There is no god. Well, yes there is. He has a name. Dr. Wim Distelmans. Life is difficult for you? Heart is broken? Can't bear the pain? No problem. Dr. Wim Distelmans is here for you.
The late Godelieva De Troye, 64, of Belgium, sought euthanasia because of a breakdown from a breakup. She shopped for a helper after an initial refusal; I assume based on the strict laws as established in Belgium to prevent abuse. But, lucky for her, she finally found a psychiatrist who agreed with her that her depression was incurable. And off she went with her "permission to die" note to Dr. Wim Distelmans, self-appointed god of death with dignity.
De Troye's son, Tom Mortier, when he was informed after the fact, says that this doctor, a healer, created "unbearable suffering" for him. But what do his feelings matter? After all, his mother was 64. She didn't need his approval. It never occurred to any of the doctors to contact him. Why bother when Belgium is busy debating the right of permitting minors to end their lives with the blessing of the medical profession and the government. These minors have to have "A capacity of discernment." No idea how that will be measured. But think of the health care dollars saved when the young can end their lives. And the old, and the weak, and the disabled.
This brings on chills. And the hair on my neck is rising. I've heard this before. The euthanizing of the sick, the infirm, the old, the disabled. Ah, yes, the Third Reich.
I'm impressed with the ease with which one can end one's life. A note on a napkin. Oh, forget the napkin. The Belgian "control commission" is prepared to approve euthanizing a human being without a written request. The doctor can say that the patient said he wanted to die. Good enough for me. You too?
I suffered a terrible bout of depression in my late 40s early 50s. I've written about it on Huffington Post. I wanted to die. Not only was I deeply depressed, I was recovering from botched surgery that had left me with a colostomy bag, scar tissue all over my belly and what looks like three belly buttons -- beautiful in a bikini. One could say I was scarred inside and out. And then of course, the pain.
Had I lived in Belgium where psychiatrists, instead of doing everything possible to keep me alive as mine did here, could have given me permission to end it all! And I'd have missed the marriages of all of my children and the births of my grandchildren.
Belgians are now used to the idea of euthanasia. "Ethical paradigms changing over time." Great. It's become part of their culture. Like waffles.
While Belgians get adjusted to euthanasia, our pets will be treated with hospice care, avoiding euthanasia.
Dr. Eden Myers, a veterinarian in Kentucky who runs JustVetData said "There is a formal end-of-life movement, a formal hospice movement." It's a growing movement to provide hospice care for our animals. Some hospice supporters advocate giving pets palliative care until they die naturally, as in human hospice. Oh, wait. People are being euthanized. New paradigms all around.
When did it become inscribed that life must not be difficult? That we are entitled only to good things? Have we really reached the stage when life gets difficult and we check out? This is the evolution of humankind? This is enlightened thinking, not like the backward thinking of those who believe in God and life.
For those who say this will not happen in Canada, I say prove it. Prove to me that we won't slide down into the depths of depravity now being played out in Belgium. That we won't let mentally ill, deeply depressed 64-year-olds end their lives because of a broken heart, leaving loved ones bereft. And that they are allowed to end their lives without the medical establishment contacting loved ones first. Or have we reached the place where family and friends don't matter? We are rocks? We are islands?
The push for death with dignity with stories like these make me grateful for believing in God; in the sanctity of human life. I shall have to hope that when the end is near, I will not have my right to live decided by someone like Wim Distelmans, but rather someone who values life, every moment of it, encouraging me to hold on, if not for myself then for those I love and who love me.
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Here's a look at the state of Euthanasia laws in Canada and their history.
Suicide hasn't been a crime in Canada since 1972. (Shutterstock)
Doctor-assisted suicide is illegal, although the ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court will force Parliament to alter the law within one year.<br><br> The <a href="http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-113.html#h-79" target="_hplink">Criminal Code of Canada states in section 241</a> that:<br><br> "Every one who (a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or (b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide, whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years." (Alamy)
Passive euthanasia involves letting a patient die instead of prolonging life with medical measures. Passive euthanasia is legal in Canada.<br><br> The decision is left in the hands of family or a designated proxy. Written wishes, including those found in living wills, do not have to be followed by family or a proxy. (Alamy)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodriguez_v._British_Columbia_(Attorney_General)" target="_hplink">Sue Rodriguez</a>, who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), launched a case asking the Supreme Court of Canada to allow her to end her own life on the grounds that the current law discriminated against her disability.<br><br> Because suicide is legal in Canada and Rodriguez was unable to end her life because of a lack of mobility, she argued it was discriminatory to prevent her from ending her own life with the aid of another.<br><br> The court refused her request in 1993, but one year later she ended her life anyway with the help of an unnamed doctor. (CP)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Latimer" target="_hplink">Robert Latimer was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1993 death of his severely disabled daughter Tracy</a>. A lack of oxygen during Tracy's birth led to cerebral palsy and serious mental and physical disabilities, including seizures and the inability to walk or talk. Her father ended Tracy's life by placing her in his truck and connecting a hose to the vehicle's exhaust.<br><br>The case led to a heated debate over euthanasia in Canada and two Supreme Court challenges. <br><br>Latimer was granted day parole in 2008 and full parole in 2010. (CP)
Former Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde tried repeatedly to get legislation legalizing euthanasia in Canada passed. Bill C-407 and Bill C-384 were both aimed at making assisted suicide legal. C-384 was defeated in the House 228 to 59, with many Bloc MPs and a handful of members from all other parties voting for the legislation.<br><br> Tetraplegic Tory MP Steven Fletcher, pictured, made the following statement after C-384 was defeated: <br><br> "I would like to be recorded as abstaining on this bill. The reason is I believe end of life issues need to be debated more in our country. I believe that life should be the first choice but not the only choice and that we have to ensure that resources and supports are provided to Canadians so that choice is free. I believe, when all is said and done, the individual is ultimately responsible. I want to make this decision for myself, and if I cannot, I want my family to make the decision. I believe most Canadians, or many Canadians, feel the same. As William Henley said in his poem Invictus, "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."<br><br>(CP)
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