HOME > SOCIAL ISSUES > ISSUES > EUTHANASIA & ASSISTED SUICIDE
signup readlatest
 
Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide
 
More Info

Urgent action: Spring 2016

Now is a critical time to engage your local MP on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Please call and write your MP, the Minister of Justice and Senators from your province as soon as possible to request conscience protection for healthcare workers and institutions in Bill C-14.

Feel free to use these sample letters for an MP and for a Senator and draw on the materials below to customize them.

 


The EFC's Julia Beazley appeared recently (May 11, May 5) on 100 Huntley Street to summarize the situation.

  • Bill C-14 is moving quickly through Parliament, which means we now have a brief window of time in which changes may be made to the legislation.
  • An MP and a Senate committee are both proposing changes to Bill C-14 to provide conscience protection. MP Michael Cooper’s motion 14 will be voted on as early as May 30. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report recommends a clause on conscience protection. See below for details on these proposals and how to contact government to express your support for them.
  • The EFC opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide. However, as the federal government is going to allow these practices, we are urging them to put in place very strict limits and safeguards to protect conscience rights and the lives of vulnerable Canadians.

As you will see in the “Take Action” tab below, the EFC has prepared a variety of resources you can use. If we work together to call for conscience protection, we are more likely to have an impact. Please pray for our nation.


Overview:

The federal government introduced Bill C-14, legislation to decriminalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, on April 14, 2016. The legislation would create a Criminal Code exemption to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide for persons who are 18 years or older, with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, who are in an advanced state of irreversible decline and for whom death is “reasonably foreseeable.” Read the government’s summary of the legislation here. The government intends to have the legislation in place very quickly, by June 2016.

The EFC opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide. In its news release on Bill C-14, the EFC urged Parliamentarians to examine the risks inherent in the practices, and called for strong conscience protection for medical practitioners and institutions to be provided in the legislation. The EFC will continue to study the legislation and provide resources.

As the government is putting a law in place to allow these practices, it needs to hear clearly that Canadians want conscience protection for medical practitioners and institutions, and very strict limits around the practices to ensure such deaths are very rare and to protect the lives of vulnerable Canadians.

Back to Top

Three things you can do:

1. Please call or email your MP and Senators from your province as soon as possible to ask them to support conscience protection for medical practitioners AND institutions. There are several proposals in Parliament that would add conscience protection. Your action will make a difference!

  • MP Michael Cooper’s motion no. 14 to include conscience protection for health care providers and institutions will be voted on as early as May 30.
  • Recommendation #7 in the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report on Bill C-14 would include conscience protection. Ask Senators from your province for their support. If this amendment is passed by the Senate, this could return to the House of Commons.
  • Private member's Bill C-268 would protect conscience by a Criminal Code amendment. Express your support, perhaps using the EFC's sample letter.
  • The EFC has prepared sample letters on conscience protection that you can customize to write an MP or a Senator. Use materials from the "Learn more" section (below) to clarify your own thoughts and wording.

2. Sign the Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (euthanasiadeclaration.ca) to call on the government to protect vulnerable Canadians and improve palliative care. Your endorsement shows cross-country support for strict limits to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

3. Learn more about the issue:Euthanasia + Palliative Care: A Guide for Canadians

Back to Top

Background

Last February the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, in its decision in the Carter case, that there should be limited exemptions to Canada’s laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide. The court said that patients in specific circumstances, with a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring suffering, should be able to ask a physician to help them end their life, without penalty. (See the EFC’s summary and commentary on the decision at theEFC.ca/carter.)

The court has suspended its declaration until June 6 in order to give Parliament time to put in place regulations and safeguards on physician-assisted death.

A special joint parliamentary committee made recommendations to Parliament Feb. 25 to provide far more expansive access to assisted death than the Supreme Court provided in the Carter decision. Several committee members wrote a dissenting opinion, pointing out the committee report “falls far short of what is necessary to protect vulnerable Canadians and the Charter protected conscience rights of health professionals.” See a two-page summary of the EFC’s submission to the committee or the full submission, and the EFC's analysis (PDF, 4MB) of some of the committee’s deeply troubling recommendations.

The federal government introduced Bill C-14 on April 14. The legislation would create a Criminal Code exemption to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide for persons who are 18 years or older, with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, in an advanced state of irreversible decline and for whom death is reasonably foreseeable. Read the government’s summary of the legislation here. The government intends to have the legislation in place very quickly, by June 2016.

The EFC is completely opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. As the federal government is going to allow the practices, we are urging them to put in place very strict limits and safeguards to protect conscience rights and the lives of vulnerable Canadians. In its news release on Bill C-14, the EFC urged Parliamentarians to examine the risks inherent in the practices, and called for strong conscience protection for medical practitioners and institutions to be provided in the legislation. 

New! The Justice Committee held hearings May 2-5 to hear from witnesses about possible amendments to Bill C-14. They may recommend changes to Bill C-14. EFC staff addressed the committee on May 4. Watch ten-minute video, jump to time of 19:43. And see the EFC’s written submission of May 2 outlining the specific amendments it is proposing.

The EFC continues to produce and provide various resources on these issues.

Back to Top

Why should Evangelicals care about euthanasia and assisted suicide?

As Christians we believe God calls us to live the life He has given us. We do not need to accept medical treatment, but it is not for us to choose the timing of our death. We are stewards of this life, but it belongs to God.

Part of our Christian calling is to care for our neighbour. The situation of vulnerable Canadians has to be our concern:

  • People who may feel pressured to end their lives – because of the cost of their medical care, because their caregivers are tired or because their heirs are impatient
  • People experiencing despair who may believe that their lives aren’t worth living
  • People experiencing pain whose suffering is not being properly managed by quality palliative care
  • People who live with disability and already struggle to receive proper medical care
  • People who are afraid of losing capacity or afraid they may suffer.

Many people who are ill or at the end of life are concerned about being a burden and may be afraid of what lies ahead. The compassionate response is to support and encourage them, to provide high quality palliative care, not to end their lives.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide fundamentally devalue human life. They communicate that some lives are not worth living, that people with disabilities or illness are better off dead. If our society believes it is compassionate to offer death to someone with a disability or illness, how long before they extend that so-called compassionate response to those without the mental capacity to request it, and end people’s lives without their consent?

This will shift our medical system from a presumption for life to one in which a patient, amid scarce resources, may feel the need to justify not choosing death. Causing someone to justify their continued care and their very existence denies the dignity we claim to affirm in us all.

The situation is urgent, but you can still have a signficant impact by simply contacting your MP.

Back to Top

Issue: Euthanasia

Current Status
What You Can Do  
Urgent Action
Resources
Definitions

Printer-friendly Version


Related Issue: Abortion
Related Issue: Palliative Care
Related Issue: Reproductive/Genetic Technologies


Palliative Care: House of Commons motion calls for a national stategy (2016)

Palliative Care and End of Life Therapies: EFC position paper (2012)

Bill 52 Quebec: "Assisted Aid in Dying" bill passes (2014)

Carter v. Canada: Assisted suicide & euthanasia case (2013-2015)

Cuthbertson v. Rasouli: Life-sustaining care & religious freedom case (2013)

Find hospice and palliative care services near you. Search for services by name, location or medical conditions addressed. 

In the Shadow of Death: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Download this EFC publication from 2006 or buy a printed copy.

   
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
Copyright ©2016 The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. All rights reserved.