are available, Clinic 554 says they performed about 1,000 from 2015-19, or about 200 a year. Assuming that information is correct, it would mean a total of about 1,275 NB abortions a year as of 2018 and 2019.

Consequently, comparing the 2018-19 average to the pre-2015 average of about 1,000 abortions, we find the annual provincial total has increased by about 28%. The provincial population increased by less than 4% between 2015 and 2019. This means the lives of preborn children in New Brunswick have become significantly more at risk.

The NB abortion stats compiled for 2015-19 reveal one more newsworthy fact. The provincial government data includes gestational ages of abortions at five of the 8 main hospitals. What is striking is that, from 2015-18, the hospitals in Saint John and Fredericton (Chalmers) seemed to take turns specializing in second trimester abortions, whereas the other three hospitals listed did first-trimester procedures.

In 2015 and 2018 Saint John did a total of 14 abortions at an average age of 16.8 weeks; in 2016 and 2017 Fredericton did a total of 20 at an average age of 16.3. Whereas at the other three hospitals the average age for 2015-18 was 9.3 weeks.

The significantly higher average fetal age of abortions at two previously undisclosed locations is startling in light of complaints repeatedly made in recent years by abortion rights activists that Medicare-funded abortions were not available in hospitals at 14 weeks or more gestation, whereas, they argued, Clinic 554 did them up to 16 weeks but women were forced to pay. The newly published data reveal that, in truth, the hospital system had, since 2015 and without general public knowledge, acquiesced to those complaints, performing abortions up to and past 16 weeks.

Elected in 2018, the government of Blaine Higgs has stood firm against funding the private abortion clinic in Fredericton, despite pressure from the federal government. That pressure has included the withholding of $140,000 in health transfer funds due to NB’s policy.

The abortion situation in New Brunswick continues to be unsettled. In late 2019 Clinic 554 announced that due to lack of public funding they will be forced to close down. The building was put up for sale, though its operations continue in the meantime. How a closure would affect the profile of future hospital abortions remains to be seen.

The safety of preborn babies in New Brunswick has much deteriorated since 2014, reflected in markedly higher abortion numbers. The fact that all eight main hospitals have become involved in abortion, as opposed to two previously, is alarming.

What is especially shocking is how the number of “medical” (chemical) abortions has spiked, even after a new government not known for friendliness to abortion rights took office. Pro-lifers have always tended to focus greatly on the problem of surgical abortions. In the future more attention deserves to be given to chemical abortions, while not ignoring the plight of any preborn child.

On a positive note, New Brunswick’s life-friendly social culture has not greatly eroded. A poll by Narrative Research in February, 2020 found that two-thirds of residents oppose tax-funded abortion on demand.

(1) These totals do no include cases where a hospital performed 5 or fewer abortions.

(2) The government says mifegymiso is for pregnancies up to 7 weeks.

(3) That figure refers to government data; CIHI stats are not yet available for both of those years.

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New Brunswick abortions trend upwards

by Patricia Maloney

New Brunswick Medicare Decision Support System (MDSS)

I’ve also received average gestational ages of these abortions.

This article presenting the latest statistical information on abortion in New Brunswick was previously published at and is republished with permission. 
Action Life note: The term medical abortion refers to chemical abortions done for the most part through the use of the abortion pill regimen mifegymiso. CIHI stands for the Canadian Institute for Health Information which is responsible for the compilation and publication of abortion statistics in Canada. CIHI receives data from the provincial and territorial ministries of health, independent abortion clinics and hospitals. Abortion clinics are not required to submit their data  to CIHI whereas hospitals are federally required to do so.  Abortion statistics are at times incomplete with some clinics not reporting numbers of abortions.
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Nova Scotia Court decides that a man who may not be dying and may be delusional can die by Maid (euthanasia)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Nova Scotia court decides that a man who may not be dying and may be delusional can die by MAiD (euthanasia).


by Alex Schadenberg

Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Update: Katherine’s lawyer requested a judicial review to prevent her husband’s death until after the Sept 24 court case. On Sept 10 we learned that the review was dismissed. It is crazy that the court is willing to hear the case on Sept 24 but Katherine’s husband could die by lethal injection before the case, even the the court may decide that he doesn’t qualify.

