Human Exceptionalism

Quebec Euthanasia: Journalism Malpractice 4

Now the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has misled the public about the nature of Quebec’s proposed euthanasia legalization bill.

First, there is the headline: “Anti-Euthanasia Doctors Hostile to Quebec’s Assisted Suicide Bill,” and lede paragraph:

Quebec’s bill to legalize medically assisted suicide has the support of all four parties in the province’s national assembly. However, support for Bill 52 is far from unanimous, especially among doctors who would be expected to act on a patient’s request for help in dying.

No, it’s not “assisted suicide,” which involves a patient killing him or herself. It is euthanasia, which has the doctor performing the lethal act, or to put it another way, killing the patient. From the legislation:

If a physician determines, subsequent to the application of section 28, that medical aid in dying may be administered to a patient requesting it, the physician must administer such aid personally and take care of the patient until their death.

In other words, no assisted suicide allowed–intentional wording because Canadian federal law criminalizes assisted suicide but supposedly not “euthanasia.”

Moreover, the story reports that doctors aren’t required to participate. This is misleading. Doctors must do the killing, if killing is to be done. And if they won’t kill a qualified patient, they must be complicit by referring the patient to a supervisor who will find a doctor willing to kill:

30. A physician practising in a centre operated by an institution who refuses a request for medical aid in dying for a reason not based on section 28 must as soon as possible notify the director of professional services or any other person designated by the executive director of the institution and forward the request form given to the physician, if such is the case, to the director of professional services or designated person. The director of professional services or designated person must then take the necessary steps to find another physician willing to deal with the request in accordance with section 28.

If the physician who receives the request practises in a private health facility and is not associated with a local authority for the administration of medical aid in dying, the physician must as soon as possible notify the director of professional services or any other person designated by the executive director of the local authority, and forward the request form given to the physician, if such is the case, to the director of professional services or designated person. The steps mentioned in the first paragraph must then be taken.

So, to repeat: If the bill becomes law, ALL Quebec doctors must be complicit in killing patients, if asked. Or to put it another way: No conscience allowed. 


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