Making people dead

syringue - doctorRyan Tumilty of Metro News Ottawa reported on February 13th that 28 people in Ottawa have died “with the help of a physician ” since the passage of Bill C-14 in June 2016.

These 28 deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide occurred in hospital, at home or in a nursing care centre. These are the numbers provided up to February 3.

Ontario recorded 250 deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide since June 2016.

There is no breakdown in the figures released as to how many deaths were the result of euthanasia by lethal injection and how many were cases of assisted suicide where the physician or nurse practitioner provides a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs.

Mr. Tumilty writes that doctors have been telling the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) that “they struggle with taking part in assisted death procedures.” Jeff Blackmer of the CMA told Metro News Ottawa that  “They will say, it was just too difficult and too traumatizing physiologically and it is not something I will go through again,” he said. They really struggle with it, and for some of those that it is the only one they will do.”

According to this report, some provinces maintain a list of physicians who may be willing to take part in euthanasia or assisted suicide. These lists we are informed are “getting shorter.”

Stephen Chang-Fong, spokesperson for the Ottawa Hospital emailed Mr. Tumilty stating that “they understand that physicians may not be willing to take part in assisted deaths.”

Mr. Chang Fong said: “We will be respectful of all heath-care providers at the hospital by recognizing their right to conscientiously refuse to participate.”

To those physicians or nurse practitioners who do engage in euthanasia or assisted suicide, the Ottawa Hospital offers “resilience training.”

The purpose of this resilience training is to help staff “manage the stress” that comes with being involved in these death practices which the spokesperson calls end of life care.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are not end of life care but rather they are the end of all care. So killing patients is not easy for some health care staff. The solution is not resilience training but to stop killing patients. Killing is not health care.



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Every Life Counts

doctor holding baby

Every life counts has produced a beautiful video filled with moving stories about children born with life limiting conditions. You can watch the video at

One father speaks of his daughter Elaine who was referred to as “incompatible with life” but actually lived with her parents for twenty five years. Her parents “found the term ‘incompatible with life’ very hurtful. It’s not a medical diagnosis, it’s a judgement call. Elaine defied all the odds.” He said: “She was our little ray of life. She touched so many.”

The mother of  eight year old Kathleen Rose born with trisomy 13, tells viewers that “she lights up our life. We wouldn’t swap her for the world.”

So much misinformation says another mother: “People say babies suffer in the womb. That simply isn’t true. It’s cruel to say these things and wrong to mislead families.”

Kathleen ‘s mother adds : “Or to say that this is abortion for medical reasons when it’s not. Abortion doesn’t make the baby better. it doesn’t cure any medical illness.” She continues:  it’s so wrong when parents are pushed toward abortion. This is really abortion for babies with a disability.”

Some children with life limiting conditions live for a few hours, a few days or months. Others defy all expectations and live for years. It bears repeating that incompatible with life  is not a medical diagnosis although it is used by some physicians.

Another young mother relates how her child was labelled ‘incompatible with life’ to which the mother says “she was compatible with love.”

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Make time for Life

elderly woman in wheelchairLife Canada, the national educational pro-life organization reports :


Did you know that a 2016 study by the US National Institute of Health found that a majority of people killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands for so-called psychiatric reasons had complained of loneliness? The researchers found that loneliness, or “social isolation”, was a key motivation behind the euthanasia requests of 37 of 66 cases reviewed, a figure representing 56% of the total.[i]

What if we could help to prevent at least some of these tragic deaths through the presence of people willing to make time for life each week or each month and spend it with those who experience social isolation through age, illness or disability?

Jean Vanier, one of the most tireless advocates for the vulnerable members of our society wrote that “to be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefore unlovable. Loneliness is a taste of death.”[ii]

To address this pressing need especially in the face of Canada’s new legislation allowing both euthanasia and assisted suicide, LifeCanada is introducing the Dying Healed Program.

The Dying Healed Program teaches that though not all of us can be healed physically, all of us can be healed spiritually and emotionally. The Dying Healed Program seeks to instill in volunteers a sense of confidence that their presence at the bedside of a lonely or dying person is an invaluable service.

The Dying Healed Program is being piloted across Canada, in Saskatchewan and Ottawa, and in Vancouver through Vancouver’s Life Community (Vancouver Right to Life).

[i] published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry,
[ii] Jean Vanier, Becoming Human

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Providing care for premature babies



Mom Watched in Horror as Baby Born Before Abortion Limit Was Left to Die “Struggling to Breathe”


by Micaiah Bilger Feb 14, 2017 | 5:13PM Glasgow, Scotland

A Scottish mom is urging the United Kingdom to change its rules regarding babies’ viability after she said she was forced to watch her premature baby die when doctors refused to save his life. Ashley Glass said she gave birth to her son, Dylan, on March 2, 2014, but because he was born before the legal abortion limit, he was not given medical care, according to The Sun.

