Anti-Euthanasia Group Campaigns Against Canada Assisted Suicide Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Anti-Euthanasia Group Campaigns Against Canada Assisted Suicide Bill

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 3
, 2008

Ottawa, Canada ( — A member of the Canadian Parliament has announced his intent to propose a bill that would legalize assisted suicide in Canada. But one leading anti-euthanasia group isn’t waiting for official introduction of a bill before asking pro-life advocates to start speaking out against it.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has launched a letter-writing campaign asking people to contact their MPs and urge strong opposition to a potential bill from MP Francine Lalonde, a member of the Bloc Québécois party.

The organization has written sample letters but EPC director Alex Schadenberg encourages people to write their own to express their views.

The letter says assisted suicide and euthanasia "directly threaten the lives of people with disabilities and other vulnerable people in our society."

It points out what reports from Oregon, the only American state to have legalized assisted suicide, show is a recurring problem.

"Depression is often undiagnosed or poorly-treated. Combined with other life-threatening or chronic conditions, the cry for help is often made by way of a request to die," it says.

"A recent new report indicated that in the state of Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, none of the 49 people who died by legal assisted suicide in that State were referred for a psychological or psychiatric assessment," the letter continues.

As an alternative, it touts promoting "measures that increase the quality of life for people who experience difficult life conditions" rather than "measures that threaten their very existence."

"At a time when many Canadians do not have access to caring and supportive end of life care, we need to promote compassionate end-of-life care and ethical palliative care instead of sanctioning euthanasia or assisted suicide," the sample letter says.

Canada previously dealt with assisted suicide when the Supreme Court of Canada issued a 5-4 ruling preventing Sue Rodriguez from having a physician kill her.

Lalonde put forward the last bill to attempt to legalize the practice that did not put Canada in league with European nations like the Netherlands and Belgium.

The outcome of what happens in Canada could also be affected by the American debate.

Voters in Washington state may decide in November on whether or not to make it the second state after Oregon to legalize assisted suicide. A victory could motivate some Canadian MPs to push for a new bill.

Related web sites:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition –