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University of Toronto Students for Life: What will be the new face of euthanasia look like?

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Hey guys, first of all Happy Holidays from your friends here at UTSFL. Now onto the main topic: a few weeks ago the always brilliant Margaret Summerville made a speech here at U of T on the subject of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, a topic which is of great relevance to us today because, at this moment as many of you know, the Supreme Court is reviewing a motion from British Columbia about whether to revisit legalizing euthanasia, on a flimsy legal technicality that would overrule an earlier 1993 case which held that Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia were constitutionally illegal. Dr. Summerville also mentioned similar cases going on right now in Belgium where they, after legalizing euthanasia a number of years ago, are at this moment in discussion about whether to allow euthanasia in cases of minors below the age of 18, an extremely troubling concept I will get to later on.

However, as I was doing my research for this topic, I found that euthanasia was not a debate that was limited to Canada and Belgium. A brief Google search revealed a powerfully worded article from New Zealand condemning euthanasia on demand (citing, who else, Margaret Summerville) in regards to a euthanasia on demand bill proposed by an MP; a report from the French government’s president Francois Hollande recommending that French law continue to prohibit legal euthanasia, and a newsbyte from  Ireland indicating a grassroots movements to challenge those countries’ laws on the subject, and that was without even scrolling to the bottom of the page! It seems that all over the world people and governments are grappling with the issue of whether or not doctors, or anyone else for that matter, have the right to kill other people, and whether or not that decision should be effected by whether they wanted to die or not.

It seems ironic therefore that with all the worldwide debate on this issue that I found the best articulation of my feelings on the issue right here at home in the pages of the Globe and Mail from an article written 2 months ago (I know I am seriously behind on blogging but bear with me). Okay it wasn’t the Globe and Mail itself, but rather the Globe’s recitation of the argument made by the government in regards to the British Colombia case. In it, the government argues the case for the slippery slope that could lead people to taking their own lives in a moment of weakness. We often hear the slippery slope argument maligned in our society, and indeed it is often used irresponsibly, but in this situation, in my mind at least, it rings true.

After all, we all remember those people who said (and still do say) that abortion would, once legalized, be used in the vast majority of cases for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest or those pregnancies that risked the mother’s life, despite the fact that these cases represent the tiniest fraction of the actual uses of abortion. These cases appeal to the sense of compassion that we have, and indeed should have, when we are confronted with cases of people in awful situations that they didn’t ask for, trying to do the best they can. We as pro-lifers know the arguments, we know that the life that is about to be taken is valuable, that an innocent child should not held accountable for the crimes of its father, and that abortion will not undo the incredible trauma the women experiences, but will only make another victim. But for all of this, we should have a hard time being strong in our convictions for that person, just as we should have a hard time holding the hand of a person with advanced ALS and telling them that their life is valuable, that their worth comes, not from what they can do or how much pain they are in, but from who they are, even when the pain in their lives makes that life seem like they are not worth living. These situations don’t mean we are wrong, it means we are human.

However the question to me that this watershed moment of euthanasia debate worldwide evokes is, what next? What will be the consequences of this debate; where are we headed in terms of euthanasia? If indeed we do legalize euthanasia, in twenty years will the average patient asking their doctor to kill them look like a terminally ill patient in great pain with only hours left of life, or will they look like someone else? One of the article I looked at mentioned the possibility of “euthanasia counselling” in Belgium for those over the age of 80, where the government sends people to talk about whether euthanasia is right for them given their advanced age. Will the new face of euthanasia look like a terminally ill person, or an octogenarian convinced that their life has no value by people who don’t want to pay for their medical bills. Such pressure might seem absurd now, but the idea of one person legally killing another person seemed absurd not too long ago.

And then there are of course people with disabilities, particularly those with mental health issues who would, in my mind be particularly vulnerable. One of the key definitions of a person with mental health problems who needs society’s immediate help is intent to harm themselves or others, but what do we do to help these people if harming oneself becomes such a fundamental right that others must help you in your self destruction? Will the new face of euthanasia be a person in chronic unendurable pain or a person with a disease of the mind, a person with clinical depression who, in a moment of weakness brought about by a chemical imbalance, decides to ask a doctor, a person whom society sees as a trusted lifesaving professional, to take their life, but who, with the right medication, could live a normal life like the rest of us. This might seem like something that society would never allow, but are we are really so confident in our justice system and the will of our governments to take on controversial topics, that we can be certain that they will make a legal code so airtight as to remove all the loopholes? Or will the government, as they have done so often before with problems that were made without their consent, ignore the problem and hope it goes away?

