OTTAWA, Dec 22 ( – Canadian senators continue to address the “Medical Decisions Facilitation Act”, S-2, and are tackling a complex issue that experts say will be the first step on the road to legal euthanasia. The proposals in S-2 need to be significantly tightened up before the bill is remotely acceptable to pro-life Canadians. Issues such as the withdrawal of treatment causing death and the classification of food and water as treatment require a thorough understanding both scientifically and morally. 

Peter Ryan, a recognized expert in the field, has provided LifeSite with a comprehensive analysis of the issues around Bill S-2 and the implications for the euthanasia debate. Mr. Ryan holds a Master’s degree in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio and a Licentiate in theological ethics (STL) from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome. 

His STL dissertation was entitled, “The Canadian Debate Over Legalized Euthanasia: A Case Study in Moral Theology.” It was carried out under the distinguished moral theologian, Dr. William May, author of many books and articles and adviser to Pope John Paul II.  Ryan explains in Bill S-2, “the real issue is not the removal of extraordinary treatment.” 

The real issue is “the omission of ordinary treatment. The bill would allow ordinary life-sustaining treatment to be withheld or withdrawn under certain circumstances for any reason. 

Objectively, that constitutes homicide. When the motive is the relief of suffering, it also constitutes euthanasia.” 

The bill allows for the withdrawal of treatment and specifically includes food and water as “treatment.” Explaining a homicidal omission of treatment, Ryan says, “if a parent starves their child to death, they are surely killing the child, but they do it by omitting something – food.” 

With files from the Parliament of Canada.