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Podcast by ” Euthanasia: Pro and Con ” on iTunes

Episode 4. Derek Humphry: author of Final Exit, the handbook Derek Humphry an American journalist, author
7/21/2016 Free View In iTunes
Ep.3. Margaret Somerville: Professor, McGill University Margaret Somerville is a Samuel Gale Professor
7/9/2016 Free View In iTunes
Episode 2. Sheila Duffy, Friends at the End Sheila Duffy is a retired journalist, is Convener of FATE, Scotland… 7/8/2016 Free View In iTunes


Podcast also on

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There is a worthwhile PODCAST to listen to the controversy surrounding the right to choose to die when at life’s end (self-deliverance, assisted suicide, assisted dying — whichever name suits you) at

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(Reuters Health) – Legalized euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are mainly used by patients with cancer, but remain rare, according to a new analysis of such programs.

In the last year alone, California has legalized physician-assisted suicide, Canada legalized both physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, and Colombia performed its first legal euthanasia, said John Urwin, a study author from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “In order to inform current debates, it’s imperative to understand current laws and practices.”

Definitions of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide vary between countries, Urwin and his colleagues write in JAMA.

Generally, they explain, euthanasia is when a doctor takes action to end a patient’s life. When patients take physician-prescribed pills to end their lives, it’s known as physician-assisted suicide.

The researchers assessed the legal status of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide by reviewing polling data and published surveys of the public and physicians, official state and country databases, interview studies with physicians and death certificate studies for the period 1947 to 2016.

They found no evidence for widespread abuse of these practices, according to their report.

In addition to Canada and Colombia, the practices are at least partially legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Physician-assisted suicide is also legal in the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

Overall, support for physician-assisted suicide Continue Reading »

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Interest in choosing how and when to die has risen dramatically of late. More than 1,200 people underwent an assisted suicide in Switzerland last year, over a third more than in the previous year. In 2014, 742 people (320 men and 422 women) chose an assisted suicide, according to the Federal Statistical Office. In 2003 it was 187.

This is interesting because Switzerland legalized assisted suicide (doctor and non-doctor) as far back as l942. It indicates a serious change in modern attitudes to end-of-life situations.

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The Atlantic magazine has published in its current issue a fine article about Final Exit Network’s Exit Guide program. Here it is:


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The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found the following in a survey:

Despite increasing legalization of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) worldwide, the practice remains relatively rare and, when carried out, is primarily motivated by psychological factors such as loss of autonomy or enjoyment of life, rather than physical pain. A new comprehensive assessment of data from around the world shows that in areas where they are legal, only 0.3 to 4.6 percent of deaths result from euthanasia or PAS, with more than 70 percent of cases involving patients with cancer. The study also shows that the majority of patients requesting euthanasia or PAS are older, white and well-educated.


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The Supreme Court of New Mexico has ruled that terminally ill New Mexicans do not have a constitutionally protected right to enlist a doctor’s help to end their lives.

Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote in his opinion, released 06.29.16, that the court recognized the “magnitude and importance of the very personal desire of a terminally ill patient to decide how to safely and peacefully exit a painful and debilitating life.” He also conceded that the state “does not have an interest in preserving a painful and debilitating life that will end imminently.”

But, he wrote, “end-of-life decisions are inherently fraught with the potential for abuse.”

If the court found patients have a right to physician aid in dying, he said, more questions would emerge about what defines an illness as terminal and how to ensure a patient makes an informed and independent decision. “Regulation in this area is essential,” he said, “given that if a patient carries out his or her end-of-life decision it cannot be reversed, even it if turns out that the patient did not make the decision of his or her own free will.”

Derek Humphry comments: This judge fails to grasp that a well-constructed law, with guidelines and waitng periods, does work, as already demonstrated in five US states with such laws.

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ERGO/Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization

Contact: Ellen Barfield, (410) 243-5876


Lawrence D. Egbert, MD, MPH, the Baltimore anesthesiologist whose leadership in the right-to-die movement cost him his Maryland license to practice medicine, died of a heart attack June 9. He was 88.

Dr. Egbert, a retired professor of anesthesiology and public health, championed the right of individuals to choose to die rather than suffer intolerable circumstances or unremitting pain—and the right of physicians, family and friends to be present with those making that choice. He helped found and served as medical director of Final Exit Network, which provides education and compassionate presence to those facing end-of-life choices; he also acted as a FEN exit guide accompanying those who hastened their own deaths. He willingly paid a high price for his activism; newspapers dubbed him “the new Dr. Death,” the State of Maryland revoked his license to practice medicine there in 2014, and at various times he was under indictment in three states for supposedly assisting suicides (although he was never convicted of any charges).

Dr. Egbert’s activism also included the peace/anti-war and anti-nuclear movements, opposition to the death penalty and racism, advocacy for civil liberties, single-payer health care and simple living. He served on the boards of Continue Reading »

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Canada has at long last passed a doctor-assisted suicide law for the advanced terminally ill (06.10.16). New law does not include persons with degenerative illnesses, old age, handicap or mental health problems.

It is similar to the laws already on the West Coast of US — after various guidelines and waiting periods, a doctor can prescribe lethal medications, to be filled at a pharmacy, and taken if and when the dying person decides they want to go. Nembutal or Seconal are usually used.

Not perfect, but a step in the right direction.

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The Canadian government has rejected a proposed Senate amendment that would make it easier for Canadians to get medical help to end their lives.

Health Minister Jane Philpott and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould
announced Thursday that the government will accept most of the seven
amendments the Senate approved to their controversial assisted-death
bill, known as C-14.

As expected, however, they stood firm on the legislation’s central
pillar: that only those who are near death should qualify for medical
assistance in dying.

The Senate scrapped that requirement during two weeks of lengthy debate
in the upper house before passing the amended bill late Wednesday by a
vote of 64-12, with one abstention.

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