Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
August 24, 2009
CWL registers its objection to euthanasia scheme
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - The Catholic Women's League has sent a letter to the prime minister opposing Bill C-384 which would legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.
"The lives of the vulnerable, the elderly, the disabled, and those facing a life-threatening illness will be at risk if assisted suicide does not remain an indictable offence," said the Aug. 12 letter.
Copies of the letter were sent to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as well as members of Parliament from all parties.
The letter was read to the 718 delegates who attended the CWL's national annual convention in St. John's, NL, Aug. 8-12, and sent on their behalf.
The CWL, with 96,000 members, is among the largest women's groups in Canada.
ALL LIFE IS SACRED
"The league supports the position that all life is sacred and all people have intrinsic dignity and worth regardless of their stage of life," the letter said. "That dignity and worth is far better championed through excellent palliative care than an expedient, hastened end to life."
Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde's private member's Bill C-384 is scheduled for another hour of debate in the House of Commons in late September before going to a vote on second reading.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) executive director Alex Schadenberg welcomed the CWL letter.
"They got it right," he said, noting the CWL has been involved in combating euthanasia and assisted suicide for several years.
IMPORTANCE OF CARING
The CWL is a "service organization that understands the importance of caring for people," he said.
Schadenberg hopes there is enough opposition generated to ensure Lalonde's bill is defeated at second reading. But the appetite for legalized euthanasia appears to be growing, especially in Quebec.
An Angus Reid poll taken Aug. 4-5 in that province showed 77 per cent agreed with euthanasia; 75 per cent agreed with a Quebec College of Physicians' proposal to reopen the euthanasia debate; and 72 per cent believed Canadians should have the right to refuse life-saving medical treatment.
Schadenberg noted Canadians already have the right to refuse medical treatment.
Canadians seem to be confused about the difference between killing and letting someone die of natural causes, he said. They are also confused between the intentional killing of a patient with a drug overdose and the unintentional death due to high levels of painkilling drugs.
Schadenberg contrasted the Quebec poll with one EPC commissioned in 2006 that showed that when questioned about priorities, Canadians prefer better end of life care to euthanasia.