March 5th, 2024

Catholic Church challenging Quebec MAID law in court on religious freedom grounds

By The Canadian Press on February 6, 2024.

Archbishop Christian Lépine is seen in his office Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Montreal. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal has filed a legal challenge to Quebec's end-of-life legislation, arguing it violates religious freedom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – The office of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal has filed a legal challenge against Quebec’s end-of-life legislation, arguing it violates religious freedom.

The lawsuit says the Catholic Church should be exempted from a section of the law requiring all palliative care homes in the province to offer medical assistance in dying.

It says the law is forcing the Catholic Church to choose between allowing a procedure it finds morally unacceptable or abandoning its palliative care centre, called St. Raphael’s.

Since 2019, St. Raphael’s has sent patients requesting MAID to provincially run facilities, but the church says it should not be forced to provide medically assisted deaths on its property.

The office of the Archbishop Christian Lépine says palliative care homes should have the same right as medical practitioners to refuse to offer services they are morally opposed to.

The Quebec palliative care association said in March that there were only four palliative care facilities in the province that didn’t offer MAID.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2024.

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