Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hawai'i expanded their assisted suicide law in 2023. Hawai'i assisted suicide deaths are increasing.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Hawai'i assisted suicide deaths have continually increased since legalization. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition expects greater increases in 2023
based on the fact that Hawai'i expanded their assisted suicide law in 2023 by passing House Bill 650.

According to the Hawai'i assisted suicide data, there were 55 assisted suicide deaths in 2022, which was up from 49 in 2021. We don't have the 2023 Hawai'i assisted suicide data yet.

As stated in an article that I published last year, (HB 650) expanded the Hawai'i assisted suicide law by reducing the waiting period, allowing non-physicians to approve and prescribe assisted suicide and expanding who can counsel someone for assisted suicide. HB 650 was signed into law on June 2, 2023.

HB 650 reduced the assisted suicide waiting period from 20 days to 5 days and it allowed the waiting period to be reduced to 48 hours when a person was deemed to be "near to death."

HB 650 also allowed non-physicians to approve and prescribe assisted suicide drugs and it expanded who was able to counsel a person who is considering assisted suicide. The expansion of assisted suicide providers was deemed necessary because very few physicians were willing to participate in assisted suicide.

Hawai'i, like most states that have legalized assisted suicide, passed their original assisted suicide law with "safeguards" that were designed to persuade legislators to vote for the bill.

Hawai'i debated and defeated assisted suicide bills almost every year until 2018, when the sponsor of the assisted suicide bill, included more "safeguards" than the Oregon law resulting in the bill passing.

The very first Hawai'i assisted suicide report (2019) included a push to remove "safeguards" in the law. I stated in my commentary that:

Even though assisted suicide was legal for less than one year, the assisted suicide lobby is promoting two options for expanding the assisted suicide law.

Hawai'i is the best example of how the assisted suicide lobby will support a "tight" bill to legalize assisted suicide and soon after introduce a bill to eliminate "restrictions."

More information on this topic:

  • The assisted suicide lobby wants to legalize assisted suicide in your state and expand it later (Link).

EPC-USA - Contact New York elected representatives to oppose assisted suicide bills.


EPC – USA needs you to Contact elected representatives or members of the respective Health Committee's that are considering New York assisted suicide Bills (A995/S2445).

Choose one or two of the following points to state why you oppose assisted suicide.

Some of the reasons to Oppose Assisted Suicide.

  • The Safeguards in the bill are part of a bait-and-switch tactic. Nearly every state that has legalized assisted suicide, soon after, expanded their law.
  • The data shows that it's not about pain, but the fear of pain, the unknown, or challenging depression or feelings of hopelessness. 
  • Not necessarily a peaceful death. The data shows that many of the deaths are painful and “burning” and often last a long time, with the longest recorded assisted suicide death being 104 hours. 
  • There are cases of Insurance Companies denying care. 
  • Studies prove that legalizing Assisted Suicide Spawns More Suicides and suicide attempts.  
  • Marginalized people understand how Assisted Suicide can be pressured upon them rather than actual care. 
  • As the cheapest state-sponsored “treatment,” assisted suicide diminishes patient choice and takes away patient autonomy. 
  • Mistakes, Abuse, coercion. Elder abuse is a common problem already and will worsen with death making. 
  • Assisted suicide combined with a struggling healthcare and home care system is a deadly mix for people who are economically poor, lonely, elderly, disabled, and historically marginalized in the healthcare system.

Contact Your Legislator

State Senate

NY State Senator contact information. (Link to the Members of the NY Senate).

NY Senate Health Committee: (Link to the Standing Health Committee).

State Assembly

NY State Assembly contact information (Link to the NY Members of the Assembly).

NY Standing Committee on Health:  (Link to the "Standing Committee on Health")

More information on this topic:

  • The assisted suicide lobby wants to legalize assisted suicide in your state and expand the law later (Link). 
  • The Nationalization of assisted suicide in America (Link).
  • Vermont assisted suicide deaths more than quadruple (Link).

Zoom Meeting (March 14): Euthanasia in Canada. What's Next?

Join the Zoom meeting on Thursday, March 14 at 2 pm (Eastern Time) (11 am Pacific Time) 

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Kathy Matusiak Costa, Director of Compassionate Community Care and Ottawa human rights lawyer, Lia Milousis will discuss - Euthanasia in Canada. What's Next?

