Extract There are other flaws with Bill C-407, but this is not the place to present them in detail. However, there is one serious flaw that is appropriately considered in this forum, and that is the fact that the Bill is a partial measure at best. It deals only with assisted suicide, not euthanasia. It would not help those who, although competent, could not perform the final act themselves because they are disabled. . . .As well, the Bill ignores those who have never been competent and never will be. Their rights would still be less than those of other persons: they would be condemned to suffer when a competent person would not. An appropriately crafted suicide and euthanasia Bill would change that situation.
Kluge E-H. Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia: a Proposal for Restructuring the Criminal Code of Canada. Humanist Perspectives Online Supplement. 2005;38(4):1-5
Journal summary With physicians in Canada under increasing threat of malpractice litigation, it has been suggested that adopting clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) as standards of care would free doctors from the fear of litigation initiated by dissatisfied patients. However, ethicist Eike-Henner Kluge argues that CPGs can only be considered general indicators of standards of care.
Kluge E-H. Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Law. Can Med Assoc J. 1996;155(5):574-576.
Extract Canadian physicians cannot consistently accept the principle of respect for people in the name of medical ethics, and then perform procedures they know to be medically inappropriate, harmful and demeaning only because they do not want to offend a misplaced cultural sensitivity.
Extract The case is of interest to doctors, but not because it deals with midwifery and its legality in Canada – the Supreme Court decision is silent on that point. At issue was the status of the human fetus: Is a full-term human fetus that is partially born a person in the eyes of the criminal law? The court decided it is not. . . . The Supreme Court has decided this case on very narrow legal grounds and it has carefully avoided coming to grips with the issue of whether a fetus is a person in the eyes of the law. This is not surprising. On several occasions, such as cases involving Morgentaler5 and Daigle,6 the Supreme Court has made clear that the status of the fetus should not be resolved in court – the court is not prepared to do Parliament’s work.
Extract Like it or not, physicians are going to be reading a lot about euthanasia in the next few years. . . . Many physicians are more or less comfortable with the idea of withholding or withdrawing “medically useless” treatment. In other words, they accept passive euthanasia. . . . .If the medical profession thinks a physician might become responsible for a patient’s death through inaction, but without automatically bearing moral guilt, why does it insist that a physician who becomes responsible for the death of a patient through action automatically becomes morally guilty? . . . Medical ethics should never be decided by consensus or because of what is politically expedient. . .I am not making a plea for active euthanasia. I am suggesting that Canadian physicians should look at this issue honestly and openly.
Extract (Quotes preamble to Hippocratic Oath) Whoever takes this oath swears to use his or her judgement in following the clauses that form the body of the oath. Therefore, if in the best judgement of a physician it is medically appropriate to perform an abortion, then this oath allows the physician to perform the abortion. In fact, given the whole tenor and thrust of the oath, it could even be argued that in such a case the oath enjoins the physician to perform an abortion as a matter of conscientious and professional medical practice. . .there is no contradiction between saying that the CMA’s Code of Ethics retains the principles in the oath and saying that the CMA’s policy on abortion is in keeping with its Code of Ethics.
Abstract Court-ordered caesarian sections against the explicit wishes of the pregnant woman have been criticised as violations of the woman’s fundamental right to autonomy and to the inviolability of the person-particularly, so it is argued, because the fetus in utero is not yet a person. This paper examines the logic of this position and argues that once the fetus has passed a certain stage of neurological development it is a person, and that then the whole issue becomes one of balancing of rights: the right-to-life of the fetal person against the right to autonomy and inviolability of the woman; and that the fetal right usually wins.