And finally there are children: not only is there the disgusting examples of the Gottingen protocol in the Netherlands which allows a grace period to kill disabled children after they are born (believe me I couldn’t make this stuff up) but there is the example I cited earlier on in this post, about extending euthanasia to minors, which to me is a colossal problem in its own right. As of course you all know, children and particularly teenagers have a reputation of seeing the world through the lenses of, shall we say, the melodramatic. I certainly did, and I’m betting that if you look back at your own experiences you will find an instance or two of drama in your teenage years as well. Everything seems like it matters so much more when you are in high school, getting a date can make you feel like you are king of the world, but a bad grade, a stinging comment, a failed relationship, all of these things can make you feel like the world has just come to an cataclysmic end. Now imagine that there was someone there at your lowest moment of in life, someone telling you that there was a way to end it all, that death wasn’t a big deal and that the romance of dying young would teach everyone who had laughed at you how wrong they were. Now imagine that person was a doctor, someone whose job and status made you trust them implicitly, a person for whom your life long attendance at his appointments and your disclosure to him or your most personal medical secrets made you feel that you had a deep personal connection with them. Quick what would you do?

Because that’s the dirty little secret about the face of euthanasia if it was made legal on demand, it’s all of us. All of us have moments in our lives when we are low, not just those with incurable excruciating physical diseases. And that’s why we don’t as a society have doctors who make their money from providing the service of murder, convincing those among us who feel low that they have nowhere to go but down. We are at an unprecedented watershed, my friends, a point where we decide internationally the value of human life and whether those who help save it should also have the power to end it. The choice, like all choices in a democratic society inevitably falls to you.

Anyway this is my opinion about the issue, but I’m infinitely more interested in yours. What do you think the new face of euthanasia will look like? Will it be confined to only the small number of terminally ill patients in pain or proliferate to others? What do you think of the issue more broadly? Pro assisted suicide? Against it? Somewhere in between? Never really thought about it? Tired of the maniac on the message board asking you how you feel about these things? Please leave a comment in the comment section. Anything you have to say about the issue from any point of view (even if it’s to tell me that I am 100% wrong on everything, not the least of which being my atrocious grammar) is greatly appreciated.

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Bob Rae vs Morgentaler?

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Hey guys. I was reading a great article about Linda Gibbons the other day. We have talked about Ms. Gibbons before. She is an extremely brave women who has spent more than 10 of the last 20 years in prison … Continue reading

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: The New Face of Euthanasia

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Hey guys! This is my first official post as your new co-webmaster and we are starting on a high note here. In our focus on euthanasia I am sure many of you are aware of the Rasouli case. For those … Continue reading

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Another Grim Anniversary

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Canada has gone another year without coming to its senses on the issue of abortion. As many of you know, January 28 is the 23rd anniversary of the Morgentaler case that legalised abortion on demand in Canada, making us the only country in the western world to have no abortion law at all. A combination of public ignorance at the state of our laws, and a series of cowardly parliaments, have allowed this decision to go unchallenged in Canada, letting millions of unborn children’s lives be tragically ended for the crime of not being able to defend themselves. However today is another anniversary, far more likely to get swept under the rug, because this is the anniversary of the day that information on abortion was swept under the rug. That’s right, today is the 5th anniversary of the last time a public report was published about the condition of abortions in this country. 5 years ago, the government of Canada decided that Canada didn’t need pesky information like how many abortions took place every year, or medical complications resulting from them, or any such information because of… you know… choice. Meanwhile, as recently as a year ago, newspaper headlines were proudly proclaiming abortion rate drops while using 5-year-old data!  Of course it’s not surprising why the government does not want us to know these new numbers. After all, in times of economic hardship, abortion rates tend to rise, as we have seen in our neighbour to the south, New York City, which this past year in its abortion study reported a shocking 41% abortion rate per live birth. But by all means, Globe And Mail, tell us that abortion rates are dropping as of 2006, and while you’re at it tell us that stock prices are skyrocketing as of 1929. This is unfortunately another situation where we are not just fighting to end abortion, but we are fighting for the right to talk about it against forces whose biggest ally is ignorance, and a government which wants us to spend yet another year pretending that abortion simply does not exist.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Study Claims Abortion Not Depressing

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

 
Well this is certainly a new one. A study reported today that they could find absolutely no correlation between mental health problems and abortions. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. First of all I suppose it is good news. I guess the thousands of members of Silent No More and its affiliates can all just pack up and go home right? Meanwhile we will have to rewrite our signs to say “Women regret not having abortions?” Right? Wrong. The group CareNet, which has dealt with 23,000 men and women over the last year alone who have sought help with them to deal with the pain that abortion has caused them , has already spoken out against the preposterousness of this study, countering it with the literally dozens of studies that have come over the last few years linking abortion to anxiety, depression, substance use, suicide ideation, and suicide. CareNet’s president says it best :

“If it’s true that having an abortion has zero impact on mental health, then why do CareNet centers have tens of thousands of women and men knocking on their doors every year seeking help dealing with a past abortion?” Delahoyde said. “Women facing unexpected pregnancies deserve medically accurate information about abortion risks before making an important life decision about their pregnancy.”

