|Patrick B. Craine||Fri Mar 30 12:13 EST||Euthanasia|
QUEBEC CITY, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Quebec bishops are opposing a report issued last week proposing the legalization of euthanasia, and are threatening to pressure the government to ensure the respect for life.
“While we are pleased that the members of the Commission recommend greater access to palliative care for all people, we disagree with the recommendations that propose to change the laws ‘to recognize medical aid in dying as care appropriate at the end of life,” the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops wrote in a statement Thursday.
“Changing the terms ‘assisted suicide and euthanasia’ to ‘medical aid in dying’ does not change the reality,” they added.
The bishops were reacting to a report released March 22nd by a National Assembly committee charged with exploring the issue of “dying with dignity.”
The report called on the provincial government to legalize euthanasia according to a Netherlands/Belgium model. “The pertinent laws should be modified to recognize medical aid in dying as an appropriate end to life option,” states the report.
The committee recommended that a person opting for “medical aid in dying” must be a resident of Quebec, an adult, must have freely requested the “medical help” to die, must suffer from a “serious and incurable disease,” must have a medical situation with “no prospects of improvement,” and must be experiencing “physical or psychological suffering which is constant and unbearable.”
Anti-euthanasia advocates pointed out that the committee’s report ignored the results of their own public hearings on the issue, where 156 of 271 briefs were against or somewhat against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
It also flouts the Canadian Parliament’s jurisdiction over criminal law. In 2010, the House of Commons rejected Bill C-384, a euthanasia bill proposed by Member of Parliament Francine Lalonde, in a cross-party vote of 228 to 59.
In their statement Thursday, the Quebec bishops noted that they had submitted their own brief at the consultations in June 2010 calling on the committee to offer recommendations that would help make the end of life “the most humane and the most humanizing possible.”
“We think this will happen if this end comes at the right time: not before by euthanasia or assisted suicide, not after because of aggressive treatment,” they wrote in their submission.
In yesterday’s statement, they pledged continued vigilance and warned that they would consider intervening if the government decides to act on the report.
“The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops continues to pursue this issue and will consider appropriate ways of intervention to use in order that the government would take into account the requirements of the respect for life that were expressed with force throughout the process of the commission. In this respect, there are numerous moral and ethical consequences,” they wrote.