Annual Symposium Focuses on Building Euthanasia Opposition

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2011   |   12:50PM   |   Vancouver, Canada

A collection of people of all stripes — disability rights advocates, bioethicists, pro-life people and religious leaders — will gather together in western Canada next month for the next installment of an international conference on euthanasia.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is again sponsoring the Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide from June 3-4 in Vancouver at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel in order to educate people about the ways in which activists are promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide and to build opposition to the practices.

Speakers are from Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, United States and Netherlands.

“The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition exists to build a well-informed broadly-based network of groups and individuals to create an effective social barrier to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Our goal is to help build a stronger unified coalition of those who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide,” EPC director Alex Schadenberg says.

“Societies are facing continuous social attacks on vulnerable people under the guise of freedom and choice. Learn how others have successfully defeated the euthanasia lobby and how we can effectively work together to defeat it everywhere,” he adds.

“The fact is that legalizing assisted suicide threatens people with disabilities and other vulnerable people who are already devalued by society. Negative attitudes and perceptions of people with disabilities will create subtle pressure that they “choose” assisted suicide,” Schadenberg continues. “But since when was this issue ever about choice?”

When it comes to the end-of-life issues that pro-life advocates fight, it may appear that momentum is on the side of those who see death as a solution for those who are considered too old or too ill. Assisted suicide proponents have legalized the practice in Oregon and Washington and opened the door to legalizing it in Montana. But those who want to protect disabled and elderly patients have fought back against and defeated efforts in states like California, Hawaii and Vermont.

“There have been fabulous victories in Idaho a bill that properly defines assisted suicide as a felony, was passed in the Senate by a vote of 31 to 2 and passed in the House by a vote of 61 to 8. In New Hampshire, a bill to legalize “Oregon Style” assisted suicide was massively defeated by a vote of 234 to 99. We are hoping that the overwhelming defeat of the bill in New Hampshire will help to defeat the bill in Vermont,” he explained.

Schadenberg has said previous that people must work together to keep the “merchants of death” at bay.

“This is the most important meeting that has ever been organized to combat the euthanasia lobby in America and turn back the tide,” he tells “There is a growing pressure in every state in America to legalize assisted suicide.”

“This pressure is built upon the lies that assisted suicide is simply another end-of-life choice and it is based on the autonomy of the individual,” Schadenberg says.

Schadenberg says the educational forum is needed to help change a culture that increasingly views people as a burden.

“It is not based on autonomy because assisted suicide requires the direct and intentional involvement of another person. It is not simply another choice, it is really about how society would directly and intentionally cause the death of people,” he says.