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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Doctor-assisted dying bill tabled in House of Commons

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Queen’s University bioethicist Udo Schuklenk is available to comment on the doctor-assisted dying bill tabled in Parliament today. Under the new legislation, doctor-assisted death will be restricted to mentally competent adults who have serious and incurable illness, disease or disability.

“The draft legislation tabled today by government clearly violates the criteria established in the Supreme Court decision,” says Dr. Schuklenk. “The Supreme Court made clear that terminal illness must not be a threshold condition for a competent patient to be eligible for an assisted death. The Liberal government decided to make terminal illness a threshold condition for access."

"Canadians' Charter rights will be violated if this legislative proposal becomes law. It is disappointing that the Liberal government continues the former Harper government's tradition of ignoring Supreme Court decision. This legislation would not withstand a Charter challenge by a competent, not terminally ill patient who suffers an irreversible medical condition that renders their lives not worth living, and whose request for medical aid in dying is declined because of this ill-conceived legislation.”

Dr. Schuklenk is the former Chair of the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on End-of-life Decision-Making in Canada. He has spoken at length on the ethical considerations of physician-assisted dying, including in a range of interviews, academic articles and on his blog.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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