The Supreme Court is naïve to think that assisted suicide will not be abused, when abuse already occurs.
Dr. Leo Alexander, an American psychiatrist, who was a medical advisor at the Nuremburg trials and who was part of the Nuremburg code, stated in an article in the New Journal of Medicine (July 1949):
“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in basic attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived.”
This is the experience that the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland have had with assisted death, and unless Canada’s Parliament resists this same direction, this will be the same experience in Canada.
Recently, a depressed healthy man who was retired, but alone and lonely, died by euthanasia in the Netherlands. In Belgium, a healthy depressed woman died from euthanasia after experiencing the break-up of a long-term relationship. In Switzerland, a man died by assisted suicide after receiving a wrong diagnosis.
Giving doctors the right to cause the death of their patients will never be safe and no amount of “so-called safeguards” will protect those who live with depression or abuse. There will always be people who will abuse the power to cause death and there will always be more reasons to cause death.
Assisted suicide creates new paths of abuse for elders, people with disabilities and other socially devalued people. The scourge of elder abuse in our culture continues to grow.
Depression is common for people with significant health conditions. Assisted suicide is an abandonment of people who live with depression who require support and proper care.
Assisted suicide undermines important mental health and suicide prevention programs. Assisted suicide has had a suicide contagion effect in the State of Oregon.
The Supreme Court gave Parliament one year to provide a legislative framework.
Parliament must first use the notwithstanding clause to continue to equally protect every Canadian. Then Parliament and Provincial governments must commit to: improving access to end-of-life care, creating awareness to change social attitudes towards the lives of people with disabilities and the reality of elder abuse, and focusing on effective suicide prevention strategies to provide the care that Canadians require and deserve.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will work to protect people from euthanasia and assisted suicide. We will not abandon Canadians to the false lure of assisted suicide and someday the Supreme Court will overturn this activist decision.