Nice to see this perspective on euthanasia in the news by Johanne Brownrigg:
To those in the pro-life movement, euthanasia represents the culture attempting to devour itself. I think the root of this is our growing preoccupation with our selves. Margaret Somerville, a renowned McGill University professor and ethicist calls it “radical individualism.” It is a belief and behaviour in which individual autonomy almost always trumps the well-being of society. It shows in the popular support for Quebec’s Bill 52 and the right to suicide in general.
But as we have found, popular support is not as solid as the media claim. The polling on this issue is not reliable, especially polls that ask simplistic questions – like this poll that has been featured in the National Post of late. To simply ask the question, ‘are you in favour of assisted suicide?’ assumes that the respondent knows what assisted suicide is, and that it differs from both active and passive euthanasia.
The issue of euthanasia is complex, to say the least. There are a myriad of misunderstandings that surround it. For instance, many people are unfamiliar with the rights of refusal that already exist, that patients can refuse any medical treatment, especially those that would prolong their lives unnecessarily.
They are also often unaware of the disempowering effect that the practice will have on patients. Doctors with the legal sanction to prescribe lethal medications, can and will do so without patient knowledge and consent, when it is seen, by law, as a medical practice employed for the patient’s “own good.” In other words, people with a license to kill will use it.
I am compelled to give this shameless plug for the annual polling done by Environics (and commissioned by LifeCanada) that shows that when people are educated about the possible harms of euthanasia, support for it goes way down.by