About-face: Canadian Medical Association says doctors killing patients may be ‘appropriate’ in some cases
OTTAWA, February 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- As Canada’s highest court prepares to rule Friday on whether doctors can assist in killing their patients, the country’s leading medical association has come out saying that doctors helping to kill certain patients may be the most “appropriate” option.
In a statement approved at the board level, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) stated that “there are rare occasions where patients have such a degree of suffering, even with access to palliative and end of life care, that they request medical aid in dying. In such a case, and within legal constraints, medical aid in dying may be appropriate.”
As an association that once subscribed to the universally revered Hippocratic Oath — by which a doctor swore to “neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect” — the CMA has by degrees over the years moved away from unconditionally embracing the doctor’s high calling of practicing the art of healing. With the approval of abortion, and now euthanasia, the association reveals how it is more and more accepting what late Pope John Paul II called the “culture of death.”
In August 2013, the CMA barely managed to hold onto its formal position against euthanasia or assisted suicide as delegates narrowly voted against a measure that would have urged the federal government to conduct a large-scale public consultation regarding doctors killing patients as a medical act.
By April of last year, an article appeared in the CMA Journal announcing that euthanasia is inevitable and that doctors had better figure out how to deal with it.
Four months later, the association’s new head, Dr. Chris Simpson, called euthanasia a choice that was “appropriate for people after all other reasonable options are exhausted.”
In August, the association voted in favor of a controversial motion that protected the moral right of doctors who approve of euthanasia to perform the procedure.
Then in December, the association’s director of ethics, Dr. Jeff Blackmer, confirmed that the CMA was preparing for a Supreme Court decision that would lift the euthanasia ban, despite the fact that over 70 percent of the country’s physicians polled by the association wanted nothing to do with legalized euthanasia.
The association has a history of devaluing human life, from its earliest beginning and now, in its last stages. In 2012, the association successfully helped in stonewalling a national abortion debate when it stated that a baby does not become a “human being” until after it is born.
Speculation abounds that the Supreme Court in Friday’s Carter decision will in some way or another erode the 1993 Rodriguez decision that affirmed prohibitions against assisted suicide and euthanasia as constitutional and legitimate in a free and democratic society.
Dr. Simpson told the National Post that if the top court strikes down existing euthanasia laws, then “we’re going to need to hit the ground running if we want to lead and do this well.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews the CMA’s new stance is a “serious problem” and he is “hoping physicians will stand up and reverse [it].”
“The CMA is acting on their own without actually having the permission of their membership,” he said, adding that he believes the organization has been “taken over” by insiders from Dying with Dignity.
“They are sadly going against the medical-historical attitude of not causing the death of your patient,” he added.