Euthanasia Advocates Plan
Advertising Campaigns in Australia and Canada
Part Two of Three
By Liz Townsend
Euthanasia activists are
trying to use advertising to convince people that death should
be a legal "choice" in Australia and Canada. Exit International,
the pro-euthanasia group founded by Australia's Dr. Death,
Philip Nitschke, submitted billboard and television ads
advocating assisted suicide in both countries. So far, no TV
network or billboard company has accepted the ads, according to
The TV spot features an
actor pretending to be a terminally ill man, ABC News reported.
He frames his death as just another "choice," listing decisions
he made during his life, such as, "I chose to always drive a
Ford." Then he discusses his suicide in the same terms: "What I
didn't choose was being terminally ill. I certainly didn't
choose to have to watch my family go through it with me. I've
made my final choice. I just need the Government to listen."
Ads on Australia's
free-to-air TV stations need to be accepted by a regulatory
agency called Commercials Advice (CAD), which is part of Free TV
Australia. CAD initially approved the commercial to air
September 12 on Brisbane's Channel Seven, but after further
consideration it withdrew its approval, according to ABC News.
"We have considered that
an advertisement for voluntary euthanasia is a promotion, or
encouragement, of suicide, as voluntary euthanasia would be
considered to be a subset of suicide," CAD wrote in a letter
sent to the agency that produced the ad for Exit International.
"CAD has discussed the advertisement with the television
networks and they're of the same view as CAD."
Exit International also planned to post billboards near Sydney
beginning in October, AAP reported. However, Billboards
Australia refused to post the ads, citing the law in New South
Wales that "outlaws the aiding or abetting of suicide or
attempted suicide," according to AAP.
In Canada, Exit
International submitted the ads in advance of Nitschke's trip to
the country in early October. Nitschke is planning to hold
workshops detailing how people can kill themselves in Vancouver
October 7 and Toronto October 13, QMI Agency reported. Nitschke
wants to post billboard ads in those two cities, according to
the Toronto Globe and Mail.
The Television Bureau of
Canada (TVB) must approve the TV ad before it can be broadcast,
but it has not yet announced a decision. It had been reported
that the TVB rejected the ad, but officials told QMI Agency
September 28 that "the ad was still in the review process and
that it had been neither banned nor approved."
Nitschke presented his
"Safe Exit" workshop in Vancouver last year, and so far two
people have died in Canada after following his instructions,
according to the Globe and Mail. Five others are known to have
made preparations as Nitschke advises, which includes buying the
drug pentobarbital from Mexico to stop the heart and lungs or
buying helium gas to fill plastic bags that are placed around
the person's head to cause asphyxiation, the Globe and Mail
Pro-life Australians have
spoken out strongly against Nitschke's campaign to legalize
euthanasia. "We've all been close to people who have had a hard
and difficult death," Melbourne Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins
told The Age. "However, we also understand what a threshhold we
cross when our efforts are not focused on protecting life, and
providing comfort and pain relief until life ends."
Sydney Anglican Archbishop
Peter Jensen agreed. "It will be a very bad thing for Australian
society to break down the key barriers which stand between us
and a brutal world," Jensen told The Age.
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