That sounds like hyperbole. It's not. The Harper government is appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision upholding the right of the terminally ill to physician-assisted suicide. Harper wants to restore dreadful fear and hopelessness to the dying.
What's really at stake is not about death, not really. It is about the quality of life during the dying process we all inevitably face. It is about relieving the terminally ill of fear of having to endure a protracted, agonizing death. It is about allowing them to control their final days.
Harper's grotesque appeal won't prevent anyone's death. It won't "save" anyone, not one. No one will be somehow rescued. This is about the terminally ill, those on the brink of death. These are people on the very verge of death.
This isn't about fearful people making rash decisions. From my experience, the terminally ill tend to be remarkably rational. The prospect of near-term death focuses the mind. It is, after all, their death and their pain. There are no other "stakeholders" in this process.
Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, dispels all the nonsense about death panels and the vulnerable being pressured into offing themselves. The Act prescribes an elaborate application, qualification and assessment procedure that specifically address all the inflated criticisms of assisted suicide. The applicant must be in an advanced state of terminal illness without hope of remission. The patient must undergo interviews and assessments and then, twice, meet with review panels. Only when all the qualifications are met and the extensive safeguards satisfied, the patient may be permitted a prescription for lethal medications.
The important part is this. A great many of those who qualify never fill their prescriptions. Of those that do, a great many die naturally without using the drugs. The process merely means that these patients can go through the dying process without fear of having to endure a protracted death of unendurable pain. And that is relief the Harper government is determined they must be denied. And that is monstrous.