Alex Schadenberg’s stock in trade has been speaking out against euthanasia since 1999.
He was in Houston March 21 explaining his concerns to 40 people at the Christian Reformed Church.
He is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition based in London, Ontario and has travelled all over the world to speak on the subject.
Schadenberg started the coalition during the Robert Latimer trial, where a Saskatchewan father killed his daughter who was suffering from cerebral palsy.
“I have an autistic son, and I’ve been involved in this a very long time. I got involved through the disability question [and] attitudes towards people with disabilities,” said Schadenberg.
He pointed out that the Council of Canadians with Disabilities also voiced concern about the February ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada which said current laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia must be replaced within a year.
Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1997. Assisted suicide allows for lethal amounts of drugs to be prescribed, but euthanasia has a medical professional injecting the lethal dose.
Schadenberg believes both should be illegal.
“We all go through suffering, we all hate suffering… [but] the law should protect people at vulnerable stages in life,” he said.
He says Canada needs to consider the scientific studies and reports from Belgium and Netherlands, where euthanasia was legalized in 2002.
Those studies were ignored by the Supreme Court, but tell of under-reporting and euthanasia of elderly without request.
Schadenberg shared many news stories about the abuse of euthanasia in countries where it has become legal.
One high-profile case was in Belgium where 45-year-old deaf twins were going blind. Otherwise healthy, they opted for euthanasia. Belgium was also the first country to legalize euthanasia for children last February.
“If someone has power to kill, is it possible for that power to be abused?” Schadenberg asked.
In April 2013 in Switzerland, a 62-year-old man Pietro D’Amico was euthanized after getting a diagnosis that he was terminally ill. Shortly after, they discovered the diagnosis was wrong.
A 63-year-old man in the Netherlands got euthanasia after he retired because he had spent his life working, had no significant relationships and got depressed.
“Did he need death or did he need something in his life?” Schadenberg asked.
Schadenberg does not believe any legalized system should be allowed, and advocates for better palliative care.
He said wants to see a Royal Commission to investigate the ramifications of legalizing euthanasia in Canada.
He believes there is no time to pass a law because of the looming federal election, but he plans to push for the Notwithstanding Clause, which would have government over ride the Supreme Court.
“Someone should not have power to cause my death,” he said.