Why isn’t the Quebec government investing in health care for Quebecers instead of euthanasia?
Why isn’t the Quebec government providing accessibility to a family doctor for every Quebecer?
Why is it not speeding up access for screening to detect diseases like cancer?
Quebecers need a law to ensure access to health care in a timely manner, for family doctors and medical services, and for palliative care when needed. We do not need a law for rapid access for euthanasia.
In Quebec, the government has already reduced access to new drugs for breast, lung, and bowel cancer and lymphoma. Approvals for new anti-cancer drugs covered by the Quebec health insurance plan have been reduced from 77% in 2012 to 31% in 2013. Many people in their forties and thirties – even as young as twenty – will not have access to these cancer-fighting drugs. However, the health insurance plan will cover the cost of the lethal injection if the law is passed.
The Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice denounces the adoption in principle of Quebec’s Bill 52 which promotes euthanasia. This law will cause the death of people who should not be euthanized. Experience shows that safeguards and controls do not work in countries and U.S. states where euthanasia and assisted suicide is practiced. There are hundreds of cases of people who do not give consent. Bill 52 will enable and encourage people, including the young, with physical illness such as cancer or psychological problems such as depression to abandon medical treatment that could otherwise save their lives and be euthanized instead.
The Coalition’s position against euthanasia is supported by the World Medical Association representing nine million physicians.
At a press conference, Prof. Dr. Etienne Montero, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Namur, Belgium, gave an overview of 11 years of euthanasia in Belgium. The proponents of euthanasia in Belgium recognize that most requests for euthanasia are not rooted in physical pain, which can be controlled, but in psychological suffering.
Examples include loss of meaning, loneliness, weariness of life, and need to master one’s death. In situations of suffering, a euthanasia request is understandable, but courts cannot give the right to euthanasia without endangering the lives and security of its citizens. All citizens are at risk of excesses and abuse.
The Belgian experience of euthanasia teaches us that it is an illusion to believe that we can have the right to euthanasia as a well-defined and well-controlled practice.
Once euthanasia is permitted, it becomes very difficult to maintain a strict interpretation of legal requirements. Quickly, restrictions fall away, one after the other, and boundaries become wider and larger. Such an expansion is inevitable due to the intrinsic dynamics of law. Indeed, law is part of a legal system that has its own dynamics, driven by higher principles such as equality and non-discrimination. First, euthanasia, initially reserved for adults, will open to minors. Second, the law initially requires a serious and incurable disease with physical or mental suffering. Applying these same principles, how can a person be denied euthanasia with only psychological suffering, without a serious and incurable disease?
The Belgian experience illustrates the difficulty of adhering to original statements and intentions of the legislator and of ensuring compliance to the original strict legal requirements. It was originally stated that psychiatric, demented or depressed patients would not be targeted by the Belgian law. However, the Belgian Control Commission (BCC) approves euthanasia in such cases today.
Conditions of severe and incurable disease and suffering are also interpreted very loosely. The BCC approves euthanasia at the request of people who suffer from various diseases related to old age, none of which, taken alone, is severe (arthritis or decreasing sight and hearing). It also recognizes the possibility of future anticipated suffering as a condition for euthanasia.
Moreover, how can anyone make sure that the patient is given free and informed consent, without external pressure? How can anyone ensure that the prognostic information (predicting chances of survival) and therapeutic options are correct as well as sufficiently explained and given in an empathetic manner? How reliable is the verification process a posteriori (after the fact) based on a document completed and submitted by the same doctor who euthanized a person (self-reporting)?
Today, the emphasis is on patient autonomy. However, there is a real danger that vulnerable people, faced with declining health, will feel pressured and compelled to be euthanized so as not to be a burden to family or society. There is also a risk that people will be euthanized due to incompetence (i.e. inadequate pain control). Finally, society may be more willing to offer euthanasia as a solution to suffering than to alleviate the suffering.
If Quebec decides to partially open the door to euthanasia, be warned that the door will automatically open wider and wider regardless of initial intentions. This is not pure conjecture, but reality based on the Belgian experience.
Lors d’une conférence de presse, le Professeur Dr Etienne Montero, Doyen de la faculté de droit, Université de Namur, Belgique, a dressé un bilan de 11 ans d’euthanasie en Belgique. Les plus grands promoteurs de l’euthanasie en Belgique reconnaissent que la plupart des demandes d’euthanasie ne trouvent pas leur origine dans la souffrance physique, qui peut être maîtrisée, mais dans une souffrance psychologique : perte de sens, solitude, lassitude de vivre, besoin de maîtriser sa mort… Dans une situation de souffrance, une demande d’euthanasie est compréhensible, mais la société ne peut pas s’adjuger le droit d’y accéder sans se mettre en danger. Tous les citoyens se trouvent menacés par les risques d’abus et de dérives.
Avertissement aux parents: Le Gouvernement du Québec ouvre la porte à l’euthanasie des enfants
La Coalition des médecins pour la justice sociale implore les citoyens de s’informer et de s’impliquer, et présente une plainte formelle au Procureur-général du Canada.
Pour communiquer avec votre representant, veuillez réferer au document ici.
Si le projet de loi est adopté, la porte sera non seulement grande ouverte à des personnes qui ne sont pas en phase terminale d’une maladie mais aussi pour permettre l’euthanasie des enfants, selon la Commission des