Now, Glass is petitioning to change the rules that allows medical professionals to deny treatment to babies born before 24 weeks, currently considered the point of viability. New studies suggest the viability mark should be pushed back earlier because of modern medical advancements. Very premature babies are surviving at 23 weeks when they receive proper medical care.

But Glass can only wonder if her son might have been one of them. “We were completely powerless, I wanted to run through the hospital with him screaming and begging for someone to help him,” she told The Sun. “I just felt like such a failure of a mum to leave without my baby. When you leave with nothing it just feels like you are throwing your baby in the bin. That’s the feeling I have never been able to get away from. Every single day of my life I go over giving birth to him again,” she continued.

Glass said doctors are not sure why she went into labor so early in March 2014. She gave birth to Dylan after 23 weeks of pregnancy at the Royal Infirmary Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland with her family by her side, according to the report. Dylan lived for just four minutes, and Glass said she had to watch in horror and desperation as she saw him struggle to breathe. “It was so traumatic hearing him trying to breathe and watching him struggle and wriggle in pain in my mum’s arms – we just had to watch in horror,” she remembered. “It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life and I don’t know how anyone can ever get over that. I will never be able to get the image of my child suffering like that out of my head.”

Glass said she was hysterical when she learned that the doctors would not try to save her son. “Before he was born he had a strong heartbeat and I asked the doctors and nurses what would happen when he came, would he be taken to a specialist hospital in Glasgow,” she continued. “Then they told me that if he was born before 24 weeks there was nothing they would do – they said it was the law that they weren’t allowed to help. I was gobsmacked – everything after that was a blur. “I was hysterical, fixed on the fact they weren’t going to help. … They told me there was a risk of him having disability but he was my child and I would have loved him regardless. Surely you have to try?” Glass said.

A spokesman for the National Health Service Dumfries and Galloway said they sympathize with the family, but such cases “pose a medical and ethical challenge.” “We endeavor to ensure that the multidisciplinary neonatal and obstetric team provide the best possible advice to parents and seek to achieve a consensus on the best way forward that provides the best care for mother and baby,” the spokesman told The Sun. “There is international consensus that at 22 weeks gestation there is no hope of survival.” Glass had a different experience with her daughter, Jessica, who was also born very prematurely in August 2015. Jessica was born after 27 weeks of pregnancy, weighing 1 pound, 15 ounces. Doctors rushed her to a neonatal intensive care unit where they worked to save her life, her mother recalled. Still, the experience brought back fears for Glass. She said she kept waiting for the doctors to tell her that Jessica had died, just as Dylan had. Instead, Jessica lived. Her mother said her little girl now is home and perfectly healthy.

“I am fighting for justice for my son and every other baby that never had the chance at life – the law needs to be changed, something needs to be done.” Glass began a petition to change the law, and more than 2,000 people have signed it so far.

Further evidence of the need for a change is a little girl named Maddalena Douse, who was born very prematurely in 2012. In Great Britain, doctors consider 1 pound the minimum weight for a baby to be considered viable and worth extra efforts to save his or her life. When doctors weighed Maddalena, she came in at exactly 1 pound, so physicians made the decision to try to save her. It was not until after Maddalena had been delivered and placed on a ventilator that doctors discovered the scissors they accidentally left on the scale at the time she was weighed. The Sun reported Maddalena actually weighed .84 pounds, or about 13 ounces. After months in the hospital, Maddalena was discharged from the hospital in time for Christmas. Reports indicate she is doing well. The accident saved Maddalena’s life. It serves as yet another sign that Great Britain’s medical leaders should reconsider the limits they have placed on saving babies’ lives.

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Euthanasia activists have taken over Canadian thought



Euthanasia Activists Have Taken Over Canadian Thought
by Dr. Will Johnston

Posted: 10/28/2016 2:25 pm EDT Updated: 10/28/2016 2:25 pm EDT

The Canadian euthanasia issue marks a time of upheaval in medical ethics and the healthcare system which could be compared to events a century ago in Russia.

The Bolsheviks were not preordained to take over from the previous government, but their ruthlessness and aggression were unmatched. They demonized competing ideas and purged the social structures. They made their own laws. Nothing was allowed to stand. All was justified for public good, the good of the Proletariat.

The polite Canadian version seems to be that all control is justified by public funding. If a hospital accepts public money, a uniformity of euthanasia access is expected, a literally deadening uniformity.

People who would be ignored if they insisted that all welfare recipients be required to think alike, or that all Canada Council grants be used to create the same work of art, grab attention by bullying Catholic caregivers and hospitals which, like all hospitals, could not survive without tax dollars.

Every day thousands of Canadian patients are humanely transferred between homes and hospitals. Some are seeking a procedure offered in a different building, for which an ambulance ride and a change in the wallpaper would not arouse comment in normal times.

