A joint statement released by LifeCanada bearing the signatures of 15 Canadian pro-life organizations is calling on the Quebec government to rescind Bill 52, which proposes to legalize euthanasia in the province.
The statement, sent by LifeCanada to all provincial and federal politicians, asks lawmakers not only in Quebec, but also throughout the rest of Canada, to attend to their duty of caring for the most vulnerable in society. It says Bill 52 would signal “a momentous shift in medical ethics and public policy.”
“We know that with the acceptance and legalization of [euthanasia] comes an immense loss of commitment to people’s lives, a loss of incentive to provide quality end of life care, a weakening of the resolve of the health care profession to truly work for the benefit of patients, and an opening for abuse of the vulnerable who have no one to advocate for them,” the statement reads.
"The key question that must be addressed is stark yet profound: Is killing a legitimate part of health care?"
“Bill 52 has been modelled on Belgium’s law, but there have been gross abuses in that country, documented by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that should sound an alarm to the lawmakers of Canada,” said LifeCanada Executive Director Natalie Sonnen in a press release.
Sonnen points out that Bill 52 uses terms like “medical aid in dying” and “terminal palliative sedation,” language meant to convince the public that euthanasia is a form of medical care, subject to provincial and not federal law.
However, Sonnen said that these terms refer directly to patient killing, acts that have always and with good reason been prohibited by the Criminal Code.
"The key question that must be addressed is stark yet profound: Is killing a legitimate part of health care? Should doctors be licensed to kill their patients?" the signatories of the statement ask the Quebec government.
“With so much at stake, the Quebec Government owes the public honesty about what it is trying to do,” Sonnen said.
The joint statement encourages lawmakers to support a path that uses both the tremendous gains of palliative care and the ethical defense of human dignity.
“An entirely different path of health care is possible,” reads the statement, “one that is deeply compassionate, legitimate, that builds on past medical progress to deliver quality end of life care to all those in need, and that kills the pain without killing the patient. It is a path based on the premise that every person, no matter how ill or weak, has an inherent and irrevocable dignity. Indeed, it is this dignity that is the foundation and basis for all human rights.”
"Quebec is at a crossroads, one that could easily impact what happens beyond its borders," the pro-life groups assert. "Quebecers are known for their compassion toward the weak and marginalized. Will that tradition now be strengthened, or undermined?"
The following pro-life leaders have signed the Joint Statement to withdraw Bill 52:
Natalie Sonnen, Executive Director, Life Canada
Peter Ryan, Chair, LifeCanada Euthanasia Committee
Andrea Mrozek, Executive Director, Institute of Marriage & Family Canada
Derek Miedema, Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
Mark Penninga, Executive Director, Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada
Don Hutchinson, Director, Centre for Faith and Public Life, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Isabelle O’Connor, Resource Personel, Albatros Mont-Laurier (MRC Antoine-Labelle)
Ward O’Connor, President, Albatros Mont-Laurier (MRC Antoine-Labelle)
Georges Buscemi, Président / President, Campagne Québec-Vie / Quebec Life Coalition
Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, Catholic Civil Rights League
Dr. Will Johnston, MD, Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition British Columbia
Fr. Thomas Lynch, National Director, Priests for Life Canada/Pretres Pro-Vie Canada
Fr. John Lemire, Chairman, Priests for Life Canada/Pretres Pro-Vie Canada
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network
Faytene Grasseschi, Founder-Director, MY Canada Association
Vicki Gunn, Executive Director, Christian Heritage Party of Canada
Cliff Pyle, President, Lutherans for Life Canada
Lynne Scime, President, The Family Coalition Party of Ontario
C. Gwendolyn Landolt, National Vice-President, REAL Women of Canada
The full text of the Joint Statement to withdraw Bill 52 is available from the LifeCanada website here.
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