Canada Could Face Parliament Debate Over Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Could Face Parliament Debate Over Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 23
, 2009

Ottawa, Canada ( — With more states in the United States approving assisted suicide or considering bills to do so, the pro-euthanasia movement is also taking its campaign to Canada. Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde announced earlier this month that she has re-introduced her bill to legalize the grisly practice.

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Canada executive director Alex Schadenberg says the momentum is rolling thanks to a vote in Washington state to make it the second to legalize assisted suicide.

Montana, another state that borders Canada, could become the third if the state Supreme Court affirms a lower court ruling allowing doctors to kill their patients.

“There seems to be an attitude among the groups that want to see it legalized, that the time is right to do it,” Schadenberg told the Canadian Catholic News. “Now momentum has changed.”

“People seem to be acting like because it was done in Washington State, why can’t it be done here,” he added.

Lalonde’s new bill is her third attempt at a private member’s bill to legalize assisted suicide and Schadenberg pointed out that she drew number 42 in the lottery for the order of introducing bills. That’s an early number — making it more likely that it will come up for a debate and have a better chance at becoming law.

Schadenberg says an assisted suicide bill would target the disabled, elderly and terminally ill and disability rights groups, pro-life organizations, medical groups and the Catholic Church will likely come together to oppose the bill.

“I think we have to understand to legalize such a thing is a direct threat to our most vulnerable people in our society, especially people with disabilities, our frail elderly, and the chronically ill,” he told the Catholic news source. He called the measure “a direct threat to their lives.”

Schadenberg previously talked with about his group’s efforts to stop such a bill.

"The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is responding by moving forward with more coalition building and examining the questions – what can be learned from this tragic loss and what do we need to do to ensure that this never happens again," he explained.

Assisted suicide backers are also organizing and a pro-assisted suicide group in Quebec, the Quebecoise pour le Droit de Mourir Dignement, has been created to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is one of three new organizations that have become members of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.

Schadenberg’s group is also organizing its second international symposium on euthanasia and assisted suicide that will take place in Washington in May.

"The focus of this Symposium is to establish where we are currently, and to build a unified coalition to enable us effectively engage in all future initiatives. We must never lose again," he said.

Schadenberg is appealing for finances to help his group combat assisted suicide in Canada. It had been urging donors to back the Washington efforts to stop the I-1000 measure and now it needs funds to be able to continue its work.

Related web sites:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition –

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