Thursday, February 11, 2016

Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying Feb. 3rd The catholic teaching expound

The catholic teaching expound

     Welcome to the witnesses, and thank you for your evidence.

    Your Eminence, I appreciate your faith-based opposition to physician-assisted dying, but that's not the issue before us. The court has made a decision and we're bound by that decision, and physician-assisted dying is a constitutional right for those eligible to access it. I appreciate the concerns that you've expressed about conscientious objectors and nobody being forced to participate. But it seems to me, and I'd ask for your comments, that what we're really looking at here is, we ought to be looking at it through the eyes of the affected patient. The rights and beliefs we might have have to be accommodated to meet those rights that the patient has.
     Perhaps you would wish that there is not going to be physician-assisted death in this country, but there is, so what particular, specific precautions should we be recommending be put in place to protect from abuse and protect the vulnerable? I think all of us would want to afford every protection to the vulnerable, but what specifically should we be recommending that would allow physician-assisted death to proceed, but at the same time provide appropriate protections for the vulnerable?
     I'm certainly sure there are people—many around this table and around the country—who are very much committed to ensuring that physician-assisted suicide takes place. Obviously, after the Carter decision, this is the project of this committee.
    As I have made clear, I don't believe this is the direction the country should be going in. Far be it from me to suggest making it about should we have three doctors, two doctors, should we have one, should we do...? I don't believe it should happen, so I can't convince—
    I understand that, Your Eminence, but that's not where we are.
    I'm sure other people will be doing that, but I don't believe in the thing itself. What I do believe is that the rights of conscience, of people who are constantly involved with compassionately caring for those most in need, need to be protected. I also believe that alternatives should be presented, funded very directly, and that would be palliative care.

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