Mental Illness Now Grounds in Canada For Medically Assisted Suicides

Published August 8, 2023

As cited in a July 21, 2023 article by Jarrett Stepman, columnist for The Daily Signal, Canada’s Assisted-Suicide Program Set to Take Another ‘Prudent’ Step on Road to Perdition: “Starting in March 2024, people with mental illness will be able to avail themselves of medically assisted suicide”, which is the most recent expansion of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying, or “MAID” launched in 2016.

Mr. Stepman relates in his article an account reported by Reuters about how a 47-year-old woman with anorexia will be allowed to kill herself with state assistance next year when the law changes.

Further cited by Stepman

“It’s a tragic story, but suicide isn’t the answer. And government authorities certainly shouldn’t be normalizing and encouraging suicide as the answer to problems.”

“The bottom line is that the floodgate has been opened, and it’s unlikely to abate unless the program is shut down. Canada’s example provides a dire warning to the U.S.”

“The West was once known as a culture that embraced the value of life, but no longer. We are establishing a new norm. There are even assisted-suicide promotional books for kids in Canada just to make sure everyone knows this is all good and normal. The bottom line is that the floodgate has been opened, and it’s unlikely to abate unless the program is shut down. Canada’s example provides a dire warning to the U.S.”

Jack Elbaum noted in the Washington Examiner that “polls show 50% of Canadians believe (MAID Medical Assistance in Dying) should be expanded to those with disabilities, and 41% of young people want MAID to be made available to anyone in poverty.”

“Last year, the Quebec College of Physicians even said it believes babies up to the age of 1 should be killed if they have ‘severe malformations’ and ‘grave and severe syndromes’”.

Difference between medical assistance suicide in dying and euthanasia

As to the difference between medical assistance suicide in dying and euthanasia:

“Euthanasia: A doctor is allowed by law to end a person’s life by a painless means, as long as the person and their family agree.

“Assisted suicide: A doctor assists an individual in taking their own life if the person requests it.”

Euthanasia is legal in many countries, including Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Check this link for US states where Euthanasia is legal, as updated March of 2023.

As to where assisted suicide is legal in the US, the following information is from an article dated April 29, 2023, Assisted Suicide in the United States Where it is Legal, by Jonah McKeown, a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency.

Click on any given state in McKeown’s article to learn more about how each state treats assisted suicide.

Physicians are never required to offer aid in dying if they have ethical objections. At the same time, they can’t prevent their patients from seeking doctors who do offer this aid.

In Illinois euthanasia laws do not permit deliberate mercy killing, but they do allow the removal of “death-delaying” procedures in accordance to a patient’s wishes.

Why US and Canada treat medical aid in dying so differently

According to an article dated 03/20/23 by Khaya Himmelman, “Why do the US and Canada treat medical aid in dying so differently?”, Himmelman suggests the following reasons for the differing opinions, despite how Americans and Canadians share many cultural values:

“Experts say it comes down to two things: a U.S. culture heavily influenced by religion and the different ways these laws came about in each country.”

1. “A stronger, more conservative religious influence in the U.S. Opposition to aid in dying laws around the world primarily comes from religious organizations. But because of the U.S.’s specific religious landscape, that particular push back is felt more strongly here than in other places.”

2. “A different process of medically assisted death. National laws in Canada pave the way for more acceptance. A key component to the story of Canada’s more expansive and more popular aid in dying laws is that Canada’s law came about via decision by the Supreme Court of Canada. In the U.S., by contrast, there is no federal right to aid in dying, so the legislation came about through citizen action, which manifested as a grassroots state-by-state approach.”

Final thoughts: 6 Pros and Cons of assisted death

As stated in the article: “Terminal diseases and illnesses are very real issues that threaten can our health and wellness to the point of near death. While some believe that those with terminal conditions should be given the option to pull the plug on their own lives, there are those that refuse to acknowledge assisted death as a morally upright practice.”

Presented in the article are the following three pros and three cons

The three Pros

1. Dignified Death – “Many of those who reach the terminal phase of a disease are often stripped of the ability to control their own bodily functions, leaving them nearly incapable of many basic activities. With assisted death however, they can choose to go before they reach a dependent state.”

2. End to Pain – “When a person is afflicted with disease, it’s very possible for them to experience excruciating pain. But if they are given the option to make decisions for their own life, they can skip the pain and be free from the agony of disease.”

3. Preparedness – “Death can strike at any minute, and sometimes it can take months, or even years before that day comes. With assisted death, people and their families can choose the date of death, thus affording the chance to mentally, physically, and financially prepare for what’s to come.”

The three cons

1. Possibility of Recovery – “Some people who thought they were terminally ill were still able to recover from their conditionIn the event that a cure is developed, or if the condition turns around on its own, the person would then be able to live a normal life without the disease.”

2. Contradicts the Hippocratic Oath – “Doctors are the only people who are allowed to administer and approve assisted death requests, but as doctors, they go against their Hippocratic oath when they allow this to happen.”

3. Mental Incapacities – “Generally, a patient should be the one to decide whether or not their life should be ended. But because they’re afflicted with disease, their mental capacity might not be at best, which means their decision might be the result of a problematic thought process.”