Palliative care preferable to euthanasia

BC Supreme Court puts Canadians on dangerous slippery slope by granting an individual the right to die.

The BC Supreme Court has put Canada on a dangerous slippery slope. Justice Lynn Smith ruled in favour of granting Gloria Taylor the right to assisted suicide and giving Parliament a year to bring the laws, according to her interpretation, in line with the Charter of Rights.

But it is precisely the charter and the Criminal Code S 241 that protects vulnerable people from having death imposed on them. Granting one person assisted suicide will clog the courts with more demands spurned on by the pro-death forces.

Just recently, the federal government announced $15 million towards prevention of elder abuse. Seniors experience many forms of abuse – physical, physiological, financial and neglect. How much more will they suffer when coerced into accepting death? What if someone stands to inherit a few million from Aunt Sue?

In Washington and Oregon the demands for assisted suicide are eroding medical standards. Suicide is offered in place of treatment. A patient lived another 11 years after refusing assisted suicide. In Belgium and Holland people are killed without their consent. Safeguards serve to protect physicians.

In 2010 Parliament overwhelmingly defeated a bill that would have legalized euthanasia. The attorney general of Canada  needs to appeal Justice Smith’s decision. Who rules the country, non-elected judges or democratically elected parliamentarians? The decision about who lives and who dies cannot be left in one person’s hands. Euthanasia erodes respect for human life and establishes killing as an acceptable solution. To withdraw or withhold treatment when the risk or burden is greater than its benefits is common practice. If pain is properly controlled, very few terminally ill people ask to be put to death.

The World Health Organization says that 95 percent of pain can be eliminated or made bearable. Medical associations, including those in the European Union, around the world are rejecting euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Canada should be a model to the world, providing the best in palliative and hospice care.

Hildegard Krieg