Canada Pro-Life Advocates Asking for More Calls to Oppose Assisted Suicide Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Pro-Life Advocates Asking for More Calls to Oppose Assisted Suicide Bill

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 15
, 2009

Ottawa, Canada (LifeNews.com) — A Canadian pro-life group is urging euthanasia opponents to step up their efforts to oppose a bill in Parliament that would legalize assisted suicide. LifeCanada says it is opposed to legalizing assisted suicide because it would target elderly and disabled patients with death instead of care and treatment.

Bloc MP Francine Lalonde introduced Bill C-384 in May that would permit assisted suicide for anyone 18 or older who is experiencing “severe physical or mental pain” and has “tried or expressly refused” treatment.

"While we oppose any legislation that would allow assisted suicide or euthanasia under any circumstances, this bill is particularly dangerous," LifeCanada says.

The pro-life group says the legislation "would mean that a depressed 18-year-old who refused medication could ask for and receive a lethal prescription."

The bill also allows assisted suicide those who request it “while appearing to be lucid," which LifeCanada says is a problem.

"Individuals may appear to be lucid while suffering from dementia, confusion, incapacitating depression or other factors, and may be particularly vulnerable to pressure or coercion to request assisted suicide or euthanasia," the group explains.

The organization is asking for letters, calls and emails and has put together talking points on its web site that concerned Canadians can use to contact their MPs with opposition to the bill.

LifeCanada says refusing or "withdrawing life-prolonging treatment when dying a natural death is not assisted suicide/euthanasia. There is nothing wrong with letting death occur naturally when treatment is no longer effective."

However, this does not include withdrawing food or fluids.

"Providing food and water is basic care that under no circumstances should be withdrawn unless the body is no longer able to absorb nutrients due to imminent death," the group adds. "’Quality of life’ considerations should never be a factor—food and water is a basic human right for every living person."

Nearly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young Canadians age 15-34.

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 LifeNews.com 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.

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.

Related web sites:
LifeCanda – https://www.lifecanada.org
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – https://www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca

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