Canadian euthanasia activist pressuring Catholic Hospital to permit euthanasia

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Saint Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish

Jocelyn Downie, the long-time euthanasia activist and academic, is now turning her attention to forcing St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and the Sisters of St. Martha to permit euthanasia.

St. Martha’s Hospital is known for excellence in palliative care.

Downie believes that access to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD–euthanasia) transcends Catholic Healthcare and the agreement that St Martha’s Hospital have with the provincial government.

Downie argues in an opinion piece that was published in The Chronicle Herald on December 17 that

[T]he current approach allowing forced transfers violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.

Fortunately, there are at least three solutions. First, the Sisters Antigonish could agree to a compromise policy that would permit St. Martha’s to refuse to allow assessment or provision of MAiD within its walls (by non-objecting providers from outside the hospital), but only if the patient can be transferred to another location without undue harm or delay as determined by the Nova Scotia MAiD program.

Second, if the Sisters will not agree to this compromise, the Nova Scotia government could legislate it. Institutions that receive provincial funding would then be required to allow the assessment and provision of MAiD on their premises when the patient cannot be transferred to another location without undue harm or delay.

Third, alternatively, the NSHA [Nova Scotia Health Authority] could simply not renew the 1996 agreement. Going this route, the NSHA could cease to be bound by it as early as Sept. 28, 2019. Then MAiD assessment and provision would be available without compromise within what would presumably be a renamed secular hospital.

Downie has for years sold herself as a “neutral” academic, but for those who are involved in the issue of euthanasia, she is recognized as a long-time euthanasia activist.

Downie has had several successes, such as convincing the Ontario College of Physicians to accept a policy that disregards the conscience rights of Ontario physicians. She was instrumental in the writing of the 2012 Carter decision by Justice Lynn Smith, and she had her hand in the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter v. Canada decision in which the Court unanimously struck down Canada’s assisted suicide law

If you read the articles about Downie you will notice that promoting euthanasia has been her life-long work.

Hopefully the Nova Scotia government will recognize Downie as being a euthanasia activist and ignore her pressure tactics oriented to eliminating Catholic Healthcare in Canada.

It is Downie’s goal to use St. Martha’s Hospital as a stepping stone to force all Catholic Healthcare institutions in Canada to permit euthanasia on their premises.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.