Lawyer Allison Fenske explains how Canadian law works, and how the courts strive to balance competing rights
A Winnipeg man’s struggle to be assessed for a medically assisted death while he lives at a faith-based hospital has some questioning how we balance personal and religious rights in Canada.
“I want to die and nobody should come in the way of my deciding how to go about it,” Cheppudira Gopalkrishna, 88, said on Saturday.
However, because Gopalkrishna lives at a faith-based hospital that objects to medical assistance in dying, he has struggled to be assessed by Manitoba’s MAID team under provincial guidelines regulating such deaths. . . [Full text]
‘I want to die and nobody should come in the way of my deciding how to go about it.’
An 88-year-old Winnipeg man has received his required assessment for medically assisted death after he says it was delayed by the faith-based hospital where he now lives.
On Friday, Cheppudira Gopalkrishna was able to do an assessment with the province’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) services.
“I want to die and nobody should come in the way of my deciding how to go about it,” Gopalkrishna said on Saturday evening.
The former teacher has been at the Misericordia Health Centre for several months after his health declined significantly. He has a form of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, and has lost almost all of his mobility.
Gopalkrishna started looking into the possibility of a medically assisted death in May but the hospital and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s timelines differ about what happened next. . . [Full text]
Cheppudira Gopalkrishna, 88, says Misericordia hasn’t helped him seek out medically-assisted death
Manitoba’s Health Minister says he doesn’t know all the details of a terminally ill Winnipeg man’s search for medical assistance in dying, but he’s troubled by his first impression of the case.
Cheppudira Gopalkrishna, 88, told CBC News he has no chance of recovering from the illness that has confined him to bed for months, and the Misericordia Health Centre hasn’t helped him access the province’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) services.
Canada recently legalized medical assistance in dying (MAiD), which allows patients to receive a lethal drug that they can self-administer, or be administered a lethal drug by an authorized clinician with consent of the patient. As provinces and territories work to create and clarify legal guidelines for providing MAiD, many Catholic hospitals have refused to offer it, citing opposition to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Catholic moral teaching.
This controversy surrounding institutional conscience-based refusals raises an important question: Should a health care institution have the right to refuse to provide a particular treatment for conscience-based reasons? . . . [Full text]
The group has refused to reverse its decision to allow euthanasia in its hospitals
The Belgian Brothers of Charity have defied the Pope and announced they will continue offering euthanasia at their hospitals despite being ordered to stop.
The group said in a statement that it “continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation” and that they “emphatically believe” the practice is compatible with Catholic teaching . . . [Full text]
ROME – After a two-year debate in Congress, Chile’s constitutional court has voted to approve a bill lifting the country’s total ban on abortion. The measure, that had the full support of President Michelle Bachelet, was criticized by the bishops, who said it “offends the conscience and the common good of the citizens.”
The legislation also gives no exemption to religious institutions, and conscience rights are offered only limited protection. . . [Full text]
Earlier this year a group of Catholic hospitals and clinics for the mentally ill in Belgium announced that it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia on its premises. The group is linked to a religious order, the Brothers of Charity.
Earlier this month Pope Francis issued an ultimatum: this must stop by the end of August. He also ordered the three Brothers who serve on the 15-member board to sign a letter stating that they “fully support the vision of the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which has always confirmed that human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception till its natural end.”
If the board refuses, the hospitals could lose their affiliation with the Catholic Church.
One of the board members is Herman Van Rompuy, a former President of the European Council and Belgian Prime Minister. He tweeted that “The time of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ is long past.”
Brother René Stockman, the head of the Brothers of Charity, is a Belgian but opposes the stand taken by the local members of his own order. He commented: “The central point and the foundation within Christian ethics is that life is absolute, which cannot be touched. Life is a gift from God and entails an assignment. And because life is absolute, it is a state worthy of protection.”
A spokesman for the Belgian group acknowledged that it had received a letter from the Vatican but said that it had not yet responded.
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TORONTO, Canada – Conscience protections for Catholic hospitals and other organizations could soon come under fire in the Canadian province of Ontario, with one assisted suicide group saying they may challenge this legislation in court.
Deacon Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, warned that it becomes very difficult to defend objections to assisted suicide once it becomes legal.
“Of course our position would be that there should be no requirement for faith-based institutions to be involved in assisted suicide or euthanasia,” the deacon said. “It’s appropriate that not only the institution, but the individuals should be protected as well.” . . . [Full text]
BRUSSELS, Belgium, August 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The former European Council president took a shot at papal authority on social media last weekend, inferring that Pope Francis should not have input on whether a Belgian Catholic religious order allows its hospitals to euthanize patients.
“The time of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ has long been over,” Herman Van Rompuy tweeted in Dutch on Sunday.
The phrase ‘Roma locuta causa finite,’ is Latin for “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.” It originates from an early fifth-century statement by St. Augustine and references the ultimate authority held by the pope.
The tweet was in reply to canon law professor Kurt Marten’s tweet publishing the list of trustees for the Belgian Brothers of Charity, showing Van Rompuy serves on the Board. . . . [Full Text]
At least 631 people have chosen a medically assisted death since it became legal, coroner tells CBC News
While more than 630 Ontarians to date have legally ended their lives with the help of a nurse or doctor, none have been able to do so within the walls of a hospital that has historic ties to the Catholic Church.
But advocates for medically assisted dying argue that since these are public-funded health-care centres, they are bound to offer the option — even though Ontario law currently exempts any person or institution that objects.
It’s legislation that Dying With Dignity Canada may challenge in court, according to the group’s CEO. . . [Full text]