A discussion on active and passive euthanasia

In particular, these include situations where a person kills another, painlessly, but for no reason beyond that of personal gain; or accidental deaths that are quick and painless, but not intentional. A kills another person B for the benefit of the second person, who actually does benefit from being killed".

A discussion on active and passive euthanasia

Download the PDF book. This was the start of two and a half years of legal entanglement for Martens, involving brief imprisonment, shackling while being moved about, extensive interrogations of her and of her relatives and friends, frequent police harassment, and ending with her lengthy trial in Duncan, BC, in the fall of Martens was arrested as she was trying to return to her home in Langford, near Victoria on Vancouver Island.

She had been in Vancouver to attend the suicide of the morbidly ill Leyanne Burchell. Martens was charged with assisting the suicides of Burchell and of Duncan BC resident Monique Charest, whose suicide Martens had attended some months earlier. I first met Martens at her trial, all of which I attended.


There were two major themes running through the trial: Was she technically guilty, according to the Criminal Code of Canada? The Code prescribes a year prison sentence for aiding or abetting suicide, but does not clearly define these terms.

At issue in this trial was what, exactly, could be considered to be aiding suicide? Was it simply giving advice or attending a suicide, because Martens had certainly done both of those things. Or did it have to be something more than that? The crucial point in the trial came when Justice Barry Davies, in his direction to the jury, said that being guilty of assisting suicide requires more than advice or attendance; it requires some physical act in assisting, such as turning on a valve or handing out lethal pills.

Is the law a reasonable one? Even if technically guilty, should someone like Martens, who quite clearly was committing acts of human kindness in responding to pleas from people who could get help nowhere else, be prosecuted and be sent to prison for lengthy terms?

Or tried or sent to prison at all? Suicide is legal in Canada; does it make sense to have serious punishment for helping those who are committing a legal act? So both the interpretation of the law and the reasonableness of the law itself were themes running through the trial. Had the prosecution been able to prove that Martens was technically guilty — that she had taken some active physical role in one or both of the suicides, then the second issue would have likely have surfaced.

Would the jury have followed the letter of the law, or would they have refused to convict because they felt that the law was unjust? It was early October Why was she being prosecuted for assisting suicide? Why were there such strong feelings, widely reported in the press, about her and her case?

I knew little about any of this, but thought that since the trial was nearby I would cover it for the magazine I was editing at the time — Humanist in Canada. End of life issues are of interest to the humanist movement because many of the common objections to suicide are based in certain religious beliefs.

Humanists are always concerned when such beliefs appear to have influence on public policy.

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So I wanted to see what this trial was all about, but I had never taken a particular interest in end of life issues and was not especially familiar with those issues or the people who were involved with them.

I was particularly curious, though, about some extraordinarily vitriolic attacks that had been made on Martens. I soon noticed a group of people outside the courthouse, some of whom were carrying signs in support of Martens.

There were a couple of television cameras as well and a number of reporters, and some other people I did not recognize.

A discussion on active and passive euthanasia

I later discovered that some of them were members of the Right to Die Society of Canada. Suddenly there was activity to one side of the Courthouse.

Reporters with microphones and television cameras rushed over to intercept an attractive, dignified older woman who was walking in from the parking lot. Evelyn Martens had arrived. Without stopping or speaking to the reporters she went directly into the courthouse.

The trial was the culmination of a two-year prosecution process during which Martens had been subjected to a detailed police undercover operation, then arrested, jailed, shackled at times, and had her bail appeal fought by prosecutors.

She had been harassed by police in her home, been subjected to abusive accusations by certain organizations, undergone lengthy pre-trial sessions, and now was faced with the very real possibility of a year jail sentence. How had she warranted all of this?

Was she a bad and dangerous person, as all of the actions by the police and prosecutors and all of the resources devoted to this prosecution, and some of the public commentaries about Martens, would suggest?

I began to learn the answers to these questions as I became absorbed by the riveting events at the trial, and by this calm and thoughtful woman who was under such intense legal scrutiny. I got to know her as we often spoke in the courthouse hallways during breaks in the proceedings, and I had many conversations with her after the trial as well.

What struck me at first was the remarkable similarity between Evelyn Martens and the fictional Vera Drake from the great Mike Leigh movie of the same name. Vera Drake risked her freedom, before abortion was legalized in Britain, to help desperate young women who could find help nowhere else, eventually being caught and prosecuted for her acts of kindness and mercy.In Mexico, active euthanasia is illegal but since 7 January the law allows the terminally ill —or closest relatives, if unconscious— to refuse medication or further medical treatment to extend life (also known as passive euthanasia) in Mexico City, in the central state of Aguascalientes (since 6 April ) and, since 1 September , .

Dec 17,  · Active and passive euthanasia Active euthanasia. Active euthanasia occurs when the medical professionals, or another person, deliberately do something that causes the patient to die.

A discussion on active and passive euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia is conducted with the consent of the patient. Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Passive voluntary euthanasia is legal throughout the US per Cruzan heartoftexashop.comor, Missouri Department of . This issues paper explores voluntary euthanasia. It is not intended to be exhaustive, however it aims to add to considerations of this very complex and sensitive topic through analysis of the domestic regulatory environment relating to both passive and active forms of voluntary euthanasia, and of relevant international laws by way of comparison with .

LINKS TO OTHER IMPORTANT RELATED SITES Our home page is located at heartoftexashop.com We have divided up the list of other sites according to different categories, however some sites cover more than one category, so you may wish to look at other categories as well for information.

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Passive Euthanasia Essay. The debate on killing versus letting die is a difficult topic to address due to the emotional weight of the subject and the challenge presented by taking a purely rational approach to assessing the resulting moral implications - Active vs.

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Questions and Answers on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide