Thaddeus Baklinski

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Public submissions to Quebec committee overwhelmingly reject euthanasia, assisted suicide

Thaddeus Baklinski
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MONTREAL, November 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A study of submissions to Quebec’s public hearings on euthanasia, the Special Commission on Dying with Dignity, shows clearly that Quebecers overwhelmingly opposed legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The independent analysis of the 427 oral presentations and written submissions to the Commission was conducted by Vivre dans la Dignité (Living With Dignity), a grassroots anti-euthanasia group.

The report found that only about a third (34%) of those who submitted to the Commission were either somewhat or strongly in favor of euthanasia.

“This is a far cry from the inflated survey numbers often used in the media by advocates for legalizing or decriminalizing euthanasia in Quebec,” said Linda Couture, director of Living With Dignity.

“The numbers are black and white. In the presentations to the Commission there was 99 per cent agreement that palliative care is the dignified choice Quebecers want available at the end of life,” she said. “At the same time, 60 per cent of the submissions opposed any opening for euthanasia. The government’s democratic direction should be clear.”

Living with Dignity also pointed out that a further analysis of the content of the submissions of those who apparently favored euthanasia showed significant confusion between directly taking a patient’s life – outlawed under the Criminal Code – and ceasing futile treatment, which is universally acknowledged as ethical.

“Many of those who believe they support euthanasia really oppose overzealous treatment,” explained Dr. André Bourque, president of Living With Dignity.

“The law already makes a very clear distinction between euthanasia and withdrawal of treatment. Palliative care rejects disproportionate treatment and focuses on comfort care for the person at the end of life. However, we need an extensive awareness campaign in order to overcome the current confusion.”

Living with Dignity argued that with all-but unanimous support for increased palliative care, it is crucial for members of the all-party special Commission to focus on what unites Quebecers.

“By honoring the voices of those who spoke at the Commission hearings, the members can produce a final report and make recommendations that will build solidarity among Quebecers on deeply difficult and complex issues of end of life care. Let’s give life to what unites us,” said palliative care physician Dr Patrick Vinay, vice-president of Living With Dignity.

The results of the analysis of submissions to the Special Commission on Dying with Dignity are available here.

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