On June 15, Bloc MP Francine Lalonde introduced into the House of Commons a bill that proposes to legalize certain forms of murder currently prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada: euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill C-407, which has already passed first reading, redefines homicide — all in the name of the right to “die with dignity.”
All Canadians must oppose this bill, because we must never give up on those who, for whatever reason, have given up on themselves. The right to life is sacred; it has no opposite. Bill C-407 does not give the sick the right to die, but instead, gives the healthy the terrible freedom to abandon society’s loneliest members to their own solitude and despair.
This proposed legislation is not about dignity, but indifference. Euthanasia brings the logic of “choice” to its barbaric conclusion, as the unwanted in the womb become the unwanted in the wheelchair. The famous pro-life U.S. Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, the late Robert Casey, once said that all “the talk about values misses the point. Because we are talking about a thing of infinite value. Human life cannot be measured. It is the measure itself. The value of everything else is weighed against it.”
Life, supposedly measured by quality, eventually becomes calculated by cost. And, soon enough, the sick, the elderly, the dying and the disabled are all pressured to exercise their so-called “right to die.”
It is important to remember what the “right to die with dignity” really means. Dignity is Tracy Latimer, slowly asphyxiating as her father’s truck fills with carbon monoxide. Dignity is Terri Schiavo, painfully being dehydrated to death at her husband’s behest. Too often, the greatest disrespect is done in the name of dignity; the greatest cruelty, in the name of compassion. Now, the very right to life is assaulted in the name of an absurd and paradoxical “right to die” – a right that will soon become a duty.
“The abortion debate is not about how we shall live, but who shall live. And more than that, it’s about who we are.” Casey’s observation is just as true about euthanasia. Something is deeply wrong with a society that sees a death wish as a choice to be honoured, rather than as a cry for help. Canada is quickly becoming a cynical nation that knows the rights of everyone, but the value of no one.