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Canada

Quebec judge won’t exempt church-supported palliative care home from MAID law

MONTREAL — A Superior Court judge has denied a request from Montreal’s Roman Catholic archdiocese for an exemption to a Quebec law requiring all palliative care centres in the province to provide medical assistance in dying.

Justice Catherine Piché found that Quebecers’ right to choose what medical care they want to receive — including doctor-assisted death — outweighs any infringement of religious freedom.

The archbishop’s office filed the court challenge in early February, seeking to have a church-supported palliative care home in Montreal immediately exempted from the requirement until the case goes to trial.

Archbishop Christian Lépine argued that Quebec’s end-of-life care law violates the freedom of religion by requiring the home to offer life-ending treatment that runs counter to the beliefs of Catholic donors and volunteers.

The St. Raphael’s palliative care and day centre is located in a former church that is still owned by the archdiocese, and under the terms of its lease it has been forbidden from offering MAID.

Piché agreed that the law creates a moral dilemma for some Catholic supporters of the centre and that they would be harmed if doctor-assisted deaths took place there, but she ruled that those harms did not justify an exemption.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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