Monday, August 29, 2011

The Emperor has No Clothes: "VSED"

Euthanasia proponents have a new campaign promoting starvation and dehydration.  VSED: "Voluntarily" stopping eating and drinking.  Below, Kate Kelly provides a real life example:  "I watched her suffer." 


Mild stroke led to mother's forced starvation

By Kate Kelly

I watched an old woman die of hunger and thirst.  She had Alzheimer's, this old woman, and was child-like, trusting, vulnerable, with a child's delight at treats of chocolate and ice cream, and a child's fear and frustration when tired or ill.

I watched her die for six days and nights.

I watched her suffer, and I listened to the medical practitioners, to a son who legally decided her fate, and to an eldest daughter who advised him and told me that the old woman, my mother, was "comfortable," except when she was "in distress," at which times the nurses medicated her to make her "comfortable" again.

I watched the old woman develop ulcerations inside her mouth as she became more and more dehydrated; the caregivers assured me these were not painful.

Assisted Suicide: Court overlooked elder abuse

Bradley Williams letter published in the Missoulian: 
Posted: Sunday, August 28, 2011 1:39 pm |

John Board’s (August 24) letter accurately quotes my letter (August 18): “The Montana Supreme Court’s assisted suicide decision ... didn’t even ‘legalize’ assisted suicide.” This quote is from a legal analysis of the Baxter decision by attorneys Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman. They also state: “The Court merely allowed a possible consent defense if persons continue to be charged with murder for assisted suicide ... After Baxter, assisted suicide continues to carry both criminal and civil liability risks for any doctor, institution, or lay person involved.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aid in Dying: Assisted Suicide is Not Legal in Montana

Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:45 am

Thank you for your article about Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity and our information booth at the Western Montana Fair. ("Opponents have their say at information booth," Aug. 10). I enjoyed being interviewed by the student journalist, who was very professional.

The article states that physician-assisted suicide, which the article terms "aid in dying," was ruled legal by the Montana Supreme Court. That would be the Baxter decision, which did not legalize assisted suicide. Your readers may be interested in this analysis of Baxter by attorneys Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman, at They state: "The Montana Supreme Court's assisted suicide decision ... didn't even 'legalize' assisted suicide ... After Baxter, assisted suicide continues to carry both criminal and civil liability risks for any doctor, institution, or lay person involved."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Do we really want euthanasia?

I would like to comment on Brian MacLeod's "Point of View" which appeared in the Aug. 8 Expositor.

Mr. MacLeod writes that the Conservative government will not allow a debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide. He knows that a debate on this issue did take place in Parliament and the bill was soundly defeated. I do not think this matter should be decided by the courts but by our elected representative in Parliament.

I feel eminently qualified to speak on this matter because, six years ago this summer, we came home from vacation to find our beloved son, Keith, dead on his bed. He was 32 years of age. He had suffered from bipolar disorder for years and nothing seemed to help.

He had accessed an assisted suicide website and he followed their instructions to the letter. His death devastated our family and the pain never goes away.

Mr. MacLeod seems to believe that a majority of Canadians support legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. I do not know if this is true, and I do not care. Is our society not corrupt enough? Are we really ready to throw the most basic of all moral principles on the ash heap? "Thou shalt not kill."

Sheila Fischer Brantford

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Oregon Page Updated

The Oregon page has been updated to include an article on the new helium hood bill.  To view that article, click here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thanks for the Donations!

Since we launched this week, we have received donations from the UK, the US and Canada!

Thank you so much!

Margaret Dore
Choice is an Illusion,
a Nonprofit Corporation

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Opponents have their say at information booth

The on line version of the Montana article below has a nice photo of Bradley Williams, the Coordinator of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity.  His letter to the editor, submitted today, corrects the assertion that assisted suicide is legal in Montana.
By MARIELLE GALLAGHER for the Missoulian | Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 2:11 pm

The Commercial Building at the Western Montana Fair has a new booth: Montanans Against Assisted Suicide.

According to its website, Montanans Against Assisted Suicide and For Living With Dignity "welcome(s) everyone opposed to assisted suicide, regardless of your views on other issues." 

In 2009, physician aid in dying was ruled legal by the Montana Supreme Court. The group's goal at the fair is making assisted suicide illegal in Montana. Regardless of one's opinion on the subject, the attention the booth has already begun to receive at the fair is undeniable.

Bradley Williams currently coordinates the effort. This includes tasks as large as a trip to a legislative session to discuss his cause, which he describes as being "full of representatives who were receptive, gracious, and sincere," and as small as manning the organization's booth at the fair, where he offers information on the case against assisted suicide.

This is a huge shift from Williams' involvement three years ago. He first took notice of the issue in 2008, when a state judge declared that dying with dignity was a constitutional right and physicians could prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill, mentally competent patients.

