Friday, April 6, 2012

Will Johnston to Debate Wanda Morris, this coming Thursday!

Dr. Will Johnston, Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, BC, will be debating Wanda Morris, Executive Director, Dying with Dignity Canada, this coming Thursday!  See below:

Vancouver: April 12, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Simon Fraser University
Venue: SFU-Harbourside Campus Room 1900;
515 West Hastings Street, V6B 5K3

Dr. Johnston and Ms. Morris are both skilled debaters.  It will be an interesting program.  Please show up to give Dr. Johnston your support!

More information:

The debate is the second in a series of debates to be held across Canada over the next few months.  The debate coordinator is the Centre for Inquiry.  Future debates are scheduled for Kamloops, Kelowna, Calgary, Saskatoon and Toronto.  Specifics:

Kamloops: April 18, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 900 McGill Road, Kamloops B.C.
Venue: Irving K. Barber Centre, Thompson Rivers University
Debaters:  Margaret Dore, President of "Choice is an Illusion," vs Wanda Morris, Executive Director of Dying with Dignity Canada

Kelowna: April 19, 2012
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Mary Irwin Theatre, at the Rotary Centre for the Arts
Venue: 421 Cawston Avenue, Kelowna, BC, Canada
Debaters:  Margaret Dore, President of "Choice is an Illusion," vs Wanda Morris, Executive Director of Dying with Dignity Canada

Calgary: April 22, 2012
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Science Theatre Bldg, Room ST140
Venue: University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. N.W., Calgary
Debaters:  Dr. Will Johnston, Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, BC vs Wanda Morris, Executive Director of Dying with Dignity Canada

Saskatoon: May 3, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm
Location, etc.: To be determined 

Toronto: June 6, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm
Location, etc.: To be determined.

For more up to date information, contact the debate host and coordinator,  the Centre for Inquiry, or the individual speakers.  Dr. Johnston can be reached at  604 220 2042.  Margaret Dore can be reached at 206 697 1217.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Teen Suicide: "Assisted sucide law sends contradictory message"

From the US State of Vermont where the state legislature is considering a bill to legalize assisted suicide under an Oregon-style law:

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Guy Page, a parent and resident of Cambridge.

In the Jan. 19 mail I received a letter from Lamoille Union High School, where my daughter is enrolled. It begins with the following sentence: “Over the last few years Vermont has seen an increase in suicide among young people.” It went on to describe a school initiative to hopefully address this awful development. I hope they are successful. All of my children have friends, or friends of friends, who have taken their own lives.

My eldest son, Tim, was a constant suicide risk through his teens. Through the wise, compassionate help of state social workers, Tim escaped his teen years alive. I can tell you that he was personally shaken by the implications, to him, of the proposed assisted suicide law several years ago. When he heard about it, my brilliant, troubled son began to shake in anger and almost despair. “Those hypocrites,” he said. “They’ve been telling me all this time that suicide is never OK.” It didn’t matter when I said the law is meant to address another set of problems – his teenaged hypocrisy-o-meter had already pegged assisted suicide as another example of “do as I say, not as I do, it’s all right for adults, not OK for kids.”

Recently I researched teen suicide in Oregon, where assisted suicide became legal in 1998. According to the Oregon health department website, there were more teen suicides after the law passed than before — 1999: 29 suicides. 2000: 44 suicides. 2001: 31. 2002: 37. 2003: 46. 2004: 52. The last two years were the highest two-year period in their survey. Furthermore, 94 percent of teen suicide attempts leading to hospitalization were caused by ingesting drugs – the only form of assisted suicide permitted by Oregon state law. Kids learn from their elders. 
Does this “prove” a link between the Oregon physician-assisted suicide law and teen suicide? No. But the burden of proof is on those who say, “Don’t worry, it will all be OK, none of our teens will think that.” As a parent of an at-risk child, I think this law may unintentionally tell other troubled teens “when it gets too hard it’s okay to end it all.” As the letter from my daughter’s high school says, the real world is a very hard place for some teens right now, and I think this law will just make it harder.

There are plenty of other reasons to oppose this bill. Before my wife passed in February 2011, she was appalled and upset at end-of-life questions asked of her in the ICU that to her seemed motivated by hospital cost-control. It drove a (thankfully temporary) wedge of distrust between her and her caregivers. So Vermont Insurance Commissioner Steve Kimball’s newspaper comments connecting this end-of-life issue with the high cost of health care were chilling. By contrast, Orange County Sen. Mark MacDonald’s daughter was one of Diane’s nurses and provided skilled, affirming care that should be the goal of the state’s health policy. But for me the teen suicide connection is reason enough for the Senate to drop this bill before it does irreversible harm.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Leblanc Case: A Recipe for Elder Abuse and a Threat to the Individual

Margaret Dore
January 26, 2012

"Those who believe that legal assisted
suicide/euthanasia will assure their
autonomy and choice are naive."

William Reichel, MD
Montreal Gazette,
May 30, 2010[1]

A.  Introduction

Leblanc vs. Attorney General of Canada brings a constitutional challenge to Canada's law prohibiting aiding or abetting a suicide.  Leblance also seeks to 
legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia as a medical treatment.  In 2010, a bill in the Canadian Parliament seeking a similar result was overwhelmingly defeated. 

Legalization of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia under Leblanc will create new paths of elder abuse.  This is contrary to Canadian public policy.  Legalization will also empower the health care system to the detriment of individual patients.