Blogs

Posted on Wednesday 6th April 2022 at 6:35pm

The voluntary assisted dying rates of both the Netherlands and Belgium have levelled off - at different, culturally-bound values - as my analysis six years ago predicted.

Through the lens of Covid lock-downs, six years ago seems like an eternity ago, doesn't it? But it was back in 2016 that I published a major analysis of voluntary assisted dying rates and practice in the Benelux lowlands, focusing a bright spotlight on the Netherlands and Belgium.

Using authoritative and robust data, I indicated that the ongoing rise in both countries' VAD rates would level out at rates that were culturally bound. This despite persistent hyperventilations of VAD opponents that most of us would eventually be "knocked off" by not-so-voluntary euthanasia. Generally, the adoption of behaviours at the societal level tends to follow a sigmoidal (stretched S-shaped) curve, and the then VAD data was consistent with this phenomenon.

Keywords: Assisted dying (AD) | Belgium | Netherlands | Analysis | Statistics

 

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Posted on Tuesday 22nd March 2022 at 6:52pm

Despite shrill claims that the Netherlands' 2006 protocol would result in the convenient extermination of 'problematic' neonates, its use remains extremely rare, the latest annual report reveals.

Back in 2016 I authored a very detailed, evidence-based analysis of the 2006 Dutch Groningen Protocol, which stipulates detailed steps to be taken in respect of late-term abortions and euthanasia for neonates suffering in extremis from abnormalities that contra-indicate their short-term survival. In it, I revealed a major viral distribution of misinformation about the supposed euthanasia of 650 babies a year in the Netherlands, rapidly spread by religious anti-VAD lobbyists. The table describing the trail of religious viral "infection" spans multiple pages.

Ideological opposition to the Groningen Protocol remains, and even gets "scholarly" attention. For example, in 2020, a lengthy anti-Groningen narrative (35 pages) by Bogna Wach was published in Analiza i Egzystenja, a journal of the Polish University of Szczecin.1 In it, the author uses moderate-sounding scholarly language to paint a dark picture of the Protocol.

 

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Posted on Friday 18th March 2022 at 1:00am

The Anglican archbishop of Sydney has revealed profound ignorance by revealing he hasn't a CLUE what his own flock think about voluntary assisted dying law reform.

I've written previously about bishops demonstrating their ignorance, as in the example of Catholic Bishop Tim Harris who presumed most or all of his flock opposes voluntary assisted dying (VAD), when in fact a significant majority support it. This time it's the Anglican Sydney diocese archbishop who's loudly flaunting his biases.

Sydney Anglican archbishop Kanishka Raffel (pictured on the diocese website above), has launched a program calling on NSW parliamentarians to reject a bill that, with a large number of safeguards, seeks to make VAD lawful in the state. NSW is the last state in the nation that still outlaws the practice.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | New South Wales | Frank Brennan | Margaret Somerville | Religion | Christian | Anglican/Church of England/Episcopal | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Thursday 13th January 2022 at 11:00pm

A repeat publisher against voluntary assisted dying for the terminally ill, Dr Marion Harris has let ‘er rip again in The Australian newspaper with eye-watering logical inanity, and misinformation about palliative care.

Dr Marion Harris recently published another op-ed, this one in The Australian, against legalising voluntary assisted dying for the terminally ill. Her “reasoning” is inane, failing the basics of Logic 101 and offering up misinformation about palliative care. It also comprehensively fails to mention her deep underpinning Catholic ideology.

Dr Marion Harris is an experienced Melbourne-based oncologist. Having practiced for some twenty years, she’s co-authored research papers published in the peer-reviewed medical literature regarding the assessment of treatments for particular kinds of cancer.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Voluntary euthanasia (VE) | Australia | Victoria | Catholic | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Monday 13th September 2021 at 8:07pm

The Canberra Times demonstrates why the mainstream media can sometimes be the problem in public-square debates publishing misinformation and failing to publish corrections.

Last month, the Catholic Archbishop of Canberra & Goulburn, Christopher Prowse, published an opinion piece about VAD in the Canberra Times. Naturally, Prowse's views were opposed, which is fine. A range of views is always welcome. Misinformation, however, is not.

