Friday, February 6, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down ban on assisted suicide

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

For whoso findeth me [wisdom] findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
Proverbs 8:35-36

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22

The Nazification of Trudeaupia--still officially known as Canada--"progresses," as reported by Bruce Cheadle of Canadian Press, February 6, 2015:

OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada shifted the goalposts Friday on one of the most fundamental of human laws.

In a charter precedent that will go down in the history books as Carter vs. Canada, the court unanimously struck down the ban on providing a doctor-assisted death to mentally competent but suffering and "irremediable" patients.

The emphatic, unanimous ruling prompted tears of joy and frustration on both sides of the debate, reverberated through provincial health ministries and doctor's offices across Canada, and left skittish federal parliamentarians groping for time to digest the implications.

Kay Carter said she did not want to end up 'an ironing board on a bed' and was terrified of 'dying inch by inch.' Carter travelled to a clinic in Switzerland years ago to drink a toxic dose of sodium pentobarbital and end her life.

"The prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes on the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice," the nine justices flatly asserted.

The judgment -- left unsigned to reflect the unanimous institutional weight of the court -- gives Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives.

It does not limit physician-assisted death to those suffering a terminal illness.

And to put an exclamation mark on the ruling, the court awarded special costs against the government of Canada for the entire five-year course of the litigation, less 10 per cent to be paid by the government of British Columbia.

The court suspended its judgment for 12 months, during which the current law continues to apply, placing enormous pressure on Parliament to act in what is an election year.

At least six reform bills on right-to-die issues have been defeated over the past two decades and the Conservative government of Stephen Harper insisted last fall that it would not support changing the status quo.

The political toxicity of the issue was immediately apparent Friday: Not a single MP asked the government a question about the decision during question period, despite the presence of Justice Minister Peter MacKay in the House.

"This is a sensitive issue for many Canadians, with deeply held beliefs on both sides," MacKay said in a subsequent release.

"We will study the decision and ensure all perspectives on this difficult issue are heard."

For the families of Gloria Taylor and Kay Carter, two now-deceased women who originally sought a B.C. court's help to end their suffering, it was an unqualified victory.

Lee Carter, who accompanied her 89-year-old mother to Switzerland to legally end a life ravaged by debilitating disease, raised a bouquet of flowers to the heavens in the Supreme Court lobby as she tearfully recalled her mother's legacy.

"Justice, dignity and compassion were the defining qualities of my mother," Carter, flanked by her family, told a crush of reporters.

"We just felt that it was a fundamental right for Canadians that they should have this choice."

A few steps away, Taylor Hyatt of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said the Supreme Court has abandoned the disabled, even though the judgment insists the most vulnerable can be protected.

"The ruling actually wants people with disabilities to end their lives when they believe their suffering, and the condition doesn't have to be terminal," said a distraught Hyatt.

"From my point of view, all legal protection has been stripped."

Others objected on religious grounds.

"The court has ruled that in some circumstances the killing of a person will be legal," said the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. "Euthanasia has come to Canada."

The decision reverses the top court's 1993 ruling in the case of Sue Rodriguez, a fact the decision attributes to changing jurisprudence and an altered social landscape.

Two decades ago, the court was concerned that vulnerable persons could not be properly protected under physician-assisted suicide, even though courts recognized the existing law infringed a person's rights.

But the experience of existing jurisdictions that permit doctor-assisted dying compelled the courts to examine the record.

"An individual's response to a grievous and irremediable medical condition is a matter critical to their dignity and autonomy," says the judgment.

"The law allows people in this situation to request palliative sedation, refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, or request the removal of life-sustaining medical equipment, but denies the right to request a physician's assistance in dying."

The 69-page judgment avoids the term "suicide" throughout, using instead the less morally freighted "death" and "dying."

The court also weighed in on the "existential formulation" of right to life, which it said is not the same as a "duty to live." Imposing a duty to live, said the court, "would call into question the legality of any consent to the withdrawal or refusal of lifesaving or life-sustaining treatment."

The nine Supreme Court justices also noted that when their court struck down the country's prostitution laws in 2013, it recognized that the legal conception of "gross disproportionality" has changed since the Rodriguez decision.

The court agreed with the trial judge "that a permissive regime with properly designed and administered safeguards was capable of protecting vulnerable people from abuse and error.

"While there are risks, to be sure, a carefully designed and managed system is capable of adequately addressing them."

That is now Parliament's task, while Canadians watch and prepare to go to the polls within the next eight months.
Go here to see the full text of the judgment.

The Supreme Court of Canada, which in 1988 struck down Canada's law restricting abortion, once again proves itself to be an active agent of evil. The court is right on one thing, though: their ruling is based in large part on the changing view of Canadian society on the subject of euthanasia, and that's true. Trudeaupia was becoming a pro-death country at the time of the ruling in the Sue Rodriguez case in 1993, and it's much more so in 2015. The Supreme Court "justices" are reflecting the godless direction of the society around them and inventing a legal rationalization to justify it.

