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CRIM 2253 PROJECT SUE RODRIGUEZ, EUTHANASIA AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC OPINION 1990-95. CHRIS MCCORMICK. INTRODUCTION. Various forms of euthanasia -- passive – disconnected from life support -- active – high dose pain medication -- choosing the right to die
Most private morality taken from the law: contraception, abortion, gambling, homosexuality and alcohol
Seen from society's point of view rather than individual's, overdeterming social wishes onto the person
Sue Rodriguez's case conflated with Nancy B., Robert Latimer, and others
Euthanasia on public agenda again: Quebec provincial commission, Dying with Dignity has begun public hearings in August on assisted suicide and ethics of euthanasia
Provinces can’t change criminal law, but medical care falls under provincial jurisdiction.
Administration of justice also provincial matter, and whether someone is charged for assisted suicide is up to provincial prosecutors
Public opinion in line with change, however Canadian Medical Association doesn’t support euthanasia or assisted suicide
Two polls, Quebec medical doctors and the public, found 75% of those surveyed in favour of euthanasia.
Muddying the waters are medical practices which skirt definition of euthanasia, eg. palliative sedation
Lining up to debate these questions are groups which have their agendas for or against
Eg. Nancy Beth Cruzan case, USSIGNIFICANCE
Most letters written in support
Illustrations seemed critical
Overall tone progressive
"The law prohibits assistance to suicide for some good reasons. Society does not look neutrally on suicide as a solution to emotional problems. Society regards such suicides as tragic, and actively seeks to prevent them. The only suicide that might conceivably receive social sanction is that of a terminally ill patent, and even then, deep taboos exist around the taking of a human life. If such taboos were overcome, many practical issues would still need to be addressed to ensure that free will, considered judgment and independent mind prevailed. ... MP Svend Robinson has introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons that would decriminalize physician-assisted suicides in some circumstances. The Commons is the proper forum for this debate, Ms. Rodriguez' immediate and profoundly sad circumstances nothwithstanding. Mr. Robinson's bill should be granted a generous hearing." (GM 12.31.92)PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS