Dr. Catherine Ferrier of the Physicians' Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia, a group of 317 doctors, says the practice will be legalized this spring unless there is sufficient opposition. The bill calls for improved end-of-life care and legalized euthanasia -- doctors killing patients.
Dr. Ferrier told reporters how Quebec is getting around the federal ban to redefine euthanasia as "medical treatment," putting it under the jurisdiction of provincial healthcare laws.
"The criminal code is under federal jurisdiction, and it outlaws euthanasia. But healthcare is under provincial jurisdiction. So as a way of sort of getting around the criminal code, they're saying, well, this is part of healthcare, so we have the jurisdiction to legalize it," the physician details. "So what we're saying is it's something that has nothing to do with healthcare, and, in fact, it's contrary to good medicine."
The law is reportedly based on Quebec's Select Committee "Dying With Dignity Report," and it applies to Quebecers over the age of 18 who make the request. Such individuals have to have a "serious, incurable disease," be in an "advanced state of weakening capacities with no chance of improvement," or have "constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering that cannot be eased under conditions he or she deems tolerable."
LifeSiteNews reports that at a recent meeting in Montreal, Dr. Ferrier and Dr. Marc Beauchamp urged others to reject the proposal, calling it "a process through which physicians would lose all professional judgment and become legally bound to kill their patients on demand rather than to alleviate their suffering to the best of their abilities."
Although there is a criteria to be followed, even the elderly with dementia could be euthanized, and the law might eventually include the disabled.
"This kind of legislation is really a big threat to medicine as a profession, because medicine is all about healing," Ferrier contends. "It could really get out of control, and it could be very, very harmful and make patients afraid of consulting doctors, families afraid of bringing their parents to the hospital. So I think it's very important that people be aware of how dangerous this kind of legislation is."
Only 16 percent of Canadian doctors say they would euthanize their patients if it were legal.
A public demonstration against the bill will be held March 9 in front of the legislature in Quebec City.