End of LifeThu Feb 21, 2013 - 5:29 pm EST
Quebec physicians rise up en masse against proposed euthanasia law
QUEBEC, February 21, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of Quebec physicians have formed an alliance to convey their outrage over the pending legalization of euthanasia by the government.
“Euthanasia through lethal injection is not a form of care, but rather the definitive end of all care,” said Dr. Patrick Vinay, director of a palliative care service and spokesperson for the Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia.
“Patients should never be forced to give up their right to be treated and cared for,” he said.
The alliance, consisting of 317 doctors, is calling on all of the province’s doctors to recognize the dangers of legalizing euthanasia, a procedure which the draft bill dresses up as “medical aid in dying”.
Drs. Catherine Ferrier and Marc Beauchamp urged colleagues at a recent meeting in Montreal to reject the euthanasia proposal, calling it a “process through which physicians would lose all professional judgment and become legally bound to kill their patients on demand rather than to alleviate their suffering to the best of their abilities”.
The alliance seeks to ensure that Quebec hospitals remain environments of healing, a place where no one will fear that their loved ones might be forced to accept “medical aid in dying”.
“The stakes in this draft bill are poorly understood and poorly defined, and they would bring about a substantial loss of rights both for patients and for health care professionals”, states the alliance.
The Physicians’ Alliance is inviting doctors to sign a declaration stating that a euthanasia law is “contrary to the goals of medicine and the good of our patients, especially the most vulnerable and those who cannot speak for themselves”.
Instead of euthanasia, the alliance holds that patients at the end of life should receive “diligent and competent” care to relieve their pain and suffering and that physicians have the “obligation to use all the means available to achieve this end”.
Pundits suspect that the Quebec government will legislate by the end of June to allow euthanasia. The law will be based on Quebec’s Select Committee “Dying With Dignity Report” and will apply to Quebecers over the age of 18, who make the request and who have a “serious, incurable disease”, or who are in an “advanced state of weakening capacities, with no chance of improvement”, or who have “constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering that cannot be eased under conditions he or she deems tolerable”.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews.com in a recent interview that the Committee’s proposal for getting around Federal law that prohibits euthanasia was to redefine euthanasia as a “medical treatment”. Euthanasia as a “medical treatment” would then fall under the jurisdiction of provincial health care laws.
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“Because they can’t change the criminal law, they’re going to call euthanasia a ‘medical treatment’ and say it’s legal because it’s a ‘treatment’. They’re changing the meaning of words to get a way with homicide,” he said.
The Quebec Life Coalition has slammed the approach as “undemocratic and unconstitutional”.
Top American bioethicist Wesley J. Smith has criticized Quebec’s push to legalize euthanasia, saying it will turn doctors into killers and establish broad “categories of the killable” that will apply to practically anyone seeking death for any reason.
Despite a number of people seeking to change Canadian law and sway public opinion on assisted suicide, only 16 percent of Canadian doctors say they would euthanize their patient if it were legal.
A public demonstration against the proposed bill is planned for March 9 in front of the legislature in Quebec City.