Hi, I'd like to welcome our guests to the debate.
by Chris Hannay 6/15/2012 5:29:45 PM
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:30:22 PM
hi, Chris. Hi, Margaret. Nice to be with you both.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:30:42 PM
by Iris Unger edited by Chris Hannay 6/15/2012 5:30:58 PM
Let's start with the big question: In your opinions, should Canada allow physician-assisted suicide? (with certain conditions, of course)
by Chris Hannay 6/15/2012 5:32:46 PM
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:33:09 PM
Yes, PAS should be de-criminalized, subject to careful safeguards, as has happened for a number of years in, e.g., Oregon.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:33:27 PM
Why do you think it should or shouldn't be allowed?
by Chris Hannay 6/15/2012 5:34:19 PM
It should be allowed because it respects the autonomy of patients to decide when/how they die, protects the vulnerable better than under our current system, and offers a dignified death, with minimal pain and suffering to those competent adults who want it.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:35:35 PM
I believe it is inherently wrong to help someone to kill themselves. That PAS will lead to euthanasia which is stepping over the millennial old rule in our kind of societies that we must not intentionally kill each other except to save human life and that even apart from that the risks and harms far outweigh any purported benefits.
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:36:57 PM
Margaret's religious view is one held by some Canadians but more than 2/3 of Canadians hold the view that individuals should be allowed to decide for themselves when their quality of life is more burdensome than beneficial. We are a secular society which allows people to believe in the sanctity of life but doesn't impose that view on everyone.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:38:41 PM
You can see in Arthur's and my responses the basic values conflict involved in this debate: He gives priority to individual autonomy; I give priority to respect for human life. Thses values are in conflict with PAS /Eutanasia.
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:39:35 PM
smeiler: exactly right. it is discimrination against the disabled to forbid them assistance to do what abled Canadians can do without assistance. The present law forces disabled people, such as Gloria Taylor, to take their own lives before they are ready to do so because when they are ready they may be unable to kill themselves without assistance.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:40:07 PM
My view is not a religious one. Plat the issue Arthur not the person.
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:40:27 PM
I don't see this as a debate between the values of life and autonomy. PAS respects both life and autonomy.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:40:43 PM
the reason unaided suicide is not the same is that no one else is complicit in it and society is not involved.
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:41:11 PM
Recall that we try to save people who attempt suicide.
by Iris Unger 6/15/2012 5:41:27 PM
I'll use "PAS" to abbreviate physician-assisted suicide. Sorry if that acronym confused anyone watching.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:41:29 PM
canadian doctors are "complicit" in hastening the death of their patients tens of thousands of times every year: when they "pull the plug" at the request of the patient, e.g., when they accede to a request for terminal sedation, when they give massive doses of pain-killer to dying patients to ease their suffering but foreseeing that it will hasten their death.
by Arthur Schafer 6/15/2012 5:42:50 PM