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Canada's New Culture of Death

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
November 12, 2018 3:59 pm

Canada's New Culture of Death

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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November 12, 2018 3:59 pm

NC Family President John L. Rustin speaks with Wesley Smith, an author and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. They discuss Canada's Supreme Court recent ruling on doctor-assisted suicide and why this is alarming to those of us in the United States.  

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People restrict what your life is what you are you from the this is family policy not with NC family Pres. John Preston thank you for joining us for family policy matters. Our guest today is Dr. Wesley Smith, attorney and award-winning author and senior fellow with the Discovery Institute's center on human exceptionalism is also a consultant to the patient's rights Council. Much of Dr. Smith's excellent work focuses on bioethics, particularly related to end-of-life issues which will be discussing today Dr. Wesley Smith.

Welcome to family policy matters. It's great to have you back with us on the show back and please call me Wesley. Oh, I will do so will thank you Wesley. As we begin our discussion which you help our listeners understand the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide is will be discussing these matters today from my perspective morally.

There is no different. One is like left leg following the right leg walking but in terms of the technicalities used in debate suicide is when I generally speaking, were talking about a doctor provide poison prescription to patient for use in suicide and then be laughed at, causing death is taken by the person who dies euthanasia which is in this context is usually when a doctor takes the act that causes death, such as by lethal injection.

But as I said one is just like the other there really in my view is no material moral distinction. Now I know Canadian courts have found a right to lethal injection, euthanasia in certain medical circumstances. What are the philosophical and legal justifications that are argued for such a finding.

And is it possible that those same justifications could be used here in the United States is really alarming that Canada has gone culture of death with such enthusiasm because we can get into it.

If we have time. Countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands euthanasia for years with terrible abuses and when in the United States to bring up these abuses. While the applicable sale about something for us to worry about that Europe it's nothing like out here. Well Canada is our closest cultural cousin and when something happens in Canada.

Then we have to be very concerned.

What happened in 2015 is that the Canadian Supreme Court created a positive right to receive euthanasia. This is more than merely legalizing up basically stating that patients were qualified have the right to accept to access being killed and according to the Canadian Supreme Court that was if somebody was diagnosed with a medical condition that causes irremediable suffering, as defined by the patient. And even if the patient is refusing to take action that could actually relieve the suffering that patient is experiment thing and even if the suffering is psychological and not physical, so it was a very broad wide-open licenses specifically said this court ruling that the patient did not have to be terminally ill, so this opened up the prospect of euthanasia, lethal injection, euthanasia, were talking about to not only the people of Syria syllabuses but perhaps the people with disabilities, and even the mentally ill mother Parliament rather than fighting back against the Supreme Court ruling basically acquiesced and they put a little kind of filler in their thing. While the death have to be reasonably foreseeable. Whatever that means. I mean the death of all of this is foreseeable right and and so right now, Canada has euthanasia throughout the country is been endorsed by the national parliament and has been enacted by each of the provinces and more lawsuits by the way, attacking these laws is too restrictive and as I read that Supreme Court ruling.

I don't think a reasonably foreseeable standard will will pass muster because Supreme Court said the terminal illness had nothing to do it now in Ontario wanted one more point in Ontario. They passed a law that said that the doctor is morally or religiously opposed to euthanasia that is killing a patient talking about homicide. It's not murder because it's legal. But if the if it doctor is approached by a legally qualified patient to be killed, and the doctor has a religious objection or moral objection, believes in the Hippocratic oath. Maybe there an atheist, but they believe in the Hippocratic oath. Well, the Ontario law says they must either do the deed anyway or engage in what is called an an effective referral, meaning that the doctor has to go out and find another doctor.

They know to be willing to kill the patient so the Ontario Canada law that's the province of Ontario requires doctor complicity in euthanasia. Doctors filed a lawsuit against that. As you can imagine because the Canadian charter has a specific provision.

It's actually stronger than our First Amendment. It says that everyone in Canada has the right of quote freedom of conscience and religion, that's a quote that's a very broad protection.

And yet, a judge with in this lawsuit, said that the patient's right to the equitable referral which is not in the charter trumps the religious freedom of the doctors which is in the charter and the conscience rights of doctors and all doctors.

They should either participate in killing or get out of medicine and that's what a terrible authoritarian act of my clown Now I know there are a lot of misconceptions as this issue has been discussed and debated about euthanasia and assisted suicide.

How does access or lack thereof to quality palliative care factor into the appeal for euthanasia and/or assisted suicide, euthanasia and assisted suicide are sold to the public by a lot of fear mongering the prospect of dying in agony that cannot otherwise be alleviated when it is actually practice that is not the reason why people asked for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Very rarely is it about intractable pain. Rather, it's about existential problems and existential anguish.

For example, wars about being a burden worries about losing dignity worries about losing the ability to engage in enjoyable activities which are very serious issues, but you know people who deal with in hospice and who deal with dying patients know how to alleviate these problems and help people get through that little start time network what word were telling people who are, you know you terminally ill or otherwise, depending on the jurisdiction. Of course you know we would prevent your suicide but you have cancer.