Register in advance for this meeting: (Registration Link). 

Lia Milousis
Lia has become an expert on euthanasia based on her professional and personal experiences.

Kathy Matusiak Costa will discuss the direction of Compassionate Community Care and its programs that provide training and support for community groups and families.

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg will speak about the direction of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

By Thursday March 14, we will know the status of Bill C-62, the bill to postpone the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness alone until March 2027.

We will discuss the problems and opportunities for Canadians to stop euthanasia.

Rescind Canada's euthanasia law as a social experiment gone bad

Dear Mr. Holland

Mark Pickup
Canada’s Medical Assistance In Dying (MAiD law has been a disaster for Canada’s disabled citizens. It was passed in 2016 but quickly morphed into something that targets people with disabilities who are not terminally ill. (This was expected, and the government was warned by disability groups before the law was passed.) The numbers of yearly killings continue to rise at an alarming rate. The MAiD law is, quite simply evil. See the link below to an article I wrote for the American publication The Human Life Review, titled: “Evil advances In increments”. (Link to article).

Rescind the law as a social experiment gone bad. The opening of the euthanasia net to include the mentally ill has been postponed twice (now it’s March 2027). Move the resources MAiD represents to affirmative action to improve the lives of the disabled.

After 8 years, the provinces know how much they have paid for MAiD. Take the varying provincial amounts off federal/provincial transfer payments and redirect it to positive solutions for life with dignity of Canadians with disabilities and their families. Thank you.

Mark Davis Pickup
Beaumont, AB.

Mark Holland is Canada's Minister of Health. 

This letter was reprinted with permission from  Mark Pickup.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Sponsor Alex Schadenberg in his 30 Km run

Alex Schadenberg is running the Hamilton Around the Bay 30 km Road Race on March 24, 2024. 

The Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest road race in North America. It is also one of the most grueling road races with its series of steep hills.

Help Alex Schadenberg with his 30 Km run by sponsoring him with a donation to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC).

You can make your donation online (Donation Link).

You can make your donation by calling the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 or send a cheque to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Box 25033, London ON N6C 6A8.

You can send e-transfers to info@epcc.ca.

If you are willing to collect donations for Alex's run then contact the office to request sponsor cards at: office@epcc.ca or 1-877-439-3348.

Last year Alex raised by running the Around the Bay run, around $17,000 for the vital work of EPC. This year Alex hopes to raise at least $20,000 for EPC.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is a not for profit corporation but it is not a charity.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Coroner examines case of Australia man who died after taking his wife's assisted suicide drugs

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Coroner in Brisbane Australia has opened an inquest into the death of a man who died after taking the assisted suicide drugs that were prescribed to the man's wife.

An ABC News report by Rachel Riga published on September 25, 2023 stated:
The ABC understands the man's wife had met the criteria and had been given the medication but she was admitted to hospital.

She passed away in hospital before taking the VAD substance.

Her husband was required to return the medication within 14 days but consumed it instead.

A recent article by Rex Martinich and published by AAP news Australia stated:

The Coroners Court in Brisbane today opened the inquest into the May 2023 death of a man aged in his 80s referred to by the pseudonym ABC.

ABC's name and those of his family members along with many other details surrounding his death cannot be published for legal reasons.

The substance involved in ABC's death was obtained legally after Queensland allowed voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in January 2023.

Under that law, a person can self-administer a VAD substance in a private location but they must nominate a person who will be legally required to return any unused or leftover portion within 14 days.

Coroner David O'Connell heard ABC kept the VAD substance in his home after it was no longer required for another person.

The issue of the State regulations was discussed:

O'Connell said he was concerned regulations around self-administering VAD could allow other people without a terminal illness to be physically harmed or suffer mental distress.
 
"We've got medication safety and patient autonomy; we've got to find where the pendulum swings to get the balance right," he said.
 
The nurse said VAD substances in a hospital were kept in a locked cabinet that required two keys to access but were not monitored after a patient took possession.
April Freeman, the lawyer for Queensland Health asked the nurse if pain medications in lethal amounts are ever given out. The nurse responded:
 it was not uncommon and she was not aware of health authorities having control over those drugs once they were handed to patients.
The Coroner's inquiry will continue. 
  • Man dies after taking wife's assisted suicide drugs (Link).

