Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quebecers Oppose Euthanasia - Despite Fancy Wording

The fancy wording, of course being the name of the committee, set up by the government of Quebec to study the issue. They could have used the medical therm - Euthanasia or even "assisted suicide", which at least remotely describes the actual subject being discussed - termination of a human life. Not to mention that they could have decided to be straightforward with the people, choosing a name that would leave no doubt about what exactly is being studied... And yet they chose a fancy euphemism such as "dying with dignity". By doing so they not only tried to put some positive light on procedures that intentionally cause another person's death. This was a clear attempt to twist the debate.

Just like the ill-famous "choice" or s-s-"marriage", the expression "dying with dignity" answers the question for us. Instead of discussing whether or not the elderly and the terminally ill should be allowed to live until natural death, we're told that to be put to death by a physician or a relative means "death with dignity" and the question is now whether or not this should be made legal. By choosing to use this "... with dignity" lie in the committee name, the Quebec government made it clear what side they are on and what exactly they wanted to hear. And yet it looks like they still didn't get what they wanted:
A study of submissions to Quebec’s public hearings on euthanasia, the Special Commission on Dying with Dignity, shows clearly that Quebecers overwhelmingly opposed legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The independent analysis of the 427 oral presentations and written submissions to the commission was conducted by Vivre dans la Dignité (Living With Dignity), a grassroots anti-euthanasia group.

The report found that only about a third (34 per cent) of those who submitted to the commission were either somewhat or strongly in favor of euthanasia. “This is a far cry from the inflated survey numbers often used in the media by advocates for legalizing or decriminalizing euthanasia in Quebec,” said Linda Couture, director of Living With Dignity. “The numbers are black and white. In the presentations to the commission there was 99 per cent agreement that palliative care is the dignified choice Quebecers want available at the end of life,” she said. “At the same time, 60 per cent of the submissions opposed any opening for euthanasia. The government’s democratic direction should be clear.”

Living with Dignity also pointed out that a further analysis of the content of the submissions of those who apparently favored euthanasia showed significant confusion between directly taking a patient’s life – outlawed under the Criminal Code – and ceasing futile treatment, which is universally acknowledged as ethical.
But, as the committee name suggests, confusing the people to get the results they wanted (or at least - those that could be interpreted as such) - was in fact their objective.

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