Taryn Grant reporting for CBC News Nova Scotia that a man who has received conflicting assessments for MAiD (euthanasia) and whose wife of 48 years says is delusional about his medical condition, can go ahead and die by euthanasia. Grant reported:
A Nova Scotia Court of Appeal judge has upheld a lower court decision that effectively allows a man to go ahead with a medically assisted death, in spite of his wife’s efforts to stop him.

The 83-year-old man from Bridgewater, N.S., was assessed by physicians and approved for medical assistance in dying (MAID) earlier this year, but his wife, Katherine, 82, filed for an injunction with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, forcing him to cancel his plans.

CBC News is identifying the couple only by the woman’s first name to protect their privacy and his ability to access health care. His wife has threatened to sue health-care providers who help her husband access a medically assisted death.

While the husband says he’s suffering and near the end of his life because of advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), his wife says his wish to die is not based on physical illness, but anxiety and mental delusions.

The couple have known each other for more than 60 years and have been married for 48.
Hugh Scher
Hugh Scher, the lawyer for Katherine sent out the following comment:
The decision calls into serious question the arbitrary application of the criminal law in a way that puts vulnerable people at risk.

In this case there are multiple medical opinions questioning the husband’s capacity while others say he has capacity. Similarly multiple reports state that his death is not reasonably foreseeable. Others say his death is reasonably foreseeable.

The notion that a court should be precluded from resolving such a fundamental conflict about capacity and that the legal requirements of the criminal code are met is a glaring violation of the rule of law in Canada that puts vulnerable people at risk of death.

The notion that individuals should be free to see 10 doctors who find they lack capacity, but then find 2 more that say they don’t to justify an assisted death is troubling and renders the safeguards and protections of the criminal law completely meaningless.

Katherine calls on Parliament, the Nova Scotia Legislature and the courts to fix an arbitrary and broken legal process that permits the intentional killing by euthanasia of those who lack capacity and who don’t meet the most basic requirements of the law.

The Supreme Court of Canada made clear that legalization of euthanasia in Canada depended completely on parliament’s ability to implement reasonable safeguards to protect the most vulnerable of Canadians.

Today’s decision by a single judge of a court of appeal on a procedural matter demonstrates how woefully inadequate the present regime and procedures are to protect vulnerable people lacking capacity from being put to death in Canada.
Grant reported that the case might continue:
The case could still go to a formal appeal hearing and is scheduled to do so on Sept. 24.

Katherine’s lawyers noted last week that should her husband go ahead with the MAID procedure before then, it would render the appeal moot. This was one of their arguments for an extension of the interim injunction.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition finds this decision to be untenable.
To schedule a hearing on the merits of the injunction for September 24 and then lift the temporary injunction on September 4, allowing him to die by lethal injection, makes a mockery of justice. 
If the case continues, and if it is decided that the husband lacked effective capacity to decide or did not qualify under the law, but at the same time he had already died by euthanasia is farcical.
Katherine lawyers may ask for a formal review of the decision, but her husband might be dead before the review can be considered.

This is a clear example of justice being denied. 
Katherine could not have carried out the legal proceedings and or file an appeal without the support of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. She loves her husband and she launched the legal action to prevent the wrongful death of her husband, but she could not do so without help.
EPC agreed to pay the legal bills, but in turn, we need your financial support.

Donate to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (Link) by:
  • Paypal (Link),
  • Call the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 to donate by credit card, 
  • Send a cheque to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Box 25033, London ON., N6C 6A8.
We will provide more information, but based on privacy, we are providing as much information, at this time, as possible.

Thank you for considering EPC in this precedent setting case.
This article was first published on the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s blog and is republished with permission.
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PEI abortion rates double in two years

Saturday, August 1, 2020

PEI abortion rates double in two years

CIHI notes in their published stats that:
“Induced abortions are not performed in clinics in Prince Edward Island.”
Yet you can see from the chart below that Health PEI, not only reports abortions in PEI clinics, but that they report more abortions in clinics than in hospitals. According to the FOI I received from Health PEI, the clinic in question is the Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services. It seems that Health PEI must be tracking these clinic abortions as hospital abortions. But there are also a few abortions being reported in a hospital setting.

