I was happy to see the CBC article concerning your reluctance to endorse Bill C-14. You are right to be concerned.
I am a lawyer in Washington State USA where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal. Bill C-14 and legalization generally will encourage people with years to live to throw away their lives. Carter was wrong. Legalization does not promote the right to life.
Please consider the following reasons:
1. The bill's title, "medical assistance in dying," implies that eligible people are dying. There is no requirement that people be dying. They are instead required to have a "grievous and irremediable medical condition." See Bill C-14, § 241.2(2).
2. A person diagnosed with a "grievous and irremediable medical condition," may have years, even decades to live. This is true for many reasons. One reason is misdiagnosis. See Jessica Firger, "12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year," CBS NEWS, 4/17/14, at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/12-million-americans-misdiagnosed-each-year-study-says/ Another reason is that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. Consider John Norton, who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) at age 18. He was told that he would get progressively worse (be paralyzed) and die in three to five years. Instead, the disease progression stopped on its own. In a 2012 affidavit, at age 74, he states:
- If assisted suicide or euthanasia had been available to me in the 1950's, I would have missed the bulk of my life and my life yet to come. https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/signed-john-norton-affidavit_001.pdf
- This last July, it was 12 years since my diagnosis. If [my doctor] had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/jeanette-hall-affidavit.pdf
- For Jeanette, the mere presence of legal assisted suicide had steered her to suicide. https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/signed-stevens-aff-9-18-12-as-filed.pdf
5. The bottom line, the proposed bill, if enacted, will encourage people with years, even decades, to live to throw away their lives. Carter, unless overturned, will have this same effect.
There are many other reasons to say "no" to assisted suicide and euthanasia. I will be writing a further analysis. Meanwhile, you may be interested in the following documents:
- 1. Margaret K. Dore, Esq., MBA, "Elder Abuse, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in Oregon and Washington State USA; A Comparison to the South Australia Euthanasia Bill (the Key Proposal), April 7, 2016, available at https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/au-memo-04-07-16.pdf and https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/au-memo-attach-04-07-16.pdf
- 2. Margaret K. Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009, https://www.kcba.org/newsevents/barbulletin/BView.aspx?Month=05&Year=2009&AID=article5.htm
Thank you for your consideration,
Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA
Law Office of Margaret K. Dore, P.S.
Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation
1001 4th Avenue, Suite 4400
Seattle, WA USA 98154