Euthanasia

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Death becomes us

Death becomes us

Years ago, while covering the case of Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan farmer who killed his disabled daughter in cold blood, a columnist observed: “A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.” This incisive observation cuts to the heart of the contradiction in Canada’s current debate about euthanasia: when ... (Continue reading)

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Belgium legalizes euthanasia for children

Belgium legalizes euthanasia for children

On Feb. 13, Belgium became the first country to approve euthanasia for children when the Chamber of Representatives passed the measure 86-44 with 12 abstentions. The Senate voted 50-17 in favour of expanding the country’s 12-year-old euthanasia to include children last December. The measure, which permits any child with the “capacity of discernment” to request a lethal injection or concoction of barbiturate drugs with the consent of their parents, was ... (Continue reading)

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Vote on Bill 52 may be scuttled by Quebec politics

Vote on Bill 52 may be scuttled by Quebec politics

Proposed euthanasia law is ‘unconstitutional, imprecise and lethal’: EPC Quebec premier Pauline Marois may face an election before her governments's Bill-52 is passed. The Quebec legislature recessed for two weeks when the latest session of the National Assembly ended Feb. 20, which might help kill Bill 52, the so-called medical-aid-in-dying bill that would ... (Continue reading)

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Liberal Party endorses euthanasi

Liberal Party endorses euthanasi

This past weekend the Liberal Party of Canada adopted a resolution at its biennial policy convention calling for decriminalization of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide in a vote by show of hands. The resolution said: "Be it resolved that voluntary medically-assisted death be de-criminalized after a public consultation process designed to make recommendations to Parliament with respect to the criteria for access and the appropriate oversight system for medically-assisted end-of-life." It was put forward by both the women's and youth commissions of ... (Continue reading)

Debating euthanasia

Debating euthanasia

It is difficult to imagine how a fair-minded reader of Debating Euthanasia could come to any conclusion but that Keown is right: euthanasia is an unmitigated evil that can never be justified. Emily Jackson and John Keown are two of the foremost experts on the law as it relates to euthanasia in Britain and the United States. Together, they have written a most informative book, Debating Euthanasia, (Hart Publishing, 2011) in which ... (Continue reading)

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The meaning of Rasouli The case’s impact on physicians, patients and Hassan Rasouli

The meaning of Rasouli The case’s impact on physicians, patients and Hassan Rasouli

Hassan Rasouli In a ruling of vital national significance, the Supreme Court of Canada has held in the Rasouli case that the Ontario Health Care Consent Act (HCCA) prohibits a physician from unilaterally terminating life-support for a patient who is incapable of consenting to medical treatment. While this case dealt specifically with Ontario, physicians in other provinces should beware that the Court has signalled in its judgment that it could eventually impose ... (Continue reading)

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Doctors cannot unilaterally pull life support

Doctors cannot unilaterally pull life support

Doctors at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto took their flight to unilaterally withdraw life support from Hassan ... (Continue reading)

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Dignity in Death

Dignity in Death

Dr. Donald Low became a public figure during the Toronto SARS crisis of 2003 when, amid innumerable news conferences, the staid and reassuring microbiologist became a familiar face. He returned to the public’s mind last month after a video was released following his death at age 68. In this video, recorded just one week before he succumbed to natural causes, Low makes an impassioned plea for Canada to change ... (Continue reading)

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Upholding human exceptionalism

Upholding human exceptionalism

At the end of July, the Campaign Life Coalition interns collaborated with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) for weekly street activism. A lady stopped to ask us why embryonic human beings should be considered valuable. After all, we consume chicken embryos when we have eggs for breakfast, don’t we? (Actually no – those eggs have not been fertilized.) She went even further, saying that the enormous human ... (Continue reading)

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Accidental death from pain treatment is not euthanasia

National Affairs Rory Leishman After years of debate over euthanasia, it is amazing that so many generally well informed people can remain fundamentally ignorant about the issues at stake. Consider the observations on end-of-life care expressed by Dr. Cameron Ghent in his book Medicine Outside the Box: Musings about Health-care Issues. Ghent is a distinguished, Yale-trained hepatologist, and recently retired adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, who ... (Continue reading)

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Disabled children and youth being killed by their families

Disabled children and youth  being killed by their families

Tracy Latimer, who had cerebral palsy, was murdered by her father Robert in a case that garnered extensive media coverage. An article on feminist website XOJane summarizes a disturbing phenomenon, which is not the modern trend it appears to be: young people with disabilities being killed by members of their own ... (Continue reading)

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Parole condition lifted for Robert Latimer

EDMONTON – The National Parole Board has removed the parole condition of psychological counseling for convicted child killer Robert Latimer, who murdered Tracy, his 12-year old daughter with Cerebral Palsy, in 1993 by putting her in the cabin of his truck and piping exhaust fumes into it. His crime was called “compassionate homicide” by many and sparked debate on euthanasia. After being sentenced in 2000 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years, he was granted ... (Continue reading)

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Quebec proposes end-run around federal euthanasia prohibition

The Quebec government has tabled a bill proposing to legalize euthanasia after several years of debate and consultation. The Belgium-style Bill 52, “An Act respecting end-of-life care,” introduced on June 12 by Véronique Hivon, minister for social services and youth protection, would define “end-of-life care” as “palliative care provided to persons at the end of their lives, including terminal palliative sedation, and medical aid in dying.” The “medical aid in dying” would be administered by the doctors, thus qualifying as euthanasia. ... (Continue reading)

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Springtime March against euthanasia in Quebec

On May 18 approximately 1,700 people gathered in Quebec City to protest the provincial government’s plan to legalize euthanasia. Plans for the Springtime March, coordinated by the Rassemblement québécois contre l’euthanasie (RQCE), were made after the government’s “Dying with Dignity” committee toured Quebec and sought the opinions of individuals and organizations on the issue. The Springtime March was the beginning of a resistance against changes in provincial law that would open the door to euthanasia and assisted-suicide. Alex Schadenberg, executive director ... (Continue reading)

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Doctors oppose euthanasia, palliative care doctors even more so

Two surveys indicate that palliative care physicians have a different position on euthanasia and assisted suicide from doctors in general. The results of a survey of the members of the Canadian Medical Association released in February showed that 20 per cent of respondents would euthanize patients if it was legal and 16 per cent would participate in assisted suicide. More than four in ten physicians (42 per cent) would refuse engaging in euthanasia and 23 per cent were unsure. In ... (Continue reading)

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