The assisted suicide lobby wants to legalize assisted suicide in your state and expand the law later.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

In 2024, 20 states are debating (have debated) assisted suicide legalization bills and 4 states are debating assisted suicide law expansion bills.

The 20 states are: 

*Arizona, Delaware, *Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennesee, *Virginia and Wisconsin.
The * means that the  where the bill has died.

The good news is that no new state has legalized assisted suicide in the past two years. The bad news it that the assisted suicide lobby is relentless.

The assisted suicide lobby claims that no slippery slope exists, yet, in the past few years existing assisted suicide laws have been expanded by: reducing or eliminating waiting periods, allowing non-doctors to participate in assisted suicide, allowing assisted suicide approvals by tele-health, expanding the meaning of terminal illness and removing state residency requirements

Assisted suicide law expansion bills were passed in California (2021), Hawai'i (2023), Oregon (2019, 2023), Vermont (2022, 2023) and Washington State (2023).

In states with an active assisted suicide bill, contact your elected representatives and inform them that in nearly every state assisted suicide law has been expanded since legalization.

There are 4 states that are debating the expansion of assisted suicide in their state.

Colorado assisted suicide expansion bill.

For instance, the Colorado assisted suicide Bill SB 068 will expand the assisted suicide law by: permitting non-physicians to prescribe the assisted suicide poison, reduces the waiting period from 15 days to 48 hours and it allows the 48 hour waiting period to be waived, and it will remove the residency requirement to permit suicide tourism in Colorado.

Colorado citizens legalized assisted suicide by approving Proposition 106 in 2016. Proposition 106 was designed to legalize assisted suicide. Now the assisted suicide lobby is expanding the assisted suicide law beyond the "safeguards" contained in Proposition 106.

The assisted suicide lobby knows that it is harder to legalize assisted suicide than to expand it later.

For instance Connecticut opponents of assisted suicide have successfully stopped the legalization of assisted suicide every year, for 11 consequtive years. 

Josh Elliott, a three term member of the Connecticut House, and a sponsor of previous assisted suicide bills was interviewed by Paul Bass for the New Haven Independent on January 4, 2024. Bass reported:

Elliott has been sponsoring bills for years to allow terminally ill people to take their lives (aka ​“aid in dying”). The bill finally passed the legislature’s Public Health committee; it got stuck in Judiciary.

The version he plans to resubmit this year has been narrowed to cover terminally ill people with prognoses of less than six months to live, with sign-offs from two doctors and a mental health professional, monthly check-ins, and at least a year of state residence.

“Almost no one” would qualify under that restricted version of the law, Elliott said. But passing it would open the door to evaluation and expansion.

For further clarification Elliott told Bass in the wider interview at 21:30 that:

The bill would be, um, exceptionally narrow in scope, it would be the most narrow in scope bill of this kind were we to pass it. It would be, uh, six months left to live, you have to get sign-offs from multiple doctors—two doctors and one mental health physician—uh, and then you need to go for frequent check ins—I think it's like once a month—and you have, there is a one year residency requirement, so there are so many ways we limit who could actually use this bill, to the point I believe if we were actually to implement the way that we are talking about it, almost nobody would use it. But the important thing for me is to get this bill on the books, and then see how it's working, and if it's not and people aren't using it, than make those corrections to actually allow people to use it. So that is what we've been discussing.
Elliott explains his "bait and switch" tactic. His goal is to pass a "restrictive" assisted suicide bill and then expand the law later.

J.M. Sorrell, Executive Director of Massachusetts Death with Dignity, was quoted on a similar bill as saying,

“Once you get something passed, you can always work on amendments later.”

The assisted suicide lobby admits to their 'bait and switch' tactic.

The key to holding the line on assisted suicide is to defeat assisted suicide legalization bills. To defeat an assisted suicide bill we need to call it what it is. The purpose of assisted suicide is to cause death.

Another key to defeating assisted suicide bills is to explain the language of the assisted suicide bill. Legislators who support assisted suicide often vote based on ideology but when a legislator knows what the assisted suicide bill actually says, they will often vote NO.

The assisted suicide lobby uses false terminology to sell assisted suicide as a form of healthcare and they claim that it provides "choice" at the end-of-life. Assisted suicide is not healthcare or aid in dying and it provides death.

