OTTAWA, Oct. 18, 2005 The Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) today called on the leaders of all federal political parties to uphold the sanctity of life in their deliberations on Bill C-407 or any other proposal that would liberalize Canadas laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Commenting on proposals for liberalized euthanasia laws, League President Philip Horgan said that its important for people to speak out now because the topic will keep coming forward regardless of what happens to Bill C-407 specifically. The impetus of secular humanism, which generally sees no intrinsic value in life itself but over-emphasizes quality of life, is finding a receptive audience in people who have understandable concerns about end-of-life care. The League believes it is far better to provide dignified care for patients than to look for ways to kill them.
The Private Members Bill C-407, which would make it legal to kill or aid in the killing of anyone 18 or older who is in severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief and appears to be lucid, had first reading last June and is expected to be introduced for second reading soon.
The passage of Bill C-407 or any similar legislation would make it necessary to train doctors and support staff to kill people, and presumably require them to do so in some cases, the League said in a letter to the leaders of the major federal political parties. This fundamental change in the relationship between caregiver and patient would have a profound and negative impact on that inherent trust. It would also raise serious civil rights concerns for the medical personnel involved in end-of-life care as well as for the patient.
Much, if not most of the pressure for liberalizing our euthanasia and assisted suicide laws is driven by the fear of the prolonged and painful death made possible by the perceived absence of effective pain management and the inappropriate use of life supports. These concerns could be alleviated considerably with palliative and hospice care for the dying, more research and training in the field of pain control, and more funding for home care so that families can look after loved ones in the comfortable environment that most would prefer.
There are credible reports of abuse, including the killing of patients who had never expressed the choice, in the few jurisdictions that allow euthanasia, the League said. The letter also noted that many advocates for the disabled have expressed concerns that a legal option for euthanasia could lead to pressures to use it, especially on the severely disabled.
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. 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,