LONDON, November 18, 2003 (  Pro-life groups are concerned that the upcoming Queen’s speech on November 26 may introduce the draft Mental Incapacity Bill.  The bill, while opposing active euthanasia backs euthanasia by neglect, or the withholding of basic medical care or even food and fluids. Patients with conditions like dementia, stroke or traumatic brain injury would be at risk.  The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) reports that the bill provides ways of making decisions for mentally-incapacitated adults about their financial affairs, welfare and medical treatment. ‘Treatment’ under the bill is defined as “includ[ing] a diagnostic or other procedure”. SPUC has asked pro-lifers to urge their legislators to vote against the legislation.  In Canada, The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is very concerned about the Mental Incapacity Bill that is currently being debated in the British Parliament.

The bill codifies certain patients’ rights, such as issues surrounding the legality of power of attorney for medical care documents, etc., but it also creates a legal right and responsibility to euthanasia by omission, primarily in the form of removing food and fluids and basic necessities of life from patients who are not dying.  EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg told, “This is of great concern because, if it becomes law, it will codify the changes that will be able to be applied to our laws in Canada.”  He warned, “The practice of starvation and dehydration on people who are not dying but cognitively disabled has become very common throughout Canada. Therefore, it is just a matter of time before parliament will be forced to act to change our current laws. The Canadian Criminal Code states that you must provide the basic necessities of life. Food, fluids, clothing, oxygen, warmth, and care must be considered the basic necessities of life.”  Schadenberg indicated the goals of euthanasia advocates.  “We believe that euthanasia advocates will demand the legal right to kill through starvation and dehydration and then try to legalize lethal injection or intentional overdose as a more humane means of killing the cognitively disabled,” he said.


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