News

Wednesday July 6, 2005


Bill C-407 A Bill to Legalize Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On June 15, 2005; Francine Lalonde, Bloc Québécois member from La Pointe-de-l’Île introduced Bill C-407: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity).

Bill C-407 acts by amending sections 222 and 241 of the criminal code. Section 222 of the criminal code concerns homicide. The prohibition to euthanasia in Canada is found in Section 222. The prohibition to assisted suicide in Canada is found in section 241.

Bill C-407 leaves the current wording in the criminal code unchanged but then adds a new subsection (7) to section 222 on homicide and a new subsection (2) to section 241 of the criminal code. These new subsections to sections 222 and 241 state that the criminal code is not in effect under the circumstances, as defined in the bill.

Bill C-407 legalizes both euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Summary:

Bill C-407 is not about allowing a “death with dignity”. This bill legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people suffering chronic physical and mental pain.

Bill C-407 does not require that a person at least try effective treatments for their chronic physical or mental pain. It states that a person qualifies for euthanasia even if they have refused to try effect treatments.

Bill C-407 is not about “death with dignity” for competent people. This bill legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who “appear to be lucid”. What does that mean?

Bill C-407 is not about “physician aid-in-dying”. This bill allows anyone to euthanize or assist the suicide of anyone,

so long as they are “assisted by a medical practitioner”, and act in the way indicated by the person who asks to die.

Bill C-407 allows a person to kill another person, if that person asks to die. Once society allows one person to kill another it becomes impossible to protect persons who are otherwise viewed as a burden on society.

How does Bill C-407 amend Section 222 of the criminal code to legalize euthanasia?

The bill amends section 222 of the criminal code by stating that: Despite anything in this section, a person does not commit homicide within the meaning of this Act by reason only that the person aids another person to die with dignity, if:

— the person must be 18 years old.

(This may be the only real limit to the bill)

— the person must have tried the appropriate treatments available or refusing the treatments that have not been tried.

(This line of the bill is double talk. If you have refused treatments that have not been tried, then you don’t even need to try appropriate treatments at all).

— the person must be suffering severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief.

(This line in the bill directly affects people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic physical or mental pain. Chronic pain suffers know that their pain can be mitigated but there is often no prospect of total relief or cure for their condition. This bill has nothing to do with terminal illness and everything to do with eliminating certain people).

— or suffers from a terminal illness.

(There is no definition for terminal illness in the bill).

— has, while appearing to be lucid, made to a medical practitioner, or to the person who aids the person to die, two requests more than ten days apart expressly stating the person’s free and informed wish to die.

(What does it mean to appear to be lucid? People who experience chronic depression may appear to be lucid. If this bill is passed into law, you will have to be careful what you say to your physician, family, friends or care-givers when you are having a bad day. If you state, on a bad day, that you wish to die, and state it again 10 days later, you will have given them the right to kill you, or exercised your obligation to die.)

— has, while appearing to be lucid, designated in writing, before two witnesses with no personal interest in the death of the person, another person to act in his or her name with respect to the person who aids him or her to die, and with respect to any medical practitioner, while the person does not appear to be lucid.

(The second part of this section is very concerning. It states: with respect to any medical practitioner, while the person does not appear to be lucid. Does this mean that a medical practitioner may euthanize a person while he/she is not lucid.)

The person who aids the other person to die:

— is a medical practitioner or is assisted by a medical practitioner, (What does it mean to be assisted by a medical practitioner. This means that anybody can euthanize another person.)

— has received confirmation of the diagnosis from two medical practitioners — or, if the person who aids the other person to die is a medical practitioner, from one medical practitioner — with no personal interest in the death of the person. (In the Netherlands and the State of Oregon, “Right to Die” organizations provide a list of physicians who are willing to refer a person for death. If a physician believes that a person does not qualify for euthanasia or assisted suicide, another physician is found to provide the referral.)

— is a member of or is assisted by a team of persons entitled under the laws of a province to provide health services. (What does it mean to be a member of a team or assisted by a team of persons?)

— acts in the manner indicated by the person who wishes to die.

— provides the coroner with a copy of the confirmation referred to in subparagraph.

(After the action reporting is not a safeguard because coroners reports are only for people who are dead)

— For the purpose of this section, “medical practitioner” means a person who is entitled to practise medicine by the laws of a province. (This definition of “Medical practitioner” is not restricted to a physician. Physicians are not the only professionals who are entitled to practise medicine in Canada.)

How does Bill C-407 amend Section 241 of the criminal code to legalize assisted suicide?

The bill adds a subsection (2) to section 241 of the criminal code and uses the identical language and clauses as it does in section 222.

Bill C-407 legalizes assisted suicide in the identical manner to which it legalizes euthanasia.

Conclusion: Bill C-407:

* This bill is not about allowing a “death with dignity”. It legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who suffer chronic physical and mental pain that is treatable.

* This bill does not require that a person at least try appropriate treatments for their chronic physical or mental pain. It states that a person qualifies for euthanasia even if they have refused to try treatments.

* This bill is not about allowing “death with dignity” for competent people. It legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who “appear to be lucid”. What does it mean to appear to be lucid?

* This bill is not about “physician aid-in-dying”. It allows anyone to euthanize or assist the suicide of anyone, so long as they are “assisted by a medical practitioner”, acts in the manner indicated by the person who wishes to die.

* This bill does not even provide the typical “limits” that we have seen in other euthanasia or assisted suicide proposals in other jurisdictions.

* Needs to be delayed in parliament and defeated at second reading.

* Every member of parliament needs to speak to this bill.

* There is nothing good or redeeming about Bill C-407.

Bill C-407 allows any person to kill another person. Once society allows one person to kill another person it soon becomes impossible to protect people who are otherwise viewed as a “burden” on society.

Bill C-407 is an attack on people with disabilities, people with chronic conditions and other vulnerable Canadians who are already devalued by many members of society. People who need to be protected.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.

0 Comments

    Loading...