The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and DunnMedia & Entertainment have partnered to create a documentary showing stories on of how euthanasia laws have affected people in Belgium. Screenshot courtesy of Vulnerable Film via YouTube

New documentary tackles truth about euthanasia

  • September 22, 2016

Promoters of assisted suicide and euthanasia have effectively used heart-wrenching stories from those experiencing great pain as they deal with illness. By putting a human face to a discussion, they have been successful in getting the courts and politicians to come aboard the right-to-die bandwagon.

Alex Schadenberg and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognized the strength of this strategy and have crafted a counter-strategy in response. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and DunnMedia & Entertainment have partnered to create a documentary showing real stories of how euthanasia laws have affected people in euthanasia’s “ground zero,” Belgium.

“We’re trying to uncover the reality of the story,” said Schadenberg, executive producer of The Euthanasia Deception, released on DVD and online on Sept. 12, that examines Belgium’s 15-year experience with euthanasia.

“The whole point is that there is a deception in our culture. We’ve been sold something that is not true.”

The documentary unpacks common statements about the euthanasia debate. The film travels to Belgium, Holland and Canada to speak to experts, anti-euthanasia advocates and real people to debunk myths about assisted suicide. Numerous people whose lives have been affected by the legalization of euthanasia in Belgium share heartbreaking stories of how they lost their loved ones.

One of the testimonies comes from Tom Mortier, a chemistry professor at University College Leuven in Belgium. Mortier became known in Europe last year when he went to the European Court of Human Rights to appeal under the “right to life” legislation after his depressed mother was killed by lethal injection at her own request in 2012.

Mortier’s mother had psychiatric conditions. Mortier said she was physically healthy, but she was going in and out of depression. She was being treated at a free university hospital in Brussels when she requested euthanasia by lethal injection.

Because the law only required the patient’s consent, Mortier and his family were not notified until after his mother had died.

“At school, I had a lecture in the afternoon, my wife e-mailed me that I had to phone the hospital because my mother had died. I was in complete shock,” said Mortier in the film.

By taking his case to the European courts, his story became a trigger to re-examine the euthanasia movement in Europe. The film hears anonymous testimonies from Hendrick Reitsma, who claims his grandfather’s death was hastened without request; “James,” who regrets family pressure to euthanize his mother; and Lionel Roosemont, who is asked by Belgian strangers why he will not euthanize his severely disabled daughter.

“It was very important in the beginning that we don’t just do this from a Canadian perspective, from a North American perspective, but actually go to where this has been in place for 15 years now,” said Kevin Dunn, director and executive producer. “That way, we can take out any thought of people criticizing us for just sabre-rattling, if you will, with nothing at the end of the sabre.”

Dunn said it was important for both him and Schadenberg that the film was presented with real stories and real information.

“These aren’t religious reasons. These are stats by the control commission, stats from Oregon where assisted suicide is prevalent,” said Dunn. “These are issues pretty much ignored by the media and we, as Christians and as a society, have to look at these things.”

The online release of the documentary marks the beginning of a long-term campaign partnership between the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and DunnMedia & Entertainment.

The film is the first of a series of films on that will provide multimedia outreach tools, such as films, apologetics, testimonies and resource materials.

A special edition of the Euthanasia Deception, called Vulnerable, will premiere on EWTN on Nov. 30, featuring commentary from Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins and Dutch Bishop Jan Liesen.

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