Oregon and Vermont have already been withdrawn their assisted suicide law residency requirement, allowing death tourism. The assisted suicide lobby is now pushing Colorado and New Jersey to permit death tourism.

In October 2021, the assisted suicide lobby launched a court case challenging the Oregon assisted suicide residency requirement. In March, 2022 the Oregon government agreed and removed their residency requirement.

A February 2023 article by James Reinl published in the Daily Mail reported that Dr Nicholas Gideonse had opened an assisted suicide clinic in Oregon to prescribe lethal assisted suicide poison for death tourists.

In August, 2022, the assisted suicide lobby launched a lawsuit challenging Vermont's assisted suicide residency requirement. Lisa Rathke reported in March, 2023 for the Associated Press that Vermont's attorney general's office reached an agreement with the assisted suicide lobby and dropped Vermont's assisted suicide residency requirement.

In August, 2023 the assisted suicide lobby launched a lawsuit to force New Jersey to drop its assisted suicide residency requirement.
 
As stated earlier, Colorado assisted suicide Bill SB 068 will remove their assisted suicide law residency requirement and permit death tourism.

The assisted suicide lobby is aware that they will not legalize assisted suicide in every state but by forcing states to permit death tourism, enables assisted suicide to become available to every American.
 
Say NO to assisted suicide. 

More resource articles on this topic:
  • The Nationalization of assisted suicide in America (Link).
  • Minnesota assisted suicide bill is lethally deceptive (Link). 
  • EPC-USA statement to the New York legislature (Link).
  • The assisted suicide lobby pass restrictive bills and expand them later (Link).

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Bill C-62 is now in the Senate, LWD media release

The Euthansia Prevention Coalition is having a rally and press conference on parliament hill on Tuesday February 27 at 11 am (Link).

The following article was published by Living with Dignity.

Federal Bill C-62 seeks to amend the Criminal Code to provide that persons are not eligible, until March 17, 2027, to receive medical assistance in dying “if their sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness” continues its legislative journey.

The adoption of a motion this week allowed this Bill to be expedited. Note that there was a failed attempt by the Bloc Québécois to add the issue of advance requests to C-62.

We thank psychiatrists Pierre Gagnon and Sonu Gaind who spent Valentine's evening participating in the only meeting of the Standing Committee on Health studying the Bill.

Passed Thursday in the House of Commons, Bill C-62 will be debated during the last week of February in the Canadian Senate.

We hope for an adoption without amendment by March 1, 2024 due to the scheduled breaks in the Senate’s session. We will be very vigilant, as many Senators oppose delaying the exclusion of MAID for mental disorders.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Join the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition on Parliament Hill on February 27 to oppose euthanasia for mental illness.

Join the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, February 27 from 11 am to 12 noon as we rally to stop the implementation of euthanasia (MAiD) for mental illness in Canada.

EPC has organized a series of speeches beginning at 11 am and the media will be invited to participate. 

The speeches will be from:
  • Lia Milousis, human rights lawyer in Ottawa.
  • Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
  • Dr Paul Saba, Family Physician from Montreal who is a hero to everyone who opposes euthanasia.
  • Several Members of Parliament and others to be announced.

Last year the federal government delayed the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness until March 17, 2024.

The federal government released the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying on January 29, 2024 and the federal government decided to further delay the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is thankful that the federal government is delaying the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness but we will continue to demand that the government change direction and completely stop the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness.

More articles on this topic:
  • The Canadian government will further delay the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness. (Link)

Friday, February 16, 2024

Canada's Assisted Dying Regime Should Not Be Expanded to Include Children.

The following article was published by Aljazeera on February 16, 2024.

By Dr Romana Coelho, a family physician in London Ontario

When I was growing up, every week, my Indian immigrant parents would drive my two siblings and me to a long-term care facility close to where we lived, so we could spend time with the residents. I remember one elderly woman, in particular: she’d had a debilitating stroke and no family to visit her. My dad would sneak in Big Macs, After Eight chocolates; anything to bring her a bit of joy. My parents also regularly visited those without support in prison until they needed to move in with my family due to my father’s growing health needs. 

