150 years of Confederation finds respect for life in Canada at a low point

Canada@150 marks the official anniversary of Confederation, the founding of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.  We have reached a milestone of 150 years of Confederation but where does respect for life stand at this point in the history of our country? The child in the womb has lost legal protection and euthanasia is now legal as well.


Abortion kills a human being.
There is no constitutional right to abortion in Canada.
There are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada.
Since the Criminal Code was amended in 1969, at least 4 million unborn children have been aborted in our country.


Medical assistance in dying is a euphemism for euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is the killing of a human being.
Since its legalization in June 2016 to December 2016, 784 Canadians have died by euthanasia and assisted suicide.
There are better options for supporting persons with illness, disability and loneliness.

Canada, let’s make the next 150 years pro-life!

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It’s a baby!


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Safe space

15698047_10154401818353822_282186152042567498_nThe womb: the original safe space for an unborn child.

Sharing meme from the Radiance Foundation.

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Action Life sent this submission to a committee of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario considering Bill 84 – An Act to amend various Acts with respect to medical assistance in dying.

March 29, 2017
Committee of the Ontario Legislature
Bill 84- Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act
Mr. Eric Rennie
Clerk of the Committee

Good Morning:
Action Life Ottawa is a non-denominational, non-profit organization promoting respect for human life at all stages from conception to natural death through education. Our organization counts approximately 4,000 supporters in the Ottawa region. We are profoundly concerned about the lack of conscience rights protection in Bill 84 for physicians and other healthcare workers.

Action Life holds that an amendment must be made to the bill to include conscience protection. A policy of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) on Professional Obligations and Human Rights requires that physicians, who have a conscientious objection to a procedure, in this case, euthanasia and assisted suicide, make an “effective referral” to a willing and accessible physician. The policy of the College even stipulates that in some emergency situations, the objecting physician might have to provide this “care or intervention” even if this goes against his or her conscience. This forced participation, whether by referral or actually performing the procedure is a violation of the freedom of religion and conscience rights contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Physicians should not be expected to refer or provide services to which they are opposed for reasons of conscience and religion. Conscientiously objecting physicians will face investigation and disciplinary measures by the CPSO for refusing to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide. Will they in time lose their licence to practise medicine? Many physicians do not wish to be involved in facilitating the suicide and euthanasia deaths of their patients. Some believe effective referrals make them complicit in causing such deaths. We fear that if conscience protection is not included in the bill, many physicians will be left unable to continue to care for and serve their patients.

To force physicians to act against their conscience or religious beliefs would constitute coercion and discrimination. An amendment to Bill 84 providing conscience protection for healthcare workers (physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists) would prevent such discrimination against conscientious objectors. The Ontario Medical Association, in response to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s draft policy in 2008 stated:
“It is the OMA’s position that physicians maintain a right to exercise their own moral judgment and freedom of choice in making decisions regarding medical care and that the CPSO not insert itself into the interpretation of human rights statutes.”

We agree with the Ontario Medical Association that “…it should never be professional misconduct for an Ontario physician to act in accordance with his or her religious or moral beliefs.”

Action Life respectfully requests that an amendment be made to Bill 84 to ensure the rights of physicians to practise medicine in accordance with their conscience or religious beliefs.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter.

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Conscience protection for physicians


This video features Dr. Jodie Wang testifying in support of conscience rights for physicians before the Committee on Bill 84 in Ontario. Bill 84 will amend provincial laws so that they are in conformity with federal law on euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill 84, an Act to amend various Acts with respect to medical assistance in dying, contains no conscience protection for healthcare workers.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario requires that objecting physicians make an “effective referral” to another willing and accessible physician. In short, physicians who do not wish to be involved in killing patients are being asked to send their patients to someone else willing to do so.

Dr. Phillipe Violette appearing before the committee said that “Coercion can only result in a mono-culture of doctors with the same ideologies and many physicians discriminated against and forced to leave the practice of medicine.”

Dr. Rachel Forman of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) said: “The OMA believes that it is possible to reconcile patient access with physician rights, and we urge you to fill this regulatory gap by introducing an amendment in support of conscientious objection.”

Barb LeBlanc of the OMA in reply to a question concerning an amendment to Bill 84 replied: “To acknowledge that conscientious objection should be recognized and respected, and that it should supersede any regulatory college requirement.”

