Dr. Nick Pavlovsky
REGINA – Evil and the culture of death thrives because good people do nothing.
Variations of that phrase have been around ever since Irish politician and philosopher Edmund Burke first uttered them in the 1700s. They were heard again March 16 in the Theology on Tap euthanasia lecture delivered by Dr. Nick Pavlovsky to a group of Catholic young adults.
Pavlovsky was introduced as a doctor with 43 years experience who trained in what was then Czechoslovakia but escaped during the 1968 revolution, emigrated to Canada and became a general practitioner.
Pavlovsky reviewed the history of euthanasia (a Greek word meaning "good death") since it was debated by Greek philosophers and physicians four centuries before Christ and how through verbal and philosophical manipulation it has been accepted by many peoples and nations.
It began in 1920 Germany. "Respected men of the medical and legal professions began to debate the advisability of ending lives considered to be useless, lives not worth living, undesirable," said Pavlovsky. It was described as a compassionate option for individuals, families and society. The practice was continued and expanded during the Nazi era, which led to the Holocaust.
The memory of those years led to a decline in the interest of euthanasia until about 1967 when the Euthanasia Society of America, which had begun in 1938, re-emerged as the Choice in Dying.
Euthanasia groups all over the world were successful in getting it legalized in several countries and U.S. states. The Death with Dignity Act was passed in 1997 in Oregon with the supposed intention of providing assistance, comfort and pain control for the dying.
Since then, he said, the official guidelines have been ignored by physicians "and none have been punished or reprimanded for non-compliance. Here is the example of the slippery slope."
That slippery slope appears to be well established in Holland and Belgium. Both countries legalized Euthanasia in 2002 but turned a blind eye to its practice prior to the legalization. The Internet (ProCon.org) states one in five deaths in Holland is the result of euthanasia and about 11 per cent are involuntary.
Pavlovsky said a 2004 report in one Holland hospital said babies who did not conform to arbitrary hospital standards were euthanized. The category is expanded to include depressed people and those over 70 who are tired of living.
"Mobile units are now available and people are being killed in their own homes," he said.
He reviewed recent assisted suicide cases in Canada in which the courts acquitted those charged. The Latimer case in Saskatchewan in which Robert Latimer killed his severely disabled daughter and served 10 years in prison happened in 1994. The recent court cases were in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
"We must firmly stand in defence of the vulnerable and vehemently oppose unethical government policies and laws and pray for the conversion of the enemies of life," he said.