Josie Wichrowski is a summer intern with NCLN in our Western Office. On Friday she was present at the B.C. Supreme Court for the ruling on the Carter Case. The following is her reflection on the decision.
By Josie Wichrowski, NCLN Summer Intern
I was present at the BC Supreme Court yesterday where the decision was made to make an exception to the law, giving Gloria Taylor the right to be euthanized in Canada; this is the first step to legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada.
It was a particularly tense and important moment to be a part of and, whether you were present or not, you are all impacted by the outcome of the case. If this decision is upheld in the Supreme Court and sent to parliament, it will become a part of our constitutional law and it will affect all Canadians.
As a pro-life student who works hard to show my peers that all human life has value, I am appalled by this decision. On campus we want to instill life-affirming values amongst the future doctors, teachers, politicians, and other professionals of our country; but while we are working hard to affirm these values, our very own B.C. Court has just made a judgement that undermines them.
If a “right” to euthanasia and assisted suicide become law, it will only pave the way for more injustices to occur such as increased rates of suicide among those struggling with depression as well as seniors being pressured to accept euthanasia to avoid being a burden to their families. Unfortunately senior abuse is a reality that already happens in Canada, and euthanasia and assisted suicide would only worsen this. Such examples have been documented in jurisdictions such as Oregon and the Netherlands where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal.
Is this what we want Canada to become, a country where we permit people to abuse others who are vulnerable and kill those in pain? The solution to suffering is not to eliminate the sufferer, but rather to alleviate the individual’s suffering.
Dr. Will Johnston, chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and Dr. Margaret Cottle, vice-president, both spoke to media officials and conveyed how deeply disappointed they were in the court’s decision.
Dr. Cottle is a practicing palliative care physician in Vancouver and said if this law is drafted, it will be nearly impossible to prevent other forms of assisted suicide. As she stated, in her profession, “Only 30% of Canadian patients have access to palliative care. Whereas 70% of Canadians don’t…Are we therefore going to go to the drastic position of killing people?” She concludes, “This is a sad day in Canada and for my profession.”
The next question to ask is, is this decision binding for the rest of Canada? It certainly creates a dangerous precedent. What we do know is that an appeal must be made to the Court, and we need to get involved and do what we can to let our fellow Canadians know that we oppose the BC Supreme Court’s Decision. Please write a letter today to your local newspaper and media outlets, outlining your opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, and the many harms that will result if these are legalized. For talking points, visit http://www.epcbc.ca/p/talking-points_06.html
Please contact Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, asking him to stay the Carter decision and appeal it to the BC Court of Appeal: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your voice is crucial to overturning this decision, as we show Canadians and politicians the abuses that would result. We must encourage the EPC as they work to appeal this motion, and discourage Parliament from crafting any law that would support euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. Such a law would have implications on all of us when we are faced with end of life decisions, both for ourselves and those we care for. It is at these moments when people are most vulnerable that we must not be making judgments on whether their life is worth living, but rather be affirming their value and right to life.