Quebec passes 'death with dignity' law; cardinal dismayed
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/9/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A law has passed in Quebec, Canada that has made euthanasia more available to the terminally ill or elderly. Bill 52, which passed by a 94-22 vote, outlines the conditions under which terminally ill people can request medical aid in dying. Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec expressed his disappointment on his Facebook page.
"Now, we will have to work with even more zeal to accompany the people at the end of life so that they do not have to request euthanasia," Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix noted about Quebec's euthanasia law.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "dying with dignity" law brings Belgium-style euthanasia to the province, which treats euthanasia as health care. The criminal code, which lists the practice as culpable homicide, is under federal jurisdiction. Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay has not indicated what action the federal government will take.
Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix has expressed his dismay. "I hoped until the last moment that our members [would] not vote in favor of this bill, which introduced euthanasia with all its consequences. I am very disappointed," the Facebook post said.
"Now, we will have to work with even more zeal to accompany the people at the end of life so that they do not have to request euthanasia," the post added.
Cardinal Lacroix, in a speech at a vigil outside the National Assembly on the eve of the vote, said there was no consensus on euthanasia, contrary to what governmental officials had been saying. He noted the local growing disquiet, especially among older Quebeckers.
The Physicians' Alliance Against Euthanasia and the Montreal-based Living with Dignity vowed to challenge the law in court on constitutional grounds.
"With few exceptions, our elected officials have also chosen to ignore that Quebec does not have jurisdiction to decriminalize euthanasia," Living with Dignity said in a statement. "Kill a patient, even at his request, not a care; this is a homicide prohibited by the criminal code."
"This is a serious betrayal of the sick and the dying, as the killing of a patient who is dying is not a treatment, but a homicide," said the physicians' group said in a separate statement.
In response, Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says that his organization would support any legal challenge to the law.
"Let's be clear, Bill 52 gives Quebec physicians the right to intentionally and directly cause the death of persons by lethal injection," Schadenberg wrote on his blog. "This represents an act of homicide and not an act of 'end of life care.'"
Schadenberg described the law as "imprecise, open to abuse and based on the Belgian euthanasia law.
"In Belgium, euthanasia is being done to people who are not terminally ill but living with depression; euthanasia has been extended to children and studies have proven that euthanasia is often done to people without request," he said.
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