When does life begin?

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The beginning of human life is really a matter of simple biology. Scientific evidence shows that each human life has the same starting point at conception. Consider:

1- “A new individual is created when the elements of a potent sperm merge with those of a fertile ovum, or egg.”

From Encyclopedia Britannica,”Pregnancy”, page 968, 15th edition, Chicago 1974.

2-“Development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an ovum to form a zygote; this cell is the beginning of a new human being.”

From: Moore, Keith L. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, page 12, W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, 1974.

3- “The development of a new human being begins when a male’s sperm pierces the cell membrane of a female’s ovum, or egg…The villi become the placenta, which will nourish the developing infant for the next eight and a half months.”

From: Scarr, S., Weinberg, R.A., and Levine, A. Understanding Development, page 86, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1986.

4- “Conception. A new child is coming to life. The child was conceived when a sperm from the father united with an egg from the mother. The union of a sperm with an egg is called fertilization.”

From: Coming to Life. Health and Welfare Canada, Medical Services Branch, 1987, page 3.

Still some prefer to pretend that they do not know when human life begins in order to defend their support of abortion. An editorial from California Medicine in 1970 had this to say on the topic:

“…Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death… The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not put forth under socially impeccable auspices.

From : California Medicine, Editorial, “A new Ethic for Medicine and Society,”page 67, September, 1970.

 

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Will safeguards protect you from euthanasia and assisted suicide?

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We are told that persons should have the right to control or choose the moment of their death. Yet euthanasia in reality and practice sometimes means that someone else will decide when you die. This happens in Holland and Belgium where euthanasia is legal in spite of supposed safeguards. Physicians will intentionally cause the death of the patient without’s the patient’s consent or request.

In 2013 more than 1,000 patients were killed by euthanasia without explicit request or consent in Flanders, Belgium. Once euthanasia is permitted, inevitably we descend in time into the nightmarish world on non-voluntary euthanasia. Euthanasia and assisted suicide offer the illusion of control and autonomy.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 2015  on the practice of euthanasia in the Flanders region of Belgium in 2013 found that euthanasia deaths without explicit request were 1.7% of all deaths. In numbers, this amounts to approximately 1,047  deaths hastened without explicit request.

Study at http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMc1414527

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Going down the wrong road

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Euthanasia and assisted suicide are not medical treatments

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You were once an unborn child

ultraosund-you-were-once-in-my-shoesEvery human life begins at fertilization. The unborn child grows and develops in his mother’s womb. Some abortion advocates say that he is an unwanted occupier and must be removed from his natural place of residence before birth by abortion.  No, this is where the unborn child naturally resides and you were once in his shoes as well.

Sharing photo from Human Coalition.

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Culture of Death

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Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine

This book by Wesley J. Smith is available for loan from our resource centre. Mr. Smith is as the book’s back cover tells us” a lawyer and award winning author, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Centre on Human Exceptionalism. He is also a consultant to the Patients Rights Council…Smith left the full-time practice of law in 1985 to pursue a career in writing and public advocacy. He is the author or co-author of 13 books”.

BioEdge, a site devoted to bioethics information interviewed Wesley J. Smith in June. We highlight two questions from this interview:

BioEdge: This is a thoroughly revised edition of a book you published 16 years ago. In your view is there less respect for life in American medical culture now? Are there any bright spots?

Wesley J. Smith: There is less respect for human equality and the sanctity of life in healthcare generally, I fear, and not only in the U.S. Indeed, I changed the subtitle of the book to the “The Age of ‘Do Harm’ Medicine” because it now grapples with developments outside the United States as well as in my own country. We are all connected, so that what happens in Canada impacts Australia, what happens in the USA can have a pull on South Africa.

I have observed in the past 15 years since the first edition of Culture of Death, that throughout the developed world and the West we see a terrible and increasing disrespect for the intrinsic value of the most weak and vulnerable among us. Euthanasia has spread like a stain and grown increasingly toxic. For example, in Belgium medicalized killing is now coupled with organ harvesting–including of the mentally ill. Health care rationing, which is blatant and invidious medical discrimination, is a growing threat. Advocacy continues to discard the dead donor rule in organ transplant medicine, even proposals for the live-harvesting of patients with profound cognitive disabilities.

If there is a “bright spot”, it is to be found among the medical professionals – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physicians assistants, etc.-who continue to resist these utilitarian bioethical agendas and work in the trenches of clinical medicine with an ongoing commitment to the wellbeing and equal value of all patients.

BioEdge: Let’s peer into the future. What are the battles you are preparing for, the big issues?

