- There is a growing tendency to promote “mercy killing” as a solution to suffering, pain, aging, mental or physical challenges, social ills, rising health costs and cost containment.
- Sanctioning of euthanasia and assisted suicide (as in the Netherlands) has led to increased use of euthanasia without consent, circumvention of the law, and abuse of the vulnerable.
- Advances in hospice/palliative care and pain management methods are threatened when euthanasia and assisted suicide are sanctioned as a means of relieving pain and suffering.
- The medical profession need more instruction and the public needs more education, regarding hospice/palliative care and effective pain control.
- Depression is the most common factor in requests for assisted suicide. Depression can be diagnosed and treated successfully. Requests for assisted suicide is a call for help.
- Goal: To prepare a well-informed, broadly-based network of organizations and individuals supporting measures that will create an effective social barrier to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
- Objectives: (In order to reach our goal).
- Increased understanding and respect for the dignity of human life.
- Enhanced government support for hospice/palliative care systems and community care services.
- Maintain and enforce existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
- Establish and build Compassionate Care Community Services.
Strategy Outline: (In order of priority)
1) Networking with supportive organizations and individuals. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will establish relationships with organizations that adhere to its principles. The Coalition will seek and identify supportive organizations and invite them to affiliate with us. Affiliated groups may appoint a representative to be a member of our advisory board.
2) Outreach. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes the need for compassionate care and community services that concentrate on maintaining the dignity of every human life. We recognize that vulnerable persons are most threatened by legal euthanasia and assisted suicide. These include the disabled, the elderly, the chronically ill, the poor, the depressed and others. Therefore, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is committed to establishing and building compassionate care community services. We also intend to promote hospice/palliative care services that adhere to our principles. We believe that CARING options must be established in order to prevent KILLING.
3) Research and information-gathering. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will carry out research for the purpose of pinpointing the common concerns of people. Our positions will be based on the most up-to-date information in order to generate opposition to the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Research and information gathering will include: public opinion polls, literature searches, identifying/sharing information with supportive organizations, recognizing successful hospice/palliative care and service models, preparing for legal challenges, monitoring the media, etc.
4) Promotion and production of Materials and Resources. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes the need for accurate materials that are geared to the issues and written with the intention of cultivating an opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide. From our research we will create information packages for schools, churches, politicians, hospice/palliative care groups, and the general public. We are also developing a Protective Power of Attorney for Personal Care advanced directive to be used throughout Ontario. All materials and resources will be developed for distribution to its target audience.
5) Distribution systems for information, materials and resources. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will co-ordinate with its network of supportive organizations and people to develop an integrated distribution system for its information, materials and resources. Therefore we will work with existing networks that have been established by supportive organizations and also with persons who will represent us in local areas. Each network will require different materials to be developed for their use.
6) Public Education. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will educate the public on issues related to euthanasia, assisted suicide and hospice/palliative care through its strategy. We recognize the need to educate the public on these issues in relation to their effect on society. We will develop educational materials, organize events, host public debates, manage public campaigns, write and circulate newspaper articles and letters to the editor, train and develop speakers and media spokespersons, promote increased levels of medical and nursing education in pain and symptom management and hospice/palliative care. Further, we will work with politicians, dialogue with health care professionals, disability groups, the elderly, religious associations, pro-life groups and others to work with and coordinate our efforts.