Medical Aid in Dying’ Confuses Care with Killing

    June 12, 2013 For Immediate Release

Medical Aid in Dying’ Confuses Care with Killing

Ottawa, ON –LifeCanada expressed strong concern about the Bill introduced in Quebec today to legalize euthanasia or “medical aid in dying”.  In March of 2012 the government-commissioned “Dying with Dignity” Committee made 24 recommendations, most of them favoring “Belgium-style” euthanasia.  Today those committee recommendations were set in motion. “This is a dangerous proposal that confuses medical care with intentional acts to take a patient’s life,” said Natalie Sonnen, executive director of LifeCanada. The phrase “medical aid in dying” is an unprecedented move to make euthanasia appear as a medical act so that the Quebec government can circumvent the Canadian Criminal Code.  Medical acts are a provincial responsibility, while euthanasia falls under the federal Criminal Code, and is currently illegal in Canada. This Bill will challenge that status, and have a huge impact on the rest of the country. Growing opposition to today’s Bill has given rise to the Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia, with over 500 doctors signing a declaration calling on Quebec to stop the law from possibly going into effect as early as this Fall. “Physicians know that euthanasia is not ‘medical aid in dying’”, says Natalie Sonnen, “but the euphemism has been cleverly designed to confuse real medical care with the intentional act of taking someone’s life.” Euthanasia in Belgium is one of the most notorious in the world, with studies showing it to be administered illegally without patient consent in almost one-third of cases, and frequently induced by nurses rather than doctors, also in violation of the law.* “Despite every possible safeguard, there is no way to guarantee that abuse will not follow from allowing medical personnel to deal in death” said Sonnen, “and it will be the most vulnerable, the elderly and disabled, those who have no one to advocate for them, who will be most susceptible to this abuse.” LifeCanada strongly urges those in Quebec to contact their MNAs to help inform them of the possible repercussions of legalizing euthanasia in their province. * (1) Kenneth Chambaere et al., “Physician-assisted death under the euthanasia law in Belgium,” Cdn. Medical Assn. Journal June 15/10  (2) Els Inghelbrecht et al., “The role of nurses in physician-assisted deaths in Belgium,”  [same journal / issue] For more information, please contact Natalie Sonnen at 1-877-780-5433, or Peter Ryan at 506-471-2394. - 30 -  

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