Who gets the last word? New ideas about euthanasia ($10, Canadian Physicians for Life 10150 Gillanders Rd Chilliwack BC V2P 6H4 tel. (604) 794-3772, fax (604) 794-3960, e-mail: info@physiciansfor life.ca)

Review by Alex Schadenberg
The Interim

Canadian Physicians for Life have produced a timely 23-minute video to explain what euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are and to dispel the myths surrounding these issues. Most pro-life groups have yet to become well versed in the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Now Physicians for Life have given every pro-lifer the opportunity to understand these issues through their new video: Who gets the last word? New ideas about euthanasia.

The video uses physicians and disability-rights activists to deal with the attitudes that they identify through interviews with people on the street. This approach allows them to readily identify the fact that most people do not know what euthanasia or assisted suicide actually is. By using disability-rights activists they effectively emphasize that legal euthanasia poses a real threat to the disabled and other vulnerable people and would result in the loss of rights rather than the enhancement of individual freedom.

The video spends significant time dealing with the case of Robert Latimer who in 1993 killed his daughter Tracy who had cerebral palsy. This was a good way of dealing with the realities of euthanasia because the case is fairly well known to Canadians and it proves that the disabled and other vulnerable people really are at risk – not because the law would be intentionally targeting the vulnerable but more because many people already think that killing medically dependant people is an act of “mercy.”

Who gets the last word? also deals with the question of pain and symptom management and emphasizes the benefits of hospice/palliative care. It establishes that good palliative care would be diminished if euthanasia became an option because it requires significantly more financial and human resource expenditure. It also establishes that the trust relationship that exists between medical care givers and patients would be broken if medical care givers gained the power to kill as well as care.

The highlights of the video include the establishment of the reality that euthanasia would not result in more options for the suffering patient, but rather to the doctor who would now gain the power to kill, legally. Therefore the euphemism of choice is eradicated by the reality of the questions, Who’s choice? and Who’s obligation?

Finally, I like the message from disability-rights activist Norman Kunc, who says, “If you are in favour of euthanasia and assisted suicide you had better be very nice to your children.” In other words, the abortion mentality of the present generation is creating the euthanasia mentality of the next generation. The children who were brainwashed with the mentality of “choice” have the opportunity to impose that mentality on their elderly parents.