Quebec bishops: Euthanasia bill would bring ‘grave and harmful consequences’
QUEBEC CITY, May 29, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a strongly worded letter the Assembly of Bishops of Quebec (AEQ) has urged the faithful to “urgently” contact their elected representatives to oppose the province’s newly-resurrected euthanasia bill, which could be voted on as early as next week.
“The adoption of this bill would have grave and harmful consequences for the future of Quebec,” said the letter, signed by Rimouski Bishop Pierre-André Fournier, president of the AEQ. “Inducing death is not health care.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews, “The Quebec bishops are vigorously reminding people that euthanasia, which is what Bill 52 will allow, is not healthcare. It is a form of causing death – a form of homicide.”
“It’s unconstitutional, it should not be happening and in the end it will not be about creating greater freedom for people, but will result in the deaths of many Quebec citizens and sometimes even involuntarily,” he added.
The bishops explain that while the legislation may call it “medically-assisted dying,” it is truly about euthanasia. “The expressions ‘dying with dignity’ and ‘medically-assisted dying’ used to qualify a lethal injection lead to confusion and misunderstanding,” they wrote. “What is being considered here is euthanasia, pure and simple, and not end-of-life care.”
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Answering common objections regarding the fear of patients not being able to refuse “therapeutic aggression,” the AEQ letter says, “Patients already have the right to refuse to have their life prolonged artificially hooked up to devices of all sorts.”
“But what the bill tackles is of a totally different nature: it would allow physicians to directly cause death,” added Bishop Fournier. “This would contradict the very goal of medicine: to provoke the death of a patient is not to care for them.”
The letter also addressed the sadness and anxiety that surround the end of life. “We understand, of course, the anxiety and grief of all those who have heard a dear one pleading for death while in agony,” it reads. “Palliative care is the best means for alleviating suffering for persons approaching the end of life and for helping them make it through this ultimate stage of their life with humanity and dignity.”
Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine, penned an individual pastoral letter to his diocese adding his own reflections on the matter. “We love and care for those who are vulnerable, and one day, we, ourselves, will all be vulnerable,” he wrote. “It is important for us to know and trust that our family and society will not choose to hasten our death, but will rather be present and support us until the very end.”
Archbishop Lépine concluded, “Causing the death of an innocent human being is causing the death of our own self.”