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Medical assisted suicide is disability discrimination


This article written by Mark Pickup was first published on his blog on April 2, 2017. Mark blogs at Human life matters. http://www.humanlifematters.org/2017/04/medical-assisted-suicide-is-disability.html

by Mark Pickup
In 2015, Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the nation’s laws against assisted suicide. It sent shock waves across the country: People opposed to legalization of assisted suicide were appalled the high court would do such a thing; advocates of assisted suicide were shocked that the court went so far – even beyond their fondest dreams. The foundation beneath the high court’s ruling was the new high ideal of personal autonomy. Apparently, in Canada, people now have a right to assisted suicide if they have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”

The Supreme Court said that self-defined grievous and irremediable medical condition ”does not require the patient to undertake treatments that are not acceptable to the individual.” Everything hinges on the patient’s perceptions and feelings — and they need not take treatments they don’t like.

Something significant happened to shake the historical taboo of killing the sick and disabled. More than 700 years of Common Law, that discouraged, prohibited or otherwise punished assisting someone’s suicide was brushed aside by one judicial decree.[1] How did this happen?

If the Supreme Court was to rule in favour of assisted suicide they had to confront a problem: The Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms – which acts as a constitution in Canada – states in Section 7 that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person …”. The judges’ had to suppress the ‘right to life’ and accentuate a false notion of liberty and emphasise ‘security of the person’. The problem with trying to suppress the right to life is that all other rights depend upon it. Liberty and security of the person become tenuous if the right to life is not guaranteed. Self-destruction eliminates liberty and assisting in a suicide is license, not liberty.
The Supremes paid obligatory but shallow homage to the concept of the sanctity of human life, then discounted the right to life in one paragraph. They wrote:

“…[W]e do not agree that the existential formulation of the right to life requires an absolute prohibition on assistance in dying, or that individuals cannot “waive” their right to life. This would create a “duty to live”, rather than a “right to life”, . . . The sanctity of life is one of our most fundamental societal values. Section 7 [of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms] is rooted in a profound respect for the value of human life. But Section 7 also encompasses life, liberty and security of the person during the passage to death. It is for this reason that the sanctity of life “is no longer seen to require all human life be preserved at all costs.”

Continuing in their cleaver distortion, the judges wrote:

“Underlying both these rights [liberty and security of the person] is a concern for the protection of individual autonomy and dignity.”

I do not believe the architects of the Canadian Charter envisioned a vehicle to autonomy and dignity included a right to suicide. The right to death is not mentioned in the Charter – the right to life is. Do you see how they were twisting things? They went on to say:

“The law has long protected patient autonomy in medical decision making.”

Granted, but Canadian law has only recently sanctioned medical killing by assisted suicide or euthanasia.

The dramatic departure from legal and moral traditions went from the court to the Canadian Parliament and assisted suicide became legal in June 2016. The legislation (bill C-14) was enacted under the euphemistic and deceptive title “medical assistance in dying”. I used the words ‘deceptive’ because those who are eligible for ‘medical assistance in dying’ do not have to be dying. The odious new law defines grievous and irremediable medical conditions eligible for medical killing:

“A person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition only if they meet all of the following criteria:

(a) they have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability;
(b) they are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capacity;
(c) that illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and cannot be relieved under circumstances they consider acceptable; and
(d) their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all their medical circumstances, without a prognosis having been made as to the specific length of time that they have remaining.”

In the first 6 months after the law passed, at least 744 Canadians received “medical assistance in dying”. There’s that deceptive euphemism again! Not all recipients were dying. According to Canadian reporter, Graham Slaughter, (what an apt name!) most of the patients have cancer, ALS or multiple sclerosis.[2] Multiple sclerosis is rarely terminal. Life expectancy for people with MS is only 7 years shorter than normal life expectancy. I have had MS for over 32 years. I use an electric wheelchair but I’m hardly dying. Medical assistance in dying becomes medical killing.

It should be noted that in 2012 Canada’s Parliament gave UNANIMOUS support to the idea of developing a National Suicide Prevention Strategy. In 2016 they legalised assisted suicide for people who are sick or disabled. So let me get this straight: Healthy and abled-bodied Canadians who become suicidal get suicide prevention support, sick and disabled suicidal Canadians get help killing themselves? Yup.

Disability advocates have fought to advance equality and inclusion for over 40 years. Canada’s assisted suicide legislation caused a severe setback to those goals. This did not go unnoticed in America. Many American disability groups oppose legalization of assisted suicide, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and Not Dead Yet, just to mention a few. Diane Coleman and Stephen Drake of Not Dead Yet commented on the Canada’s Supreme Court Decision:

“The Canadian Supreme Court ruling openly targets people with non-terminal disabilities … The Canadian high court’s holding is a shockingly blatant mandate of lethal discrimination based on disability and should be rejected outright by any human society.” [4]

Is the Canadian situation Supreme Court decision a harbinger of things to come across America? Medically assisted suicide (MAS) has been legalised in 6 states under various parameters. Someone may say that the disabled are not eligible for MAS in most states. Proponents of MAS refuse to acknowledge almost all the people dying under these laws are disabled.
Not Dead Yet asserts

“assisted suicide violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by establishing a system of unlawful discrimination whereby most suicidal people, those who reveal their intentions, receive suicide prevention services, while old, ill and disabled people receive suicide assistance instead.”

