This short clip features interviews with Canadians about assisted suicide. Unfortunately, no one presents any reason to oppose it, but what’s particularly interesting is how the third person arrives at a perfectly logical conclusion based on society’s premises. Indeed, we don’t give preborn children a choice when we end their lives, so what is there to stop consenting adults from ending their own? (Though of course in practice the sick would feel coerced into ‘choosing’ euthanasia because they don’t want to be a burden and disabled children would be candidates for euthanasia because adults deem their life, the only one they have, not worth living by an able-bodied person’s standards.) And really, why do we have suicide prevention programs and hotlines when it all boils down to an individual deciding whether his or her life is bearable? This is not to be provocative – it’s a natural extension “if that’s the logic,” as the young man in the video says.
Many people genuinely believe that being compassionate requires supporting abortion and euthanasia, even when they feel in their heart of hearts that it’s wrong. Active compassion, however, means staying by a friend or family member’s side even when their life takes an unexpected turn, for however long that might take. Isn’t it worth considering that we might not know when the best time for death is? For instance, there are many cases of people on their deathbed who hold on until a family member arrives to say goodbye. Moreover, isn’t it strange that it’s at this time in history, when medicine advances at incredible speed and we can do more than ever to manage pain, that there’s this desire to have death on demand available? The idea that there could be value in suffering and sacrifice, that there are some things that we can’t choose and plan, has become so completely foreign to our society that the general sentiment is that they are to be avoided at all costs, up to and including death. Life is already short, so let’s get out there and respond by educating people with life-affirming logic!
No matter where you stand on abortion, surely we should all be horrified that 491 babies were born alive and left to die between 2000 and 2009 in Canada, as confirmed by Statistics Canada. How can this be happening in our country? Could it be that not granting any protection or assigning any value to preborn children at any point before birth leads to more of the same treatment when they are still vulnerable after birth? (Infants and others in the UK are being subjected to slow death by starvation in an end-of-life regime called the Liverpool Care Pathway. Euthanasia by any other name is just as insidious.)
On Friday, the BC Supreme Court moved Canada one step closer to legalized euthanasia.
But legalizing euthanasia won’t solve the real problems.
Instead of making it easier to kill the weak and the vulnerable, we should recognize all human beings as having dignity and value and start making serious efforts to ensure their needs are provided for.
That means making serious investments in palliative care and strengthening the institutions of the Culture of Life.
An Environics poll commissioned by Life Canada found that 95% of Canadians think palliative and hospice care should be a high (66%) or medium (29%) priority for the government. Only about a third of Canadians have good access to palliative care. Palliative care focuses on pain management, emotional and comfort care at the end of life.
Close to three-quarters (74%) of those polled were worried that if the law against euthanasia is changed a significant number of elderly and disabled persons would be euthanized without their consent.
by Dante De Luca
Every so often, we at uOSFL invite a speaker to come share with us their experiences in the pro-life movement. Such speakers have included Stephanie Grey, Andrea Mrozek, Vicky Green, MP Maurice Velacott, Dr. Rene Leiva, and many others. There is one man, however, whom we have wanted to have as a speaker but have never been able to get hold of. That man is Dr. José Pereira.
Dr. Pereira is a professor at the University of Ottawa and head of the palliative care program at Bruyère Continuing Care and the Ottawa Hospital. You can read more about him here. And now you can go hear him speak, courtesy of the Ethics in Medicine club.
Dr Pereira will be giving a lecture, entitled Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from the Swiss Experience, on Thursday, January 13, 2011 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in RGN 3248 (Amph D). I encourage you all to go listen to what he has to say since this promises to be an event well worth attending.
Here in Canada, euthanasia is on the forefront of bioethical dispute. Bill C-384, which will soon go through its second debate in the House of Commons, seeks to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. “Active euthanasia” is the intentional premature termination of another person’s life by direct intervention.
We live in a time when medical treatments are advanced, and we have the ability to provide pain relief to enhance the quality of life for patients. Palliative care provides a comfortable end of life experience for those who are nearing death. Rehabilitation centres prove to be effective alternatives to help disabled patients recuperate. Euthanasia, however, offers doctors another option; instead of treatment, they have the power to give a lethal injection that ends the patient’s life.
The Hippocratic Oath provides basic moral rules for doctors to guide their actions. The first mandate is a clear prohibition of killing their patients. The laws against euthanasia, which are currently in place, are there to prevent an abuse of power; mandating doctors to provide health care and not executions.
We’re being constantly bombarded with rhetoric of a “right to die”. Does this translate to a “right to kill”? Doctors are given the power to administer a death sentence to those who have no “quality of life”. This leads to the victimization of those with an illness, be it physical or mental. Indeed, a “slippery slope” exists in the euthanasia debate, where the inalienable right to life is denied especially to vulnerable groups.
The act of euthanasia itself devalues human life. People’s lives should not be judged as “worth living” or not, but instead must be treated with respect and dignity — from conception to natural death.