TORONTO, September 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Belgium is “Ground Zero” for euthanasia: It is a country in which “death is considered the solution for everyone who suffers.”
That warning by physician Marnix Coelmont’s is among the testimonies out of Belgium in Euthanasia Deception, a 53-minute documentary produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Dunn Media.
“We started this documentary last year to undo the lies, the misconceptions, the ideas that have been sold to the culture about euthanasia and assisted suicide,” said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of EPC.
“There is pressure in every jurisdiction in the world to legalize doctors killing their patients,” he said. “Our goal is that people show Euthanasia Deception in their communities, do a screening, whether it be a church community, the local community,” as part of the resistance to that pressure.
“Once we got going, we realized … we have to go to Belgium and the Netherlands to talk to people who are directly affected by it,” Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews. “This is the first film of many that will be going down the same sort of line, telling the stories of actual people, getting the news out that, no, this is not what you think it is, this is a deception and a lie.”
Among the lies are that euthanasia is compassionate, that it respects individual autonomy, and safeguards will protect the vulnerable.
“The same message is being used everywhere, the same lies,” Schadenberg said. “They’re trying to tell us it’s about autonomy and freedom. It’s not about autonomy and freedom when someone else is causing your death.”
“They’re trying to tell us this is all about ending suffering, and when you watch Euthanasia Deception, when you read the data, you start realizing it’s not about suffering. It’s about giving doctors the right in law to cause your death.”
The Belgian experience also shows how quickly life becomes devalued in a culture where killing is offered as a solution for suffering.
Belgium legalized euthanasia for adults in 2002 and extended that in 2012 to children of any age who consent. Earlier this month, Belgian authorities confirmed the first reported case of doctors euthanizing a terminally ill child, though no other details were released.
That would hardly surprise Lionel Roosemont, featured in the documentary.
“In our first confrontation with the monster I call euthanasia, we were walking with our child in her wheelchair,” he says, and strangers accosted him to ask, “Why haven’t you euthanized her?”
“If today someone is neither intelligent nor beautiful nor rich, how is he seen through the eyes of many people?” he asked. “We are in a society that wants to have a new race, and everything which does not fit into the perfect image of what that race would be today has to be eliminated.”
But his daughter Tikvah, 20, who has had a significant brain condition since birth, “has been a testimony to us,” he says. “If today you go through Belgium, you will not see many children who have a handicap, because they were not left to be alive. The reason for her to have a right to be alive is that she is a creation, nothing more, nothing less.”
In other stories from Belgium:
Tom Mortier didn’t even know his mother was considering euthanasia until the hospital called him to tell him she was dead, euthanized at age 64, because of depression. “It wasn’t only her quality of life, it was the quality of life of her grandchildren; we are not alone in this world,” he says. “The physician who killed my mother has a big, big responsibility towards me, my children, my sister.”
Hendrik Reitsema's grandmother was asked, after her husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins cancer, if she wanted him “to be comfortable.” The family expected him to live three to four years: he was dead within a week. “The sense of loss the depth in which this cut into the family was immeasurable,” Reitsema says.
There are also testimonies from Canada, which legalized euthanasia in June:
Kristina Hodgetts, a former nurse, admits that even before euthanasia was legalized there was a “euthanizing culture” in which nurses deliberately hastened death by doses of morphine.
Amy Hasbrouck of Not Dead Yet points out that while she has been told by people they would rather be dead than be disabled, “disability is a group anybody can join at any moment … This isn’t an ‘us or them’ question; this is an ‘all of us’ question.”
Mark Pickup tells of being diagnosed with MS at 30, and how he could easily have opted for euthanasia had it been available. “Quality of life is a moving target,” he says. “What gives my life quality now is to love and to be loved.”
Schadenberg says there has been a “huge” response to the documentary, with half the 1,000 DVDs produced so far already sold, many going to New Zealand and Australia, both currently debating euthanasia, as well as Canada and the United States. A French version will be out soon.
“I had a showing here in London, really an impressive response,” he said. “The fact of it is the stories affect you, the stories clearly affect you.”
Purchase the Euthanasia Deception documentary for $30 for 1 DVD, $100 for 4 DVDs, or $200 for 10 DVDs by calling: 1-877-439-3348 or email: [email protected], or go to the website: vulnerablefilm.com to purchase or rent the documentary by downloading it along with a discussion guide.