Noted US commentator and lawyer. Wesley Smith comments on the problems with implementing the Quebec Report. This is very important given the reliance on this report in recent days in Tasmanian discussion paper on euthanasia & assisted suicide:
Article 1: Quebec Doctors to become Killers?.
By Wesley J Smith, February 7, 2012
Quebec is about to make a major push to legalize euthanasia based on the recommendations of a commission. I have now had a chance to read the report, and it is pushing Quebec (and thence, Canada) toward a Belgium style culture of death.
Here’s an overview: “First, the euphemism “aid in dying” means active killing by doctors: From the Select Committee Dying With Dignity Report recommendations:
We propose that this option take the form of “medical aid in dying”. This assistance involves an act performed by a physician in a medical setting following a free and informed request made by the patient himself.
Second, the categories of the killable are broad and wide enough to drive a hearse through:
•The person is suffering from a serious, incurable disease;
•The person has constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering that cannot be eased under conditions he or she deems tolerable.
Consider: “serious and incurable disease” isn’t a synonym for “terminal disease.” Despite the dicta from the committee that this should be reserved for end of life situations, that is not the wording of the recommendation. Hence, diabetes could qualify in this definition, say, when the patient loses a foot or begins to have vision issues. MS would apply. Serious arthritis. HIV as it turns to AIDS, etc.
The “no chance of improvement” criterion is also a misnomer in most cases, if literally applied. People often go into unexpected improvements of health even when they are unquestionably terminally ill. Some, even get kicked out of hospice because they stop dying. Others have their symptoms effectively palliated. Still others overcome their depression about wanting to die sooner rather than later, and are glad to be alive–if they have the chance to get there
The recommendations would allow doctors to kill incompetent patients who had signed an advance kill directive:
The Committee recommends that relevant legislation be amended to recognize that an adult with the capacity to consent is entitled to give an advance directive for medical aid in dying in the event that he becomes irreversibly unconscious, based on the current state of medical science.
This means that an incompetent patient who might not want to die today, could be killed anyway because he thought he would in the past and because his doctor thinks he should.
Quebec wants to lead Canada off the moral cliff already leaped off of by Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. It is a radical province growing increasingly so. I hope there are enough people remaining in the French-speaking province who still believe in Hippocratic values and the intrinsic dignity of human life to hold the death agenda at bay.
Article 2: Quebec Doctors may be forced into Homicide.
By Wesley J. Smith, February 7, 2013
No one should be forced to kill or participate in killing.
But if a recommendation of a Quebec euthanasia commission to legalize doctor-administered death are followed (discussed in more detail here) every Quebec physician will be conscripted to participate in homicide as a condition of practicing medicine. From the “Dying with Dignity” Commission recommendation:
By definition, medical aid in dying could only be provided by a physician. Under their codes of ethics, physicians and nurses are entitled to conscientious objection, meaning they can refuse to perform an act that goes against their values. Of course, physicians and nurses will retain this right where medical aid in dying is concerned. However, a doctor who refuses to provide medical aid in dying for reasons of conscience will have the duty to help his patient find another who is prepared to do so, as quickly as possible
That would make every doctor in Quebec a potential accomplice in homicide.
Think of it this way: If a hit man were approached by a man to kill his wife, but the murderer didn’t kill women, so instead, referred the husband to a killer he knew would kill females, the original killer would be complicit, indeed, an accomplice in the woman’s murder–even if he didn’t personally pull the trigger. That is akin to what the above recommendation would require of all doctors if it becomes law–forced participation in homicide.
Such a conscience-obliterating law already exists in Victoria, Australia, regarding abortion. (When I traveled the country in 2010 on a speaking tour, I met doctors who moved from their homes to other provinces rather than risk becoming complicit.) The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) also has issued a similar ethics opinion.
It is a very sad day when doctors must participate in killing as a condition of practicing medicine. But then, we shouldn’t be surprised. The culture of death brooks no dissent.