An agreement between the Canadian government and a Catholic hospital has been torn apart over a demand to help people end their lives.
The hospital is St. Martha’s, the largest hospital in an area of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where a 1996 agreement allowed the government to operate the facility but honor Catholic teachings. Now that agreement is over.
Euthanasia watchdog Alex Schadenberg, who leads the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says government officials have ordered the hospital to help patients who request euthanasia.
As a compromise, the hospital is sending people to a nearby facility that is not associated with St. Mary’s in an attempt to maintain its integrity.
“But in fact they'll still do referrals which also concerns me,” Schadenberg says. “It's a grave question to me.”
For months, the provincial government had been pressured by a euthanasia activist, Jocelyn Downie.