OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) – The Canadian government’s assisted suicide legislation, which the nation’s bishops describe as “fundamentally unjust” and an “affront to human dignity,” easily passed third and final reading in the House of Commons May 31 and was sent to the Senate for final approval.
By a vote of 186-137, the House passed Bill C-14, which would legalize medically assisted death for mentally competent adults who, while not necessarily terminally ill, have a serious and incurable illness and are “suffering intolerably” and whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.”
The Catholic Register, Canadian weekly, reported the government rejected recommendations to extend assisted suicide to “mature minors” and to allow patients with degenerative diseases such as dementia to give advance consent. However, it said it would revisit those recommendations in coming months.
Under the new law doctors and nurse practitioners would be permitted to actively cause, or assist in, the death of a consenting, qualified patient without risk of criminal charges.
Because of a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, a divided Senate had a June 6 deadline to give the bill royal assent. But asked if the deadline would be met, the Conservative leader of the Senate, Claude Carignan, told reporters, “no, no, impossible.”