Canadian archbishop: Helped suicide law already compromising respect for life

With helped suicide now the unwritten law and asserting its first victims, I am considerably alarmed by the impact it is having on attitudes towards those who are suffering as their lives wane.

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Recently in B.C. we saw the very first constitutional difficulty of the new law, requiring assisted suicide for non-terminal diseases. A couple of days back, a Montreal hospital stated that it might permit assisted suicide in its palliative care unit. Across Canada, some provincial federal governments and medical regulators are aiming to compel participation in euthanasia and helped suicide by medical professionals and other health-care employees.

Can anyone doubt that soon what few protections exist will be history, just as Canada’s previous law against assisted suicide is history?

We have to enhance efforts to assist members of our communities who feel that suicide is the answer to their suffering. We should call on our federal governments and on the medical community to offer better and more easily accessible palliative care, and on all Canadians to minimize the isolation of those who feel isolated and deserted.

Why is it that in a rich country likes Canada most individuals still pass away without quality palliative or home care? Why is it that when suicide rates in lots of neighborhoods are at crisis level, we have no robust suicide prevention method? How can it be that in a society that is lastly beginning to acknowledge the equal dignity of vulnerable and handicapped individuals, we are presenting laws that seem to target them for helped suicide?

2I support Canada’s multi-faith and multi-cultural leaders who recently required strong, well-resourced, national techniques for palliative care and suicide prevention in Canada. Suicide is never ever the answer to suffering.

I also stand with the lots of medical professionals who have actually highly affirmed their opposition to taking part in killing their patients. Unless their right to deal with patients without threat to participate in suicide is verified, I can predict extensive resistance by people, organizations and diligent objectors.

We are willing to work with provincial federal governments and medical authorities to assist solve conflicts that will occur. We will deal with regulators to ensure that whatever legislation and policies are introduced will appreciate the rights of those people and organizations that do not want to be complicit in homicide.

Updated: July 30, 2016 — 12:47 pm
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