Introduction

Webcast archive: Victory in the UK / defeat in California

This week, we discuss the fates of two bills and a new development from Quebec.

Webcast archive: Victory in the UK / defeat in California

In this episode of Euthanasia & Disability, Amy Hasbrouck and Christian Debray discuss:

  • Victory in the UK / defeat in California
  • Collège des médecins Guide
  • 9/11 commentary

Please note that this text is only a script and that our webcast contains additional commentary.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE UK

  • Today, activists from Not Dead Yet UK capped off a successful three-year campaign against assisted suicide. At least 50 people protested before parliament during a vote in the House of Commons on a bill that would have allowed assisted suicide, brought by Liberal MP Bob Marris.
  • The final vote: 118 for the bill, 330 against! THEY WON!
  • Members of NDY-UK made short videos explaining why they oppose assisted suicide. You can find these on our Facebook page, or on our YouTube Channel.
  • Each member of NDY-UK wrote to his or her MP and, according to Liz Carr, many MPs were affected by the message “we need assistance to live, not to die.”
  • Assisted suicide supporters spent a lot of money on advertisements and billboards featuring stars such as Patrick Stewart. NDY-UK has no budget, and all the members are volunteers.

DEFEAT IN CALIFORNIA

  • Earlier this year, a committee of the California Assembly failed to approve the bill that would have allowed assisted suicide. Nevertheless, a new bill was introduced in a special session of the Assembly, despite the fact that the session doesn’t allow for a thorough examination of the question.
  • The assembly adopted the bill. “The End of Life Options Act” only offers the option of assisted suicide for people with a terminal diagnosis.  Though they must have a prognosis of less than six months to live, people with disabilities or with chronic illnesses (such as insulin-dependent diabetes or HIV/AIDS) could be eligible under such a law.
  • Now the bill goes to the senate, where we hope senators will give it closer scrutiny.
  • If the Senate passes the bill, it goes to governor Jerry Brown for his signature or veto. He has not yet taken a position on the bill.
  • With a population of 38,802,500, California is bigger than Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg combined. It has a larger population even than Canada, which comes in at 35,540,000).

THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS GUIDE TO MEDICAL AID IN DYING

  • Québec’s College of Physicians published it’s guide to implementation of medical aid in dying on its website on September 10.
  • In the publications section of the public access page, the College gives an overview of what is in the guide, but as we saw in the regulations for the euthanasia law published by the Minister of Health and Human Services in July, the devil is in the details.
  • Unfortunately, the public cannot download the guide from the College’s website without making an “access to information” request. Hooray for transparency!
  • The website doesn’t give instructions for making an access to information request.
  • You have to go to the website of the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec (cai.gouv.qc.ca) which is difficult to navigate.
  • Once the request has been submitted, the College will have 20 work days (about a month) to respond.
  • We are trying to get hold of a copy of the guide to give you more details as soon as possible.

COMMENTARY: SEPTEMBER 11

  • On September 11, 2001, thousands of people died because misguided zealots imposed their will on innocent people. On September 11, 2015, thousands of people are again at risk from misguided zealots who want to impose their will on others. Instead of taking their deaths into their own hands, as the law currently allows, they want to change public policy and put the lives of a devalued class of people in danger. If that’s not terrorism, I don’t know what is. Let’s stop assisted suicide.