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Canadian Euthanasia bill lacks oversight, provides perfect cover for acts of murder

by | Apr 14, 2016

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia65Bill C-14, “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying),” was tabled [introduced] today in the House of Commons.

The bill claims to be following a more restrictive framework. In comparison to the radical recommendations made by the government’s Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, the bill appears to be more restrictive, at least on first glance.

But there are significant problems with the design of the bill. Here are three.

1. The bill does not provide effective oversight of the law. The bill requires approval for euthanasia or assisted suicide be done by two independent physicians or nurse practitioners, without requiring oversight from an independent third-party before the death. The bill permits the doctor or nurse practitioner who approve the act to also be the person who performs the act and reports the act. Once the person is dead, it is too late to find out if the person was incompetent or coerced.

2. The bill provides legal immunity to “any person” who directly participates in euthanasia and assisted suicide. Section 241(3) provides legal immunity to any person who does anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying. Section 241(5) gives legal immunity to anyone who does anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying.

This bill provides the perfect cover for acts of murder.

3. The bill does not provide conscience protection for medical practitioners or nurse practitioners. Medical professionals who consider killing patients as the antithesis of medical care are not provided conscience protection. They are required (under Section 241.31) to send requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide to a “designated recipient” or the Minister of Health.

In summary, Bill C-14 does not provide effective oversight; provides the perfect cover for acts of murder by enabling “other people” who directly participate in the act; and does not provide conscience protection for medical professionals who oppose killing patients.

This bill is not a harm-reduction model, nor does it provide safe spaces for people who are opposed to being killed by lethal injection.

With any legislation, the devil is in the details. The details in this bill are particularly dangerous for Canadians in their time of need.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is a national organization of citizens and groups who support caring measures and oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. We currently have more than 25, 000 supporters.

Editor’s note. This originally appeared at alexschadenberg.blogspot.com.

Categories: Euthanasia