OTTAWA, Oct. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is intervening in this appeal to assist the Court by providing a window into the diverse views expressed by its membership, and to highlight practical considerations that must be assessed if the law were to change.
The CMA also staged a series of public town halls during the course of the past year and this information has also added to the important societal debate of this issue in Canada. This foundational work helped lead to a motion that was passed by delegates attending CMA's General Council in August 2014. This motion, subsequently affirmed by the CMA Board of Directors, supports the right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether or not to provide medical aid in dying. The CMA policy on medical aid in dying will be amended as a consequence.
It is anticipated that the policy, once amended, will continue to reflect the ethical principles for physicians to consider in choosing whether or not to participate in medical aid in dying. Amidst the diversity of views on this issue, however, there is a unifying theme: one of respect for the alternative perspective. This element was also a key theme in both the public and member town halls the CMA staged on the issue throughout 2014.
Since euthanasia and assisted dying are illegal, we continue to advise our members not to participate in these activities. Ultimately, however, we recognize that this is a societal issue and that it is society that will ultimately decide what will take place.
Going forward, the CMA will also continue to advocate and press for a pan-Canadian strategy on palliative care to ensure that Canadians have improved access to palliative care services. The discussion around end-of-life care has cast into sharp relief the serious lack of such services. It is past time that we addressed that shortage.
Dr. Chris Simpson
President, Canadian Medical Association
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association
For further information: Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach, [email protected], Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266, Cell.: 613-447-0866