On May 13, Francine Lalonde MP (BQ – La Pointe-de-l’Île) introduced Bill C-384: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity). There are at least 14 concerns that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has with the bill.
- Bill C-384 would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.
- Bill C-384 does not restrict intended death to Canadian citizens, thus if passed it would make Canada a destination for suicide tourists.
- The person may refuse appropriate treatments and still die by an intended death. A medical practitioner cannot determine that there is no prospect of relief from pain if the person refuses appropriate treatments.
- Bill C-384 allows intended death for people who experience depression or other chronic mental conditions.
- Bill C-384 does not limit intended death to the terminally ill and it does not define terminal illness.
- Bill C-384 measures competency based on “appearing to be lucid,” a term that does not assure that the person is actually lucid.
- Bill C-384 would allow intended death for incompetent people stated while competent their intentions.
- The language of the bill is not clear whether medical practitioners are the only persons who can intend the death of an incompetent person.
- Bill C-384 would require at least two medical practitioners to confirm the diagnosis in writing, but the bill does not prohibit doctor shopping.
- Bill C-384 would require that all requests for intended death be made free of duress. This is an illusion as no assurances are built into the bill.
- Bill C-384 would require the medical practitioner to inform the person of all alternatives — but there is no requirement for patients try effective treatments.
- Bill C-384 would assure that the person may revoke their request at any time, but this is also an illusion without safeguards to protect those who change their mind about intended death.
- Bill C-384 would require the medical practitioner to provide confirmation of the diagnosis to the coroner. This is a form of after-the-fact reporting. The medical practitioner is only required to a file a report after the person has died. This is only a safeguard for the medical practitioner and not the person who is dead.
- The definition of medical practitioner is not limited to a physician.
Alex Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. This article is adapted from a post on his June 12 blog alexschadenberg.blogspot.com. Go to his website for detailed and on-going analysis of euthanasia issues.