Documentary Screenings: Fatal Flaws

We are excited to announce three local screenings of the new ‘Fatal Flaws’ documentary, which will take place in Erin, Fergus, and Guelph in September and October.

The documentary ‘Fatal Flaws‘ is a thought-provoking journey through Europe and North America that asks one of the most fundamental philosophical questions of our time: should we be giving doctors the right in law to end the life of others by euthanasia or assisted suicide?

Filmmaker Kevin Dunn uses powerful testimonies and expert opinion from both sides of the issue to uncover how these highly disputed laws affect society over time.

So far, this film has had a significant impact. “I had always hoped this film would be a game-changer,” says Kevin Dunn, director of the film. One impressive example of this happened in May of this year.

A screening of Fatal Flaws was held in Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, days before a vote on the issue of assisted suicide. If it had passed, Guernsey would have become the first location in the British Isles to legalize assisted suicide. One of the government representatives who would be voting came to a screening, and it completely changed his mind on the issue. As a result, assisted suicide was not legalized.

We are now facing the impact of legalized assisted suicide & euthanasia in Canada, and have seen almost 4,000 Canadians die as a result. The most recent government report on assisted suicide & euthanasia, detailing July to December of 2017, shows that over 1500 Canadians ended their lives with the help of a doctor during this span of time – a 30% increase from the last six-month period.

elderly women and younger woman holding hands
Seniors and those living with chronic illness and disability should receive support, companionship, and care during difficult times. The new Fatal Flaws film shows how legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia puts people in danger.

As we’ve seen in Belgium and the Netherlands, legalization of assisted suicide can often begin with stringent requirements that become broader as the years go on. In Canada, we may soon be faced with legalized euthanasia & assisted suicide for minors and those with mental illness.

A recent article from England highlighted the story of a man with Borderline Personality Disorder who is requesting assisted suicide from the Dignitas centre in Switzerland. He would not be the first person with a mental health struggle to have his life ended prematurely by Dignitas (see here and here).

That same article highlights the fact that, rather than just being a personal choice, this kind of decision can have a ripple effect on family, friends, and society:

“Suicide and assisted suicide or euthanasia are generally talked about as if they were completely separate, but as… testimony shows, someone taking their own life by any means has a devastating effect on family and wider society. In addition, contrary to what some people claim, legalising assisted suicide actually increases the overall suicide rate.”

It’s more important than ever to become well-educated on this topic, share information with friends and family, and become involved with protecting life in Canada.

The documentary screenings in Erin, Fergus, and Guelph this September and October are an excellent way to learn more about this important issue.  We encourage you to attend, and bring family and friends. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will be at the Guelph & Fergus screenings on October 18 & 20 to answer questions. For more information, contact our office.


Screening Information:

Erin: September 22  – St. John Brebeuf Catholic Church, 6:30pm, 26 Millwood Rd.  For information, contact the Right to Life office.

Fergus: October 18 – Fergus North Canadian Reformed Church, 7:30pm, 6534 1 Line, Fergus. Featuring guest speaker Alex Schadenberg. For information, contact the Right to Life office.

Guelph: October 20 – Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate (Parish Hall), 11:30am. Brunch & screening featuring guest speaker Alex Schadenberg. Tickets are $10 each. For information, e-mail the Basilica Catholic Women’s League at aflo@mgl.ca or call 519-824-7797.

Primum Non Nocere – First Do No Harm

Guest Post by Dr. P.H. Ling, FRCS

Doctor assisted suicide is not health care; it is the premeditated and deliberate taking of a human life, no matter what euphemisms have been fabricated to assuage those who are tempted to believe, perversely, and generally without guile or malicious intent, that it somehow demonstrates respect for human life.

So far, much of the public awareness has centred on the rights (or even perceived obligations) of individual physicians to provide medically induced death, but more recently, hospitals and other health care institutions have exercised their right, on grounds of conscientious objection, to opt out of being forced to participate in such irrevocable acts. These rights of conscience are fully guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and there is rightly nothing ambiguous in the wording of the Charter.

