A family in Canada has received an anonymous letter urging it to euthanize its 13 year old autistic child.
Thanks to Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for posting this one on his blog page (http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2013/08/canadian-family-sent-letter-telling.html).
You can click on the letter to enlarge and read it.
Proponents of assisted suicide will react to this story by insisting that there is a vast difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia and that they are not calling for euthanasia but only for legal assistance in suicide, which they define as a self-directed act. Of course the assistance itself removes suicide from the realm of completely self-directed, completely autonomous acts. For one thing, the doctor decides who will and will not get the lethal prescription. Beyond that, the economic and individual pressures and the social sanctioning of an act that our society has always tried to prevent in the past, get in the way of true patient choice in ways True Dignity has enumerated again and again over the years.
True Dignity has also discussed how legalization of assisted suicide will inevitably lead to euthanasia. Because of the well-documented 18% failure rate of assisted suicides in the Netherlands, where such failures are legally dealt with by a doctor’s stepping in to perform euthanasia, we can be fairly sure euthanasia is being performed in Oregon. The only way to account for the fact that there have been so few reported failures there is that family members or Compassion and Choices volunteers, the only non-family members usually present when assisted suicides take place, are euthanizing the 18% of people taking the lethal prescriptions who don’t die as “peacefully” or as quickly as expected.
Euthanasia will also come where assisted suicide is made legal because the requirement to self-administer the lethal drugs is seen as discriminating against people who can’t do that. Again and again, the proponents of assisted suicide have written letters to True Dignity insisting that people with dementia or with paralyzing diseases should be “put to sleep” out of compassion. They seemed to think our Vermont law would allow for that. Right now, it does not, but how many suits under the Americans with Disabilities Act will it take for that to be changed?
In Canada, some have said that voluntary euthanasia would actually be safer for patients than assisted suicide. Such people trust doctors to make better decisions that patients, who are always subject to pressure. What we know is that, in Belgium and the Netherlands, doctors admit to performing an increasing number of non-voluntary euthanasias each year.
So…assisted suicide, not a completely voluntary act by the very fact of being assisted, MUST lead to euthanasia; and voluntary euthanasia WILL lead to non-voluntary euthanasia of those whose lives some people consider a nuisance, not just people with disabilities but the expensive sick and elderly.