Also medical abortions have been taking place since 2015 in PEI, albeit a very small number of them.

And as you can see, PEI Health’s abortion numbers are quite different from CIHI’s numbers.

The most troubling part of these numbers is that were more than twice as many abortions performed in 2019 (143) as were done in 2017 (67). Abortion rates (as reported by PEI Health) are clearly increasing.

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A Desperate Attempt to Discredit the Abortion Pill Reversal

By Alliance for Life Ontario

On December 16, 2019, The National Post carried the following article: Women who attempt abortion ‘reversal’ risk serious blood loss: study

See our response below to this article. The attempted medical abortion caused the “severe blood loss” NOT the reversal!

Dear Editor,
Why, when it comes to abortion, do we never receive balanced reporting? You would believe by reading Sharon Kirkey’s article (A2 17th December 2019) that progesterone reversal of medical abortion caused the “severe blood loss” in three women enrolled in the “the first double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of whether the effects of the “abortion pill’ can be stopped”.

The truth is that 2 of the three women had the “placebo” and the severe blood loss was due to mifepristone, the first drug used in the abortion procedure. The third woman who had actually had a completed abortion, on examination at hospital, bled as a natural result of the medical abortion itself! However, reading this article you are led to believe that it is the reversal itself that caused the bleeding.

Another point seemingly ignored is that 4 of the 5 women in the progesterone group had healthy pregnancies developing two weeks after the reversal treatment. Possibly this is news that abortion advocates do not wish women to know – an 80% success rate!
It is a tragedy that rigorous evaluation was not undertaken before medical abortion was licensed for the Canadian market. Women might have been informed that medical abortion carries four times the risks that surgical abortion does for adverse events.

Respectfully submitted

Researchers Try to Discredit Abortion Pill Reversal; Study Backfires Christina Francis, MD and Donna Harrison, MD
Frontiers in NeuroScience, May 2019 Volume 13 Article 544
“Biological, behavioral and Physiological Consequences of drug-induced Pregnancy termination at First trimester human Equivalent in an Animal Model” Camilleri, Belter, Puentes, Aracena-Sherck, Sammut.

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BC Hospice challenges closure over government’s pro-euthanasia policy

This is the complete press release from Angelina Ireland, President of the Delta Hospice  Board of Directors in response to the announcement by the government of British Columbia that it will cease to fund the hospice over its refusal to allow euthanasia (medical assistance in dying ) on its premises. Funding will cease on February 24, 2021.


BC Hospice challenges closure over government’s pro-euthanasia policy

Vancouver – Delta Hospice officials were shocked and outraged this week by the Fraser Health Authority’s blatant move to cut off all discussions and close the facility because it wants the hospice to provide MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) at every facility. The Irene Thomas Hospice is dedicated to allowing patients access to expert symptom management for physical, emotional and spiritual distress. It provides comfort, meaning dignity and hope as one dies a natural death.

Angelina Ireland, President of the Delta Hospice, said the Fraser Health Authority and the British Columbia Minister of Health abruptly cancelled the Hospice’s contract on Tuesday without even acknowledging or responding to the hospice’s offer to a reduced level of government financing of the facility by $750,000 per year in order to meet the 50% funding level for exemption from providing MAiD.

“The actions of the Ministry reveal that the issue of MAiD vs. palliative care is an agenda-driven policy rather than one that ensures access to skilled and compassionate palliative care for eligible patients in distress, and their families,” she said.

“And it’s all about dollars. It is easier and cheaper for the government to provide euthanasia rather than continue with palliative care. Basically, they are saying that no palliative care facility in BC has a right to exist unless it also provides euthanasia.”

Faced with the government’s decision and refusal to consider other options such as decreased provincial funding, Ms. Ireland said the hospice will look at all of its legal and other options to continue to exist and serve patients and families in their final days, as they have always done.

The decision is particularly baffling, she said, since access to MAiD for those who request it is available at many locations in the lower mainland, including Delta Hospital right next door to the hospice. That, in her mind, reinforces the view that this is not about patients or families, but rather about a social policy agenda.

