Doctor Assisted Suicide in Canada: The Decision

(via: PEI Right to Life)

Today Canada makes history as the Supreme Court releases its decision on assisted suicide in the Carter Case. It comes as no surprise to many of us who have been following this issue closely. The decision to strike down the Criminal Code prohibition of assisted suicide and force Parliament to legislate on this issue was imminent.

There will be plenty of language around “safe guards” and “strict guidelines” to prop up the decision, but the principle will have never-the-less been established. The Supreme Court of Canada will now accept that a doctor can kill instead of care for patients whose lives have become difficult and vulnerable due to age, illness or disability. What was once a criminal offence will become an acceptable medical practice.

This decision affects every Canadian now and in the future. It will teach this generation and generations to come that some lives are not worth living, that killing patients can be a medical option, and that death at the hand of a doctor is somehow a human right.

This decision will also have a lasting impact on our physicians, who may be pressured to either administer death or face professional censorship and discipline.

It will inevitably shift public opinion to consider assisted suicide a human right, with corresponding duties on doctors to act. Doctors can and will be pressured to submit to an act of killing patients against their will and better judgment.

We have been warned by experts such as Dr. Theo Boer,* that regardless of safeguards, laws that essentially allow one person to take the life of another lead inexorably over time to patient killing on demand and the non-voluntary killing of those deemed to have low quality of life in society (e.g. those with dementia).

The Supreme Court has bowed to the winds of change, and been blown about by popular fads rather than standing firm on the ever present principles of justice and protection of all human life.

LifeCanada is concerned for the lives of the vulnerable, but we also are concerned that this new decision will teach generations of Canadians that the value of human life is not inherent, but rather subjective and dependent upon circumstances, a very dangerous premise indeed.

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* Dr. Theo Boer was a Member of a Regional Review Committee for the Dutch Government to assess whether a euthanasia cases were conducted in accordance with the Law.

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