NewsThu Nov 4, 2010 - 12:15 pm EST
Canadians Worry about Vulnerable People if Euthanasia is Legalized: Poll
November 4, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A year of public debate about legal euthanasia has left Canadians with concerns about how vulnerable people - those who are elderly, depressed, disabled or chronically ill - will fare if the law changes.
A new poll by Environics Research of 2,025 Canadians has found that although 59% said they support legal euthanasia, the number who “strongly support” it has declined by 3 points since last year. Support is highest in Quebec at 69%, down from 75% a year ago, and lowest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 49%.
However, subsequent questions about the effect on vulnerable populations reveal strong concerns about the practice. Almost two-thirds, 63%, are worried that elderly Canadians would feel pressure to accept euthanasia to reduce health care costs, up from 57% in 2009. Interestingly, Quebeckers, whose government recently completed public hearings on legal euthanasia, expressed the highest concern, 75%.
Canadians are also worried about people being euthanized without their consent: 78% expressed concern about this, compared to 70% last year.
The poll also asked about euthanizing terminally ill or severely disabled infants with a parental request and consent. Almost half, 49% opposed euthanasia in such cases while 44% supported it.
71% of those polled said governments should invest more in palliative and hospice care instead of legalizing euthanasia.
The poll was commissioned by LifeCanada and was conducted in September 2010. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.
LifeCanada’s president, Monica Roddis, said that the current debate has been a healthy one. “Canadians have been confused about euthanasia and what it means. The more they learn through debates at the federal level and this fall during the Quebec hearings, the less comfortable they become.
“There have been many doctors and nurses who specialize in end-of-life care who have spoken openly and passionately against legalizing euthanasia,” said Roddis. “They understand the perils that face patients and medical professionals if such legislation were to pass. We applaud their courage in speaking up and in contributing to the education of Canadians on this issue.”
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