“MAiD is a separate public health care stream, distinct and apart from palliative care. If the government wants to open MAiD facilities that’s their option, but they must not be allowed to download it onto the backs of private palliative care facilities.”

“Palliative care physicians and nurses believe in the philosophy of specialty palliative care and practice as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), which maintains that palliative care provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms and which affirms life and regards death as a normal process.

At no point does WHO include euthanasia as an aspect of palliative care!”

Forced closure of the facility ignores the fact that this is a privately owned hospice built on land leased from the government, employs more than fifty people and has contributed significantly to BC’s public health care system.

“This is an invasion of the historic medical discipline of palliative care. The Canadian model is respected around the world. The government and the health authority are running roughshod over that principle and reputation.”

Ms. Ireland expressed hope that “even at this late date” Fraser Health Authority and the BC Ministry of Health will come to the table and discuss the issues, including the financial offer. “Our deepest concern is with those patients and families who have entrusted their final days to us. We want to make sure those days are filled with comfort and peace. That is still our goal.”

The Ministry and the Authority have both publicly stated they plan to take control of the premises currently occupied by the Hospice. The Delta Hospice Society built the Irene Thomas Hospice without taxpayer funds, at the cost of approximately $9,000,000. The Society has operated the Irene Thomas Hospice for 10 years, providing more than 700,000 hours of volunteer labour and $30 million to the public health care system. For the government to step in and seize this private property is “a scandalous appropriation of private assets,” said Ireland

On Saturday April 4, a Rally for Delta Hospice will be held in front of the Legislative Buildings at noon. Speakers include Dr. Margaret Cottle (palliative care physician) and Dr. Will Johnston (family physician and obstetrician) along with MP Tamara Jansen and Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

For further information, contact:
Angelina Ireland. President Delta Hospice

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Kids benefit from seeing euthanasia close up, says Canadian doctor. It helps to normalise the process of doctors killing patients

Kids benefit from seeing euthanasia close up, says Canadian doctor
It helps to normalise the process of doctors killing patients

by Michael Cook | Mar 2 2020 |

Bedside gatherings at Canadian euthanasia deaths are normally an adults-only affair. Of course we’re not privy to most of them, but occasionally a journalist describes the last moments of an elderly man or woman in a magazine feature. Sometimes there’s a party, glasses of champagne, hilarity — until the doctor arrives. The friends and relatives gather around the bed while the doctor administers a lethal injection.

In fact, most of these deaths are of people well over 65. Very few are of an age to be leaving youngsters behind. It is their children or grown grandchildren who are with them in their last moments.

What about people with young children? One experienced MAiD doctor suggests that young children will benefit from becoming involved.

In a blog entry at a University of British Columbia site, Dr Susan Woolhouse, who has been involved in some 70 “assisted deaths”, says “instinct told me that involving children in the MAID process of their loved one was possibly one of the most important and therapeutic experiences for a child. My past experiences during my palliative care rotations reassured me that children could benefit from bearing witness to a loved one’s death. Why would MAID be any different?”

She gives some tips about how to explain the process of dying to young children:

Assuming that children are given honest, compassionate and non-judgmental information about MAID, there is no reason to think that witnessing a medically assisted death cannot be integrate as a normal part of the end of life journey for their loved one. If the adults surrounding them normalize MAID, so will the children.

“These conversations can easily be had with children as young as 4,” she says.

Dr Woolhouse estimates that between 6 and 7 percent of MAiD deaths are of people under 55. As the numbers grow, “this will result in more children being impacted by the assisted death of a loved one.”

This is how she would explain euthanasia to a child:

“In Canada, when someone has an illness that will cause their body to die, they can wait for this to happen or they can ask a doctor help. The doctor or nurse uses a medication that stops the body from working and causes the body to die. This is done in a way that isn’t painful …

“I am going to give your [loved one] medication over a period of about ten minutes. This medication will make her very look very tired and then she will very quickly go into a coma. This means that she will no longer be able to hear, see or feel any pain. You might hear strange breathing sounds, however these do not cause her any pain. Her skin will get colder and maybe even change colour. She will stop moving her body. Her heart will eventually stop beating and this means that her body has died. When a body dies, it can no longer see, feel pain, or hear. It can’t ever be fixed.”

