The Evelyn Martens’ case illustrates the terrible inadequacy of our Canadian law on assisted suicide; she was vigorously prosecuted, over a period of two and a half years, for committing acts of human kindness. Throughout that period of time she was faced with the very real possibility of a 28-year prison sentence (14 for each offense).
However, forty-seven states defy the Declaration of Independence that defines American values, by forbidding the peaceful death offered by doctor assisted suicide (Death with Dignity Act 1).
A review of international law on assisted suicide and euthanasia is given in the Latimer book so will not be repeated here, except to say that Canada falls well behind a number of other jurisdictions in this regard. In the United States three states, Oregon, Washington and Montana, and at least three European countries, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium, permit physician-assisted suicide, whereby lethal doses of drugs can be prescribed to patients and then used at the patient’s discretion. The Netherlands and Belgium also allow euthanasia, where by a physician may directly administer a lethal injection. Switzerland is the only jurisdiction that will provide assisted suicide to non-residents.
Of the various possibilities for new legislation the least controversial would be to permit physician-assisted suicide specifically for terminally ill patients, as is the case in the three American states. The provision of even this minimal service would meet the needs of many dying people who want to take some control over what is about to happen to them. This would prevent not only some highly unpleasant and prolonged dying processes, something many people dread much more than dying, but it also help avoid both grisly deaths —such as shooting oneself — and bungled attempts at suicide. The latter sometimes leave a person in worse condition than before, perhaps with brain damage.
The availability of physician-assisted suicide would provide peace of mind to many dying people, some of whom, as has happened in the three American states, would never actually find it necessary to resort to taking the drugs. But they rest more easily knowing they could do so.
And Hemlock's website asserts that the Society favors physician-assisted suicide strictly for someone "who is already in the dying process." But there is a glaring discrepancy between this official stance and what prominent members of Hemlock have said and done.
Opponents say that it is unethical and even with the consent of the patient that the procedure is still a homicide and not suicide. I plan to show that physician-assisted suicide is morally and ethically acceptable, that court cases and laws have proven it to be acceptable,...
I suggest the inadequacy of the philosophical framework currently taken as the basis for discussing the advantages as well as the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide.
“When we consider how Christian convictions influence a choice for assisted suicide, the primary concern is not to protect or deny peoples’ rights, but to explain why Christians, given their convictions, are apt to see something as right or wrong. On the whole, Christians value the individual liberty that allows them to act on the basis of their distinctive moral commitments. However, a shared Christian commitment does not seem to be consistent with a choice to take one’s own life, even under conditions of extreme suffering.”
Kevorkian has been performing assisted suicides. In that time, Kevorkian claims to have eased the suffering of 130 patients. He has also been fighting to legalize euthanasia. There are some people that support Kevorkian’s views of euthanasia, yet there are still many people that think that what Kevorkian is doing is wrong....
Yes, I truly believe it is a slippery slope:
Laws in all countries have failed consistently to protect their citizens. In Canada you can kill someone and be let out free on a technicality or plea bargain as Homolka and live the the good life.
Our society is based on money and yes with passage of the right for any individual to be allowed to take a life after someone asks to be killed, the ultimate next step is a government to say when a mentally or developmently handicapped person is a burden to society so let’s eliminate them or the elderly in our overcrowded poorly run nursing homes. Balances their books with a clear concience for if the lawyers and judges rule it’s ok and they can sleep at night then it must be great.
We have become a Society that only thinks of ourselves and not the population as a whole as Evelyn Martin is doing. If it is so critical she wants to commit suicide she can do it very effectively and efficiently so the arguments in this day and age that suicide could be bungled is just another bogus factor to add more weight to the pro assisted suicide people.
I do not believe the majority of people believe that allowing a person to deliberately kill another is justified in any circumstance except self defence. Let us tell it like it is assisted suicide / euthanasia is killing — Let us not glorify it or sugar coat it.
If a person wants to commit suicide so be it and with modern science, they are diagnosed way in advance, so they can do it before becoming gravely ill and involving others.
As the issue of euthanasia, particularly doctor-assisted suicide, has come to the forefront, the AMA has taken a strong position on this controversial subject also.
“The frail, poor, elderly and others who are vulnerable will be subject to pressure from third parties or even themselves if an earlier death is an option. This pressure could increase as health care resources decrease. At what point does the possibility of choosing death become an obligation?” This argument has a disingenuous ring to it, being made at the Commission by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. How can their concern really be about creating problems for the vulnerable amongst us, when they refuse to support, for example, safe sex programs in AIDS-ravaged Africa. They as Catholics are resolutely against any form of induced death and they seize on various pretexts to support their belief. But let us grant that their concern about pressuring people to die is a real one — similar concerns have been expressed by others. The underlying fear is that doing in old people will become a way of saving money. Can we really imagine this happening? Can we suppose that legislation to prescribe eliminating the infirm could actually be passed? This is a shibboleth, trotted out by those with other agendas. The movement for progressive end-of-life legislation has nothing to do with imposing death; it is about enabling a good death for those who want it. It is not about removing personal autonomy but enhancing it. And, for the record, there is no evidence that there has been any sort of this imagined abuse from those jurisdictions that allow assisted suicide and euthanasia.