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Canadian cardinal urges lawmakers to protect conscience rights in assisted-suicide legislation

February 04, 2016

Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto made a plea for the conscience rights of health-care workers in February 3 testimony before Parliament about a proposal to allow physician-assisted suicide.

Speaking on behalf of a new Coalition for Healthcare and Conscience, the cardinal stated his complete opposition to legalized suicide and euthanasia. However, recognizing the likelihood that the bill will be approved, he urged legislators to protect the right of health-care workers to avoid involvement in the practice. “They should not be forced to perform actions that go against their conscience, or to refer the action to others, since that is the moral equivalent of participating in the act itself,” he reasoned.

Cardinal Collins encouraged the lawmakers to consider support for palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia. “Our worth as a society will be measured by the support we give to the vulnerable,” he said, arguing that it is a “moral imperative" to ease the suffering of those who are terminally ill.


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