OTTAWA, April 22, 2010 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today expressed gratitude that Bill C-384, which would have liberalized euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, has not received enough support to proceed. The measure was defeated yesterday in the House of Commons by a vote of 228 to 59.
The League would like to thank every Member of Parliament who voted against Bill C-384. We would also like to thank all of our supporters who helped achieve this result through their messages of concern to MPs and in letters and articles in the media.
However, the League cautioned that the subject is likely to continue to be brought forward for legislative action, due to Canadians’ concerns about end of life care and lack of knowledge about what is legal now. In the League’s view, legalizing euthanasia would lead to diminished respect for life, challenge the religious and conscientious freedom of health care providers and even lead to pressures to make use of the option, especially for the chronically ill and disabled.
“The League has always believed that a stronger commitment to palliative care as a matter of public policy, with better options for end-of-life care, would go a long way to easing peoples’ concerns about their final days,” said Joanne McGarry, League executive director. “Fear of uncontrolled pain and a needlessly protracted death are among the reasons why people think a euthanasia bill is necessary. In fact, the law already allows us to refuse treatment and most doctors say pain can be managed.”
What was envisioned by Bill C-384 is not the working out of an individual choice, but rather a deliberate, life-ending act that would require the cooperation of others. This would raise serious challenges for the conscientious freedom of doctors, nurses and other health care providers. A commitment to comfort care and other palliative measures is much more consistent with a life-enhancing ethic than an option for directly and intentionally causing death. This vote in the House of Commons is an affirmation of respect for life and for religious and conscientious freedom.
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