Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has accepted an invitation to debate physician-assisted suicide; RoadKill Radio will now invite the BC Civil Liberties Association to represent the other side in an on-air debate.
The issue arose after BCCLA launched a lawsuit aimed at striking down a part of Section 241 of the Criminal Code, which makes it illegal to assist or counsel someone to commit suicide.
“Parliament has already debated the proposal, with Francine LaLonde’s private member’s bill last year,” Schadenberg reminded RKR listeners. “It was voted down massively.”
He also said the courts are the wrong place to have the issue decided: “Section 241 is designed to protect the vulnerable,” he said. “If Parliament were to amend the law, they could put in place protections against abuse. But if that section of the Criminal Code is struck down by the courts, they’d be left with no protection at all.”
Experience in the Netherlands and Belgium has shown that after assisted suicide was legalized, up to 32 per cent of recorded suicides are non-consensual—that is, the patient did NOT consent to have his or her life ended; and it is also estimated that only half of “assisted suicides” in those countries are reported.
“We need the law against assisted suicide to protect the vulnerable from abuse,” said Shadenberg.
RoadKill Radio host Kari Simpson said the BCCLA will also be invited to debate the issue live on-air, probably in May. Stay tuned for more news.