Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – Our Deathright

The following appears in BioEdge. It is a report on a published article in HVV (Humanistisch-Vrijzinnige Vereniging) -

Let’s give intellectually disabled the right to euthanasia, say Belgian humanists
People with intellectual disabilities, all children and people with dementia should be able to request euthanasia, the Belgian Liberal Humanist Association (HVV) has declared. Its president, Jacinta De Roeck, a former senator who helped to draft the current law, says: “We can not accept that a certain group of people should be completely excluded from self-determination over life and death.”

This is an especially touchy topic in Belgium because of  the euthanasia of mentally handicapped people in neighbouring Germany under the Nazis. However, Ms De Roeck insists that the issue has to be considered. “Even someone with mental retardation, who is found to be mature enough by the team should be able to ask for euthanasia.”

The HVV is also lobbying for children of any age to have the right to ask for euthanasia.  The HVV website states that “children who are in a hopeless situation have a high degree of maturity, especially compared to other healthy children. Setting an age is therefore completely arbitrary.”

She has predicted  that eventually minors and people with dementia will have the right in Belgium, although not in the term of the present government.

The wheels are in motion

The proponents of ‘dignity in death’ insist that their program differs from that of the Nazis and that to assert otherwise and to make any comparison is scaremongering. However, behind the scenes, are not the wheels already in motion? The Nazi program was not a voluntary program, they assert, whereas  the modern program is.

Dr. Brian Skotko, a clinical fellow in genetics at Boston’s prestigious Children's Hospital, made a study reported in Down Syndrome Daily that revealed -

"that among siblings ages 12 and older, 97 percent expressed feelings of pride about their brother or sister with Down syndrome, and 88 percent were convinced they were (themselves) better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome."

And dig this about a third study of how adults with Down syndrome feel about themselves: "99 percent responded they were happy with their lives, 97 percent liked who they are, and 96 percent liked how they looked."

The Belgian Liberal Humanist Association is proposing a 'right to request' but the question is prompted, if no-one will volunteer, will they be 'volunteered'? The so-called slippery slope is a real and present danger that refuses to go away.

In the meanwhile, the LCP has slipped in under the radar and continues to take its toll. We are assured of our deathright, at least.

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