Hundreds of pro-life and disability rights protesters participate din a massive protest in front of Canada’s Parliament after it passed a bill that would legalize euthanasia nationwide.
In a vote of 186-137, the House of Commons passed Bill C-14 on third reading on Tuesday and now the legislation legalizing assisted suicide heads to the Senate.
A mass rally was held Wednesday to protest the bill, which is described by Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Executive Director Alex Schadenberg as “legal cover for murder.” Here’s more from a top Catholic newspaper:
Hundreds of people gathered on Parliament Hill to protest against euthanasia June 1, the day after Parliament passed Bill C-14 to legalize the practice and sent it on to the Senate for royal assent.
Organized by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the Quebec grassroots organization Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia, the rally featured speakers from the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice and the Catholic Women’s League, while also attracting several Senators who spoke briefly to the crowd, among them Betty Unger, Norman Doyle and Tobias Enverga.
Unger told the crowd she never imagined in her four-and-a-half years in the Senate she would be dealing with an issue so “heart wrenching.”
“I am completely opposed to the idea,” said the former nurse, adding there can be no euthanasia without a “serious option for assisted living, not assisted dying.”
Enverga promised to do his best to make sure the bill doesn’t pass unless it “goes through the tiniest hole in the needle so all life not intended to be killed will not be killed.”
Though the bill passed, it will not meet the Supreme Court of Canada’s June 6 deadline to have a law in place.
Schadenberg has outlined the problems with the assisted suicide bill.
“If this bill passes, in its current form, the language of Bill C-14 will lead to significant growth of euthanasia. There will be many stories that people will refer to as a “slippery slope.” Let me tell you now, these stories will not be the result of a “slippery slope” but rather they will be based on the fact that the language of Bill C-14 allowed these acts to occur,” he said.
When I stated that the most grievous sections of the bill have not been amended, here is what I meant:
1. Bill C-14 continues to allow anyone to cause death by euthanasia or assisted suicide.
• Bill C-14 – Section 227(2) states: No person is a party to culpable homicide if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.2.
• Bill C-14 – Section 241(3) states: No person is a party to an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.2.
• Bill C-14 – Section 241(5) states: No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.2.
No jurisdiction in the world offers legal immunity to anyone who does anything for the purposes of assisted dying. These sections must be struck from the bill.
2. Bill C-14 continues to provide medical practitioners or nurse practitioners total immunity for decisions or acts that contravene Bill C-14.
• Section 241.3 states: Before a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner provides a person with medical assistance in dying, the medical or nurse practitioner must: (a) be of the opinion that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1);
• Section 227(3) states: For greater certainty, the exemption set out in subsection (1) or (2) applies even if the person invoking it has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.
Sections 241.3(a) and 227(3) make it impossible to penalize medical or nurse practitioners for approving or doing an assisted death that contravenes the law, since the bill only requires them to: “be of the opinion” that the person meets all of the criteria of the law. This is the lowest possible standard. Section 227(3) provides an exemption that is wide enough to protect Dr Harold Shipman. Further to that, Bill C-14 provides no effective oversight of the law.
If the person who died was incompetent, the medical or nurse practitioner would only need to state that he/she was “of the opinion” that the person was competent.
The Supreme Court of Canada in Carter approved assisted death based on: “a competent adult person who clearly consents to the termination of life.”
Section 241.3(a), does not assure that the person is competent or clearly consents to the termination of life. Therefore Bill C-14 does not respect the language of Carter. Unless Section 241.3(a) is amended to ensure that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1), Bill C-14 will be struck down by a future court decision.
Bill C-14, in its current form, must be defeated.