Monday, June 21, 2010

Euthanasia Escalates In The Netherlands

Ahead of the official release of last year’s euthanasia stats in the Netherlands, the Dutch press is reporting that euthanasia is on the increase over previous years.

What surprises me is that the Dutch authorities continue to be surprised by the increase.

Let’s see:

Take the social taboo of euthanasia, allow it to happen undercover, then tut-tut that instead of happening behind closed doors, it should be regulated and ‘transparent.” This doltish idea was meant to ensure that undercover euthanasia was stopped and only happened under very rare and highly controlled circumstances.

It hasn’t turned out that way, as some of us predicted years ago.

Here’s the slippery slope:

First, euthanasia was meant for only those adults who were terminally ill and in unbearable and uncontrollable physical pain.

Then, euthanasia was allowed for those with unbearable physical pain, even if it could be controlled, and even f they were not terminally ill.

Then euthanasia was allowed for those who were not only not terminally ill, but for people in no physical pain whatsoever – psychological pain, controllable or not, was enough.

Then the age limit was extended to adolescents.

So, from

The number of reported deaths by euthanasia rose 13% last year to 2,636, following an increase of 10% in 2008, the NRC reports, quoting figures due to be published at the beginning of July.

The 2008 increase led the health ministry to set up an investigation into the increase. That investigation is due to start this month.

This is not the whole macabre picture, either: These stats reflect ONLY patients who requested to be killed.

It does not include hundreds, and perhaps thousands, who are euthanized even though they never requested it.

It does not include the hundreds of newborns with disabilities that are murdered under the so-called Groningen Protocol.

It does not include legalized assisted suicides.

Here’s the truth: Euthanasia is now increasingly accepted as just another medical procedure. The social constraints have collapsed.

Need any more proof?

A recent survey in the Netherlands showed that there was strong public sentiment for making euthanasia available for anyone over 70 even if the only reason to die was because they were “tired” of living.

One final point: No, we’re not at the bottom of the slippery slope. It will get worse.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Final Exit Network Spin: It’s Not Killing, It’s Dignity

The Final Exit Network (FEN) is a radical pro-death group that counsels people and then helps them to kill themselves.

That’s why several of its members have been indicted by the Feds for their activities in Arizona and Georgia. Other investigations are ongoing.

No matter, FEN continues to spin the charges as unfair, harassing, and, well, un-American.

What twaddle.

The latest pro-death propaganda appeared in the Baltimore Sun a few days ago penned by Jerry Dicin, FEN’s president.

It’s a tour de force of manipulation, arrogance and outright dishonesty.

After noting that his FEN colleague Dr. Larry Egbert, is awaiting trial related to assisted killing in both Arizona and Georgia, Dicin launches into how Egbert was not complicit in murder, but was actually doing what doctors are supposed to do, and that this abominable behavior is a solution for people with Alzheimer’s Disease – both for the victims themselves and because it will spare their loved ones watching the progression of the disease:

By talking to these folks, Dr. Egbert was fulfilling his responsibility as a medical professional.

To understand why, consider the plight of those suffering from Alzheimer's [who] . . . can expect a slow, painful descent into advanced dementia . . .. Friends and family who are forced to witness their fall into oblivion suffer indescribably.

Given this bleak outlook, it's easy to see why some Alzheimer's patients choose to hasten their own death. It's also easy to see why Dr. Egbert was determined to help patients suffering from conditions like Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease make this difficult decision.

It is time for the world to recognize the right and the rationality for mentally competent adults in such circumstances to take their own lives.

Just in case you missed it: How many people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be judged mentally competent? Well, they can’t, but that’s of little consequence to Dicin – making people dead is the ultimate goal, no matter what. In truth, the pro-death crowd don’t care about mental competence – they just care about death on demand.

Dicin then trots out the old horror line of pain and suffering:

That's your mother screaming in that bed, dealing every day with some terrible disease like Lou Gehrig's. She can look forward to a body that can't move, speak or swallow food, a life of total dependency on others for every act of maintenance.

Well, what’s the evidence here? The truth is that very, very few people’s pain at the end of life cannot be controlled by good palliative care and pain management. No matter, it’s the horror that’s meant to goad people into killing themselves.

Solution? Why, the good folks at FEN, of course!!!

That's where my organization, Final Exit Network, comes in. We provide information and counsel to patients who approach us seeking to deliver themselves from torture and make informed choices. The impetus comes from within them; we do not "encourage" anyone. We go to great lengths to ensure that the person is capable of choosing rationally.

Oh yes, those rational Alzheimer’s guys!!

But the preliminary reports of the Fed undercover sting showed much more: FEN advocates not even asking for proof that the victim had a terminal disease (or any disease, for that matter), and the inconvenient fact that the undercover agent was assured that once the assisted killing had begun, his FEN “guide” would hold his hands tightly enough so that he couldn’t change his mind and rip the gas mask from his face.

Without coercion, lies, spin, propaganda, and a healthy dose of narcissism, the pro-death crowd won’t win.

Unless, by remaining silent, we let them.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dignitas: Kill Them All

The Swiss death clinic, Dignitas, is in the news again.

You’ll recall that Dignitas has gained notoriety as a fee-for-service killing venue for those who wish to die via assisted suicide. Dignitas has been most exposed by high-profile visits from UK citizens who travelled to the clinic to die because in the UK assisted suicide is illegal, and allows for the prosecution (at least on paper) of those who help people kill themselves.

However, there’s a very ugly underbelly to all the spin that Dignitas is a haven of care and a celebration of human autonomy.

There have been reports of dingy and dirty surroundings, less than dignified treatment of those who come to be killed both before and after they die, and the nagging fact that this is all offered at a rather exorbitant fee.

It gets worse. Several months ago hundreds of urns with the cremated remains of Dignitas’ victims were discovered dumped in Lake Geneva. This matter is currently under investigation.

Dignitas is again in the news, and I’m not sure why this latest issue so surprises the media, because Dignitas is doing exactly what it has always said it was doing: Helping anyone who wants to to kick the bucket.

The latest flap involves Dignitas’ providing a suicide kit to a 39 year-old Spanish man with severe psychological problems. From London's Daily Mail:

Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas is under investigation over claims that it ignored a patient's distressed mental condition to give him drugs to end his own life. . . . But now details have emerged of a patient who was allegedly given a DIY suicide kit prescribed by a Zurich gynaeologist despite suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. . . . But a Dignitas report on the 39-year-old Spanish man's mental state was a few lines that barely covered half a page of A4 paper, say local media reports on the death.


Or maybe not.

Here’s why: All the chatter about “transparency,” policies to “protect,” rigid controls to ensure that no “mistakes” are made is all smoke and mirrors on the way to the only goal the pro-death crowd have always wanted: Assisted suicide and euthanasia on demand and available for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Don’t take my word for it, take those of Dignitas’ owner Minelli:

'Every person in Europe has the right to choose to die, even if they are not terminally ill.'