Thursday, August 8, 2013

No to Assisted Suicide

The Calgary Herald published the following editorial on August 7, 2013: Rx: No to Assisted Suicide.

Calgary Herald - August 7, 2013

They’re the forgotten ones in the heated debate over assisted suicide — the doctors.

Up until now, discussion of the issue has focused exclusively on patients. However, a new Canadian Medical Association survey that shows only about one-quarter of doctors would be willing to participate in an assisted suicide should act as a warning to all. Suddenly, the doctors’ perspective comes into plain view — doctors do not want to help kill people.

They likely feel it violates the Hippocratic Oath; they may also personally not want to be responsible for killing anyone. Perhaps they simply can’t stomach the idea of going through the procedure that would lead to someone’s death.

Regardless, the results of this survey need to loom large in any parliamentary debate about whether assisted suicide should become legal in Canada. The survey represents a prevailing mood, and that prevailing mood should be respected, as the doctors are the ones who would be called upon to help patients kill themselves.

They are the ones who would be advising patients on lethal drugs, prescribing them and also administering them. It can be argued that legislation could contain an opting-out clause, but that’s a weak argument, given the fact that the majority of doctors have expressed their opinion so definitively.

Links to other recent articles on the same topic:

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