"I thought a citizen's duty was to pay taxes, vote, attend jury duty," said Williams. "But that was the catalyst that made me realize it was also important to be involved in public discourse."

Physician-assisted suicide is currently legal in Oregon and Washington as well as Montana.

According to Williams, the definition of someone who is terminally ill - and thus eligible for assisted suicide - is too broad, and the potential for elder abuse too great, for aid in dying to be legal.

One of the arguments used by proponents of the cause is that allowing someone to suffer unnecessarily is inhumane. Williams counters that "the science of pain control is developing as quickly as computer technology."

Tuesday afternoon, the first day of the fair, a woman approached the booth and began looking through a list of talking points lying on the table. Several more people paused to look over the information.

Marielle Gallagher is a Midway Dispatch reporter for the Missoulian and a Hellgate High School junior. She can be reached at

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Welcome to Choice is an Illusion!

We are a single issue group.  We welcome everyone opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia regardless of your views on other issues.

Join us!

Margaret Dore,
Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Assisted Suicide Report Lacks Information about Consent

(published in the King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, July 2011; for a print version, click here).
By Margaret Dore

On March 10, the Washington State Department of Health issued a formal report about our physician-assisted suicide act.1 However, the report does not address whether the people who died under the act did so on a voluntary basis.

Washington's Act

Washington's assisted-suicide act was enacted via a ballot initiative in 2008 and went into effect in 2009.2 During the election, proponents claimed that the act's passage would assure individuals control over their deaths.
The act, however, does not assure such control. For example, the act allows a person's heir, who will benefit financially from the death, to assist in signing the person up for the lethal dose.3 There are also no witnesses required at the death.4 Without disinterested witnesses, the opportunity is created for someone else to administer the lethal dose to the person without his consent.

The Assisted-Suicide Report

Statistical Information

The Department of Health report focuses on statistical information. This information states that lethal doses were dispensed to 87 people during 2010. Of these 87 people, 51 are reported to have died after ingesting a lethal dose.5

Physician Reports

The report also includes information about the circumstances of the deaths. For example, the report provides statistics regarding how long it took people to die after ingesting the lethal dose.6

According to the report, the data for these statistics were obtained from an "After Death Reporting Form" completed by the prescribing physician after each death.7 According to the report, however, the prescribing physician is rarely present at the death.8 If that is the case, he or she is necessarily relying on other persons for the data reported.

Patient "Concerns"

The report seeks to document the "concerns" of the people who died, which led to their requesting the lethal dose.9 The data for these concerns come from the "After Death Reporting Form," which lists seven questions to be checked off by the prescribing doctor.10 These choices do not include the possibility of abuse by an heir.11

The report also provides no information as to whether the people who died consented when the lethal dose was administered. In other words, there is no information regarding whether the deaths were truly voluntary.12

Margaret K. Dore is an elder law/appellate attorney in Washington. She is a former law clerk to the Washington Supreme Court and a former chair of the Elder Law Committee of the American Bar Association Family Law Section. Her publications include "'Death with Dignity': A Recipe for Elder Abuse and Homicide (Albeit not by Name)," Marquette Elder's Advisor, Vol. 11, No. 2, Spring 2010, available at For more information, see

 * * *
1 Washington State Department of Health 2010 Death with Dignity Act Report ("Report"), issued March 10, 2011, available at
2 Washington's assisted-suicide law was passed as Initiative 1000 on November 4, 2008, and went into effect on March 5, 2009. See RCW 70.245.903.
3 RCW 70.245.030 and .220 state that one of two required witnesses to the lethal dose request form cannot be the patient's heir or other person who will benefit from the patient's death; the other witness may be an heir or other person who will benefit from the death.
4 See Washington's act in its entirety at RCW 70.245.010 et. seq.
5 Report, Executive Summary, at 1.
6 Report at 9, Table 5 ("Circumstances and complications relating to ingestion of medication prescribed under the Death with Dignity Act of the participants who have died").
7 Id. ("Data are collected from the After Death Reporting form"). A blank "After Death Reporting Form" can be viewed at (last viewed March 10, 2011).
8 According to the Report, the prescribing physician was present when the lethal dose was ingested in just 4% of the deaths occurring in 2010; the prescribing physician was present at 8% of such deaths in 2009. See Report at 9, Table 5.
9 Report at 7, Table 3.
10 See After Death Reporting Form, supra note 7, Question 7.
11 Id.
12 The act provides for self-administration of the lethal dose. "Self-administer" is, however, a specially defined term that allows someone else to administer the lethal dose to the person at issue. For more information, see Margaret K. Dore, "Death with Dignity: What Do We Tell Our Clients?", Washington State Bar Association, Bar News, July 2009, available at