Smith: Assisted suicide and euthanasia are going to continue to be bioethical hot potatoes. Medical futility. Protecting medical conscience rights for health care professionals who wish to adhere to Hippocratic values is going to be huge internationally. I mean, if we are not careful, in 20 years one may not be able to find a doctor who would not be willing to kill you under some circumstances, which I find a very frightening prospect.

Action Life recommends this highly informative book. It deals with a host of life and bioethical issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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How Many Abortions in Canada?

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Will Ontario’s new drug policy drive people to euthanasia?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On June 17, the Canadian government legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide. Since only a minority of Canadians have access to effective pain and symptom management, will legalizing euthanasia drive people to a state sanctioned death rather than receiving proper care? During the Bill C-14 debate the government was urged to increase access to palliative care.

Last week the Ontario government announced that on January 1, 2017; the government will stop covering the cost of certain high-dose pain killing drugs.
Even though the government’s concern with opioid addiction is important, will the new blanket policy drive people with chronic pain or other painful medical conditions to euthanasia?
According to a CBC news report:

Ontario will stop paying for higher-strength opioid medications through its Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program next January as part of its strategy to address the growing problem of addiction to the painkillers.

To help fight what it calls the “growing problem of opioid addiction in Ontario,” the province’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced last week that it would stop paying for the following higher-strength long-acting opioids from its ODB drug formulary as of January 2017:

  • Morphine, 200 mg tablets.
  • Hydromorphone, 24 mg and 30 mg capsules.
  • Fentanyl, 75 mcg/hr and 100 mcg/hr patches.
  • The province will also delist 50 mg tablets of Meperidine, also known as Demerol.

There is a real concern with opioid addiction, according to the CBC news report:

Deaths linked to opioid use in Canada have soared in recent years.

A 2014 study found that opioids were related to one in eight deaths among young people in Ontario.

Rates of opioid-related death in the province increased by 242 per cent between 1991 and 2010, rising from 12.2 deaths per million in 1991 (127 deaths annually) to 41.6 deaths per million in 2010 (550 deaths annually).

Opioid overdose is a serious health problem, but people with chronic pain management issues and the terminally ill who live with painful symptoms require effective pain control.

Now that euthanasia is legal, not providing effectively controling pain will lead some people to ask their physician for a lethal injection.
Palliative care expert, Dr Darren Cargill, expressed concern for his patients in a letter published in the Windsor Star. Cargill argues that the Ontario government did not communicate with frontline caregivers when they made this decision. He wrote:

In their zeal to curb drug abuse, the government has acted rashly and without the proper input from frontline healthcare providers.

Palliative care patients rely on many of the medications removed from this formulary every day to manage their pain from cancer and other serious medical conditions.

Barriers already exist for patients trying to access high-quality pain management in Ontario, and this move by the government will further hurt patients. These barriers include the Palliative Care Facilitated Access (PCFA) program which requires updating and alterations to return the program to its intended purpose: to improve patient access to palliative care medications.

No one will argue that more needs to be done to prevent prescription drugs from getting into the hands of children and those who would abuse these drugs as a result of an addiction disorder.

However, unilaterally removing these drugs without considering the unintended consequences is irresponsible.

An article published in the Huffington Post suggests that most of the drug overdose deaths are from illegal drugs that are produced in China and Mexico. The article states:

The Drug Enforcement Agency in the U.S. also points out that the increase in fentanyl deaths is largely the result of clandestinely produced supplies rather than legal prescriptions having been diverted. The illegal fentanyl is mostly manufactured inChina and Mexico.

The Huffington Post article then quotes from two doctors who explain why the Ontario government drug enforcement policy will not work.

Dr Chris Giorshev of Barrie wrote that “There is no evidence that the recent measures will do anything meaningful other than torture legitimate pain/palliative patients” and “most of the problems arise from the illegal fentanyl coming from China — not from the patches prescribed by us. And the smaller strength pills are actually easier to move on the streets — so reducing the pill size will have no effect.”

Dr Geoffrey Purdell-Lewis of Burlington, Ontario said that “Not every patient prescribed opioids gets addicted” and that “Some patients appear to need more than a morphine equivalent dosage of 200mg per day and these patients can do well on somewhat bigger doses, especially with careful and strict monitoring and support. Much more thought is needed before the ‘200mg portcullis’ is brought down.”

Whether or not the Ontario government’s drug policy will deter drug addiction, it will also limit palliative and chronic care specialists from providing effective pain control and it may drive some people to seek death by lethal injection now that euthanasia has been legalized.

