Canada Parliament Sees Introduction of Bill Today to Legalize Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 13, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Parliament Sees Introduction of Bill Today to Legalize Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 13
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A member of the Canadian Parliament officially introduced her legislation today that would legalize assisted suicide in Canada. Francine Lalonde, of the Bloc Québécois political party, introduced a private members bill to legalize the practice that is allowed in three states in the U.S.

This is Lalonde’s third attempt to legalize assisted suicide in Canada.

She first introduced Bill C-407 in June 2005 and Bill C-562 in June 2008 and Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told about the prior battles.

"Both bills were not limited to the direct and intentional killing of terminally ill persons, but also people experiencing chronic physical and mental pain," he said. "Her previous bills were falsely sold under the guise of choice and autonomy, but were really about the rules that needed to be followed for one person to intentionally and directly cause the death of another person."

Schadenberg said the third time may be a charm for Lalonde because she is number forty-two in the private members bill order of precedence. That means that, unless a national election is called, it is likely that her bill will receive a vote at second reading.

He indicated his group has not seen the text of the bill yet but will likely prepare an analysis next week of the legislation for pro-life, medical and disability rights groups to begin using to oppose the measure.

Leading pro-life advocates are concerned about the potential for a vote on the bill 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 previously. “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.

Assisted suicide backers are organizing a pro-assisted suicide group in Quebec, the Quebecoise pour le Droit de Mourir Dignement. 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 later this month.

"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.

Related web sites:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition –

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