Medical journal urges Canadians to debate assisted suicide

by Sharon Kirkey/Postmedia News

Canadians must begin to debate whether we are prepared to embrace “therapeutic homicide,” says an editorial in the nation’s leading medical journal.

A recent report from an all-party committee of the Quebec national assembly recommending medical assistance to die is moving the debate over euthanasia “from theory toward practice,” says the just-published editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“Which way will legislation go? Will the rest of Canada follow? Those who care about the answers to these questions must speak up now, and with conviction.”

The editorial comes days after a B.C court stuck down Canada’s ban on doctor-assisted suicide, ruling it unconstitutional, and granting a B.C. woman dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease the right to a medically hastened death.

In March, Quebec’s Dying with Dignity commission recommended that rules be established to shelter from prosecution doctors who offer terminally-ill patients “medical assistance to die.” The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits euthanasia, making it an offence to counsel or assist someone to commit suicide, or to agree to be put to death.

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