by Anne Mullens

(from "Last Rights" #14, Winter 1995)

Should Canada change its 104-year-old law prohibiting assisted 
suicide?  Should the Criminal Code be revised to permit 
physician-assisted voluntary euthanasia for the incurably ill? 
 These questions engender an over-heated and polarized debate 
that seems to have no middle ground.

British Columbia journalist Anne Mullens, the 1993-94 winner of 
the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, spent 12 months 
investigating the benefits and shortcomings of various 
policies for dealing with the right-to-die.  She travelled 
across Canada and the United States, visited England and 
Scotland, and spent six weeks interviewing leaders on all 
sides of the issue in the Netherlands.

Her report was serialized in eight parts by theToronto Star 
(October 15 through 23, 1994) marking the first time in Canada 
in recent years that a well-trained reporter has published 
original  and comprehensive research on right-to-die issues.

Ms. Mullens, a 36-year old award-winning journalist, and mother 
of two, was formerly a science and medical reporter with the 
Vancouver Sun.

The significance of Ms. Mullens' study cannot be overstated.  
For much of the past year, the Senate Special Committee on 
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide has heard thousands of words 
of (unsworn) testimony on every aspect of end-of-life problems 
and issues.  Unfortunately, much of that testimony only 
restates or increases the amount of misinformation which 
Canadians have to wrestle with on the topic.

It would take a huge staff of researchers working overtime to 
counter the inaccuracies and prejudices contained in the 
Senate testimony.  Unfortunately the Senate Special Committee 
hearings have received little attention in the mass media and 
virtually no scrutiny by knowledgeable critics.  Ms. Mullens' 
indepth study is the only piece of up-to-date research by a 
journalist which Canadians may read in order to become as 
informed as they need to be in the months of stormy political 
debate ahead.

Last Rights is honoured to publish the complete text (newly 
revised and updated) of Anne Mullens' invaluable 
report-written from the perspective of someone who has 
listened to every viewpoint in the right-to-die debate and 
struggled with every question in an intellectually honest 

We wish to thank the Atkinson Foundation for its permission to 
publish the full report for the first time.


NOTE: Ms. Mullens series consists of 16 articles, totalling 
29,000 words.  "Last Rights" is the ONLY source of this 
complete, newly revised and updated manuscript.

The English version of "Last Rights" is being sent to every 
Member of Parliament and Senator.  A French translation of Ms. 
Mullens' series is being sent to every MP from Quebec.  
Courtesy of the Right to Die Society of Canada, the only 
politically active "right to die" organization in the country.