As a mother of five, a caregiver to my father, and a family physician who has practised since 2007, I try my best to continue my parents’ commitment to leave no one behind. My practice, which is based in London, Ontario, predominantly serves low-income and marginalised adults and children: refugees, people who are facing charges or have been incarcerated, people with chronic pain and others with disabilities and mental health issues, including substance use disorders. Many of them wait excessively long periods or are declined specialist care, housing, medications, or counselling. Some wait in line at food banks, while others are forced to choose between affording transit to keep medical appointments or buying nutritious food. They face discrimination, isolation, and inaccessibility, all of which negatively affect their health.

Witnessing these barriers firsthand, it was clear to me that our society does not prioritise supporting those who need it most. I was doubly alarmed to hear that some of my patients were contemplating or being offered medical assistance in dying, or MAiD, due to this lack of resources. In 2020, I began reaching out to Canadian politicians to raise my concerns that MAiD could become the path of least resistance for those with insufficient resources to live. Since then, I’ve been invited to voice my opinions in numerous disability, Indigenous, academic and parliamentary settings about MAiD, including appearing as an expert before our federal Special Joint Parliamentary Committee on MAiD in 2022.

Back in 2016, assisted suicide and euthanasia were legalised in Canada and the term medical assistance in dying (MAiD) was coined for both methods of administering death. MAiD was sold to Canadians as a humane way to end the lives of consenting adults who were experiencing intolerable suffering. Patients had to meet certain criteria, including having a “grievous and irremediable” medical condition, such as heart failure or cancer, and a “reasonably foreseeable natural death”. In recent years, the number of people who qualify for MAiD has grown: in 2021, Bill C-7 created a new track for adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities who aren’t dying. Bill C-7 also had a sunset clause that would allow future eligibility to those whose only medical condition is mental illness, which might be delayed again, but thus far is set to become legal in March.

Numerous alarming stories about MAiD abuses are emerging from Canada that should give us pause. For example, Rosina Kamis explains in her recordings and her writings that she was driven to MAiD by loneliness and poverty. I was interviewed for the Al Jazeera documentary, Do You Want to Die Today, which documents her story in detail. Like Rosina, many disabled Canadians are suffering from social distress, including poverty, and dying by MAID. Their disability qualifies them to die but it is their psycho-social suffering that can drive their MAiD request. I am distressed that some Canadian bioethicists even argue that providing MAiD for requests driven by “unjust social circumstances” can be understood as a form of “harm reduction.” Encouraging people to die through MAiD for “living in unjust social circumstances” is more injustice, not harm reduction.

From legalisation to the end of 2022, there had been almost 45,000 MAiD deaths – more than 13,000 of these took place in 2022. In 2023, the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying – the one I spoke at – made some alarming recommendations, including expanding MAiD to “mature minors” whose death is “reasonably foreseeable”. They specified that parents could be involved in this process but ultimately, the decision should rest with the child, provided they are deemed capable.

At the moment, the mature minors provision is merely a recommendation. However, it will likely be legislated, given it is a priority of powerful lobbyists who have already created momentum for the rapid expansion of Canadian MAiD.

Here’s how it could roll out: Under Canadian law, specifically the mature minor doctrine, a child’s capacity for decision-making around healthcare procedures is not based on their age. A capacity assessor determines whether the minor in question can fully understand and appreciate the consequences of a procedure. If they are deemed capable of consenting, they are considered a “mature minor”.

There are a few problems with the proposed application of this doctrine to such a high-stakes decision. One is that there is inadequate precision in these assessments. Even for adults, the existing data shows that different assessors can come to different conclusions regarding decision-making capacity in the same case. This is even less studied in children.

Another point of concern is that the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers (CAMAP), a group that has received 3.3 million Canadian dollars ($2.5m) in funding from Health Canada to educate MAiD assessors and providers, has created a guidance document that suggests clinicians can be flexible in determining whether someone has a reasonably foreseeable natural death (RFND) since the law does not require that the person must be terminally ill or expected to die within six or 12 months to fit into this category. In this context, expansion of MAID to mature minors would mean that a child as young as 12 with cancer – even one with years to live – could be approved for a lethal injection without parental agreement.

This proposed expansion would also allow minors who aren’t terminally ill at all to choose MAiD. The document also states that a person may meet the “reasonably foreseeable death” criterion if they’ve demonstrated a clear and serious intent to take steps to “make their natural death happen soon, or to cause their death to be predictable”. This could come about as a refusal to take antibiotics for an infection, stopping oxygen therapy or a refusal to eat and drink. If legalised, a disabled minor who states their intention to refuse care or who makes themselves sick enough could qualify as having a reasonably foreseeable natural death under this provision, as is currently happening with adults who are not dying and yet having their lives ended within days of their first MAiD assessment.


