The media are full of euthanasia propaganda. Do you have the list of the effects of dehydration quoted by the judge in the Paul Brophy case? C.N., Toronto.


Mr. Justice Kopelman noted these probable effects before Brophy died of starvation and dehydration:


–          His mouth would dry out and become caked or coated with thick material.

–          His lips would become parched, cracked or fissured.

–          His tongue would become swollen and might crack.

–          His eyes would ink back into their orbits.

–          His cheeks would become hollow.

–          The mucosa (lining) of his nose might crack and cause his nose to bleed.

–          His skin would hang loose on his body and become hard and scaly.

–          His urine would become highly concentrated, causing burning of the bladder.

–          The lining of his stomach would dry out, causing heaves and vomiting.

–          He would develop hyperthermia, a very high body temperature.

–          His brain cells would dry out, causing convulsions.

–          His respiratory tract would dry out, giving rise to very thick secretions which could plug his lungs and cause death.

–          Eventually his major organs would fail, including his lungs, heart and brain.


The judge said: “Brophy’s attending physician was unable to imagine a more cruel and violent death than thirsting to death.”


We know about post-abortion syndrome, but are there any studies of the effects on parents who have deliberately withheld treatment from their handicapped newborn babies and let them die? E.C., Willowdale, Ontario


There is an extensive literature on the subject, though much of it is anecdotal. It is clear that the after-effects are often psychologically catastrophic not only for the parents, but for other children in the family, grandparents and others. There may be short-term relief, but this is followed by guilt, grief, depression, and a feeling that parenthood has been betrayed.


Breakdown in marital relationship occurs, and when other children learn that their baby brother or sister was denied life-saving medical treatment and allowed to die, their trust in their parents is damaged, or even destroyed.


One mother of a retarded infant was encouraged by her physician to let her baby die. Later on she needed psychological therapy, and said: “The pressure was so strong and it just seemed like there wasn’t anything else to do. Now it’s too late. I’m the one who doesn’t deserve to live.”


The Globe and Mail, in its collection of tit-bits (April 1991), contained a snippet that unborn twins had been seen fighting. Could this be true? L.M., Mississauga, Ontario


Dr. W. Freud (grandson of Sigmund Freud) speaking in Toronto in 1983, at the First International Congress of Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology, said that he had once seen unborn twins fighting on ultrasound. Dr. J. Willke reported this in his book, Abortion.


If Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, will abortion be illegal? M.N., Saskatoon, Sask.


The battle will not be over, but the battleground(s) will be different. Unlike Canada, where the Criminal Code is in the jurisdiction of the federal government, each state in the United States controls its own Criminal Code. Prior to 1973 and Roe v. Wade, each state had its own abortion law; some laws were stringent, others less so. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down, in Roe v. Wade the laws against abortion in all the states, an act of ‘raw judicial power’ that has been condemned by legal scholars, even those who favor abortion.


If and when Roe v. Wade is overturned, the issue of abortion will return to the individual states where it belongs, according to the U.S. Constitution. At this point, even the experts are confused. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what happens to the laws that were in place in 1973? Are these laws now reinstated? Or will each state have to enact new laws? There are 50 battlefields, and in at least one state steps have been taken to ensure that abortion will be legal, even after Roe v. Wade has gone.