TORONTO, February 28, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today commented on the decision of the appeal division of the National Parole Board to release Robert Latimer on day parole. Mr. Latimer, who had appealed an earlier decision to deny parole, has been serving a life sentence for killing his daughter, Tracy, in 1993. She had a severe form of cerebral palsy.
This decision, and discussions around the wider issue of care for the disabled, raises troubling questions about whether our society is capable of assigning the same value to the right to life of a disabled person as it does to that of those who are fully-functioning. The Latimer case became national news because Tracy was killed at home by her father. It is worth remembering that degree of disability is often taken into account in hospital decisions about life-sustaining care.
Questions have been raised throughout this case about the extent of Tracy’s pain, and whether the family had taken advantage of all the help that was available to them. What has never been in question is that she was killed because she was disabled. There is no doubt that this case would have been viewed very differently if the victim had been able-bodied.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org
See also article by Michael Coren.