Doctors are companions & healers, not murderers
By Jakki Jeffs
Special to The B.C. Catholic
Dr. Williard Johnston speaks to reporters outside the B.C. Supreme Court June 15. He was not happy with the ruling. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
When I heard the decision rendered by Justice Lynn Smith regarding the Gloria Taylor case, I was left scratching my head and wondering how a pro-euthanasia decision had been handed down by the B.C. Supreme Court.
Taylor does not want to die, yet she lives in fear of a horrific death. After the verdict had come down in her favour she said, "I must make this very clear: I do not want to die. I want to live every day that I can to the fullest, one day at a time. What I do not want is to die an agonizing, slow, difficult, unpleasant, undignified death."
The euthanasia lobby feeds off the tragic fear of those experiencing chronic and terminal illnesses, trotting them out to make the rest of us feel guilty that they have to live life this way.
They did the same with Sue Rodriguez, who had the same horror of dying slowly, suffocating with every breath. These are the situations that play on our emotions.
Who dare say any different when the person asking has a disability? Many of us will never walk in her shoes, so we are told to keep silent. That silence, that fear of speaking out, is what is going to kill thousands of us.
It was just as true in 1993 as it is now that palliative care lessens and manages all the symptoms of the disease ALS, including difficulty in breathing. That Gloria Taylor should spend her last days scared to death of how she will die is a tragedy.
Justice Smith has now compounded it by considering suicide a "good," for now thousands of other individuals will also be at risk.
Suicide was decriminalized in 1972 because we realized that people who tried to commit it were not criminals requiring punishment but individuals needing understanding of their suffering and support to get through. Ask anyone who knows a family member or friend who has committed suicide how much of a "good thing" it was!
Bill C-300, "An Act respecting a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention," passed June 18, 2012, just three days after Justice Smith's almost 400-page judicial diatribe.
It states "suicide prevention is everyone's responsibility"; it speaks about "the devastating effects on surviving individuals and communities"; it calls for adherence to Motion 388, unanimously adopted in 2009, calling "for meaningful deterrents and punishment for those who encourage vulnerable individuals to commit suicide."
Bill C-300 states that the framework for suicide prevention should in part "recognize that suicide, in addition to being a mental-health issue, is a public health issue, and that, as such, it is a health and safety priority."
How can suicide become a "right" for the able-bodied which has to be extended to those with disabilities, and within three days, its prevention in the able-bodied become everyone's responsibility? How can suicide be not right for some but perfectly right for others?
Through our elected representatives in Parliament we have totally rejected assisted suicide and euthanasia, yet here we sit with a single unelected judge telling our government to allow the killing.
We will hear terms like "physician aid in dying" and, if you can believe it, "Therapeutic homicide," just to keep us convinced that there is something ethical or compassionate in making it legal for physicians to murder certain folks or to assist them to murder themselves.
Has we lost every semblance of love for and connection with the most vulnerable amongst us? Doctors are companions on our journey always, healers sometimes, but never murderers.
If we are going to treat the disabled, the chronically ill, and the dying like animals, then let the veterinarians set up a "one-stop shop" where you can take your dog and granny at the same time. You might even get a sale price: "pay for one, get another at half price"; who knows?
I can hear the shock, but don't we get it yet? You see, we know that euthanasia kills animals, but we do everything we can to pretend that it and assisted suicide do not kill humans.
Using other words to distance ourselves doesn't change the fact that we are being asked to accept suicide as a good thing. Who would ever have believed that we could fall for killing the vulnerable? Our government has the right, the duty, and the responsibility to tell Justice Smith she is out of her jurisdiction.
The people, through their elected officials, have decided that killing our sick, dying, or disabled is not ethical, and no end run around our law by an activist judge should be allowed to change that.
In the last week I have dealt with two upsetting cases: one family is absolutely certain that their loved one was killed in hospital, and the other family has been battling the hospital tooth and nail to prevent a killing.
If this is going on now, what will it be like if our government succumbs to this manipulation?
Jakki Jeffs is the director of the "We Want the Debate" campaign (wewantthedebate.ca) and the executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario.