Annual Public Lecture

Contact: Kathy Matusiak
The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research
Tel. 416-256-0555

Rights and respect for life are the glue that binds society

Toronto, Canada (November 22, 2012) - "Legalizing assisted suicide or
euthanasia raises issues that impact on some of our most important
shared values that provide the glue that binds us as society", stated
Margaret Somerville last night. She was speaking to a full audience
of over 200 people for the deVeber Institute's Annual Lecture, at St.
Michael's Campus at the University of Toronto.

Somerville, one of Canada's best known bioethicists, was considering
how the physician-assisted suicide debate impacts our society. "The
assisted suicide/euthanasia debate comes down to a direct conflict
between the value of respect for human life, on the one hand, and
individuals' rights to autonomy and self-determination – the value
of 'choice' – on the other."

"But research shows that the reasons people want assisted
suicide/euthanasia include fear of being abandoned – dying alone
and unloved - and of being a burden on others. Surely our response to
such fears shouldn’t be to help them kill themselves or to give
them a lethal injection."

Jean Echlin, an award-winning palliative care nurse, and associate
professor of Nursing at the University of Windsor was there, and had
this to say. "In my opinion Margaret Somerville is one of the most
brilliant biomedical ethicists in Canada. She has a strong statement
for doctors and nurses: kill the pain, not the patient. We must
adhere to this or our society will suffer severe consequences
including the loss of our humanity."

The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research is an
independent Toronto-based research Institute, which carries out
interdisciplinary research in bioethical issues around life issues.

Margaret Somerville is the Founding Director of the Centre for
Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University. She is a Fellow of the
Royal Society of Canada and recipient of many awards, and widely
published, including many articles and books on end of life issues.


The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research
415 Oakdale Road
Suite #215
Toronto, Ontario M3N 1W7