Friday, March 5, 2010

Euthanasia Activists on the March in Quebec

The Province of Quebec, having thrown off the Christian faith, is now in the terminal stages of moral and spiritual decline. The culture of death has taken root so strongly there that the medical association is now leading the charge for Dutch-like euthanasia with provincial politicians playing along. This makes Quebec a treat to the rest of Canada insofar as some of the "death as a solution to social problems" activism is conducted in our national Parliament.

Margaret Somerville, professor of bioethics at McGill University in Montreal, has an excellent article, "Getting the Facts Right about Euthanasia," pointing out that the pro-euthanasia campaigners, tied up in knots by the continual use of euphemisms, cannot speak coherently and factually about the issue. The Quebec College of Physicians and Surgeons does not even know how to define euthanasia accurately!

"The Quebec College of Physicians and Surgeons has “tentatively proposed” legalized euthanasia. The college says that it could be seen “as part of appropriate care in certain particular circumstances.” As a result, the Quebec Legislative Assembly has established a multi-party committee, “La commission de la santé et des services sociaux” (the Health and Social Services commission) consisting of 20 members of the Assembly.

Recently, Dr Gaétan Barrette, the president of the federation of Quebec medical specialists, Dr Yves Lamontagne of the Quebec College of Physicians and Yves Robert, secretary of the College gave evidence before the commission. The first two men are clearly on the public record as supporting euthanasia, and the third appears to hold the same view.

There is a saying in ethics that "good facts are essential to good ethics."

But if Dr Barrette, Dr Lamontagne and Yves Robert, secretary of the College, are accurately reported, none of them had his facts straight in giving evidence before the commission.

Dr Barrette said that in caring for terminally ill people, "doctors are aware they can be charged with murder if they administer a 'palliative sedative' before a patient is on his or her last breath." This is not euthanasia, although, like Dr Barrette, 49 percent of Quebec physicians recently polled mistakenly thought it was.

Palliative means the sedative was necessary to relieve pain and suffering and was not given with an intention of killing the patient. That cannot result in a murder charge, or any other legal charge, unless the patient refused it.

Indeed, unreasonably failing to provide necessary treatment for pain and suffering could constitute unprofessional conduct with resultant disciplinary measures, medical malpractice and legal liability for damages, and, in extreme cases, criminal negligence. It is now also widely recognized that for a healthcare professional to negligently leave a patient in serious pain is a breach of fundamental human rights.

Dr Barrette also said, "We want legislation in tune with the wishes of the public." But just because the public wants something or a majority votes for it doesn't mean it is ethical - or even wise. Democratic decisions and ethical ones are not necessarily the same.

The Montreal Gazette reported that Dr Barrette and Dr Lamontagne "told the committee that doctors do not want to perform assisted suicides."

"We are not there to execute people," Lamontagne said.

This boggles the mind. They are recommending that euthanasia be legalized. What do they think euthanasia involves? And if, as they are proposing, killing patients is acceptable, why is helping those patients to kill themselves not acceptable? At least accepting both would have the virtue of consistency."

Read the rest here.

As any student of Thomas Aquinas knows, sin makes you stupid. And as any progressive or left-wing subversive knows, giving things their proper names hinders social acceptance of proposed "advances" that involve killing human beings.

1 comment:

Ethos said...

For assisted suicide but against voluntary euthanasia !

About the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide, one must distinguish between the legal, ethical and religious arguments. One cannot just say without qualification that there is no difference between the two : in one case it is the patient himself who take his own life (assisted suicide), whereas in euthanasia it is the physician. One must first specify on what grounds (legal, ethical or religious) he draws is arguments. In the field of ethics, one can reasonably argue that there is no difference between the two. However, in the legal field, there is a difference between euthanasia (so-called first-degree murder with a minimum sentence of life imprisonment) and assisted suicide (which is not a murder or homicide and which the maximum sentence is 14 years of imprisonment). In the case of assisted suicide, the cause of death is the patient's suicide and assisted suicide is somehow a form of complicity (infraction of complicity). But since the attempted suicide was decriminalized in Canada in 1972 (and in 1810 in France), this complicity (infraction of abetting suicide) makes no sense because this infraction should only exist if there is a main offence. But the suicide (or attempted suicide) is no longer a crime since 1972. So, logically, there cannot be any form of complicity in suicide. The offense of assisted suicide is a nonsense. Judge McLachlin said :

« In summary, the law draws a distinction between suicide and assisted suicide. The latter is criminal, the former is not. The effect of the distinction is to prevent people like Sue Rodriguez from exercising the autonomy over their bodies available to other people. The distinction, to borrow the language of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, "is difficult to justify on grounds of logic alone": Working Paper 28, Euthanasia, Aiding Suicide and Cessation of Treatment (1982), at p. 53. In short, it is arbitrary »

In contrast, voluntary euthanasia is considered a first-degree murder. The doctor kills the patient (at his request) by compassion to relieve his pain and suffering. There's a violation of one of the most fundamental ethical and legal principles : the prohibition to kill a human being. Our democratic societies are based on the principle that no one can remove a person's life. The end of the social contract is "the preservation of the contractors" and the protection of life has always founded the social fabric. We've abolished the death penalty in 1976 (and in 1981 in France) in response to the « broader public concerns about the taking of life by the state » (see United States v. Burns, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 283) ! Even if voluntary euthanasia (at the request of the patient) may, under certain circumstances, be justified ethically, we cannot ipso facto concluded that euthanasia should be legalized or decriminalized. The legalization or decriminalization of such an act requires that we take into account the social consequences of the legalization or decriminalization. The undeniable potential of abuse (especially for the weak and vulnerable who are unable to express their will) and the risk of erosion of the social ethos by the recognition of this practice are factors that must be taken into account. The risk of slippery slope from voluntary euthanasia (at the request of the competent patient) to non-voluntary euthanasia (without the consent of the incompetent patient) or involuntary (without regard to or against the consent of the competent patient) are real as confirmed by the Law Reform Commission of Canada which states :

"There is, first of all, a real danger that the procedure developed to allow the death of those who are a burden to themselves may be gradually diverted from its original purpose and eventually used as well to eliminate those who are a burden to others or to society. There is also the constant danger that the subject's consent to euthanasia may not really be a perfectly free and voluntary act ».

Eric Folot