By Thandiwe Konguavi
Staff Writer
Alex Schadenberg speaks with parishioner
The only antidote to the culture of death is love, says Alex Schadenberg, international chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
Schadenberg is the producer of The Euthanasia Deception, a gripping documentary that tells the stories of people with real, direct experience with euthanasia and assisted suicide recently screened at three parishes across the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
The documentary aims to battle a “one-sided” narrative on euthanasia by sharing the stories that are not heard in the mainstream media and exposing the most common misconceptions, or “deceptions,” about the practice which is now legal in Canada.
“If a person becomes sick, they are often emotionally and psychologically affected by their illness,” said Schadenberg. “And if I’m alone and I don’t have a support community, it’s very likely that I’ll feel that my life has lost value, I have no hope, and there’s no purpose in my living.
“The only antidote to the culture of death, is love.”
Euthanasia is not compassionate, says Amy Hasbrouck, a lawyer and disability rights leader featured in the film. She tackles the first of three deceptions about euthanasia. Hasbrouck says some supporters of euthanasia argue that ‘Because we euthanize our animals, why shouldn’t we do the humane thing for people with disabilities?’
The vast majority of animals that are euthanized are abandoned, have behaviour problems, are old, are ill, and unwanted, says Hasbrouck. “And that’s exactly what happens to humans. “I would not want to subject humans to the same treatment that we subject animals to.”
Phyllis da Costa, a member of St. Charles Parish in Edmonton who attended a screening of the documentary on Feb. 7, said she is especially concerned for the elderly and for the disabled, but the threat of euthanasia should concern everybody.
“It’s just a matter of going out and slipping on the ice, and we can be disabled in the next 10 minutes,” da Costa said, adding that the documentary personalized the issue for her.
“It was very moving and very convincing. You saw the pain and knew that it was real.”
In today’s society, people are always looking for the easy way out of a situation to avoid stress and suffering, said Igor Raposo. He agrees with the film's premise that everybody has a role to play in stopping euthanasia by “journeying” with those who are suffering.
“We need to embrace people that are in that situation,” Raposo said. “We need to be human beings to one another.”
Raposo, 32, said euthanasia concerns all generations, especially young people who have the opportunity to learn about euthanasia and speak out against it.
“You can't just go around saying ‘Euthanasia is bad, euthanasia is bad,’” he said. “You have to explain why. We can nip this thing in the bud by getting to the younger generation.”
Katherine Tarras, Christian family life chairperson for the Edmonton Diocesan Council of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL), said society is making it too easy to “check out.”
Tarras agreed with the film’s argument that euthanasia doesn’t just affect the individual.
“It’s sad. Your family, those are the people that are left picking up the pieces.”
The CWL, which organized screenings of the film, is also lobbying against euthanasia on a national level.
The Euthanasia Deception will be screened again on Wednesday, February 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Good Shepherd Parish, 18407 - 60 Ave., Edmonton.
The film can also be purchased or the trailer viewed online at