May 1, 1984
Need for Hospital Ethics Committees
Mr. Stanley Hudechki (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence): Mr. Speaker, the time has come when all large hospitals and medical schools must have a formal ethics committee. With the current rapid social transformation, and with the continuing advances in medical technology and techniques, doctors and society at large face dilemmas beyond the imagination of other generations.
It is not enough, as is the custom now, for complex ethical decisions to be made at a meeting of the medical advisory board of a hospital, or by a special committee struck for a specific issue. A formal ethics committee in a hospital must consist of medical staff, social workers, religious representatives, and legal advisers. Less formal committees are more ideal in difficult situations such as making a decision as to whether or not to discontinue life support systems and should, therefore, involve only people most closely involved with the patient – the family, the doctor, and the religious adviser.
These groups in their discussions need the expertise of a person trained to deal with the ethical question, that is, an ethicist. Such people may come from a variety of professions, medicine, law, philosophy or theology. At least one year’s intense training is desirable to prepare such individuals. There are only a handful of such persons at the moment in Canada. As an important matter of concern, I feel that financial support from the Government is the stimulus which is required to encourage and promote the establishment of the essential services of ethicists throughout our country.
May 3, 1984
Plea on Behalf of Unborn Children
Mr. Gordon Taylor (Bow River): Mr. Speaker, every Hon. Member of the House, along with thousands of Canadians, has grieved with the parents of the babies murdered in the Toronto Children’s Hospital, as the stories on the Grange Commission’s inquiry appeared in front page news throughout Canada. How could anyone kill such innocent and helpless babies?
Yet every week across this nation, not only in Toronto but in every major city in the country, helpless unborn babies are being aborted, and the daily press scarcely mentions these murders. More space is given to the hue and cry when baby seals are killed then when these helpless human beings are denied life. It is ironic that there is so much interest in trying to find the person responsible for the terrible deaths in Toronto, while at the same time many in our society condone or say nothing about respected doctors and hospitals in their own communities removing unborn children, human beings, from the wombs of their mothers.
When are the Government and the House of Commons going to show some concern for unborn babies equal to that which they show when a born baby is killed? Neither should be accepted, and yet taxpayers’ money is now being used to encourage abortion, not to save the life of the mother or of the child, but as a birth control measure.
These innocent and helpless babies, born and unborn, are created by an omnipotent God. How long is Government going to condemn one and condone the other?
May 18, 1984
Mr. Lewycky – rights of the unborn
Mr. Laverne Lewycky (Dauphin-Swan River): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by 265 petitioners from Manitoba, primarily from Dauphin. I would also like to note that there are signatures from Ste. Rose du Lac, Roblin, Sifton and Ashville. They now exercise their right to present a grievance and humbly sheweth that since abortion claims the lives of over 60,000 unborn babies annually in this country and living aborted babies have become a useful by-product for commercial use and medical experimentation, and because the undersigned believe that the unborn is truly a human being, they therefore ask the Government to pass legislation to recognize unborn babies, as well as the living survivors of abortion, to be truly living persons having the same rights as all citizens. In duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.
May 22, 1984
Mr. Lewycky – rights of the unborn
Mr. Speaker: I have the honour to inform the House that the petition presented by the Hon. Member for Dauphin-Swan River (Mr. Lewycky) on Friday, May 18, 1984, meets the requirements of the Standing Orders as to form.