They argue Mary Kills People ‘glamorizes’ assisted suicide
By Agnieszka Krawczynski
Photo: Caroline Dhavernas stars as Mary Harris in Mary Kills People. (Corus Entertainment)
The Catholic Women’s League has fired sharp criticism at a new TV show dealing with the dark issue of assisted suicide.
“It is with extreme sadness that I write to register the absolute disapproval of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada to the airing of the six-part program series Mary Kills People,” wrote CWL national president Margaret Ann Jacobs.
The series, which premiered on Global Jan. 25, features an emergency room doctor named Mary Harris who carries out illegal assisted suicide on the side. The show has been categorized as a drama and black comedy.
In Jacobs’ letter to parent company Corus Entertainment, she says Mary Kills People “glamorizes” assisted suicide and could cause “ill-informed, isolated, and lonely people” to consider taking their lives.
“How sad that Global Television is reducing these life-altering circumstances and decisions to pop culture.”
More than 82,000 women across Canada are members of the CWL, which strongly opposes assisted suicide. It regularly speaks out against the practice and promotes palliative care as the proper alternative.
A CWL press release dated Jan. 23 said the organization is “profoundly dismayed and disappointed” with Global for releasing the show.
“Death by any means is not glamorous and should not be portrayed as such.”
Global maintains it does not promote or oppose controversial issues.
In a statement to The B.C. Catholic, spokesperson Jacqui VanSickle said, “while this fictional series does feature assisted dying, it does not sensationalize this controversial topic or encourage any one point of view.”
VanSickle added Mary Kills People “is mindful to include various perspectives on the issue of assisted death, including those who do not agree with its practice.”
Mary Harris, the fictional doctor, does “everything she can to save lives” and in situations where her patients seek death, they are “not treated lightly,” said VanSickle.
“This is a sensitive topic and all storylines are depicted with the utmost respect and dignity.”
Barbara Dowding, past national president of the CWL, is not buying it. She wrote to Global as a concerned individual and received a similar response.
Dowding replied to Global, saying “‘If you are keen on balanced programming, you should show The Euthanasia Deception,” a documentary produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition last year that includes testimonies from people in Belgium warning the rest of the world of the dangers of legalizing the practice.
Dowding said she received no reply.