“These rights of conscience are fully guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”

If much of the mainstream media were to be believed, most or all criticism of such institutions has implied that only Christian hospitals have been the obstructers. Yet, just prior to the federal passage of Bill C-14 (the “right to die” legislation passed by the current government), the Canadian Medical Association revealed that only 20 percent of all doctors, at most, would be willing to administer death to their patients, and that over twice as many – 42 percent – would actively refuse to do so.1,2 With 80 percent of doctors being unwilling, it is clear that the doctors’ collective reluctance to participate in the deliberate deprivation of human life extends beyond any one religious group.

“The Canadian Medical Association revealed that only 20 percent of all doctors, at most, would be willing to administer death to their patients, and that over twice as many – 42 percent – would actively refuse to do so.”

The authorities’ vague promises of safeguards are not reflected in the improvised, chaotic manner by which these new steps have been implemented. In Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, speaking on behalf the provincial government, has in fact expressed uncertainty over how to deal with hospitals that exert their right to eschew participation in medically assisted suicide.3 Even supporters of medically assisted suicide have expressed surprise that far more Canadians who have had their lives taken in this manner, did so within hospitals, rather than at home, as they had wrongly predicted.4 It is within this misread context of ad hoc erroneous assumptions that the said death legislation has been rushed through, so that people in a precarious and delicate state of mind can endure “death with dignity” – an abstract construct whose validity has yet to be affirmed by anyone subjected to this one-way journey.4

A growing number of seniors’ care homes, many without religious affiliation, have also objected to being pressured to participate in medical euthanasia, and surely the elderly are most at risk for coercive manipulations of this kind.5

elderly women and younger woman holding hands

Strangely enough, while the same federal Canadian legislation that opens the way to unclear parameters for the legal application of medical homicide protects participating health care workers from prosecution, it leaves a gap in the protection of health professionals who abstain on grounds of conscientious objection.6

In Canada, it is justly possible to express one’s moral and legal right, as a conscientious objector, not to participate in the slaughter of war. We have a moral duty to protect those who have sworn, in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath, that they will protect life and firstly do no harm. Ultimately, the human conscience cannot be suppressed, and our health care facilities’ moral stand is a collective manifestation of this refutation.

For more information on the campaign for doctors’ conscience rights in Ontario, visit www.canadiansforconscience.ca

References

  1. A Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying: CMA Member Dialogue Summary Report, 2016.
  2. Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Poll, as cited in Postmedia News (canada.com), Feb 8, 2013.
  3. CityNews (Toronto), April 14, 2016.
  4. Most of the Assisted Deaths in Ottawa Have Been in Hospitals. Ottawa Citizen, January 10, 2017.
  5. St Paul’s Hospital Among 12 Facilities Objecting to Assisted Dying. Saskatoon Starphoenix, December 7, 2016.
  6. Doctor-assisted Dying Bill Restricted to Adults Facing “Foreseeable” Death. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, April 14, 2016.

 

Take Action: Opposing the Supreme Court of Canada’s Assisted Suicide Decision

On February 6, the Supreme Court made an irresponsible and dangerous decision by decriminalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.

As you can see below, the Supreme Court’s decision would allow assisted suicide not just for those with a terminal illness, but for anyone with an illness, disease, or disability that is “grievous and irremediable”. This includes those with chronic pain, psychological suffering, and any kind of disability.

SCC Assisted Suicide Ruling
Click to enlarge

The Supreme Court has claimed that people who are unable to commit suicide due to the progression of their disease or disability may choose to commit suicide early, while they are still able, and thus the laws prohibiting assisted suicide infringe on their right to life (section 7 of the Charter).

In making this claim, the Supreme Court has effectively created a “right to die” out of the right to life.


Make Your Voice Heard

Parliament now has the option of invoking the notwithstanding clause, a mechanism which gives them the power to override the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Charter, and provides the government a temporary pause. Once the notwithstanding clause has been invoked, a Royal Commission can be formed to thoroughly investigate the impact that this ruling would have on Canadians.

elderly women and younger woman holding handsWe need to protect people with disabilities, elders who live with abuse, depressed and suicidal people, and all others who will be impacted. It is not safe to enable one person to be involved with killing another person.

Letter-writing is an effective way to reach those in Parliament who will be responding to this ruling soon: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Justice Minister Peter MacKay, and your local Member of Parliament. We urge you to take action and write a letter to each of these individuals today. Note that letters sent to any of these individuals do not require postage.

To get started, have a look at the sample letter and talking points available on our website, or contact us for more information!