Defiance of law predicted as Quebec moves toward legalization of assisted suicide

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that the government of Quebec will introduce legislation to legalize physician assisted suicide in the province between 7 and 14 June, 2013.  The draft bill is expected to assert that physician assisted suicide is a form of health care, and thus (under Canada’s constitutional division of powers) subject to provincial regulation, not the Criminal Code, a federal law that prohibits the procedures.  Depending upon the wording of the bill, the proposed legislation could include euthanasia by physicians.  Dr. Paul Saba of Physicians for Social Justice, a group that opposes the legislation, states that he will refuse to assist or refer any patient who asks for assisted suicide or euthanasia, regardless of the law or the policies of the Collège des médecins du Québec (Quebec College of Physicians), the state regulator of the practice of medicine.  [CBC]

One thought on “Defiance of law predicted as Quebec moves toward legalization of assisted suicide”

  1. The Quebec College of Physicians is the only regulator in Canada that requires physicians who object to procedures or services for reasons of conscience to refer patients. Mandatory referral by objecting physicians for euthanasia and assisted suicide was recommended by the Quebec legislative committee responsible for the present proposal and by a panel of the Royal Society of Canada. Their arguments are, in principle, the same as arguments made for mandatory referral for abortion and other morally contested services.

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