QUEBEC, October 29, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Quebec government is one step closer to decriminalizing euthanasia as “medical aid in dying” after Bill 52 passed its second reading today with an 84 to 26 “vote in principle” at the National Assembly, with none abstaining.
“Quebec does not have the jurisdiction to do what they’re saying they’re going to do,” Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com. “They’re talking about legalizing euthanasia redefined as ‘medical treatment’ but in fact it is part of the Criminal Code.”
The bill’s pushers defined today’s vote as a “vote in principle” so that those who disagree with the wording of the bill, but agree with euthanasia itself, could vote in favour of the bill with a view to having parts of the bill amended, said Schadenberg.
A Quebec government committee released a report in March 2012 titled “Dying with Dignity” calling on the National Assembly to legalize euthanasia, or in its words, “to recognize medical aid in dying as an appropriate end to life option.”
Hundreds of Quebec physicians quickly formed an alliance to convey their outrage to the government over the pending legislation, calling euthanasia through lethal injection “not a form of care, but rather the definitive end of all care.”
Quebec’s move towards allowing doctors to kill their patients as a “medical” act disregards the federal Criminal Code, which prohibits such practices.
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Bill 52 — titled “An Act respecting end-of-life care” — was tabled in June by the Marois government. It would allow those in the province with “an incurable serious illness,” among other criteria, to be killed by doctors.
Life and family leaders around the country slammed the government’s move at the time as paving the way to abuse.
The federal government stated in June it “will review the implications” of the proposed legislation.
“The laws that prohibit euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are potentially the most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly, and people with disabilities,” stated former federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
Doctor Kenneth Stevens from Oregon, where physician assisted suicide has been legal for over decade and a half, warned Canadians on Sunday that Quebec’s bill 52, if successful, will be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Quebecers annually at the hands of doctors.
The Oregon assisted suicide law has not deterred elder abuse and the number of assisted suicide deaths has risen by 381 percent since 1998, from 16 to 77 deaths in 2012.
Stevens said the bill sends the wrong message to patients with a difficult diagnosis, namely that “doctors can do a better job of killing you than caring for you,” reported NewsWire.
Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews that while the vote moves the bill closer to its third and final reading, “the fact of it is that it’s not quite done yet.” He said that the Quebec government is allowing amendments to the bill to be heard and that this will give those fighting against the bill a little more time.
Schadenberg is also pinning hope on the Federal government stepping up to the plate: “There is clear indication that the Federal Government will challenge this bill if it passes third reading.”
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is urging Canadians to write to Justice Minister Peter MacKay, demanding that he “uphold our federal law that equally protects all Canadians from euthanasia and assisted suicide.”
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Email: [email protected]