But in August of this year, a Vancouver patient had an interval of poor pain control while he was being transferred from St. Paul’s Hospital to be euthanized elsewhere. The lapse in medication was, ironically, triggered by the euthanasia consent process itself, followed by a pharmacy mix-up.

That provided a gotcha! moment for activists which was exploited to demand that all hospitals must now offer their premises for the use of doctors who want to euthanize patients on site. There are howls of outrage that St. Paul’s, a Catholic hospital, is a euthanasia-free zone in keeping with its principles.

This indignant bluster is an attempt to ignore the caution and limitation that the Supreme Court and Parliament tried to place on euthanasia. The new law really just excuses police from charging a doctor with murder if stringent eligibility rules are rigorously followed.

This narrow exception allowed euthanasia in order to protect the right to life proclaimed in Section 7 of the Charter. That may seem bizarre, but the Court decided that having the eventual option of death at the hands of a doctor was likely to prevent earlier do-it-yourself suicides. Flimsy or not, that was the hinge of the Carter decision and for now we are stuck with it.

Taking a mere exception to a murder charge and spinning it as a right to be euthanized everywhere and anywhere in Canada is audacious but transparently political. The euthanasia lobby, flushed with its recent success, wants a monopoly on power, and a health care monoculture that sweeps away all opposition.

People who think differently are not even to be allowed into medical school.

Inviting such extremism into our society would be, to say the least, unhealthy. True diversity and freedom would not be served by it. The activists now attacking Catholic hospitals would not stop there. Everything is a one-way street for them. Their Utopia is euthanasia on demand.

Having convinced themselves that they are the only true humanitarians, no compromises are possible. Like someone who wears far too much perfume, they can’t understand why others would not want the common space pervaded by their own superior preferences.

The problem is not “religious hospitals.” The problem is zealous ideologues whose inability to accommodate those outside their faction will damage the fabric of our culture.

First published in the Huffington Post on October 28th, 2016. Reprinted with permission of Dr. Will Johnston.


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The unborn child : fully human


Sharing from National Right to Life Committee.

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Euthanasia in Canada – 744 euthanasia deaths since June 2016

What has happened  in Canada since the passage of Bill C-14, the law which legalized euthanasia and assisted  suicide on June 17th, 2016? In the bill, the term used to describe euthanasia and assisted suicide is medical assistance in dying.

Graham Slaughter of CTV News reported on December 28th 2016 that:

At least 744 Canadians have died by euthanasia or assisted suicide in 2016.

This means 4 deaths a day between June 17, 2106 and December 16, 2016.

According to the report, the numbers for the last six months until mid December, were:

Ontario: 180 deaths. The highest number of deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide since legalization

British Columbia: 154 deaths

Alberta: 63 deaths (19 in the last month)

Manitoba: 18 deaths

Saskatchewan: 8 deaths

Nova Scotia: 16 deaths since October 31st

Newfoundland and Labrador: 4 deaths

Prince Edward Island: 0

Northwest Territories:0

New Brunswick, Yukon and Iqaluit: Did not release data. Media outlets in the Yukon did mention one case.

Quebec: Estimate of 300 deaths since December 2015. The Quebec law passed in June 2014 permits only euthanasia (lethal injections). Euthanasia became available in the province in December 2015.

Details are not provided as to how many of these deaths were done by euthanasia and how many were cases of assisted suicide.

Trudo Lemmens, an ethicist and professor of health law at the University of Toronto told CTV News that provinces should make more data available to protect patients from the possibility of abuse. Professor Lemmens stated:

“There is a concern that people who are vulnerable or who find themselves in a situation of vulnerability may be pressured consciously or unconsciously to opt for medical assistance in dying either because of financial circumstances or because the medical help that they need is not necessarily available.”

CTV News interviewed Dr. Ellen Wiebe who euthanized 40 patients in 2016. She predicted accurately that the number of deaths by euthanasia and assisted suicide will grow.  She said:

“I know that it will increase. I expect that we’ll get to the point of the Netherlands and    Belgium because their laws are similar to ours, and that would mean about 5% of all deaths.”

 For us, this predicted future increase in the number of cases, is a concern as is the fact that in Holland and Belgium patients are sometimes euthanized without their consent or explicit request. What does the future hold for Canada?


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Unwanted? Think Adoption.


