Assisted-suicide count In Canada challenged

A demonstrator against "assisted dying" joins a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London Sept. 11. Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has welcomed the defeat of a bill to legalize assisted suicide in England and Wales. (CNS photo/Stefan Wermuth, Reuters)

Euthanasia is occurring in Quebec at three times the rate the government predicted, but obtaining accurate statistics on medically assisted deaths across Canada is almost impossible and could lead to abuse, according to opponents of the practice. Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said that even in Quebec, where the requirements for reporting and oversight are the most rigorous, euthanasia deaths are likely being underreported. A recent report from the Quebec government showed 262 euthanasia deaths in the first seven months after the province legalized the practice last December. In Quebec, the government report included three cases of euthanasia that did not comply with the law, but there is no information on what, if anything, will happen in those cases, said Aubert Martin, executive director of the province's grassroots anti-euthanasia organization, Living with Dignity. “We’re talking about killing a human being,” Martin said. “This is criminal. Is there going to be any follow-up?”

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