A Catholic hospital in Canada is being accused of failing to support the rights of medical personnel who oppose euthanasia.
After the board of St. Boniface Hospital in Winnepeg approved euthanizing patients in extreme circumstances, the Catholic Health Authority took over the board and replaced its members. The order was also reversed – but with an agreement to perform assessments of patients who want to die, which was viewed as a compromise to Canadian laws.
Because the assessment is required by law, says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the Catholic hospital is directly involved in the act of killing a person.
"Which is morally unacceptable," says the anti-euthanasia activist.
Canada's Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that patients can legally ask doctors to end their lives and a federal law took effect last year.
A slim majority of medical staff at St. Boniface stated in a survey they agree with medical assistant in dying, or MAID, but a single-digit minority opposed the policy at St. Boniface, Canadian media has reported.
A senator who helped write the assisted dying bill has stated the Catholic hospital created an unconstitutional barrier after it overturned the policy, creating "unequal access" to fellow Canadians.
"That's not the way we provide universal health care in this country," the Liberal senator, James Cowan, told Canadian media.
He also suggested that individual doctors can legally object and opt out of participating but an institution - such as the hospital - cannot.
Schadenberg notes that a court case was heard June 13 in Ontario for doctors who are refusing to participate and are challenging the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Contradicting the hospital's survey, Schadenberg claims there has been a groundswell of opposition to St. Boniface's pro-euthanasia stance.