So were not going to give you suicide prevention are going to give you suicide facilitation. That's abandonment in the extreme.

What kind of a message does that send to people who are sick right your life isn't worth living your right you will harbor cruelty even though it pretends to be compassionate you're listening to a resource to listen to our radio show online resources have a place of persuasion in your community website. Collecting well and I know that palliative care is one aspect of this, but also know that you're a big advocate for prevention or some prevention techniques Wesley that both loved ones and physicians can employee that will help in practical ways to address the issues and circumstances that often lead someone to consider assisted suicide stop. We people need to make sure that patients who are seriously ill or receiving proper treatment. For example if somebody got cancer there in terrible pain that there are tremendous capacity for pain control. That really reduce you can never eliminate all pain, but you can significantly alleviate pain. Again, I see no I thought it was my own father when he was dying of colon cancer. The second thing is if somebody become suicidal. You should treat let's say somebody again has a serious condition like Lou Gehrig's disease or cancer and they become suicidal. You shouldn't say all she I would want to die if I were in your situation to talk about pushing somebody into the grave.

What what should be done is professional suicide prevention just as you would prevent the suicide of somebody who wanted to commit kill themselves because they their children had been killed, or the business of collapse or they were involved in some kind of a scandal concerted intervention for suicide prevention for the sick also works, and in fact you see a lot of suicide assisted suicide advocate saying all will they were in hospice and they wanted assisted suicide. Anyway what that's like saying although they were in hospice and they want a pain control and we didn't give that to them so they had assisted suicide when you demonic people.

The suicide prevention which is part of hospice care. You are denying them an essential aspect of the treatment for people who were dying and if, and it's really wrong. Wesley, the architect of Obama care, Ezekiel Emanuel recently made headlines when he argued in the Journal of the American Medical Association that quote life extension should no longer be the primary goal of medicine when applied to people older than 65 years on quote does not seem like the opposite conclusion that ought to be drawn, especially when we consider that the world has increasing life expectancy and there have been dramatic improvements made in medicine and healthcare will of ageism at the very least there's a great deal of messaging to elderly people that they are not as worthwhile as other people and it's a terrible discrimination is very real and affects people.

People worry about being a burden, people worry about continuing to be loved.

If they end up with. You know the kind of health difficulties caused by aging and is something we should be very concerned about. We should not allow healthcare to be turned into utilitarian discriminatory field of endeavor were some people get better care than others. What we need is universal human equality in healthcare and that means that the people with were elderly should be treated as individuals.

Whatever kind of interventions would be best for them as an individual, not based on some category, which turns into an invidious means of again discrimination so Wesley, what can be done to address the growing number of instances where patients are told by their insurance companies. The treatment for their medical conditions will not be covered, but life ending drugs will be covered.

That's happened a few times that it happened in Oregon in 2008, there were organs Medicaid which is the insurance for the poor is rationed, and the 22 cancer patients who are terminal but wanted the life extending they didn't expect to get cured from it, but they wanted an extra year or so of life from the chemotherapy of these two patients were told by the state of Oregon if you can imagine that. Sorry. Your healthcare is rationed. We will not pay for your chemotherapy because of all keep you alive long enough but and they said in the letter, but we will pay for your assisted suicide carelessness. I mean it. You can imagine how that must've felt just tremendous cruelty so you can imagine where eventually this could end up being a big financial question of saving medical resources only cost about $1000 for an assisted suicide or euthanasia, including the doctor's visit could cost $100,000 to give the patient the kind of care so they didn't want assisted suicide or euthanasia of the force of gravity in terms of economics becomes obvious when you think about that Wesley, what advice would you give to patients and their loved ones to help ensure that their right to life is protected. Everyone should sign in advance medical directive and I'm not talking about a living will. I'm talking about. What is often called a durable pop power of attorney for healthcare, but the document instead of saying you know if it to the doctor if I'm sick.

Don't give me this if I'm sick to give me this you will point somebody to represent your interests. If you get to the place for you cannot make your own decisions and then you can put in these documents a durable power of attorney for the kind of treatment you want or don't want. You can put specifically for example the patient's rights Council has a protective medical decisions document. It's called state specific you can name your surrogate decision-maker. I believe the national right to life committee has something called living with the called will to live.

It's called the will to live, which is a similar document and there are others like it out there that allow you to appoint a decision-maker for you who shares your values and will value and protect your life if you become unable to make your own decision works. Our listeners go to get information.

More information about what we talked about today and to learn more about the Discovery Institute. Discovery Institute is The patient's rights Council. I just gave you they have a huge library. A lot of these issues and I'm writing articles constantly either in the national review weekly standard American spectator or other places and I always post those online for people to read, so people would like to follow me on Twitter I met at forced exit 4 CE DEX IT that's the name of my book on euthanasia app forced exit.

I also have a Facebook page of people want to follow me and we have a human exceptionalism Facebook page were all my articles are published on if you want to like that and go there and be part of that access everything is great that's excellent without Dr. Wesley Smith.

I want to thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters in all of your great work to stand for life. Thank you very much for having Pennington and Emily to listen to our radio show online resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina website see and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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