By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Sean Murphy, the administrator of the Conscience Protection Project wrote an excellent article that was published by the National Post on August 20, 2015. In his article: Turning physicians into executioners, Murphy informs readers that the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) are debating the physicians role in euthanasia and assisted suicide at their annual meeting in Halifax next week.
Murphy quotes Dr Jeff Blackmer, the former ethicist with the CMA who called the legalization of assisted suicide the:
biggest change in the medical profession in Canada, maybe in centuries
Murphy quotes Dr Blackmer and past CMA President Dr Louis Hugo Francescutti, who stated while reflecting on intervening in the Supreme Court of Canada assisted suicide case:
One person’s right is another person’s obligation, and sometimes great burden, they wrote. And in this case, a patient’s right to assisted dying becomes the physician’s obligation to take that patient’s life.
Murphy then focuses on what an obligation to take a patient's life actually means.
An obligation to kill is distinct from authority to use potentially deadly force; neither police nor soldiers are obliged to kill. Traditionally, an obligation to kill has been imposed only on public executioners, its essence captured by Blackstone’s explanation that if the condemned were not killed by hanging, the sheriff would have to hang him again.
Murphy provides an update as to how the CMA changed its policy from opposing assisted suicide to that of regulating assisted suicide.