I cannot imagine how anybody could come up with results like this, or what ideology they may be trying to put forward, but these kinds of studies are not just absurd, they are dangerous. It is things like this which leave women who are getting an abortion completely unprepared for the physical and psychological effects it will have on them and those around them for the rest of their lives. Let’s just hope that with the weight of evidence against it, this study is dismissed for the junk science it is.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Real Stem Cell Research

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Hello again. I came upon this article and it really made me think. We have been hearing for years that embryonic stem cell research, the kind you actually have to kill an unborn child to do, is going to lead to a new world of medical breakthroughs curing all kinds of diseases. Yet time and time again we see that the real breakthroughs are being done by adult stem cell research, where an adult gives cells from their own bodies to help another human being in need. This is a really touching story about a woman who donated stem cells in her eyes so that her sister could see. It was a huge medical breakthrough. No one is against advancing science or saving lives, and this is a great example of doing this without having to go down that dark road of judging how many lives you must end to do it. Kudos to all the people out there who are doing real stem cell research, and have the courage not to sacrifice human life to do so.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Another Kind of Graphic Image

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Hi folks, I was just reading the newspaper the other day and I came upon an article about cigarette packages. Apparently the government of Canada has imposed a new line of images on the front of them showing the various heath problems and diseases that can happen when one smokes cigarettes. They include a picture of a man dying of lung cancer, as well as reminders of how smoking can hurt both you and the people around you, as well as showing graphic images of lungs diseased by cancer and other disgusting images showing just how badly smoking can mess up your body. Now whatever your opinion on smoking is, I couldn’t help but compare this to the view that our society has taken to abortion. The government in this case forces cigarette companies to put graphic images of dying and dead people, as well as well as medical pictures of cancerous lungs, on the front of packages. In the case of abortion, a procedure with the actual purpose of killing another human being, people who disagree with it can actually be arrested for displaying graphic images which have been deemed “content disturbing or offensive to some people because of its graphic nature” on their own campus, miles away from the nearest abortion clinic. Or compare for a moment the big red sign on the front of cigarette packages that says “Cigarettes cause cancer” to the numerous medical studies linking abortion to breast cancer that have been unilaterally dismissed as junk science by the medical profession. Once again we see the hypocrisy of a society terrified of being labeled “anti-abortion”. Now, I say this in full knowledge of the fact that graphic images are some of the most controversial in the pro-life movement, and believe it or not I do see both sides of this issue. Many say that they are detracting from the real message and I get that. The most important thing is that we get our views out there, and to do this we need to have conversations with people, not gross them out. That being said, if anyone reading this ever does find themselves in a position where they are using graphic images in a protest and someone asks “How can you show such disgusting things” you might try pointing to the nearest cigarette package and asking them what they are really mad about. Just my opinion.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Parliament too scared of abortion to illegalize coercion

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by matthewcram412. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Well there seems to be one more example of the fact that not only does our government not care about the unborn lives ended by abortion, but also does not care about the women whose lives are scarred by it. In its rush to let women have abortions, on December 15th the parliament of our country once again voted to severely curtail the rights of women. Yesterday the long battle over Roxanne’s Law, a law that would make it illegal to force a woman into getting an abortion against her will, after frequent attempts to table the bill it finally failed with a vote of 178 votes against to 97 for it . There was no party that universally supported this, but there were 2 parties, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP (whose leader I am ashamed to say represents my riding) which were universally opposed. The law was named after Roxanne Fernando, a young woman from Manitoba who was beaten to death by her boyfriend for refusing to get an abortion. At this point in reading about this, I had to ask what possible reason anyone would have for not supporting this. After all, the foundation of the pro-choice argument is that women have the right to choose. Now flawed as this argument is, surely even they would have to admit that if someone is being forced through the door of an abortion clinic, or worse being murdered by their boyfriend if they don`t, isn’t exactly free choice! Well, our elected officials had a quick answer to that question:

The Prime Minister has always said he wouldn’t support a bill that reopens the abortion debate.”

This is a clear indication of the state of reasoned political discourse in this country on complex moral issues, namely that it terrifies our leaders. We now have a situation where the idea of opening the door to the fact that abortion just might not be as cut and dried as Morgenthaler made it is seem is so terrifying that it has paralyzed people from acting on what should be a easy decision. Apparently they would rather send the message that forcing someone to get an abortion isn’t really coercion under the law. Now there are other arguments that people have given for not voting it down, saying that there are already laws on the books covering coersion, why have this one just because it includes abortion? Well this response by our elected officials in exactly why. Even they are so terrified of talking about abortion that they torpedo a bill which stops illegal coercion! No matter where you go no one is willing to talk about abortion other than to give a sound bite about choice. Meanwhile there are real live people out there who never hear the whole story about the horrors of abortion and are left with only the people around them, many of whom are fueled by there own selfish interests to guide them in this time. Coercion always thrives when no one is willing to debate issues they would rather not think about.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.