By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC
Oncology has an important article out that every media writer should read. Reporters ubiquitously write or speak of euthanasia as having “tight safeguards” against abuse. They don’t work — and I submit they are not supposed to, but rather, are there merely to give the illusion of control. We have seen that even in Oregon, the safeguards are illusory — as reported by Drs. Kathleen Foley and Herbert Hendin in the Michigan Law Review — which I’ve discussed before. As far as I know, that important paper was never reported in mainstream media outlets.
Now, Canadian palliative care expert, Dr. José Pereira, presents a detailed paper on just how poorly guidelines do at protecting the vulnerable. It’s an important work, far too long to do justice to here, and I urge all interested in this issue — regardless of their views — read the whole thing. From his paper, “Legalizing Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide: The Illusion of Safeguards and Controls:”
The present paper provides evidence that these laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted. For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50% of cases of euthanasia are not reported. Increased tolerance of transgressions in societies with such laws represents a social “slippery slope,” as do changes to the laws and criteria that followed legalization.
Although the initial intent was to limit euthanasia and assisted suicide to a lastresort option for a very small number of terminally ill people, some jurisdictions now extend the practice to newborns, children, and people with dementia. A terminal illness is no longer a prerequisite. In the Netherlands, euthanasia for anyone over the age of 70 who is “tired of living” is now being considered. Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide therefore places many people at risk, affects the values of society over time, and does not provide controls and safeguards.
That’s precisely what I have been demonstrating here, in my books, and in my other work, for years. It is a hard truth that too many assisted suicide/euthanasia advocates — and their camp followers in the media — just refuse to hear.
And here’s something I didn’t know:
The United Nations has found that the euthanasia law in the Netherlands is in violation of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights because of the risk it poses to the rights of safety and integrity for every person’s life. The UN has also expressed concern that the system may fail to detect and to prevent situations in which people could be subjected to undue pressure to access or to provide euthanasia and could circumvent the safeguards that are in place.
Once Netherlands formally legalizes infanticide — and it is coming — I plan to start a campaign to have the country and/or doctors who kill babies brought up on international human rights charges. Glad to see the UN is already on record (for what that’s worth).
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