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Canadian Medical Association: 71.5% oppose the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide; Doctors should be excluded from doing euthanasia

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The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has published the results of its online poll and national dialogue concerning euthanasia, assisted suicide and end-of-life care. The CMA consultation report determined that 71.5% of respondents agreed with the current CMA policy on euthanasia and physician-assisted death, 25.8% disagreed with its current position and 2.6% were unsure.

The current CMA policy on euthanasia and physician-assisted dying states, in part, that there is a significant divide among various stakeholders regarding the desirability of modifying the current legal prohibition of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The policy further asserts that Canadian physicians should not engage in euthanasia or assisted suicide.

“For the medical profession to engage in these practices, a fundamental reconsideration of traditional medical ethics would be required.”
“The CMA acknowledges that it is the prerogative of society to decide whether the laws dealing with euthanasia and assisted suicide should be changed. The CMA aims to contribute the perspective of the medical profession to the examination of the legal, social and ethical issues.”

The consultation report indicated that those in favour of the current CMA position cited the following main reasons for their position:

  • The legalisation of medical aid in dying would have a detrimental effect on the trust that patients place in their physicians, as well as on the physician–patient relationship.
  • The role of the physician is to heal, not to end life.
  • The legalisation of medical aid in dying is perceived as a potential catalyst for the expansion of its scope, with the potential to extend it to a greater number of conditions and patient populations, particularly those who are more vulnerable.
  • The legalisation of medical aid in dying could be employed for economic purposes, with the objective of reducing expenditure within the healthcare system.

The CMA consultation document indicated that physicians should not be involved in the act of euthanasia. The document posited that since the ultimate decision regarding the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide resides with society, that if society legalises euthanasia, doctors should be excluded from performing euthanasia. The document stated:

The possibility of removing physicians from the equation in the event that physician-assisted dying becomes legal in Canada was discussed at several public town hall and member meetings.

One member framed the issue as follows: “We have no training in killing people, quite the opposite.”

“If the law is to be changed, it would be more appropriate for the role of euthanist to be filled by someone other than a physician.” “It is unlikely that I, or indeed the majority of my colleagues, will be involved in this process,” said an attendee at one meeting.

A significant proportion of attendees at the meetings held by the CMA felt that the CMA should advocate for the removal of physicians from the process of euthanasia and lobby for the establishment of a different group to provide these services.

A significant number of individuals called upon the CMA to, at the very least, safeguard the rights of physicians who are unwilling to provide euthanasia services. This stance was formally endorsed at the CMA General Council meeting in August of last year.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is opposed to the concept of doctors becoming killers and supports the call of physicians to never take part in the act of killing.

Journalist

Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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