PEI Doctors Forced to Participate in Euthanasia


So the fear that I expressed in my recent Guest Opinion in the Guardian that provincial governments and Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons will force doctors who refuse to end the lives of their patients to refer patients to other doctors who will euthanize them is indeed happening in PEI.  The PEI College of Physicians and Surgeons has developed a policy which states that doctors – as reported in the Guardian article Policy Developed for Dying (May 31, 2016) – ” …must transfer the patient to another doctor,” who will then euthanize them.  In other words, PEI doctors are being forced to facilitate euthanasia against their conscience rights.

Doctors should be free to tell any patient who requests euthanasia that they believe that helping someone end their life violates the Hippocratic oath “to do no harm,” and that their conscious rights protects them from having to support such a decision. Doctors should be left free to offer alternative health care medical advice, including offers of palliative care and counseling. They should be allowed to share information explaining why they don’t believe euthanasia is an appropriate moral or medical response to any health challenge, and that they will not enable them to end their lives, nor refer them to someone who will.

On another note, during the May 30th evening session of Parliament in Ottawa, the Liberals voted down all proposed amendments to Bill C-14 including amendment # 14 that would have fully protected conscience rights, including not having to make referrals (e.g., “indirect medical assistance”). It would have also made it a crime to deprive any benefit, or subject medical practitioners to any obligation or sanction simply for exercising their right to freedom of conscious as protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   The parliamentary record recording the May 30 votes on the proposed amendments to Bill C-14 reported the following regarding Motion #14:
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All Island Liberal MPs voted against this proposed amendment to Bill C-14!

Whereas the May 17th vote against Conservative Motion #61 showed that the Liberal government was unwilling to put the federal government “on the record” as being fully in favour of protecting the conscious rights of medical practitioners; the May 30th vote rejecting Motion #14, which proposed an actual amendment to Bill C-14, now makes it abundantly clear that the Liberal government has no intention of protecting health care practitioners from being compelled by Medical Associations or Societies and provincial and territorial governments to participate – either directly or indirectly – in euthanasia.

What lies ahead for the new law allowing euthanasia? Conscience rights will not be protected in Bill C-14 unless the Senate brings forth an amendment similar to Motion #14, and then refuses to support final passage of Bill C-14 until the Liberal government adopts such an amendment. Otherwise, Island doctors will be forced to keep what they believe to be their best medical advice for their patients to themselves, and will have to, reluctantly, refer their patients to other doctors willing to end their lives. Let’s hope that all PEI Doctors will refuse to euthanize patients and therefore make referrals impossible!

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One Response to PEI Doctors Forced to Participate in Euthanasia

  1. Barb MacFarlane says:

    You are absolutely right, Kevin. Doctors having to keep the best medical advice to themselves, and instead refer to other medical practitioners who are willing to end their lives is unbelievable.


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