Canadian bishops reject assisted-suicide bill

.- Legalizing assisted suicide in Canada would be a major social failure, say the Canadian bishops. On the last day of an annual plenary meeting in Cornwall, Ont., the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops unanimously adopted a resolution opposing bill C-407, or any similar proposal that may emerge, favoring euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Canadian bishops also called on the government and all members of Parliament to reject this new effort to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada and promote better palliative and end-of-life care.

Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde introduced Bill C-407 in mid-June before summer recess. The bill proposes that any medical professional, or a person instructed by a medical professional, can assist a sick patient in their suicide if the patient has, in a lucid state, indicated several times and on different occasions that they want to end their lives.

“In order to respond to the physical, emotional and moral sufferings of people of all ages, particularly those seriously ill or handicapped, including those in a terminal phase, we call on Canadians, including our elected representatives, instead to promote palliative care and end-of-life care,” the bishops said in their Sept. 23 statement.

“Our legal system should be inspired by a culture of life in which each person feels responsible for the well-being of others until their natural death,” they said.

Lalonde expects her private member’s bill to begin second-reading debate in the House of Commons in early November.

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