Friday, June 17, 2016

The Carter decision and what it says

What does Carter really say about terminal illness?

by Barbara Maloney

The federal government’s Bill C-14 has been loudly criticized for limiting “medical assistance in dying” (MAID) to those whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.” Critics say that in Carter the Supreme Court did not limit “physician-assisted death” (PAD) to those with a terminal illness and to do so in C-14 is unconstitutional. They point out that Kay Carter, mother of one of the plaintiffs, was not terminally ill and so would not qualify for MAID under Bill C-14.
However, importantly, the Supreme Court was silent on whether Kay Carter would have qualified for PAD.
That’s because Kay Carter’s right to seek PAD was not at issue in Carter. Gloria Taylor’s right was. The court expressly stated it was pronouncing only on the rights of Ms. Taylor and “people like Ms. Taylor” and only in the “factual circumstances in this case. We make no pronouncement on other situations where physician-assisted dying may be sought.”1
And Ms. Taylor did have a terminal illness.
(Kay Carter’s daughter, Lee Carter, challenged the law prohibiting assisted suicide as a violation of her right to liberty, it putting her at risk of criminal prosecution for assisting in someone else’s suicide. The Supreme Court did not deal with this issue but confined its decision “to the rights of those who seek assistance in dying, rather than of those who might provide such assistance.”2 )
Consequently, whether or not Kay Carter would be eligible for MAID under bill C-14 is irrelevant to a discussion of the bill’s constitutionality.
What is relevant is whether or not the Supreme Court intended that PAD must be available to those who were not “terminally ill” / at the “end of life” (however imprecise those terms may be). While the court did not explicitly state that PAD may be restricted to those with a terminal condition, it is reasonable to conclude that the court implied this, based on the trial judge’s ethical analysis of PAD. The trial judgment is of particular relevance because the Supreme Court relied on it so heavily and unequivocally affirmed it.
The trial judge, Justice Smith, said that a central question in this case “is whether it is ethical for physicians to provide [PAD].”3 The ethical debate is relevant, she said, because “both legal and constitutional principles are derived from and shaped by societal values.”4
Her lengthy ethical analysis was based on a comparison between PAD and existing end-of-life practices which are lawful, such as withdrawal or refusal of life-sustaining /life-saving treatments. She was persuaded by the ethicists who said there is “no ethical distinction” between PAD and these other “end-of-life practices whose outcome is highly likely to be death.”5 
It is important to note that Justice Smith’s ethical analysis involved only a category of people who would, without treatment, die. In short, her ethical analysis and the analogy she relies on are only applicable to people at or near the “end of life.” One cannot, therefore, assume that Justice Smith (or the Supreme Court) would have applied the same ethical analysis or arrived at the same conclusion with respect to people who were not terminally ill.
It is entirely reasonable to assume that the Supreme Court was considering only that category of patients whom Justice Smith was considering in her ethical analysis, that is, those who, but for a life-sustaining/life-saving treatment, would die.
A further hint that the Supreme Court was contemplating only terminal/end-of-life patients can be found in its discussion about the types of treatments that those with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” are currently allowed to request or refuse: the same treatments applicable to end-of-life patients that formed the basis of Justice Smith’s ethical analysis.6
Thus a reasonable reading of the Supreme Court’s Carter decision permits Parliament to restrict MAID to those who are terminally ill /nearing the end of life. Parliament could choose, of course, not to require terminal illness, but requiring it would not be contrary to Carter.
Barbara Maloney is a freelance writer living in Nepean, Ontario.
1 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), [2015] 1 S.C.R. 331, paras. 126 and 127.
2 Ibid. para. 69.
3 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 BCSC 886 (CanLII), para 164.
4 Ibid. para. 317.
5 Ibid. para. 335
6 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), [2015] 1 S.C.R. 331, para. 66.

Abortionist Robert Santella - someone you could trust?

Abortion doctor Robert Santella reminds me of someone.

Watch the first two minutes of the video at the site.

Even if I were pro-choice, and willing to have an abortion, I would be quite distraught to witness the behaviour of this man.

Fetal pain - as early as 20 weeks

From Physicians for Life Fetal Pain: The Current Evidence:
"...when pain is defined as a higher-order process, it is conceivable that a fetus experiences pain at 20 weeks, which is when thalamic connections are completed, based on observations of anencephalic children with intact brainstem and thalamus. By 24-28 weeks, it is even more certain that pain experience is possible, as this is when the cortical connections are complete..." 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Congresswoman on selling aborted baby body parts for profit

"Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler gave a recent speech on the flood of the House of Representatives blasting the sales of aborted baby parts. The member of the special panel investigating Planned Parenthood and the sales of aborted baby parts provided shocking evidence and details about what is taking place. 
Hartzler lent a voice to the women who may have been harmed or violated by the appalling practices of abortion clinics and fetal tissue procurement businesses. Watch her emotional speech below and read the transcript of her remarks."
Watch Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler speech. Watch it and weep.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Value Project - an education

It is so sad that there are people in Canada who hate Crisis Pregnancy Centres so much, that they will do everything in their power to take them down.

But it is a well know fact that CPCs do amazing work for women, men, children and the unborn, if only one has ears to hear and eyes to see. And now there is another amazing project CPCs have undertaken. It is called the The Value Project.  

The clip in the video follows 12 students at three Lower Mainland high schools in BC as they examine the way media dehumanizes. They come up with their own plans to encourage classmates to Value Every Person.

The Value Project is a collaborative initiative of Signal Hill, the Christian Advocacy Society charity, and the Archdiocese of Vancouver.