They’re right.

Old prejudices against the disabled have appeared again under the guise of death with dignity. Can you hear a chorus calling out from a multitude of disabled people, “Must we die to find dignity?” I hope not.

If there is dignity to be found, it is found in life.

Mark Pickup
[1] Paraphrase of Chief Justice William Rehnquist on assisted suicide, Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S.702(1997). http://www1.law.umkc.edu/academic/Spring2011/assignments/Washington%20v%20Glucksberg.pdf . Canadian and American law and legal traditions have deep roots in British Common Law, which dates back to the Middle Ages.

[2] Graham Slaughter, “At least 744 assisted deaths in Canada since law passed: CTV News analysis,” CTVNews.ca, 28 December 2016 (http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/at-least-744-assisted-deaths-in-canada-since-law-passed-ctv-news-analysis-1.3220382)

]3] See National Multiple Sclerosis Society website (http://www.nationalmssociety.org/About-the-Society/News/Study-Shows-Life-Expectancy-for-People-with-MS-Inc)

[4] Diane Coleman and Stephen Drake, “Statement of Not Dead Yet (USA) to Canadian Panel on Carter Case Decision”, 14 October 2015, (http://notdeadyet.org/statement-of-not-dead-yet-usa-to-canadian-panel-on-carter-case-decision)

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Safe delivery not abortion


Culture of Life Africa has produced this video titled “The dictatorship of the wealthy donor.”

The Liberal government announced on International Women’s Day that it would direct $650 million over three years  towards ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights ‘ in developing countries. ‘Reproductive health’ for abortion advocates includes abortion. 

Women in developing countries need basic medicines, prenatal care and birth attendants. These funds directed towards abortion would be better utilized to provide maternal, newborn and child health care.

As Culture of Life Africa says in its video, Africans want safe deliveries not abortion. “No one has asked Africans what they want or how they feel” says Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian scientist and president of Culture of Life Africa.

But the current government says that the “goal of Canada’s contribution is to reduce unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions, and protect and promote the health and rights of women and girls giving them the opportunity to develop their full potential and contribute to the development of their communities.”

However, abortion is not needed for girls and women to realise their full potential. Abortion denies and deprives many unborn girls of  any life at all.  Abortion cures no disease or medical condition.

The government’s plan does not stop at funding abortions. A background document titled Canada’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights-March 8, 2017, announcement informs us that it will include support for “removing judicial and legal barriers to the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights.” In other words, this Canadian government seeks to repeal laws against abortion and force its pro-abortion ideology on these developing nations.  As reported by the Globe and Mail on March 8th, funds will go to “fighting global anti-abortion laws.”

Canada will honour its commitment of $3.5 billion to maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) for the years 2015 to 2020. This initiative begun under the previous government did not include funding for abortions nor did it seek to force these nations to legalize abortion.

We read in the background document that the $650 million slated for “sexual and reproductive health and rights” aims to “build on and address gaps in our MNCH commitment..” This government calls the funding of abortion  filling a gap but in reality what is most needed is basic medical care to improve maternal, newborn and child health.   

According to a March 8th report by Laura Peyton of  CTV News, the $650 million will not come out of the $3.5 billion maternal, newborn and child health program “set up under the previous government”.

Dr. Robert Walley of Matercare International (MCI) wrote in 2014 :

“Matercare International (MCI) consultants have been working to improve pregnancy outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa for over 30 years, beginning in Nigeria in 1981 and then Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Haiti (2010) and now since 2005 in Kenya.

For me the greatest and most life-changing experience as an Ob/Gyn came during my first direct contact with maternal death in a mission hospital in south-Eastern Nigeria. In over 40 years of practice in Newfoundland, I have never had a mother die of a direct obstetrical cause, haemorrhage, infection, or hypertension. In the mission, however, I recall four direct deaths of young mothers in the course of one weekend.  All four deaths could have ben prevented with proper care and supplies.

My first reaction was sorrow but then followed anger. As an obstetrician I was outraged, because these deaths simply need not have happened at all. These women died due to neglect, which is a tragic form of violence against one particular group of women, mothers. Since that time, I have worked to make a difference and shine a light on the neglect. 


