Until now I haven’t been able to grab clips from the CTV W5 programme with Victor Malarek which would allow me to go through my argument step by step. However, I just managed it, so this will take a number of clips from the programme and comment, briefly, upon them.
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This is simply false. The Dutch euthanasia law does not require written consent. According to the “due care” criteria (Chapter II: Due Care Criteria), written consent is not required. The criteria for “due care” are as follows:
Yesterday I took a look at part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement on assisted suicide. Note carefully that they persist in the use of the word ‘suicide’ to describe what is taking place when people in unrelievable suffering choose to die, and then they assimilate this to other occasions of suicide, thus mischaracterising as tragic acts of depression or desperation by people in the midst of life, those who act on reasonable grounds towards the end of life to bring their suffering to an end. The continued misrepresentation of what is intended when proponents speak of aid in dying is a deeply cynical aspect of the Roman Catholic campaign to oppose assisted dying. It is fundamentally dishonest, and shows the Roman Catholic Church up for what it is, a bully in the public square, whose only purpose is to ensure that its beliefs, prescriptions and proscriptions are adhered to by everyone, regardless of belief.
The next step in their statement is to accuse those who approve assistance in dying legislation as expressing a false compassion.
True compassion [the bishops say] alleviates suffering while maintaining solidarity with those who suffer. It does not put lethal drugs in their hands and abandon them to their suicidal impulses, or to the self-serving motives of others who may want them dead.
This is a slander, a misrepresentation, and a lie, all in one. Sure, it is possible that there are people who, when people are dying, would wish it to go more swiftly so that they can get ahold of their inheritance. But absolutely no one is suggesting that assistance in dying should be handed over to anyone who can benefit from the death of the person concerned. And, as for solidarity, how much solidarity is there when the person’s own wish to be helped to die is refused and misrepresented, as the late pope did, as a request for others to hope when they are no longer able to hope for themselves? Is this solidarity? No, it is not, it is a cynical manipulation of the truth — the truth that some people do want to die more quickly – in order to affirm and reaffirm its own absolute prescriptions and proscriptions. And how truly compassionate is it to ignore the continuing desperate appeals of the dying to be helped to die? By what verbal magic do the bishops turn this refusal into compassion? The truth is, obviously, that these people are not thinking in terms of compassion at all. They think they know something that others do not know, namely, what God wants, and they are prepared to stick to this false knowledge, which cannot, by any stretch of the imagination be shown to be true, whatever its effect on people who are suffering. This is so deeply cynical as almost to beggar description. How could this group of influential men believe that they are actually expressing the highest and best morality by associating themselves with ideas such as these?
In a recent article the Regina Leader Post takes a distinctly follow-my-leader position. The article claims to show that the case of Robert Latimer haunts the euthanasia debate in this country. Since no author is recorded, the article is in the nature of an editorial or leader, and thus represents the editorial bias of the newspaper. However, it is clearly an unreasoning bias, since, instead of providing evidence, the claim that the Robert Latimer case will continue to haunt the euthanasia debate is simply asserted. We have the Leader Post’s authority for this. There is no basis for the claim, and there is no reason to build on this foundation. The sad story of Robert Latimer and his daughter Tracy is not relevant to the question of assisted dying. The Leader Post should stop stirring the pot, and try, for a change, to think clearly about this important justice issue.