The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research conducts and disseminates research on topics connected to human life in its biological, social and ethical dimensions. These topics are selected for study depending on emerging medical, technological and social developments. In undertaking this work the Institute believes that a sense of the inherent value and dignity of human life and of the human person as an end and not a means is a foundational perspective to bring to bear on its work.

The Institute's research may be original or may consist of reviews of existing literature. In each case the Institute's work is to be of the highest academic quality, though accessible to the general public.

From the Director's Desk

Perspectives: Fall 2009 Newsletter

Response to the Quebec College of Physicians’ Proposition of the Legalization of Euthanasia

A recent statement from the Quebec College of Physicians proposes that euthanasia be included "as part of the appropriate care in certain particular circumstances." Such a development would require legalization of euthanasia by amending the Canadian Criminal Code to distinguish euthanasia from homicide.

Lack of Support for Parenting Students

Many students who attend universities across Canada have either faced the dilemma themselves or watched friends struggle with the choice between attaining a university education and having children. Since university students are mature individuals in their child-bearing years, it would make sense that Canadian university campuses would assist young people in their struggle by allowing them to have both an education and a family. Although many universities in Canada offer some resources, most do not offer all that is necessary. The University of Toronto greatly surpasses every other Canadian university, both through the resources available and through the general awareness of these resources amongst the student body. The majority of universities in Canada offer distance education, evening classes, on-campus daycare and rarely even one baby change table on campus. However, no university in the country offers the number of resources that the University of Toronto provides.

Induced Abortion and Subsequent Development of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is one of the most fatal malignancies affecting women around the world. In 2009 it is estimated that 21,550 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the USA and 14,600 will die of the disease. The National Institute of Cancer estimates that each woman has a 1 in 71 chance of developing the disease in her lifetime.

A recent paper by Gierach et al. (2005) found that women who have previously been pregnant and then had an induced abortion had a 31 percent increased chance of developing ovarian cancer. Since over 1,000,000 abortions are performed annually in the US and 100,000 in Canada, a possible role between abortions and induced abortions cannot be ignored and should be further investigated to determine its role.

Quebec physicians are misleading

Quebec physicians who are proposing legal euthanasia misleadingly equate the use of analgesics for pain relief with euthanasia. Palliative care involves taking care of the patient unto death. It involves appropriate pain relief, but does not kill the patient and should not be confused with euthanasia. The legitimate medical practise of palliative care allows a person to die with a sense of dignity and respect, by caring for the person’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. Rather than proposing euthanasia, the Quebec College of Physicians could invest more resources into palliative care, which allows the dying to live the best that they can while they're dying.