The Canadian parliament on Wednesday defeated a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia. MPs form all parties voted against the measure, Bill C-384, the private members bill sponsored by Francine Lalonde that was opposed by pro-life and disability rights organizations.
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, one of the prominent organizations fighting the bill, told LifeNews.com he was elated by the vote.
“We would like to thank every member of parliament who voted against Bill C-384. We would also like to thank all of our supporters who made this victory possible. Months of work have resulted in an incredible victory. But the battle is not over,” he said.
While assisted suicide organizations regroup for another bill, Schadenberg said opponents of euthanasia must work to help the disabled, terminally ill and elderly, and provide than better resources than suicide.
“We are working to turn the debate on this issue to a debate on how Canadians can live with dignity,” he said.
“It is our goal to work with members of parliament and other Canadian leaders to identify ways to improve palliative/hospice care throughout Canada, change attitudes and improve services for people with disabilities, institute an effective national suicide prevention strategy, and promote programs that identify and eliminate the scourge of elder abuse,” he said.
He concluded: “We must continue to build a nation that upholds the dignity of all its citizens. We must continue to create a paradigm that protects all Canadians, including its most vulnerable. We reject the concept that killing can be the answer to problems that are properly solved by a caring society.”
American bioethicst Wesley J. Smith said the bill had many problems that resulted in its defeat.
He said, under its provisions, “the patient does not have to be physically ill–mental pain will do” and “even if the patient could have suffering reduced through proper treatment or care, he or she is still eligible to be aided in suicide by choosing death over treatment.”
“I believe that this bill could be interpreted to authorize doctors to administer the death causing agent,” he said.
“Repeat after me: Assisted suicide is not about terminal illness. Assisted suicide is not about terminal illness. Assisted suicide is not about terminal illness,” Smith concluded.
A recent poll conducted by the polling firm Environics for a Canadian pro-life group shows 70% of Canadians worried that if legalization occurs, sick, disabled, or elderly persons would be euthanized without their consent. In addition, 56% were concerned that elderly persons would be pressured to accept euthanasia due to rising health care costs.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – http://www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca
[21 April 2010, Ertelt, Ottawa, Canada www.LifeNews.com; http://www.lifenews.com/bio3087.html]
After Canadian Success, EPC Hosted Assisted Suicide “Push Back” Seminar in Seattle on 5June10
Following the successful defeat of a bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada by a vote of 228 to 59 last month, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is turning its attention to the U.S.
Alex Schadenberg, director of the EPC, said the victory in Canada was “was achieved by maintaining a strict focus and working in coalition with many different groups who shared one goal, opposing the legalization of assisted suicide.”
Schadenberg said the purpose of the much-anticipated Assisted Suicide “Push Back” Seminar, to be held in Seattle on Saturday, June 5, 2010, will be to develop new coalitions that can work with a focused strategy in every jurisdiction in the United States and around the world.
The seminar is organized by the EPC and co-sponsored by True Compassionate Advocates, Physicians for Compassionate Care, Compassionate Health Care Network and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of British Columbia.
“We chose Seattle for the seminar location,” Schadenberg explained, “because there are significant opportunities to turn back the cultural tide in Washington state. Seattle is also located near Montana, a state that is also in need of forming a strong and effective coalition.
“We also predict that California will once again face a new challenge by the euthanasia lobby and Oregon is constantly under social attack. Finally, we hoped that people in British Columbia will take advantage of the seminar.”
Schadenberg said that the speakers scheduled for the event (which include Dr. Charles Bentz, of Physicians for Compassionate Care – Oregon, Eileen Geller, of True Compassionate Advocates – Washington State, and Greg Hinkle, Montana State Senator, among many other experts) will provide participants with the opportunity to work through the ideas that enabled EPC and its coalition partners to convince politicians from across the political and social spectrum to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.
“We are convinced that by working together we can effectively push-back the euthanasia lobby,” Schadenberg concluded.
[21May10, T. M. Baklinski, www.LifeSiteNews.comhttp://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/may/10052102.html ]