Skip to main content

Quebec Commission on Issue of Dying With Dignity Report - Not Dead Yet Responds

  • Synopsis: Published: 2012-03-26 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-14) - Disability rights advocates from Not Dead Yet react to Report of Commission on Issue of Dying With Dignity in Quebec Canada - Amy Hasbrouck - Not Dead Yet.
Euthanasia
Euthanasia - The termination of a very sick person's life in order to relieve them of their suffering. In most cases euthanasia is carried out because the person who dies asks for it, but there are cases called euthanasia where a person can't make such a request.

Main Document

Quote: "The highlight of the report is 24 recommendations that emphasize the importance of palliative care but also allow "medically-assisted death" as an "option for care" for people near the end of life."

Not Dead Yet Responds to Report of the Quebec Commission on the Issue of Dying With Dignity - Disability rights advocates from Not Dead Yet react to the Report of the Commission on the Issue of Dying With Dignity in Quebec, Canada, noting that it contains some positive measures as well as fatal flaws.

The report of the Quebec parliament's commission on dying with dignity contains some positive measures as well as fatal flaws, according to Amy Hasbrouck, a resident of Valleyfield, Quebec and board chair of Not Dead Yet, an international disability rights organization opposed to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

"They have addressed some important issues related to palliative care and advance directives," said Hasbrouck. "The Commission has made an effort to respond to the needs of people near the end of life. Unfortunately the commission's work is marred by a lack of precision and does not take disability discrimination and elder abuse into account. These factors, along with reliance on good faith and inadequate 'safeguards,' mean the Commission has failed elders and people with disabilities."

The Commission was struck in December of 2009 to research and make recommendations on the issue of "death with dignity" in Quebec. After more than two years of taking expert and citizen testimony, and visiting several jurisdictions where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal, the Commission issued its report on March 22.

The highlight of the report is 24 recommendations that emphasize the importance of palliative care but also allow "medically-assisted death" as an "option for care" for people near the end of life.

"The problem is that the eligibility criteria are open to broad interpretation." Hasbrouck cites numerous "serious and incurable" conditions, such as ALS, Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy, where people can live many satisfying and productive years, even after "advanced deterioration of their capacities." Though not terminally ill, the report language indicates that they would be eligible for euthanasia.

"The nature of the individual's suffering could be physical or psychological, thus potentially including people who are depressed or have mental illness, and language about prognosis is too vague to protect people with disabilities," Hasbrouck said.

Hasbrouck said the report may appeal to popular opinion, but it does nothing to address the discriminatory double standard whereby non-disabled people who want to kill themselves are directed toward suicide prevention, whereas people with disabilities who are suicidal are helped to die.

Diane Coleman, Not Dead Yet founder and CEO added, "Discrimination against any minority, including people with disabilities, should not be put up to majority vote."

Not Dead Yet is an international organization by and for people with disabilities who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide, euthanasia and similar practices that discriminate against disabled people. Unlike religious and conservative "right-to-life" groups, NDY uses a disability-rights analysis to challenge the pseudo-liberal view that assisted suicide is a free choice.

"Choice is an empty slogan in a world full of social and economic pressures on people with chronic illnesses and disabilities," said Coleman.

Related Information:

  1. End-of-life Discussions Do Not Affect Survival Rate - Study shows patients who talk with their physicians about end-of-life care have similar survival rates as patients who do not have these discussions.
  2. End of Life Discussions - Finding the Words - Dosing and Drugs - Palliative care for advanced heart failure patients and reevaluate when a physician should discuss a patients goals to determine treatment.
  3. Awareness about End-of-Life Care is Essential - Private Conversations and Public Discourse is a call to action that encourages a national agenda for consumer engagement in end-of-life issues.


Information from our Palliative: End of Life & Palliative Care section - (Full List).

Submit event details, disability news, and assistive technology products for publishing on Disabled World


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be. Also see information on blood group types and compatibility.



  1. Britain's Unproductive Disabled: A Continuing Moral Panic?
  2. Social Networking Helps Keep People Healthy
  3. Majority in Favor of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Screening
  4. When the Spinal Cord Takes Charge of Information Related to Movement




Citation



Disclaimer: Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.