As for any new law that may be enacted subsequent to Carter vs. Canada, I suspect that it will be a compromise that will satisfy few people (maybe no people), and won't have the effect of saving any lives. Since the Supreme Court ruling in 1988, there has been no law at all on abortion; I think Canada and North Korea may be the only countries in the world to boast that distinction. The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney devised a compromise bill that would have had no real effect in limiting abortion; it passed in the House of Commons, but died on a tie vote in the Senate in 1991. The last thing Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants, especially in a year when an election is likely, is to have to tackle a moral issue. Mr. Harper has made it clear to his own "Conservative" caucus that he doesn't want any change to the the status quo on abortion, and the same is likely to be true on the issue of euthanasia. Mr. Harper can't run fast enough or far enough from moral issues, yet the typical easily-duped Canadian evangelical pastor thinks--erroneously, in my view--that Mr. Harper is a fine Christian.

The "progressive" elements who hold sway in Trudeaupia are deluded into thinking that the society is "moving forward," when actually, the latest Supreme Court ruling shows that it's moving backward into ancient paganism, in the days before Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C., when the doctor was as likely to kill as to heal. The following passage from the Hippocratic Oath was a revolutionary statement:

Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will get no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Far from "progressing," Trudeaupia is a society that is well along the road to collapse. The legalization of abortion and euthanasia and the promotion of sodomy aren't indications that the judgment of God is coming on the country, but indications that the judgment of God upon Canada is already under way. God has been all but officially banned from this country--despite the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1982, that mentions the supremacy of God--but He will have the last word.

One of the marks of a society in collapse is the Orwellian use of language. The Supreme Court of Canada's Carter vs. Canada judgment is a good example: death is a right, but life isn't, while suicide, the issue that is actually the subject of the court case, isn't even referred to as such in the ruling.

The Supreme Court "justices" seem to be completely ignorant of history, and seem to be completely unaware of what happened in Germany from 1920-1945. The slaughter of millions of people under the Nazi regime didn't begin with Adolf Hitler's coming to power in 1933; it began with a short book by a law professor and a psychiatry professor in 1920. The University of Minnesota Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies provides a concise review of The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value (Life Unworthy of Life). Its measurement and form by Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche:

The little booklet only including 60 pages and first published in 1920, was of an outstanding importance for the discussion of "euthanasia", even after the beginning of the "Third Reich". With his juridical arguments in support of the killing of "life devoid of value", which clearly opposed all preceding positions, Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. phil. Karl Binding (1841-1920), a highly respected penal law expert, triggered off an avalanche. In his part of the booklet, Dr. med. Alfred Hoche, a professor in psychiatry from Freiburg, provided a cost-benefit analysis regarding psychiatric care and described sick and disabled people as "people with deficits", "elements of minor value" ,"mentally dead" and "ballast existences" .On the basis of a regulated procedure of applications and after the examination by a commission consisting of two physicians and a legal practitioner, both authors requested the painless killing of "incurably" sick persons against their will. They especially referred to inmates of "fools homes" and to cases without hope in "mental homes".

After the publication of the paper, the statements of both authors raised a broad opposition (thus Ewald Meltzer in his reply dated 1922); however, since the commencement of the worldwide depression, their ideas found more and more followers. The Nazi policy of extermination clearly referred to the explanations of Binding and Hoche.
The famous article Medical Science Under Dictatorship by Dr. Leo Alexander in the New England Journal of Medicine, July 14, 1949, explains how the acceptance of euthanasia in Germany in the early 1920s produced genocide within 20 years. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, he broadened policies and practices that were already in place.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, "a permissive regime with properly designed and administered safeguards was capable of protecting vulnerable people from abuse and error.

"While there are risks, to be sure, a carefully designed and managed system is capable of adequately addressing them."

It's apparent from the above statement that the Supreme Court of Canada have read Drs. Binding and Hoche's book, Dr. Alexander's article, or any other history of the origin of the Nazi euthanasia program. I've read an English translation of the Binding-Hoche book, and what surprised me about it--besides its shortness--was that the authors weren't calling for large-scale slaughter of those whom they regarded as defective. For example, if a person was mentally retarded but happy, he wasn't to be killed. The authors called for strict regulation and proper protocols to be followed, and seriously believed that euthanasia could be controlled. However, as Dr. Alexander and others have pointed out, the definition of who qualified for euthanasia became broader and broader, and eventually included millions of Jews.

I don't share the Supreme Court's optimism about safeguards, given the history of Germany in the first half of the 20th century, and Belgium and the Netherlands in recent years. In the Netherlands, for example, the legalization of voluntary euthanasia has led to an increase in the number of people being put to death without their consent (and it's ironic that Dutch physicians, while under the oppression of Nazi occupation during World War II, refused to enact the Nazis' euthanasia policies, while current Dutch physicians are voluntarily performing euthanasia).

The Canadian Press article notes that the Supreme Court doesn't limit euthanasia to people who are terminally ill. We're now in Jack Kevorkian territory; many of the people "Dr." Kevorkian killed weren't terminally ill, but merely unhappy.

