VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 26, 2011 ( – Alex Schadenberg has dedicated his life to defending the vulnerable.  As head of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Schadenberg has become one of the world’s leading opponents of legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.  Perhaps most notably, in 2009 he spearheaded a lobbying campaign that led to the overwhelming defeat, 228-59, of a euthanasia bill in Canada’s legislature.


More recently, his organization played a pivotal role in the high profile case of Baby Joseph Maraachli by intervening with legal support to prevent Joseph’s London hospital from removing his ventilator.  After a concerted effort from pro-lifers, Joseph is now breathing on his own at home in Windsor.

On June 3-4th, Schadenberg’s organization will host the Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Vancouver, British Columbia.

(Find information about the symposium here.)

Schadenberg’s second son is autistic.  As a result, he was particularly shocked by the outpouring of support for euthanasiast Robert Latimer, who in 1993 killed his daughter Tracy, who had Cerebral Palsy, under the guise of “mercy killing.”  Latimer was lauded in the media as a loving father.

In July 2009, Schadenberg left his career to found the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and take up the cause full-time.

“What got me really into the issue in particular was having a child with a disability and then having Tracy Latimer viewed as someone who is not worth living,” he said.  “I was concerned because people could see killing the child was somehow okay.  When did killing become an acceptable solution to a very difficult circumstance?”

“My goal was to prepare people for the approaching battle by the euthanasia lobby to legalize euthanasia and/or assisted suicide,” he says. “This was a very difficult decision and resulted in many lean years for my family.”

“In 1999, I viewed it as a situation where this needed to be done,” he added.  “Because it appeared at that time there was nobody else doing it.  In my opinion, a void appeared to exist.”

Since then, however, he says they’ve been able to build a network of supporters across the country.  Through polls and interactions with the public, he’s come to realize that the reason Canadians have appeared to support euthanasia is because of fear that they would face undue suffering in their dying days.  Canadians consistently say they would prefer improved care for the dying rather than euthanasia.

Though euthanasia and assisted suicide have been opposed overwhelmingly by politicians in recent years, Schadenberg warned that these major political victories have led the euthanasia lobby to turn to the courts.  He pointed to two cases coming before Canada’s courts in recent months seeking to overturn laws protecting the vulnerable from euthanasia and assisted suicide.  (See here and here.)

The Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide will take place June 3-4th at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel.  Entitled ‘Celebrating our successes; preparing for new challenges’ the event will feature key leaders from the USA, Australia, England, Netherlands, Quebec, and Scotland.

“We need to do more than win political and legal battles, we must also win the hearts and minds of the people,” Schadenberg said.  “Giving physicians the right to cause your death by euthanasia (lethal injection) or be involved with causing your death by assisted suicide (lethal dose) should be considered unthinkable by the public.”

“We need more people to effectively respond to the threat of euthanasia in society,” he continued.  “By attending the Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide you will become capable of effectively responding in society.”

To register for the Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, click here.