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Euthanasia: it’s a long, long, long way down

Euthanasia: it’s a long, long, long way down
One way to get rid of slippery slopes is to deny that they exist
Margaret Somerville | Jan 10 2017 |

For a long time, it’s puzzled me how proponents of the legalization of euthanasia can confidently claim, as they do, that in the Netherlands and Belgium, the two jurisdictions with the longest experience of legalized euthanasia, there have been no slippery slopes, when the evidence is clearly otherwise.
The “logical slippery slope” occurs when the legalization of euthanasia for a very limited group of people in very limited circumstances is expanded to include more people in more situations. This has been described as “scope creep”.
The “practical slippery slope” occurs when euthanasia is carried out in breach of the legal requirements as to either who may have access or the situations in which they must find themselves for euthanasia to be permissible.
The logical slippery slope is inevitable once euthanasia is legalized and becomes commonplace, as we can see in what has happened in the Benelux countries. It’s been rapidly expanded to more and more people in more and more situations. This is entirely foreseeable and to be expected. As we become familiar with interventions which we once regarded as unethical our moral intuitions and ethical “yuck” factor responses become blunted and we move from rejection to neutrality often even to approval of the action involved.
Legalizing euthanasia means that the rule that we must not intentionally kill another human being – this line in the sand which we must not cross, this most ancient ethical and legal barrier – is breached, indeed annihilated, and beyond it there is no other obvious stopping line which we must not violate, perhaps not even that euthanasia is only acceptable with the consent of the person on whom death is inflicted. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have been euthanized in the Netherlands and Belgium.
There could also be a further explanation for the denial of a logical slippery slope by pro-euthanasia advocates, such as Oxford University bioethicist Professor Julian Savulescu and Andrew Denton, which is less obvious at first glance. This is that no potential slippery slope exists.
The basis for the pro-euthanasia case is that we must have respect for an individual’s autonomy – their right to self-determination – including with regard to a decision that they prefer death to continued life and want help in terminating their life. Once that rationale is accepted and applied in its fullest sense, it’s difficult to justify restrictions on access to euthanasia.
Consequently, the diminishment or repeal of existing restrictions is not recognized as a slippery slope, rather, it’s seen simply as more fully implementing respect for individual autonomy and the right to self-determination, the rationale used to justify euthanasia in the first place.
Consequently, it should not be surprising that the Dutch are now considering a special form of access to intentionally inflicted death for those who believe they have a “completed life”, which they do not want to call or treat as euthanasia, although it involves the same type of death-inflicting intervention.
The movement to legalize such an intervention started with a petition to the Dutch Parliament that those who were “over 70 and tired of life” should be able to have assistance in terminating their lives. The age requirement can be questioned as being inconsistent with the right to self-determination rationale for allowing the intentional infliction of death.
Pro-euthanasia advocates’ denial of a practical slippery slope – administration of euthanasia other than in compliance with the law – despite clear evidence to the contrary, might also be able to be explained on a related basis. If one believes there should be more or less open access to euthanasia, then legal requirements are annoying impediments and their breach is a trivial matter and as the old saying goes “de minimis non curat lex” – the law does not concern itself with trifles.
Another element in this denial might be acceptance of the “non-deprivation justification” of euthanasia, which was considered approvingly by Canadian courts in ruling that an absolute prohibition of euthanasia was unconstitutional.
The rationale of this argument is that a person’s quality of life can be so bad, that the bad in continuing to live outweighs any good experienced in doing so, such that nothing good is lost if one is euthanized – there is no deprivation of anything worthwhile or valuable. Indeed, death can be seen as a benefit.
A breach of the law which is seen as trivial and as conferring a benefit is unlikely to be characterized as an abuse by those supporting euthanasia and so, like the logical slippery slope, the practical slippery slope is defined out of existence.
Margaret Somerville is Professor of Bioethics in the School of Medicine at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Until recently, she was Samuel Gale Professor of Law, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, and Founding Director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, Montreal. Her most recent book is Bird on an Ethics Wire: Battles about Values in the Culture Wars.

Republished from

Margaret Somerville’s latest book is available for loan from the Action Life office.

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Whose choice is it?


elderly-woman-sad-2 reported on Vermont’s assisted suicide law on July 2016. An excerpt from Micaiah Bilger’s article follows:

           “Three years after Vermont legalized assisted suicide, pro-lifers are beginning to witness the abusive effects of the law on the elderly and disabled.

Mary Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life, shared the story of a 91-year-old woman who was staying in a rehab facility because she broke her wrist. When her family was not in the room, Beerworth said rehab staff repeatedly asked the elderly woman if she was in pain or depressed; then they would remind her that she could commit doctor-prescribed suicide under the new law. Beerworth said the woman never was diagnosed with a terminal illness; she just was old and had a broken bone.”

What is the purpose of repeatedly reminding someone that they can kill themselves by assisted suicide? Vulnerable persons may perceive this message as one that says that their lives are no longer worth living. Such pressure can lead some individuals to end their lives.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates tell us that persons should be able to decide when they die, it’s a matter of choice they say. Well, sometimes choice is an illusion. When, you are constantly told as reported in the story from Vermont that you can avail yourself of assisted suicide, is this choice? Hearing the refrain that you can kill yourself  and the state will provide the means can hardly be good for patient morale.



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