Pro-euthanasia group uses suffering man to raise legal funds over the Internet

Canadian  pro-life groups took their first steps on the information highway at the beginning of  October when Kelowna Right  to Life inaugurated  LifeNET and Campaign Life Coalition British Columbia launched the “Save Austin Bastable” web site.

LifeNET is designed not only for pro-life activists, but for students researching school projects on the life issues, as well as the curious and hostile. Ted Gerk, executive director of Kelowna Right to Life, has put together  over 180 links to resources worldwide, covering a whole host of pro-life issues.

By linking up to LifeNET, anyone can access help for women in crisis pregnancy, find out more about such diseases as breast cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Down syndrome; learn about the palliative care movement, suicide prevention, or find adoption and family resources. LifeNET links to pro-life groups in the United States, such as American Life League and Notional Right to Life.

John Hof, president of CLC BC, put together the “Save Austin Bastable” home page in response to the Right to Die Society’s Internet exploitation of the Windsor, Ontario, resident’s terminal illness.

Austin Bastable, 52, has multiple sclerosis and is a member of the Right to Die Society. At the end of September, he held a press conference to announce that he intended to follow in the steps of Sue Rodriguez and challenge the laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide. Right to Die is raising funds for a court challenge to the law and operates a special section for Mr. Bastable on its DeathNET Internet site.

DeathNET carries several pages of information about Austin Bastable, including his statement, “I will not allow the media to turn me into a merely sentimental story. I want to see significant political progress on right-to-die issues before the end of this year.”

Bastable and Right Die are carrying on an Internet crusade to encourage Canadians to put pressure on MPs to change the laws, and to raise funds to mount a court case similar to that of Sue Rodriguez.

John Hof of CLC BC believes that the situation of Austin Bastable can be likened that of a man in a wheelchair, sitting on a ledge while a crowd below urges the person beside him to push him off the building.

The “Save Austin Bastable” web page suggests that the silent onlookers in the crowd can do something to help Bastable and other men and women in similar circumstances feel valued and encouraged to live their lives fully to the natural end.

He site gives viewers the opportunity to send an email letter to Austin Bastable, encouraging him not to despair.

It also gives addresses for Members of Parliament so that people can contact their representatives and request that the laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide be upheld and enforced.