Three people were euthanased in Quebec between April 2018 and March 2019 for a hip fracture. This is just one of the warnings about where legalisation of euthanasia leads that can be drawn from the latest report on euthanasia in Quebec.
Euthanasia in that Canadian province now accounts for nearly one out of fifty deaths (1.9%) with significantly higher rates in some health regions including the capital (3.28%) and Bas-Saint-Laurent (3.45%).
The World Medical Association has reaffirmed its long-standing policy of opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
After an intensive process of consultation with physicians and non physicians around the world, the WMA at its annual Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia, adopted a revised Declaration on Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide.
This states: ‘The WMA reiterates its strong commitment to the principles of medical ethics and that utmost respect has to be maintained for human life. Therefore, the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.’
In a petition to the members of the Parliament of Western Australia one hundred and fifty medical practitioners, including senior oncologists, geriatricians, psychiatrists and palliative medicine specialists, call on the Parliament to reject the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
We the undersigned medical practitioners of Western Australia urge you to vote against the passage of any bill that would legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia, which are sometimes referred to as “voluntary assisted dying”.
We do not believe that such legislation is needed in Western Australia and that it would be a regressive not a progressive change, putting the lives and wellbeing of many Western Australians unnecessarily at risk.
Assisting our patients to commit suicide or intentionally killing them by euthanasia is never acceptable. It is not and can never be regarded as medical treatment or medical care.
The latest statistics on euthanasia from the Canadian province of Ontario covering euthanasia deaths to 30 September 2019 has just been released.
This report should raise a red flag for other jurisdictions considering legalising euthanasia.
In the lead speech opposing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 which would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide in Western Australia, the Hon Nick Goiran powerfully enunciated the case that it was impossible to create a scheme which could guarantee that there would be no wrongful deaths due to medical errors, elder abuse and patient steering and a lack of equitable access to palliative care.
In a report released on 9 October 2019 entitled "the dangers of assisted laws" the (US) National Council on Disability has reiterated its longstanding opposition to legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia, concluding after a comprehensive review of the available evidence that:
States should not legalize any form of assisted suicide or active euthanasia, whether called by these terms or any other terms. States must, rather, ensure a strong healthcare system that includes LTSS [long-term services and supports] for all, including people with disabilities with or without a terminal prognosis; ensure that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination; and provide services that enable independent living and supported self-determination for people with disabilities.