A request by a Belgian prisoner for euthanasia made international headlines not too long ago, even though he was not permitted to take advantage of the legislation.
But in a measure of how enthusiastically Canada has embraced euthanasia, one prisoner has already been killed under its Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) law, and three others have been approved. According to a report in CBC News, the death took place in a hospital outside of the prison, under the supervision of two correctional officers.
Correctional Service Canada (CSC) told CBC News that it had, to date, received eight requests for MAID.
CSC is now permitted to organise MAID in a community hospital — but it can also take place in a penitentiary regional hospital or treatment centre in exceptional circumstances and at the request of the inmate.
Correctional Investigator Ivan Zinger criticised the possibility of inmates being euthanised in a prison in a letter to the CSC head:
Zinger said that MAID should occur only outside prisons. A prohibition on MAID within prisons would protect the integrity of the system now and in the future, when eligibility for assisted death could expand to prisoners suffering from acute psychiatric illnesses – and in prisons there are a number of these."Practically and perceptually, I simply can not imagine a scenario where it would be considered acceptable to allow an external provider to carry out a MAID procedure in a federal penitentiary,"
Sunday, March 4, 2018
In 2004, Californian voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 71, a ballot initiative which created the US$3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. This was the apogee of stem cell fundamentalism around the world. Stem cells, especially human embryonic stem cells, were the key to unlock the secrets of human biology. They would lead to cures to dread diseases, perhaps not tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow.
Hollywood stars enthusiastically backed the ballot initiative. Quadriplegic Christopher Reeves told voters in an advertisement, "Stem cells have already cured paralysis in animals. Stem cells are the future of medicine." Parkinson’s victim Michael J. Fox said: "Vote yes on 71, and save the life of someone you love."Fourteen years on, the CIRM (aka California taxpayers) has received its first royalties – a cheque for US$190,345.87 – a 0.00006% return on investment. And that’s not for a cure, by the way. It’s for a drug which has only passed a Phase I clinical trial. Clearly, California voters were sold a pup. Is it time for the state to set up a stem cell truth and reconciliation commission? Read the story below.
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