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Richard Dawkins replied to a tweet from a woman who said she didn’t know what she would do if she was pregnant with a child with Down Syndrome by recommending that she abort the child as this was the moral thing to do: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice”
We provide part of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s response to Mr. Dawkins comments:
Thursday, 21 August 2014
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is appalled at comments made by author Richard Dawkins in regards to the morality of having a child with Down syndrome. CDSS works to ensure equitable opportunities for all Canadians with Down syndrome by fostering a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity, worth and equal rights for ALL people.
We believe that the widespread use of genetic screening for the purpose of identification and termination of fetuses with Down syndrome may adversely affect the quality of life for all persons with Down syndrome and threatens the diversity and vitality that people with Down syndrome and other disabilities currently contribute to many Canadian communities.
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.
73% of Atlantic Canadians do not support public funding of abortion on demand according to an Environics Research Group 2011 survey . The Morgentaler abortion clinic in Fredericton said that it would have to close this summer for financial reasons. The director of the clinic said that it could not remain open unless it received medicare funds. The Morgentaler clinic is a private facility. For years, Dr. Morgentaler sought to have abortions covered through public funds at his clinic in New Brunswick. The province of New Brunswick funds abortions in hospitals but not in private clinics and hence rejected Dr. Morgentaler’s demands.
As for the rest of Canada, the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario Québec and Newfoundland pay for abortions performed in hospitals and private clinics. Other provinces pay for abortions done in hospitals. Some provinces do not have private abortion facilities.
The Canada Health Act does not require that abortions be funded. In fact the Canada Health Act does not mention abortion. It requires only that medically necessary services performed by a physician be provincially funded.
Does abortion qualify as a medically necessary service? Canadian Physicians for Life have said:
“Abortion is not an essential medical service. It is designated “medically necessary” for purely social and political, not medical, reasons. Pregnancy is not an”injury, illness or disease.” There is no proof that abortion improves health. In fact it disrupts a normal physiological process, poses a risk to the mother, and ends the life of her developing child. There is no “medical necessity” where no medical benefit or health risk exists.”
“To justify funding of a service, the medical necessity and therapeutic value of that service should be undisputed.”
Abortion advocates lobbied for abortion under the banner of “choice” but expect the taxpayer to fund this “choice”.
In a letter to the Montreal Gazette dated April 23, 2014, Dr. Balfour Mount, the founder of palliative care in Canada and Dr. Serge Daneault, Chief, Palliative Care Service, Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, highlight the dangers of Bill 52. The Québec government’s Bill 52 would legalize euthanasia in the province. They write:
“It is impossible to legalize euthanasia without putting vulnerable patients at risk, as the experience in Belgium and other countries shows clearly. Bill 52, with or without the amendments, goes even farther than the Belgian law; it defines medical homicide as health care and requires that it be available to all patients who meet the exceedingly broad criteria set out in the bill.
The public, which seems to be clamouring for so-called death with dignity , is largely unaware that what is being proposed to them is a homicidal act and that skilled palliative care and wise management of end of life decisions are sufficient to address the fears leading to their request.”
Canadians need improved access to quality palliative care not medical killing.
Human life begins at conception. This is a scientific fact not a religious belief.
In Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia, 5th edition we find:
“At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum(zygote) a new life has begun…”.
Signs4life.ca produced these bus shelter and interior bus advertisements which ran in Halifax in January. A simple caption reads: Luc was born today but his life began nine months ago.