 

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The Euthanasia deception

Sharing media release from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

“The film explores Belgium’s 15-year experiment with euthanasia, the long-term implications of assisted dying laws and offers a dire warning for the rest of the world.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 — (NASHVILLE, Tennessee)

The Euthanasia Deception, a one-hour documentary that explores Belgium’s 15 year experiment with euthanasia, will be available on September 12th. This thought-provoking, emotionally gripping film is a dire warning for the rest of the world, featuring powerful testimonies from Belgium and beyond of those devastated by the false ideology of ‘mercy killing.’

The film exposes three main deceptions of assisted suicide. First, that euthanasia and assisted suicide are a form of compassion. The second is the myth of autonomy: that decisions made between doctor and patient operate in a vacuum. And finally, that government ‘safeguards’ can truly protect the vulnerable.

With expert analysis from both medical and legal professions, The Euthanasia Deception reveals the serious, long-term implications of assisted suicide laws, and proves that all of us become vulnerable when end-of-life care is handed over to lawmakers.

Numerous people whose lives have been affected by euthanasia and assisted suicide are interviewed for the film, including: Professor Tom Mortier, whose depressed mother was euthanized without his knowledge; “Hendrick,” whose grandfather’s death was hastened without request; “James,” who regrets family pressure to euthanize his mother; “Lionel,” who is asked by Belgian strangers why he will not euthanize his severely disabled daughter; “Mark,” an MS survivor, grateful that there was no law allowing him to die by assisted suicide when he was diagnosed; and “Kristina,” a nurse who shares her remorseful experience with assisted death.

The release of The Euthanasia Deception marks the launch of CaringNotKilling.com, a new global resistance movement that utilizes the power of film and social media to combat and resist the acceptance of euthanasia while providing jurisdictions with data to resist its legalization. It is also dedicated to providing support and assistance to through Compassionate Community Care services – to help people who need advice concerning medical treatment issues or need protection from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Euthanasia Deception is directed by Kevin Dunn and produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment and supported by thousands of like-minded organizations and individuals throughout the world.

Watch the official trailer at http://vulnerablefilm.com/trailer“.

Action Life is purchasing copies of this documentary. They will be available for loan from our resource centre.
We are planning a public information meeting for the fall at which this documentary will be shown. Additional details will be provided at a later date. Attendance at Action Life’s public information meetings is free of charge.
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Freedom of speech, the cornerstone of a free and democratic society, is trampled and under attack on some university campuses when the issue is abortion. Some want to silence the pro-life voice and prevent these students from discussing and presenting information about abortion. Students at Brandon University are now fighting for the right of their pro-life club to exist. We share with you a press release from the National Campus Life Network pertaining to the latest developments in this matter:

NEWS RELEASE: Students at Brandon University Sue their Student Union after Club Banned from Campus

Brandon, MB: Pro-life students at Brandon University have filed a lawsuit after having their club status withdrawn by their student union in November without warning. The Brandon University Student Union alleged that the pro-life stance made some students feel “uncomfortable” and “intimidated” them. The union also argued that the club’s beliefs were contrary to the Canadian Federation of Students’ official pro-choice stance, and that the club itself was redundant because other campus groups (the LGBTQ Collective and the Women’s Collective) addressed the issue of abortion.

The club is not unfamiliar with censorship, as this is not the first time they have had to resort to legal aid in order to regain their official club status. “Our student union claims to serve students and support them in their efforts to share their passions and advocate for various causes,” states Catherine Dubois, president of Brandon University Students for Life, “However, over the past 4 years our club has been repeatedly censored and denied these opportunities offered to every other student. We are tired and frustrated with being treated in such a discriminatory manner.”

“It is unacceptable that a student on a university campus should have to resort to a court challenge to ensure they can enjoy the same freedoms as their peers on campus,” states Anastasia Pearse, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, an organization dedicated to supporting post-secondary pro-life students, “It is disconcerting that campuses in our country are choosing to censor controversial issues rather than allow for open dialogue and debate.”

Currently, four other lawsuits initiated by pro-life student clubs are working their way through courts across the country. This is the highest number of lawsuits regarding campus free speech issues to be filed by pro-life clubs within a one-year period. The other universities include Ryerson University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and the University of Alberta.

“Abortion is an issue that personally affects women of the university age,” states Pearse, “we believe that women deserve to know everything about this procedure, even if the information makes people feel uncomfortable. Universities should not be afraid to accommodate opposing views on important and even controversial issues. With over 250 abortions occurring every day in Canada, this is a conversation that students ought to be having.”

For further information:

Anastasia Pearse
Executive Director, National Campus Life Network
director@ncln.ca
604-365-3484

Catherine Dubois, Brandon University Students for Life
204-570-1710 or duboiscm52@brandonu.ca

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