EUTHANASIA PREVENTION COALITION:
1997 BC EUTHANASIA POLL


A Slim Majority Favors Legalizing Euthanasia...

In Favor of Legalizing Euthanasia:
Yes                           53.7%
No                            38.3%
Do Not Know/Refused           08.0%


Pain & Suffering Concerns Driving Public Support...

Why Do You Favor Legalizing Euthanasia?
Pain/Life Quality Issues      48.1%
Rights Issue                  42.9%
Other                         07.7%
Do Not Know/Refused           01.2%


Opposition To Euthanasia Strongest Among Those Most Directly Affected...

Opposition To Euthanasia Strongest Among Older Age Groups
35-44 Age Group         14% Less Likely Than the Average To Oppose Euthanasia
45-54 Age Group         15% Less Likely Than the Average To Oppose Euthanasia
55-64 Age Group         12% More Likely Than the Average To Oppose Euthanasia
  65+ Age Group         26% More Likely Than the Average To Oppose Euthanasia
(65+ Age Group are 47% More Likely to Oppose Than the 35-54 Age Group)


Widespread Ignorance on Euthanasia Issues:
Sixty Percent of Those In Favor Incorrectly Defined What Euthanasia Is...

Euthanasia-Refusing Medication or Treatment That Prolongs Life
All Respondents                   Euthanasia Supporters
Yes (Wrong Answer)       54.1%         Yes (Wrong Answer)      59.6%
No                       42.1%         No                      38.0%
Do Not Know/Refused      03.8%         Do Not Know/Refused     02.4%


Ignorance On the Legal Rights of the Terminally Ill ...

Currently Legal for Terminal Patient to Refuse Treatment or Medication to Prolong Life?
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Yes                      57.4%         Yes                    55.9%
No (Wrong Answer)        32.8%         No (Wrong Answer)      35.5%	
Do Not Know/Refused      09.8%         Do Not Know/Refused    08.6%


Many Concerned About Abuses (Including Those In Favor):

Concern About Misdiagnosis...

Misdiagnosed Patients May End Their Life Based On the Belief That They Are Terminal
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Concerned                76.8%         Concerned               66.0%
No Concern               21.6%         No Concern              31.8%	
Do Not Know/Refused      01.7%         Do Not Know/Refused     02.2%

Concern About Hospital Waiting Lists...

With Long Hospital Waiting Lists Some Patients May Be Pressured Into Euthanasia Rather Than Suffer While Awaiting Treatment
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Concerned                73.6%         Concerned               63.6%
No Concern               24.9%         No Concern              35.2%	
Do Not Know/Refused      01.5%         Do Not Know/Refused     01.2%

Concern About Temporary Depression...

Some People Might Request Euthanasia While In a Temporary State of Depression After Being Diagnosed As Terminally Ill
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Concerned                82.3%         Concerned               76.1%
No Concern               16.6%         No Concern              23.3%	
Do Not Know/Refused      01.1%         Do Not Know/Refused     00.6%

Concern About Informed Consent...

Patients Who Are Mentally Incapacitated Could Be Euthanized Without Full Informed Consent
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Concerned                86.2%         Concerned               79.3%
No Concern               12.3%         No Concern              18.8%	
Do Not Know/Refused      01.5%         Do Not Know/Refused     01.9%

Concern About Safeguards...

A Euthanasia Law Could Never Contain Complete Safeguards
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Concerned                79.9%         Concerned               71.3%
No Concern               19.6%         No Concern              28.7%	
Do Not Know/Refused      00.5%         Do Not Know/Refused     00.0%

Concern About the "Slippery Slope"...

If Euthanasia Is Legalized for the Terminally Ill, It Could Later Be Applied to Others Such As Aging Relatives, the Sick, Disabled and Children
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Concerned                78.1%         Concerned               66.4%
No Concern               21.4%         No Concern              33.3%	
Do Not Know/Refused      00.5%         Do Not Know/Refused     00.3%

Should Parents Be Legally Allowed to Have Their Child Euthanized ?
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
No                       59.2%         No                      42.9%
Yes                      29.7%         Yes                     44.4%
Do Not Know/Refused      11.1%         Do Not Know/Refused     12.7%


Public Consensus- Alternatives to Euthanasia Needed:

People Need Help, Not Suicide...

People Who Want to Commit Suicide Should Be Helped With Their Problems Not Helped to Die By Means of Assisted Suicide
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Agree                    71.0%         Agree                   67.3%
Disagree                 21.4%         Disagree                24.1%	
Do Not Know/Refused      07.6%         Do Not Know/Refused     08.6%


Public Wants Government Guaranteed Pain Relief...

Should the Government Guarantee Availability of Pain Relief Programs and Palliative Care for the Terminally Ill as an Alternative to Euthanasia?
All Respondents                        Euthanasia Supporters
Yes                     80.6%          Yes                     67.3%
No                      15.8%          No                      30.0%
Do Not Know/Refused     03.6%          Do Not Know/Refused     02.7%


FACT SHEET



Poll Sample Size:                       603 Adults BC Wide

Poll Margin of Error:                   Plus or Minus 4% (19 Times Out of Twenty)

Polling Company:                        TTI Market Explorers


Euthanasia Prevention Coalition:        37 Organizations Representing 338,000 British Columbians 

Contacts:                               Dr. Will Johnston 324 4155
                                        Yoseph Thomson 266 1313


Current Legal Status Of Euthanasia in Canada:

1994    The Supreme Court of Canada upholds the Criminal Code's prohibition against assisted suicide.
1995    A special Senate committee recommends no change in Criminal Code prohibitions against euthanasia and assisted suicide but also recommends reduced penalties for such offenses.
1996    The Liberal Party of Canada passes a resolution favoring decriminalization of assisted suicide.  The federal government, however, says it has no immediate plans to introduce new legislation.
1997    Having been convicted of killing his disabled daughter, Robert Latimer is granted a new trial after evidence of jury tampering by the prosecution comes to light.
	
        A panel reviewing the case of a Halifax doctor (Nancy Morrison) charged with killing a 	dying patient recommends reduced penalties for euthanasia.
	
        A Liberal Senator (Sharon Carstairs ) announces plans to introduce a bill to liberalize the law on assisted suicide.




Current Legal Status Of Euthanasia Internationally:

Holland:        Euthanasia technically illegal but physicians who meet certain criteria are not prosecuted for voluntary euthanasia.

USA:            US Supreme Court decided in 1997 that there is no right to assisted suicide in the Constitution.

                Oregon voters go to the polls in November, 1997 to decide on a measure allowing physicians to assist suicides.

UK:             Select Committee of the British House of Lords opposed euthanasia in its 1994 report.

Australia:      In 1997 Parliament repealed the world's only effective law (in the Northern Territory) authorizing physician-assisting suicide.


www.epc.bc.ca
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition BC is a coalition of groups and individuals which opposes the promotion or legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and promotes improvement in the quality and availability of palliative care and effective control of pain and suffering.
 
www.physiciansforlife.ca
Canadian Physicians for Life affirms the Hippocratic tradition in medicine of "Do No Harm."
 

 


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