WASHINGTON (BP)–More than 70 percent of the residents of Quebec support the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, according to a recent survey.
The Montreal Gazette reported Aug. 22 that 71 percent of respondents said “yes” to the following question: “Do you believe decriminalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide is the right way to help people die with dignity?” Only 16 percent said “no,” and 13 percent said they were undecided. The poll was conducted for the newspaper.
Americans are far more opposed to doctor assisted suicide. A 2009 Gallup survey showed that 56 percent of adults called doctor assisted suicide “morally wrong” while 39 percent called it “morally acceptable.” Previous Gallup polls had it closer to a 50-50 split.
Canadian law forbids euthanasia and assisted suicide, but a Quebec provincial committee will solicit public comment in September on the legalization of both, according to The Gazette.
Linda Couture, director of Living With Dignity, said people may support euthanasia because they fail to recognize there is a distinction between avoiding pain and seeking death.
“The perception of people who are underperforming in society — who are considered a burden to society because hospital beds are full — it seems that we want to get rid of people easily by giving up on them when they need us the most,” Couture said, according to The Gazette. “This is a symptom that the system is giving up on its elderly. This is the ultimate abuse.”
In euthanasia, a physician administers a lethal dose of drugs that takes a patient’s life. In assisted suicide, a doctor does not administer a fatal dose but prescribes drugs for a patient to use in taking his own life.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.