Euthanasia's Slippery Slope Becomes a Skating Rink

Winnipeg Free Press, October 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

Euthanasia's Slippery Slope Becomes a Skating Rink


CALGARY -- The slippery slope just keeps on getting longer and steeper. When the debate about euthanasia began in the Netherlands decades ago, proponents insisted it should and would only be made available to terminally ill, elderly people, who were suffering and in full control of their mental faculties. Period.

They insisted then, as they continue to insist now, that no slippery slope exists with regard to euthanasia. The people who say that are, inarguably, bald-faced liars, ill-informed or delusional. There are no other options.

Earlier this week, the annual report cataloguing euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands for 2011 was released. And it's rollicking good news for euthanasia pushers -- deaths are way up.

Last year, 3,695 Dutch citizens opted to end their lives early with the help and the blessing of a physician and the state. That's an 18 per cent increase over 2010 and more than a doubling since 2006. If that were a company's bottom line, its CEO would be on the cover of every business magazine in the world.

While a significant spike in the number of people deciding to check out of life is not proof of a slippery slope, it is proof the idea of doctors killing their patients is gaining wider acceptance.

The proof that euthanasia has slipped to a new depth of depravity and horror is that a total of 13 psychiatric patients were helped to die in 2011, up from just two in 2010. That's a 550 per cent increase.

Remember, in the Netherlands, the initial plan was to make euthanasia available only to suffering elderly people who had total control of their mental faculties. Now, schizophrenics and clinically depressed psychiatric patients are being given prescriptions by their psychiatrists, not to help them get better, but to kill them. That, folks, isn't just a slippery slope, it's Mount Everest in an ice storm.

A July 11 article in The Lancet, titled: Trends in end-of-life practices before and after the enactment of the euthanasia law in the Netherlands from 1990 to 2010, states that in the Netherlands, "euthanasia is defined as the administering of lethal drugs by a physician with the explicit intention to end a patient's life on the patient's explicit request." Take note of the phrase "on the patient's explicit request."

Can someone who is mentally ill -- depressed or schizophrenic -- even give informed consent?

"That's a key question," says Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and a veritable encyclopedia on the practice of euthanasia around the world.

Would a mentally ill person's "explicit request" to, say, sign over all of their earthly possessions to their lawyer, or mailman, be upheld in a court of law? Not likely.

In that same Lancet article, a preceding paragraph states: "euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are, under strict conditions, regulated by law. …

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