Quebec euthanasia plan meets opposition


April 9, 2012

OTTAWA – The Assembly of Quebec Bishops and the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) are opposing a Quebec commission's recommendation to allow euthanasia under limited circumstances.

The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec said it is pleased with the proposal to improve access to palliative care.

However, "we disagree with the recommendations to change laws to recognize physician-assisted dying as appropriate end of life care," the bishops said.

"Changing the terms 'assisted suicide and euthanasia' to 'physician-assisted dying' does not change reality."

COLF said it "vigorously denounces" many of the recommendations of the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity and urged voters to "express their discontent" to the Jean Charest government.

"By opening the door to 'euthanasia as physician-assisted death,' the committee chose to ignore the inherent dignity of the human person and the inestimable value of human life," it said in an April 2 release.

The bishops reiterated the submission they had made to the commission in 2010 calling for end-of-life care that is the most humane and humanizing possible.

The submission said natural death should occur at the right time, not beforehand through euthanasia or assisted suicide, or afterwards through aggressive treatment.

"This position for the common good does not mean we are insensitive to the suffering of many of our brothers and sisters," the bishops said.

COLF warned implementing the euthanasia recommendation would give physicians unprecedented and "alarming power to end the lives of their patients."

"Doctors opposed to euthanasia for reasons of conscience will be obliged to refer the patient seeking death to a physician willing to end their life," it said.