It would be unreasonable to expect that the opinion editor of the Canberra Times, Andrew Thorpe, would be intimately versed in the empirical evidence about voluntary assisted dying (VAD). So, it was reasonable that he publish an opinion piece on the topic offered by Archbishop Prowse. What is not reasonable, however, is that the counter-opinion I promptly submitted, pointing out several points of significant misinformation, was not published. A month later, still nothing.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Australian Capital Territory | New South Wales | Religion | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 26th May 2021 at 4:03am

The other day, a TV commercial from more than 30 years ago popped into my head. In a rollicking exposé of hidden interests and purposeful agendas, I explain why.

The other day a TV commercial from more than 30 years ago popped into my head. It was a humorous slice-of-life scene in which a teenage son gobbles down a breakfast bowl of Sultana Bran cereal. He complains that his health-kick girlfriend had made him eat vegetarian the night before. His family eye each other with mirth as he eats.

The punch line? “Don’t mention it’s healthy and they’ll eat it by the boxful.”

sultana_bran_ad_1990.jpg The Kellogg's Sultana Bran TV commercial from 1990.

Despite having worked in advertising research for years, I’m sure I hadn’t thought of this ad for at least a couple of decades. So what brought this vignette suddenly to mind?

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Belgium | Catholic Church | Catholic

 

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Posted on Tuesday 27th April 2021 at 7:12pm

The Netherlands' euthanasia commission has just released its latest annual report card, showing a modest rise in cases but a steady proportion of all deaths.

The Netherlands euthanasia commission has just released its 2020 annual report.

The report shows that the number of cases rose around 9% over the 2019 year. However, the number of total deaths was also up, resulting in a continuation of relatively level rate in recent years (Figure 1).

netherlandsbelgium2020.gif
Figure 1: The assisted dying rate in the Netherlands and Belgium

Keywords: Assisted dying (AD) | Belgium | Netherlands | Regulation | Statistics

 

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Posted on Saturday 13th March 2021 at 11:57pm

Anti-VAD campaigners have caused themselves further major embarrassment by repeatedly cherry-picking statistics to try and establish a case that the full data conflicts with.

Here we go again. Branka van der Linden of Catholic anti-VAD website “HOPE”, and the Australian Care Alliance — endorsed by a number of well-known, committed Catholic doctors — have just published more egregious misinformation against VAD. This time they've collectively piled it on Victoria's general suicide statistics, recently updated by the Victorian Coroner. So what did they say, and how did it misrepresent the actual situation? Let's take a look.

The reason the statistics are being discussed is because in 2017, Victoria's parliament legalised voluntary assisted dying (VAD) for the terminally ill. The law came into effect halfway through 2019, and 2020 was the first full year of its operation.


Australian Care Alliance gets the basics wrong


Keywords: Bull | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Branka van der Linden | Religion | Catholic | Statistics | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: Suicide 'contagion'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 at 9:32pm

Belgium and Oregon have just released their 2020 reports cards covering voluntary assisted dying practice.

Belgium and the USA state of Oregon both released their annual voluntary assisted dying (VAD) reports this week. I report on the numbers.

While the Netherlands and Washington state haven't released their 2020 annual VAD report cards yet, Belgium and Oregon have.

Keywords: Assisted dying (AD) | Belgium | Netherlands | Oregon

 

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Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020 at 11:19pm

The latest media release from the Australian Christian Lobby against voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform exposes the soft underbelly of their desperation -- headlining their argument with a bullshit anecdote.

"Bullshit!"

That was the reaction of Dutch Senator Erik Jurgens when I asked him about a Dutch euthanasia anecdote spread by Mr Paul Russell, then head of the Australian anti-VAD Catholic front organisation "HOPE". In 2011, Mr Russell had been spreading the story:

"I often use the story of the death of a 26 year old ballerina in Holland [sic]. She had contracted a form of arthritis at this young age and her dancing career and dreams were dashed. An American oncologist who spoke later to the killing doctor reported the Dutch medico as saying something like 'One doesn't like doing it, but it was her choice.'" — Paul Russell, "HOPE" [my emphasis]

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Netherlands | Paul Russell | Religion

 

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