QUEBEC, February 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Even as Quebec’s National Assembly prepares for a final vote on its controversial euthanasia bill, which is expected to pass easily, the province’s College of Physicians is calling for expanding the list of those who qualify for a lethal injection.
“As Quebecers become accustomed to doctors administering lethal injections to dying patients, the questions will not be about who is receiving euthanasia but who is being denied it,” said Yves Robert, secretary of the College, according to the National Post.
Robert identified two classes of patients who will be excluded from the legislation that should be considered for eligibility: patients suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease and the terminally ill who are under 18 years of age and suffering.
“We will have to think about that, not only for [incapable] adults but obviously for youngsters who face terminal diseases,” he said.
Junior Health Minister Véronique Hivon likewise said Bill 52’s provisions are “really, really restrictive.”
As Quebec legislators and medical experts have taken Belgium’s euthanasia regime as a model, it is no surprise that Quebecers should already find themselves considering allowing euthanasia for children, as Belgium did last week.
Another coalition of Quebec doctors had previously warned that the government was opening the door for euthanizing children. Dr. Paul Saba, president of the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice, stated in December, “If the bill is adopted… the door will be wide open to euthanize children and persons who are not able to give consent.”
Nevertheless, there is a strong voice in Canada and in the world at large against the logic at work in Quebec. For instance, the World Medical Association, which represents nine million physicians, has come out against euthanasia.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said that the Quebec government’s “intention from the beginning was to include children and people with dementia. … This is not new. The Quebec Human Rights Commission thought that not allowing children to have euthanasia was a form of discrimination.”
“They are trying to open the door with this bill and then it will expand from there. … The language of the bill is very imprecise and so right from the beginning there will be lots of pressure to expand it.”
Schadenberg described this as an intentional strategy. “The government is presenting the bill as a tight one but once it passes there will be no turning back.”
He compared the situation in Quebec to Belgium, “It took them ten years to add children, but in fact … they needed to add that because they were already doing it to children. The law was being ignored. It was already being abused, and doctors wanted cover for it.”