There was good news in Canada this week. A court ruled that a woman with dementia’s acceptance of spoon feeding in a nursing home indicates a current desire for nourishment that overrides her advance directive’s statement that such feeding not be provided. This is a victory for the right to change one’s mind, even if disabled.
Compassion and Choices, the leading national advocacy group promoting assisted suicide in the US, instructs the readers of its “Good to Go” rather obsessive death planning guide, “Also keep in mind that you will be fed as long you have the ability to chew and swallow, even if you have lost all cognitive abilities. If such a situation is a concern, you might want to refuse spoon feeding in your advance directive.” The Canadian assisted suicide promotion group “Dying with Dignity” is crying bloody murder about this decision. And now an American Civil Liberties twitter post credits Compassion and Choices in Connecticut for a YouTube Video entitled, “Forced Feeding,?“ that asks, “Must we all be forced to die with forced hand feeding in advanced dementia?” (https://twitter.com/acluct/status/573118932376281089). So spoon feeding an apparently hungry woman is now called force feeding. True Dignity is thankful the Canadian court did not agree.
To Second Thoughts CT, a group of people with disabilities fighting assisted suicide in that state, this is further proof that assisted suicide for competent people thought to be terminally ill is only the tip of the death for anyone who needs care iceberg. Margot Bentley may have had such an abhorrence for the condition of the people with dementia for whom she cared as a nurse that she thought she would not want to live that way; just as the adherents of the Compassion and Choices agenda have such an abhorrence about living with disability, including dementia, that they believe it would be better to be dead . Now that disability has overcome Bentley, she is simply hungry and wants to eat. The court ruled that her eating now, not refusing to open her mouth, not refusing to swallow, not spitting out the food, constitutes consent to being fed. This dismays Compassion and Choices. It wants her current choice disregarded. We’re sure it believes it is being compassionate, but we respectfully suggest that it would be more honest for it to take “Choices” out of its name and propaganda.
Here is the statement Second Thoughts CT issued today. True Dignity thanks it for telling the truth so clearly and forcefully.