Sunday, November 15, 2009

Euthanasia bill should be killed

Bishop Fred Henry

Interestingly, I had dinner last evening with among others, a first cousin of Bishop Henry, himself a good man. That aside, the Bishop has sent a letter out about Bill C-384, the euthanasia bill, one that has legs, and should be cast aside like yesterday's garbage. Bishop Fred Henry sent this letter to Fr. Tim Moyle of Where the Rubber Hits the Road, which he has issued in opposition to Bill C-384.Here is what the good Bishop had to say:
Opposition to Bill C-384 has nothing to do with fear-mongering, nor special interest groups. The issue is one of wide-ranging medical, moral and societal concern but also widespread confusion evidenced in your own editorial.

A major cause of the confusion is what George Orwell, in his essay, Politics and the English Language, calls the language of "euphemisms, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness." Some of the language being used in the euthanasia debate appears "designed to makes lies sound truthful and murder acceptable, and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

The rhetoric of "choice," "aid-in-dying," "compassion," "a new medical treatment," "self-determination," "autonomy," and "death with dignity" tend to cover up the reality that euthanasia is a deliberate act undertaken by one individual with the intention and result of ending the life of another to relieve that person's suffering. Assisted suicide is the act of killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both.

This proposed legislation would reverse the reigning medical ethic which for more than two millenniums has insisted that doctors must heal and never kill. Legalizing physician assisted suicide would irreparably damage the doctor-patient relationship. The patient's trust in the doctor's wholehearted devotion to the patient's best interests will be hard to sustain once doctors are licensed to kill. Furthermore, such legislation would put undue stress on the conscience of the physician pressured by patients and others to take part in killing.

The unmistakable issue is the intentional killing of a human being. It has nothing to do with natural death or dignity, and everything to do with killing. We are NOT discussing letting someone die.

Euthanasia is NOT respecting a patient's refusal of treatment at any time in the course of treatment. Medical tradition and practice clearly distinguish between refusal of medical intervention and intentionally causing death by euthanasia.

Euthanasia is NOT discontinuing treatment when it serves no therapeutic purpose or the patient requests treatment to cease; nor is it abstaining from medically futile treatment.

All treatments that impose undue burdens on the patient without overriding benefits or that simply provide no benefits may justifiably be withheld or withdrawn. In making such decisions, the judgment is about the worth of treatment, not about the worth of lives. The provision of adequate medicines to control pain is not euthanasia. The administration of high doses of painkillers and sedatives to terminally ill patients may lead to a shortening of their lives. It is, however, morally acceptable to administer such drugs in doses which are linked to their painkilling or sedative effects, and not to the termination of life. It is not correct to call this "euthanasia" because there is no intention to shorten the patient's life.

Those favouring assisted-suicide have not given adequate attention to palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to give comfort and thereby enable the dying to live while dying. Letting life ebb away can in no way be equated with active euthanasia. Allowing to die is a world removed from giving a lethal injection.

Palliative care also aims at lessening or managing the suffering of terminal patients. Often they feel helpless, lonely, in the way, and a burden to others. With empathy, comfort care, and affirmation, palliative caregivers accompany patients in their suffering and by their kindness and compassion help the patient maintain a sense of worth and a feeling of belonging, and move from depression to hope.

The legislation of aid-in-dying would pose a threat to the elderly, the infirm, handicapped newborns and to all members of society who are unable to look after their own best interests. This kind of legislation says to them: "you're not important; you're not needed; in fact, you are a burden to others."

Canadian citizens should be assured that their dignity at every stage of life is recognized by government as important. They must be reassured by government that their needs will be met humanely. They must be shown true compassion in the care they receive from society, not through death-dealing, but by being looked after in a life-giving way.

As Canadians, we all have a duty to speak up for the rights and dignity of every citizen. In short, it is Bill C-384 that must die!
Bishop Henry is herein educating Catholic faithful about this evil, but also giving boundaries to the Catholic teaching on the matter. As a former teacher at St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario, having spent many years studying and imparting the wisdom of the Church, he is in a very good position to pass that wisdom on to us.

Bravo and May God Bless You, Bishop Henry.


Daniel Edd Bland III said...

I was raised on Dr. Dobson, and have just sent him a letter requesting his assistance to help me stop loosing faith in the Christian Church. My Mom respects Dr. Dobson as much or more than any other Christian leader, and she is interested to see his response. I only started learning the truth about the 9/11 attacks last fall. It took me an entire year to convince my own parents to listen to me, and begin reviewing the evidence for themselves. Now that they have thoroughly and objectively taken a fresh look into all the available evidence, they too are now aware of how badly we have been deceived. They now fully support my mission to find out what really happened to 2,993 of our fellow countrymen that fateful September morning. My mom is very interested to see if/how Dr. Dobson will respond. Please read my open letter to Dr. Dobson and share your thoughts at.........

Does Christ's Church really stand for TRUTH & JUSTICE? That is the question!

Daniel Edd Bland III

Joshua S. said...

This is a beautifully written piece. Bishop Henry proves his intellectual mettle here BIG TIME! His points about palliative care are ones I've been putting forward for years. Our society's paranoia about opiates sets the stage for facvouring killing people over the humane/humanitarian use of opiates for the chrinically ill and dying. This makes no sense.

I remember my godmother many years ago suffering excruciating pain as she lay dying of cancer at age 33. My dad and my uncle simply couldn't take it and begged the doctors to give her something stronger. "Oh no!" came the response. "Such drugs are very addictive. You don't want your beloved wife/sister to become addicted to drugs, do you?." The two men were flummoxed.

The (extended) family got together and my aunt was soon in relative comfort on illegally purchased pharmaceutical heroin from Britain. Becasue of that, her two adolescent daughters had a 14-month opportunity to get to know their mother a little bit before she passed away. During that time, my beloved aunt never once mentioned that she was bothered by the fact that heroin was taking her pain away.

Bishop Henry's expose shows the inhumanity that such secular social values - values which can morph and change over time - can produce when those values are misapplied or introduced into the wrong context.

Michael Brandon said...

Thanks for your comments Joshua.

Bishop Henry wrote wisdom. Your family put it into terms we can all see and understand.