Canadian euthanasia figures three times higher than expected
10 November 2016
The Canadian province of Quebec legalised euthanasia in December 2015.. Image: Morgan via Flickr
A recent report from the Quebec government has shown that there were 262 euthanasia deaths in the seven months since the province legalised it - and campaigners believe the number is being under-reported.
The Quebec Health Minister expressed surprise at the figure, which is about three times higher than anticipated.
Alex Schadenberg, director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, believes that the number of euthanasia deaths is probably being under-reported. The law in Quebec relies on doctors to self-report instances of euthanasia, while in other Canadian provinces, there is no co-ordinated system at all to compile information on euthanasia and assisted suicide, he says.
Despite the unexpectedly high figures, the Quebec government is considering proposals to relax safeguards, including removing the requirement to have a second doctor approve each euthanasia request.
In addition, the government report included three cases of euthanasia that did not comply with the law, but gives no indication of any repercussions, said Aubert Martin, executive director of Quebec's grass-roots anti-euthanasia organisation, Living with Dignity.
"We're talking about killing a human being," Martin said. "This is criminal. Is there going to be any follow-up?"
Abortion advocates react to Trump win
In the wake of Donald Trump's surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential elections, there has been much speculation on how his presidency will affect the issue of abortion.
The reaction from abortion providers and advocates has generally been one of horror. An email to supporters of Planned Parenthood from its president Cecile Richards began "Let's get all these words out of the way: Devastated. Angry. Heartbroken. Outraged. Shocked. Sad. Disgusted. Ashamed. Discouraged. Exhausted. Shattered." The front page of NARAL’s website now reads "Donald Trump was just elected president. His vision for America, the policies he backs, and the people with whom he has surrounded himself are a clear and present danger to women, our bodies, our health and our freedom."These organisations, and many others, are using the news to garner donations.
The reaction in many areas of the media is also similar. Cosmopolitan ran with the headline "the impact of this election on abortion access will be devastating", saying that "the end of Roe v Wade is a real possibility".