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.


Posted in Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia | Leave a comment

The unborn child : fully human


Sharing from National Right to Life Committee.

Posted in Abortion, Prenatal Development | Leave a comment

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?


Posted in Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia | Leave a comment

Unwanted? Think Adoption.


Posted in Abortion | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia | Leave a comment

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.



Posted in Assisted Suicide | Leave a comment

Kids with Trisomy 13 and 18 can have good quality of life

Kids with Trisomy 13 and 18 can have good quality of life
by Michael Cook | 27 Aug 2016 | Link

Should babies with Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18 be given life-sustaining treatment? Both conditions are associated with severe physical and intellectual disabilities and most children die in their first year. So until recently, few of them were treated. Doctors regarded the conditions as “lethal congenital anomalies”.
However, according to a surprising study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, it turns out that the consensus was wrong. Bioethicist John Lantos, a former President of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, commenting on an article about the survival rates, says:
“In the age of social media, however, everything changed. Parents share stories  and videos, showing their happy 4- and 5-year-old children with these conditions. Survival, it turns out, is not as rare as once thought. Children who were not institutionalized looked happy, cared for, and loved. It became increasingly awkward to describe these conditions as incompatible with life to parents who had ready access to information showing that it was not true.”
One of these babies was Bella, the child of Senator Rick Santorum, a former presidential hopeful. He and his wife were told ““You realize that your child is going to die. You have to learn to let go.” The Santorums did not follow the doctors’ advice; their daughter is now 8 years old and in a stable medical condition.

This story illustrates how predictions of lethality become self-fulfilling prophecies [writes Lantos]. If Bella had not received supplemental oxygen or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, predictions that she would die early in life would have turned out to be true. Clearly, her chances of survival were not just a function of her underlying condition. They were also determined by the treatment she received.

Lantos says that decisions to withhold medical treatment can be based on a doctor’s assessment of the child’s future quality of life. A bad mistake, he contends:
“The concept of quality of life is too vague and subjective to be helpful as a criterion for deciding about the appropriateness of treatment. No one can know with certainty what any infant is thinking, feeling, or experiencing, but what is observed can be interpreted. Children with trisomy 13 and 18 smile and laugh. They are not in pain. They give and receive love. These factors suggest that their subjective quality of life is not so poor that life-prolonging treatment should not be offered. Generally, the phrase quality of life is misused as a synonym for physical or neurological impairment. But if impairment is to be discussed, accurate terminology should be used. Some infants and children can have severe impairments and still have an excellent quality of life.”

Source: Republished from

Posted in Abortion, Prenatal Screening | Leave a comment

Abortions done for socio-economic reasons


Our current address is 1000 Brookfield Road, room 40, Ottawa.

Abortion advocates lobbied for the legalization of abortion under the banner of ‘choice’. Abortion was a woman’s choice they said. People who support abortion call themselves ‘pro-choice’. Yet, abortions have been paid from public funds since 1970 following the passage of the amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada in 1969 allowing for legal abortions under certain conditions.

Consider that:

  • Abortion is elective surgery which does not cure any medical condition.
  • Pregnancy is not a disease.
  • The vast majority of abortions are performed for social or financial reasons.
  • The leading cause of death in Canada is abortion. At least 100,000 unborn children die by abortion every year.

On October 31st 2001, Marilyn Wilson, Executive Director of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League said in a submission to the House of Commons Finance Committee that women who decide to abort :

“…do so for socio- economic reasons. Sometimes, it is a desire to complete their education and become financially independent. It(sic) many cases, couples with children wish to restrict their family size in order to provide adequate financial support. Often choosing abortion is a conscious decision not to become a socio-economic burden on society.”

The Canada Health Act does no require that elective procedures be funded. Provinces must pay for services which are deemed “medically necessary”. Choice does not imply medical necessity. Every province provides taxpayer funded abortion in Canada.

Posted in Abortion, Abortion Myths | Leave a comment

When does the human heart begin to beat?


For years, knowledge about the development of the heart of an unborn child pegged the beginning of the beating of the heart at around 21 days after conception.

Now, new research finds that these first heartbeats occur at 16 days after conception. The Ottawa Citizen reported on October 13 :

“A human heart will beat some three billion times over an average lifespan, and now British scientists say its very first beat comes much earlier than anyone realized. The early stage of heart muscle starts beating in mouse fetuses 7.5 days after conception, which is the equivalent of 16 days after a human fetus is conceived.

The new study  comes from the University of Oxford. The British Heart Foundation, which funded the work, says about one in 180 UK babies has a congenital heart condition. By understanding how the heart develops in pregnancy, the researchers hope to improve the chances of treating these conditions at the earliest possible stage before a baby is born.

But the Oxford heart scientists say there’s a second reason to learn about the heart’s earliest days. It may help us decades later to recover from heart attacks.”



Posted in Abortion, Prenatal Development | Leave a comment

When you ‘re pregnant, you ‘re carrying a child


Posted in Abortion, Prenatal Development | Leave a comment