Promoting assisted dying a form of coercion

Published in The Times Colonist on January 19, 2017.

Re: “Dying words,” Jan. 14.

Noreen Campbell chose to end her life by means of physician-assisted suicide, as was her right under Canada’s new law.

Since that law was passed, more than 744 people have also chosen to end their life this way.

But apparently Campbell’s dying wish was that even more people would avail themselves of this new right.

She wanted her story about ending her life to “open the door for others” and “draw attention to the gaps she saw in the process,” because, as a member of the assisted-suicide advocacy group Dying with Dignity, she felt the law doesn’t go far enough.

The ease with which she embraces killing as a good solution to suffering is simply appalling.

Her opinions about why people should go the same route as she did contributes nothing new to this discussion — it’s all about fearmongering and undermining people’s expectations about what palliative care can achieve.

According to her, taking a lethal injection is preferable to the alternatives, and promoting this idea is an insidious form of coercion that will only result in more needless premature deaths, and an increasingly callous approach to people who might be suffering near the end of life.

Paul Jungwirth