Canadian doctors could shift on euthanasia

Xavier Symons
August 31, 2013
Reproduced with Permission

The Canadian Medical Association may soon change its position on euthanasia, according to the organization's new president. Dr Louis Hugo Francescutti, who assumed the presidency at the group's general meeting in Calgary last week, said that Canadian doctors are more open to the idea than ten years ago.

"What I'm sensing is that the thinking is evolving quite rapidly around this issue right now, and it may change," he said. "[Doctors] are starting to find that a lot of what people are discussing may be going on officially or unofficially, and they're getting this sense of relief that finally things are out in the open", he said.

At last week's meeting, CMA doctors voted against a motion to urge all levels of government to hold public hearings on "medical aid in dying". But bioethicist Margaret Somerville believes that the issue is not "permanently settled".

Canada's criminal code currently outlaws euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. The CMA officially opposes euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide in a policy that has not been updated since 2007.