Pro-euthanasia legislation in Quebec guts the soul of medicine
June 6, 2014
For Immediate Release
Ottawa, ON – Quebec has voted to legalize euthanasia in the province under the guise of “medical aid in dying,” giving doctors the power to lethally inject their patients with the intent to end their lives.
Tragically, this law, though designed to limit euthanasia to those at the end of life, neither clearly defines what is meant by ‘end of life’ nor protects those with psychological suffering who would seek euthanasia as a means of dealing with their problems.
“The passage of Bill 52 is a corruption of medicine, that will force doctors to abandon an age-old oath they took to protect the life of every patient, namely the Hippocratic Oath”, said Natalie Sonnen, executive director of LifeCanada.” This decision by the Quebec government has gutted the soul of medicine in that Province, and will have a lasting impact on the rest of Canada.”
The elderly and disabled are particularly affected by this legislation because Bill 52 states that those eligible must be in “an advanced and irreversible decline of function.”
Particularly galling is the way that the legislation has blurred the lines between palliative care and euthanasia, by referring to euthanasia as “continuous palliative sedation”. Palliative care is a vital service that truly helps patients die with dignity, and which is currently available to only 16% of the Canadian population.
“When a doctor kills a patient, implicit in that act is the notion that the patient’s life was not worth living, and that is a powerful and destructive message that is sent to the sick, elderly, disabled, and mentally ill of our society,” said Sonnen. “No safeguards can protect us against the message that some lives will be worth fighting for and some will not.”
Safeguards are a hollow promise especially in light of studies that have shown, again and again, that they do not work. A 2010 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is just one example. That study showed that fully one third of euthanasia deaths in Belgium were performed illegally and without patient consent.
The Quebec model for Bill 52 has been Belgium, which has received the Council of Europe’s condemnation for their decision to offer euthanasia to children. The Council wrote that the Belgian law “betrays some of the most vulnerable”.
Finally, public polling on the issue has failed to explain what has been meant by the term “medical aid in dying.” A more reliable study by Abingdon research in October 2013 showed that when the public understand that euthanasia is involved, support for the legislation drops to only 35%.
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Natalie Sonnen at 1-866-780-5433.
LifeCanada/VieCanada is a national, not-for-profit organization working to ensure respect and dignity for all Canadians.