Canadian parliament asked to prohibit coercion in euthanasia

Protection of Conscience Project proposes amendment to euthanasia/assisted suicide bill

News Release

Protection of Conscience Project

The Protection of Conscience Project is asking the Parliament of Canada to make it a crime to force people to become parties to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Project has proposed an amendment to Bill C-7, a pending euthanasia/assisted suicide bill. The amendment would establish that, as a matter of law and national public policy, no one can be compelled to become a party to homicide or suicide, or punished or disadvantaged for refusing to do so.

The proposed amendment would not prevent the provision of euthanasia or assisted suicide by willing practitioners, nor rational arguments aimed at persuading practitioners to participate, nor the offer of incentives to encourage participation. However, it would prevent state institutions or anyone else from attempting to force unwilling citizens to be parties to killing someone or aiding in suicide.

The need for the amendment is demonstrated by policies in Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba that compel health care workers to become parties to inflicting death upon patients. Further, Bill C-7 will increase demands that they participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide in increasingly controversial cases, since it will formally legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who are disabled but not dying, and for those who lose the capacity to consent after having arranged for the procedures but before they have been provided.

Parliament has used its criminal law power to prohibit procedures that might be asked of health care workers, like female genital mutilation, and the government plans to prohibit some forms of “conversion therapy.”

“It is clear that the federal government can make it a crime to force people to become parties to homicide and suicide,” said Sean Murphy, Administrator of the Protection of Conscience Project.

“The Project hopes that Liberal, Conservative, Bloc, Green and Independent parliamentarians can agree that,whatever one might think about euthanasia and assisted suicide, it is unacceptable to compel unwilling Canadians to become parties to killing other people.”

Contact: Sean Murphy, Administrator
Protection of Conscience Project

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