Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rethink Euthanasia

This letter was published on December 13 in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

By Dr Linda Baker

In his column Where's the line in legalizing euthanasia? (Dec 9) Andrew Coyne makes a factual, dispassionate presentation on the situation in place in Quebec currently and is being considered federally. These are the same arguments against allowing euthanasia being raised by the Canadian Society of Palliative Physicians, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada, and the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, among others.

Unfortunately, some of these organizations are mistakenly viewed as "Christian fundamentalists" with an agenda to impose their values on others. I hope Coyne's objective summary will speak sense to citizens and government before we misguidedly go down a path that we as a country will regret. Witness what is happening in Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Canadians need to realize that pain usually can be well controlled, and that physicians are seeking to improve palliative care. During the course of any illness, patients have the right to decline recommended treatment they feel is burdensome or futile.

I urge all readers to find Coyne's column and read it if you missed it, and consider the implications. Better yet, pass it on to your friends and family and discuss it.

Then express your concerns to Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Justice Minister Peter MacKay before these matters come up for debate in the Senate and House of Commons early in 2015.

As Coyne writes, "What begins in compassion, it seems, ends in eugenics." Most physicians believe in caring, not killing.

Dr. Linda Baker

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