I wonder if a child will find this explanation convincing. The doctor will not be around to answer her questions as she becomes a teenager, a young adult, and a parent. One researcher found that, years afterwards, some children still described the death of a pet as “the worst day of their lives.” How much worse will it feel to remember the day that your mother or father was put down?

Dr Woolhouse’s brief essay leaves some questions up in the air. The obvious question is “where is Dad now?” She can’t offer the child the comfort of an afterlife. Dad isn’t anywhere anymore; he’s just dead.

In her description of her hypothetical patient’s last hours, it’s clear that he is not suffering unbearably, at least at that moment. Why, the child is bound to ask, did Dad want to leave me? Why did he choose to die and leave me an orphan?

But Dr Woolhouse is right about one thing: if you want to normalise euthanasia, what better marketing device could there be than photos of little kids watching her give a lethal injection?

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

Article first published on MercatorNet on March 2, 2020.

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Press release Bill C-7 and broadening Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in Canada


For immediate release
Montreal, 26 February, 2020
Do we collectively seek the most permissive voluntary euthanasia program in the world?
Following Monday’s tabling of Bill C-7 in the Canadian Parliament, Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia deplore this new chapter in a political approach leading step by step to death on demand for suffering people in Canada. Bill C-7, removes the requirement that a person receiving “medical assistance in dying” (MAiD) be in a situation where natural death is reasonably foreseeable. This effectively opens the door to any Canadian who is physically sick and suffering, and who wishes it, to be legally killed by a doctor.

Let us be very clear: if this bill is not significantly amended, Canada will have the most permissive euthanasia program in the world.

The Truchon-Gladu decision of the Quebec Superior Court, the government’s refusal to appeal it, and the present bill are proof of the validity of the concerns expressed before MAiD was decriminalized in 2016. We and many other groups insisted that, once anyone is permitted to directly cause the death of another person, there is no safeguard that can prevent this “right” from being extended to groups not initially foreseen.

As opposed to Quebec, which simply decided to conform to the Truchon-Gladu decision by removing de facto the end of life criterion, the federal government at least chose to maintain the use of the reasonably foreseeable natural death criterion, as a way of creating safeguards for MAID requested by patients who are not dying.

However, despite assurances in the Preamble that “Canada is a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and recognizes its obligations under it, including in respect of the right to life… [and] Parliament affirms the inherent and equal value of every person’s life and the importance of taking a human rights-based approach to disability inclusion”, Bill C-7 constitutes a threat for some citizens.

It would permit any person who has a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, and is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability, to obtain MAID without being near the end of life, only 90 days after making the request.

We are assured that the Bill excludes MAiD on the basis of mental illness, but we know that a Parliamentary committee scheduled for a few months from now will study this possibility, as well as those of the euthanasia of mature minors and of adults incapable of decision-making who have made an advance request. We are concerned that the present bill will pave the way to extension of MAID to these groups.

The “added safeguards” promised for people whose end of life is not approaching are weak indeed. While in the Netherlands the doctor must agree that there are no other potential means of alleviating suffering before euthanizing a patient, Bill C-7 only specifies that the doctor must “ensure that the person has been informed of the means available to relieve their suffering, including, where appropriate, counselling services, mental health and disability support services, community services and palliative care …”, and “… that the person has given serious consideration to those means…” There is no need for the patient to try other options; indeed, there is no need for the means to be even available to him.
Accessibility to such services should, on the contrary, be the priority for our federal and provincial legislatures, long before any new extension of euthanasia.

The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia seeks to ensure quality medical care and respectful decision-making for vulnerable patients, especially those at risk of pressure to end their lives prematurely through euthanasia or assisted suicide, and to protect the professional integrity of all health care workers.

For further information or to request an interview with
Dr. Catherine Ferrier (Physicians’ Alliance) or Me Michel Racicot (LWD), please contact:
Charmine Francis (Coordinator)
Tel: +1 (438) 938-9410

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