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York University
HIST 3850
Patrick J Connor

MURDER HISTORY LECTURE: MARCH 15TH, 2013 TOPIC: EUTHANASIA, MERCY KILLING ➔ There are 3 cases listed online that need to be reviewed ➔ Definitions ◦ Euthanasia ▪ Refer to ppt ➔ More Definitions ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ Population growth due to increase in average life expectancy ➔ Average Life Expectancy at Birth ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ This average life expectancy has been improving steadily over the years (example from 41-78) ➔ Canada: an Aging Population ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ Due to population explosion because of the birth of the baby boomers ◦ Aging population controlled by fertility and mortality ◦ Proportion of the aged to the young has increased ◦ Low mortality (pyramid looks more like a vase instead – young at bottom, aged at top) ➔ Median Age for other Countries (2001) ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ Canadian population – progressively aging over the years ◦ Percentage of those over age 65 has also changed (2001 – 13%, by 2036 we are expected to have 25-29% of those over age 65) ➔ The 80 and over Crowd: a rising tide ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ Age cohort – improved (population explosion amongst seniors is what we are witnessing – this will not happen any time soon) ◦ 1976 – for every 100 people in Canada under the age of 15 there were 36 ◦ Over 100 people over the age 65 for every 100 people ◦ 2000-2051 – Canada's total population will grow by 40% ➔ Average Number of Births by Age Cohorts ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ Aging population in Canada ◦ Why is this the case? ◦ Many factors leading to longer life spans ▪ Better nutrition – better idea these days on how to eat healthier ▪ Better living conditions ▪ Better health care ➔ Factors affecting average life expectancy ◦ Refer to ppt ➔ Refer to photos ◦ Low class dwelling (Toronto in 1930's) ◦ 2 nd photo – old city hall in background – no running water (from communal wells, no toilets, people packed into rooms, brewing diseases) ➔ Causes of Death ◦ Refer to ppt ➔ Conclusions to be drawn from demography ◦ Refer to ppt ◦ This aging population rises many questions ▪ Will we be able to afford pensions because there are so many aged people ▪ Doctors may not always be able to cure you but they do use our health care system today to help you stay alive for as long as they can ▪ We have become successful at extending life that it now creates conflicts – do we want to live longer – legal and moral problem based on the dividing line for how one is to die ▪ Some can handle suffering for a little while and the naturally passing while others are adamant about not suffering at all and would rather die peacefully • 2012 – assistant suicide is still illegal • A lot of people trying to challenge this law • Sue Rodriguez – important case ◦ NDP fought for her right for assisted suicide ◦ 1992 – she challenged the legality Section 241 of the Criminal Code stating assisted suicide is a crime ◦ Suffered from ALS – degenerative condition – mind is stable, body shuts down to the point that you become paralyzed, suffocate, and drown in your own saliva ◦ She said the prohibition denied her right to life, liberty and security as a person which is suppose to be guaranteed by the Criminal Code ◦ She feels it is her body and her life and so she should be able to control how and when she wants to die ◦ She was in a wheelchair at the time – needed a doctor to assist in ending her life at this point ◦ Case ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada ◦ Agreed Section 241 did deprive her but that this deprivation was justified ◦ Respect for life – fundamental principle ◦ Prohibition against assisted suicide – protect vulnerable who may be convinced to commit suicide ◦ Turn down the appeal ◦ Discriminated against the disable – prevented them from committing suicide meanwhile the able could commit suicide when ever they wanted ◦ Lost her case ◦ She did commit suicide with assistance in secret ➔ Robert Latimer ◦ Farmer in Saskatchewan ◦ Killed his daughter Tracy ◦ His daughter suffered from cerebral palsy ◦ To relieve her pain he killed her and argued it was the right thing to do and that she would have wanted it ◦ She did not choose to end her life herself and instead he made the decision (conflict) → charged with 1 degree murder (keep note that parents typically make medical decisions for their children) ◦ How did
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