OTTAWA – In what appears to be a softening on the issue from Canada’s doctors, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) voted Tuesday to allow doctors to follow their conscience if and when assisted suicide becomes legal in Canada.
Previously, the CMA had opposed the idea of medically assisted euthanasia.
But with recent end-of-life legislation in Quebec, as well as two related bills put forward by Steven Fletcher, a Conservative MP who was paralyzed after a car accident in 1996, Canadians’ views — as well as the country’s laws — could be changing. . . [Full Text]
CMA to revisit issue of doctor-assisted death after delegates pass motion supporting physician’s right to ‘follow their conscience’
Canada’s doctors say they should be free to choose whether to help terminally ill patients kill themselves if the federal ban outlawing euthanasia is overturned.
Delegates at the Canadian Medical Association‘s annual general meeting in Ottawa overwhelmingly passed a motion Tuesday supporting the “right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether to provide medical aid in dying.”
The CMA is formally opposed to euthanasia – a stance its leaders indicated would now be revisited as the emotionally charged issue takes on new urgency in Canada.
The Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear a constitutional challenge of the criminal ban on doctor-assisted death in October, while Quebec has introduced Bill 52, legislation allowing doctors help end the lives of terminal patients suffering “unbearable physical or psychological pain.”
The CMA defines “medical aid in dying” as euthanasia or physician-assisted death.[Full text]