The problem is that the world forgets that maternal mortality is about the death of a mother. Thus, maternal survival depends on their being cared for one at a time, by experienced doctors and midwives in safe clean facilities, with adequate equipment, but also with transport available to go to the mother when life threatening complications arise.

What they need to consider is the World Health Organization’s most recent list of the causes of death: haemorrhage(mostly post-partum, 35%), hypertension (18%), indirect causes (HIV, anaemia, malaria, 18%), other direct causes (ectopic pregnancy, obstructed labour, pulmonary embolism, 11%), sepsis (9%). These causes amount to 91% of al deaths and occur during the last three months of pregnancy, during labour and delivery, and one week afterwards. The remaining 9% is due to abortion, both spontaneous and induced.

Therefore what is needed is what MCI calls the ‘91% solution’, which is the providing of essential obstetrics to every mother..

Abortion and birth control are basically irrelevant to solving this maternal tragedy…

MCI’s approach has been to develop a model of rural essential obstetrics which takes into account the lack of adequate maternal healthcare, poor facilities, lack of staff, lack of equipment and transport, and to involve communities in the process (especially women’s groups and traditional birth attendants). So we begin at the rural village level, where 80% of mothers presently deliver, where most maternal deaths occur.”

The developing world needs more of the kind of care delivered by Matercare International instead of abortion. But sadly, Canada’s latest goal consists in funding abortion and exerting pressure on these needy countries to legalize the practice.  Culture of Life Africa calls this the “dictatorship of the wealthy donor”


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All human beings are equal


Sharing from Students for Life of America

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Making people dead

syringue - doctorRyan Tumilty of Metro News Ottawa reported on February 13th that 28 people in Ottawa have died “with the help of a physician ” since the passage of Bill C-14 in June 2016.

These 28 deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide occurred in hospital, at home or in a nursing care centre. These are the numbers provided up to February 3.

Ontario recorded 250 deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide since June 2016.

There is no breakdown in the figures released as to how many deaths were the result of euthanasia by lethal injection and how many were cases of assisted suicide where the physician or nurse practitioner provides a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs.

Mr. Tumilty writes that doctors have been telling the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) that “they struggle with taking part in assisted death procedures.” Jeff Blackmer of the CMA told Metro News Ottawa that  “They will say, it was just too difficult and too traumatizing physiologically and it is not something I will go through again,” he said. They really struggle with it, and for some of those that it is the only one they will do.”

According to this report, some provinces maintain a list of physicians who may be willing to take part in euthanasia or assisted suicide. These lists we are informed are “getting shorter.”

Stephen Chang-Fong, spokesperson for the Ottawa Hospital emailed Mr. Tumilty stating that “they understand that physicians may not be willing to take part in assisted deaths.”

Mr. Chang Fong said: “We will be respectful of all heath-care providers at the hospital by recognizing their right to conscientiously refuse to participate.”

To those physicians or nurse practitioners who do engage in euthanasia or assisted suicide, the Ottawa Hospital offers “resilience training.”

The purpose of this resilience training is to help staff “manage the stress” that comes with being involved in these death practices which the spokesperson calls end of life care.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are not end of life care but rather they are the end of all care. So killing patients is not easy for some health care staff. The solution is not resilience training but to stop killing patients. Killing is not health care.



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Every Life Counts


doctor holding baby

Every life counts has produced a beautiful video filled with moving stories about children born with life limiting conditions. You can watch the video at Everylifecounts.ie.

One father speaks of his daughter Elaine who was referred to as “incompatible with life” but actually lived with her parents for twenty five years. Her parents “found the term ‘incompatible with life’ very hurtful. It’s not a medical diagnosis, it’s a judgement call. Elaine defied all the odds.” He said: “She was our little ray of life. She touched so many.”

The mother of  eight year old Kathleen Rose born with trisomy 13, tells viewers that “she lights up our life. We wouldn’t swap her for the world.”

So much misinformation says another mother: “People say babies suffer in the womb. That simply isn’t true. It’s cruel to say these things and wrong to mislead families.”

Kathleen ‘s mother adds : “Or to say that this is abortion for medical reasons when it’s not. Abortion doesn’t make the baby better. it doesn’t cure any medical illness.” She continues:  it’s so wrong when parents are pushed toward abortion. This is really abortion for babies with a disability.”

Some children with life limiting conditions live for a few hours, a few days or months. Others defy all expectations and live for years. It bears repeating that incompatible with life  is not a medical diagnosis although it is used by some physicians.

Another young mother relates how her child was labelled ‘incompatible with life’ to which the mother says “she was compatible with love.”

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