Catholic doctor stresses assisted suicide dangers

November 5, 2012

VANCOUVER – Elderly people could be coerced into "choosing" euthanasia if the practice were legalized, a Vancouver doctor told the Catholic Physicians Guild.

Dr. Williard Johnston related four tales of elder abuse involving men and women being tricked into giving up their properties to their dependents.

Johnston said if euthanasia were legalized, doctors would be legally bound to offer it as an option. "The suggestion of euthanasia elevates it as a thinkable option to those who would not have considered it before. Is it right to fear that our doctors and nurses could steer us towards the option of death?"

The occurrence of euthanasia, Johnston said, lowers the social inhibition against it, and he wondered if people would feel obliged to make that choice rather than truly desire it.

"The legalization of euthanasia would not give you the choice to decide when you want to go; it would give the power to kill you to someone else."

Speaking at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Johnston said Belgian patients are being killed with no evidence of their having requested or consented to it.

"What is more concerning is that no cases of euthanasia have been brought to the department of justice," he said. "We must attack the central fallacy. Could our laws be so perfect that no mistakes are made?" he asked.

"Canada outlawed capital punishment because it was universally acknowledged that it would be worse to kill a single innocent man than to let 10 murderers live. Why, then, is the risk of euthanizing one person who did not give proper consent considered a reasonable level of error in order for the choice to be given to 10 people who consented?"