As for a "right" to assisted suicide, doesn't that entail a duty to provide the assistance? What if a Christian doctor objects on biblical grounds to performing euthanasia? Will he be threatened with loss of his medical license if he refuses to respect the patient's "right?" "Freedom of conscience and religion" are the first "fundamental freedoms" mentioned in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but those freedoms are increasingly under attack in Trudeaupia. If fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion come up against a "right" to assisted suicide, which rights will prevail?

The way things are going in Trudeaupia, this may turn out to be a moot point by the time any such case ends up in court, because if the medical profession follows the lead of several provincial law societies, there won't be any Christian doctors, as anyone who expresses less than 100% approval of the activist homosexual agenda will likely be barred from entering the profession (this is a subject for another post, if I ever get around to doing it).

Another thing to watch out for is the probability of euthanasia becoming a preferable option to long-term and palliative care. In a country with an aging population and rising health care costs, it will be difficult to avoid the temptation to kill someone with a shot instead of letting the processes of aging and dying take their courses. This is already a possibility or reality in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I especially recommend 'Father of Palliative Care' Slams Quebec Euthanasia Bill, reported by Justina Reichel in The Epoch Times, February 12, 2014, which includes the following excerpt:

Longtime anti-euthanasia activist Alex Schadenberg, international chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says Quebec should take heed of the example of legalized euthanasia in other countries—particularly Belgium, whose legislation Bill 52 is modeled after.

A problem emerging in Belgium, says Schadenberg, is that the definition of “psychological pain” is difficult to define and ever-expanding. Patients who opted for assisted death have included a woman going blind and another with chronic depression.

Belgium is now considering widening the law to include children with disabilities and people with dementia.

“Over time they keep extending it,” he says. “People are asking for it out of fear or other reasons.”

Since Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, statistics show that medically assisted deaths have consistently risen. The number of reported assisted deaths rose from 954 in 2010 to 1,432 in 2012, representing 2 percent of all deaths in the country.

A 2010 study of the Flanders region of Belgium published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32 percent of assisted deaths were carried out without patient request and 47 percent went unreported.
Click on the link for full text of the article Physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey by Kenneth Chambaere, Johan Bilsen, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Freddy Mortier, and Luc Deliens, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 182 No. 9, June 15, 2010, pp. 895-901.

This blogger is the son of a judge, and I'll vouch for my late father's wisdom, but it may surprise some readers to find that not all those who wear the robes of the judiciary are wise. To dispel any such misconceptions, I recommend another book: Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich by Ingo Müller, published in 1991. Mr. Müller points out that not only did the Nazis have the law on their side, but the Nazis were strongly supported by German lawyers, judges, and law professors. It's been a few years since I read the book, but if I recall correctly, Mr. Müller found only one example of a judge who dared to resist the Nazi regime. This judge, whose name I forget, was from Bremen, and refused to implement Nazi laws. One might think that he would have been executed or imprisoned, but his punishment consisted merely of being forced into early retirement on a full pension.

Just one question, Chief: Why do countries such as Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands still view the Nazis as villains when these countries are increasingly adopting the Nazis' policies?

February 9, 2015 update: Andrew Coyne of the National Post has a good column on the judgment, dated February 6, 2015. I'm not a great admirer of former pastor and former politician Stockwell Day, but I agree with his comments on the Supreme Court of Canada, in an interview with Jen Gerson of the National Post, February 8, 2015.

February 15, 2015 update: Dr. Paul Saba of Lachine, Quebec, co-president of the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice, has written a column titled Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: The Supreme Court Makes a Medical Error in Judgment, from The Epoch Times, February 11, 2015, which includes the following excerpt:

A Motion for Declaratory Judgment was filed in the Superior Court of Montreal on May 27, 2014, to challenge articles in the Quebec proposed Bill 52 pertaining to euthanasia. Lisa D’Amico, who is a handicapped person, and I are co-plaintiffs in the case.

This motion is instituted against the Attorney General of Quebec and also impleads the Attorney General of Canada. It seeks to obtain a declaration to the effect that it is not possible in Quebec for patients to provide free and informed consent to euthanasia due to their vulnerability, which is exacerbated by a lack of resources in the health care system, and because of their medical condition and the lack of universal access to palliative care for all persons who require such care, particularly to diminish suffering.

According to the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, euthanasia is an act consisting of deliberately causing the death of another person in order to put an end to suffering. Palliative care does not include the practice of euthanasia.

Appropriate palliative care is not offered uniformly on the whole in the Quebec territory or in all hospitals, and is only available at a rate of 20-60 percent depending on the region (Commission spéciale sur la question de mourir dans la dignité, March 2012, page 26). A majority of patients do not therefore have access to palliative care and will not be in a position to make a choice that would truly be free and informed...

...Since the Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door for allowing the euthanasia of our most vulnerable citizens, we are continuing our motion in the Superior Court of Montreal to have Bill 52 declared invalid.

We are also calling on the Canadian Parliament, which is the ultimate legislative branch of our country, to defend the most vulnerable of its citizens and not to allow the assisted suicide or euthanasia of its citizens.
May 24, 2015 update: Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Unit, has written a column worth reading, titled With too few Canadians having access to palliative care, little wonder we’re afraid of dying, published in the National Post, May 14, 2015.

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