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Canadian Panel to Study Euthanasia Stacked with Pro-Euthanasia Academics

OTTAWA, December 21, 2009 ( - The Royal Society of Canada, an association of scientists and scholars "dedicated to encouraging education and the advancement of knowledge in the natural and social sciences and the humanities" has established a panel of "experts" to "assess the pros and cons of permitting physician-assisted death" in Canada.

The society has appointed a six-member "Expert Panel on End-of-Life Decision Making," chaired by Dr. Udo Schuklenk, professor of philosophy and Ontario research chair in bioethics at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Four of the six panel members are already well known for their pro-euthanasia position, having published works in support of the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The expert panel will "focus squarely on the questions of whether or not physician-assisted suicide and/or voluntary euthanasia ought to be decriminalized in Canada," Schuklenk said in a statement to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, adding that the panel plans widespread consultations. "We will tackle these questions by means of an in-depth review of the legal situation in the country, as well as a review of the situation clinicians, as well as terminally ill patients, face on the ground in Canada on a daily basis."

The panel will also "canvas the international landscape," Schuklenk said. "A number of jurisdictions outside Canada have since decriminalized physician assisted suicide and/or voluntary euthanasia. We will evaluate the experiences made in these countries with respect to influential arguments deployed against decriminalization by opponents of voluntary euthanasia and/or physician assisted suicide."
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