Speech by National President Barbara Dowding at euthanasia rally on Parliament Hill June 1

June 03, 2016

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Good afternoon. Thank you ……

My name is Barb Dowding and I am the National President of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada.  The League was founded in 1920 and is the largest national organization of women, with over 83,000 members.

Members of The Catholic Women’s League are committed to protecting the sanctity of life and recognizing  the human dignity of all people everywhere.

Our focus this year for the theme One Heart, One Voice, One Mission: Palliative and Hospice Care.

For the last three days, we have been in Ottawa visiting and talking to elected officials and staff about this important issue.

Death is the natural conclusion of the journey of life in this world. Today’s rally is a good indication that many agree that euthanasia and assisted suicide are not the answer!

As human beings we have a fundamental desire to live and preserve life.

There is an absolute difference between dying a natural death, being killed or ending a life.

We believe that life is a precious gift, to be cherished from the moment of conception to natural death and that any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong.

It seems clear that we are going to have a law that is flawed in terms of how we view life and why exceptions will be problematic for us to accept.

We must pray that the legislators take steps to protect the most vulnerable and continue to pray and encourage them to work toward making palliative care a part of the Canada Health Act.  Until 100% of Canadians have access to quality end of life palliative care, we fear the vulnerable will be at risk in a country where euthanasia/assisted suicide will be seen as another form of health care.

If we insist on giving people the right to kill themselves we must surely give people the right to live their last days in peace and well being.

Palliative and hospice care are more than a human right, they are a human need.

Pope Francis says: “Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer.”

On May 4, thousands of people across Canada joined members across Canada by taking part in 12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care.  From prayer to parliament, it is the way to begin.

Our focus on palliative hospice care springs from our love and concern for the dignity of all persons. End of life care is true compassion. It allows individuals who are facing death not to be burdened by pain and suffering but to receive the necessary support that respects their human dignity both physically and spiritually, rather than choosing physician assisted death as a desperate last resort.

The Catholic Women’s League of Canada will continue to advocate for a national palliative care strategy and to provide care for the elderly, disabled, the sick and for those who are isolated or marginalized.

Feature image from The Catholic Register