Take the Interim election quiz and see why you should vote pro-life.
Question # 1
A Gallup Poll (August 2, 1993) showed that 66 per cent of Canadians think that abortion should be illegal under certain circumstances.
Do you feel that abortion should be provided on demand? YES [ ] NO [ ]
According to an Environics Poll (November 25, 1992), 74 % of Canadians believe that women considering an abortion should be informed of its possible physical and psychological complications.
Should a doctor be required to tell pregnant women considering an abortion about the development of the baby in the womb and the possible physical and psychological complications of abortion? YES [ ] NO [ ]
A Toronto Star phone-in poll (August 26, 1993) received almost 7,000 calls; 75% of the callers oppose government funding for abortion.
Should the government pay for abortions? YES [ ] NO [ ]
The same Environics Poll found that 74% believe adoption counseling should be available to women seeking abortions.
Should there be a law requiring a woman to receive counseling about the option of placing the baby for adoption before she can have an abortion? YES [ ] NO [ ]
Your answers The majority of Canadians
#1 YES [ ] NO [ ] YES [ ] NO [Ö ]
#2 YES [ ] NO [ ] YES [ Ö] NO [ ]
#3 YES [ ] NO [ ] YES [ ] NO [ Ö]
#4 YES [ ] NO [ ] YES [Ö ] NO [ ]
The party leaders Pro-life candidates
#1 YES [ Ö] NO [ ] YES [ ] NO [Ö ]
#2 YES [ ] NO [Ö ] YES [ Ö] NO [ ]
#3 YES [ Ö] NO [ ] YES [ ] NO [ Ö]
#4 YES [ ] NO [ Ö] YES [ Ö] NO [ ]
If the 66 per cent of Canadians who oppose abortion on demand would vote pro-life;
pro-life candidates would take at least 250 of 295 seats in parliament.
Supreme Court ruling protects human life
Doctors not allowed to assist in Sue Rodriguez’s death
On September 30, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada upheld as constitutional the Criminal Code section prohibiting assisted suicide. The Court refused the request of Sue Rodriguez, the disabled British Columbia woman, who asked for the legal right to have a physician assist her suicide.
The ruling greatly encouraged pro-life groups across the country, who have learnt in the past that the Supreme Court is generally hostile to a pro-life philosophy.
The majority stated that assisted suicide, outlawed under common law, has been prohibited by Parliament since the time of Canada’s first Criminal Code. Section 24(b) “reflects the policy of the state that human life should not be depreciated by allowing life to be taken.” The judges noted that blanket prohibitions against assisted suicide seem to be the norm among Western democracies, and that such bans had never been found unconstitutional or contrary to fundamental human rights.
“No consensus can be found,” the judgment states, “in favour of the decriminalization of assisted suicide. To the extent that there is a consensus, it is that human life must be respected. This consensus finds legal expression in our legal system which prohibits capital punishment.
“The prohibition against assisted suicide serves a similar purpose. Parliament’s repeal of the offence of attempted suicide from the Criminal Code was not a recognition that suicide was to be accepted within Canadian society. Rather, this action merely reflected the recognition that the criminal law was an ineffectual and inappropriate tool for dealing with suicide attempts. Given the concerns about abuse and the great difficulty in creating appropriate safeguards, the blanket prohibition on assisted suicide is not arbitrary or unfair.”
Supporting the majority opinion were Justice Gerard La Forest, Justice John Sopinka, Justice Charles Gonthier, Justice Frank Iacobucci and Justice John Major.
In their written dissent, Madam Justice Claire L’Heureaux-Dube and Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin disagreed with the majority opinion that just because Parliament decriminalized suicide, it did not make it acceptable. They found that Section 241(b) of the Criminal Code limits the right to security of the person, contrary to the Charter.
“Here,” they wrote, “Parliament has to put into force a legislative scheme which makes suicide lawful but assisted suicide unlawful. The effect of this distinction is to deny to some people the choice of ending their lives solely because they are physically unable to do so, preventing them from exercising the autonomy over their bodies available to other people. The denial of the ability to end their life is arbitrary and hence amounts to a limit on the right to security of the person which does not comport with the principles of fundamental justice.”
These two justices approved the solution offered by Chief Justice Antonio Lamer. He proposed that section 241(b) be suspended for one year, to allow Parliament time to decide replacement legislation, if any. He would have allowed Ms. Rodriguez a “constitutional exemption” from the section, while it was suspended. The same exemption would be allowed to others who are unable to commit unassisted suicide, if a superior court decided that “conditions” of particular cases are met.
Justice Peter Cory agreed with Chief Justice Lamer’s final solution. He wrote that “the right to die with dignity should be as well protected as in any other aspect of the right to life.”
Pro-life interventors in the Supreme Court hearing last May 20 included the Pro-life Society of B.C., the Pacific Physicians for Life Society, the Canadian Conference of bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
Hilda Kreig, president of the Pro-life Society of B.C., applauded the decision. She pointed out that the disabled would be relieved, “The physically challenged, who in spite of their handicap value their lives, have been reassured that they too are valuable members of this society,” she added.
Dr. Robert Pankratz, spokesperson for Pacific Physicians for Life, said, “I am encouraged that the Supreme Court recognizes that Sue’s right over her body does not extend past refusing medical treatment, to requesting active intervention to kill her.”
He pointed out the potential dangers in having doctors become medical killers. “Physicians are not inherently greater ethicists than others in society. Granting someone the power to kill does not also confer on them wisdom to choose who should live and who should die,” he added.
Campaign Life Coalition’s president, Jim Hughes, noted that the Supreme Court has sent an important message to Parliament and to the medical profession. “We have been qualifying all candidates during this election campaign on the euthanasia issue,” he said. “Quite a few have said that they will not take a position until this decision. Since the Court has ruled in favour of life, we expect the politicians to follow suit.”
In addition to commenting on the ruling itself, the pro-life spokespersons have all extended prayers and best wishes for the personal well being of Ms. Rodriguez. And they have pledged to continue raising public awareness on the issues and the life-affirming alternatives offered through the palliative care and hospice movements.