As a mother, I can’t fathom living in a country where the government has the power to assist in the suicides of my children without my consent. It is concerning that parents’ knowledge of their children’s maturity and emotional drivers could be ignored by MAiD assessors in Canadian legal context. Parents will be devastated if their child’s request for MAiD is granted against their wishes.

As a physician, there are several reasons why I’m against the expansion of MAiD to mature minors. First, brain development takes a long time; it continues well into our 20s. As a result, pre-teens and teenagers can act impulsively, sometimes engaging in risky behaviours that get them into trouble. With a limited ability to see the future, these youth may be more likely to choose MAiD for misguided reasons – for example, to avoid bullying at school or to be reunited with a deceased loved one. Rates of depression in teens continue to rise, and this can be coupled with the known phenomenon of teenage suicide clustering – where suicides spike after news coverage of one, or after hearing of a close friend or loved one who has self-harmed. I can only imagine the potential for contagion if many Canadian teens begin choosing MAiD.

Evidence from countries where MAiD for mental illness is legal demonstrates that death is often chosen by those who have experienced early childhood trauma, including abuse, which can contribute to feelings of suicidality. In this context, experiences like bullying, discrimination or growing up in the child welfare system might influence a minor’s views on the value of life. One of my dearest friends spent time in the foster care system, and she would tell you that, as a child, she was often perceived as exceedingly mature. For her, this was a survival skill, not an indication of genuine development. In cases like these, some of Canada’s most vulnerable children – who appear capable of making life-altering decisions – could be put at risk by MAiD assessors who judge them at face value. Other minors who remain in abusive homes could choose MAiD as an escape route.

Socio-cultural failings could also contribute to mature minors choosing MAiD. Indigenous people have experienced the effects of trauma, brought on by colonialism, which has led to higher rates of suicide among Indigenous youth (PDF). I have met numerous Indigenous leaders across Canada who are concerned about MAiD, including Graydon Nicholas, who is an Indigenous elder and leader, working to stem suicide contagion among Indigenous youth.

Similarly, Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a disability-rights organisation, expressed alarm at the suggested mature minors expansion to MAiD. They explained that disabled children sometimes grow up in families where their parents, because of society’s negative perception of disability and lack of provided support, see their children as a burden which in turn causes childhood trauma. Yet this despair often resolves in adulthood and is replaced by an understanding that it is our society that needs to change. Many lives can needlessly be lost if such children are presented with the option to end their lives through MAID before completing their psycho-emotional development.

Lastly, emergency rooms are overcrowded, surgeries are at a standstill and so many Canadians don’t have regular access to family doctors, all of which limits care. Right now, there are no statistics on access to palliative care for Canadian children. Paediatric palliative care centres do exist in several major cities, but most other places have little to no resources. In remote areas, the best care many children can hope for is advice given over the phone to local practitioners – the first subspecialty programme in paediatric palliative medicine was launched in Ottawa in 2021. In a country where paediatric care is this insufficient, an expedient death programme should not be a priority recommendation. We should devote our time and energy to building up palliative-care centres and robust access to disability and mental health supports. We also need better community and educational systems that support children and families, programmes that help build relationships and a sense of meaning and belonging for children – things that make life better.

I lose sleep over Canada’s unchecked MAiD regime. The recent news that Canada might pause the MAiD expansion for mental illness offers little relief in the full scheme of things given the problems and abuses we are already experiencing. In any case, MAiD has expanded rapidly and lobbyists are still gunning for children as young as 12 to be eligible. This runaway train must be brought to a halt now.

Ending the lives of children prematurely is particularly tragic since treatments might be developed that could have extended and improved their quality of life in a future they’ll never have. The idea that we must relieve suffering immediately through MAID distracts from addressing the root causes and potential solutions for suffering. These are not the values of care for the disenfranchised that my parents taught me, that I try to practise in my life and profession, or that I believe most Canadians embrace. Rather than trying to expand its problematic regime of medically assisted death, the Canadian government should focus on improving care and support for all, and fostering community life, purpose and belonging – things we know make life worth living.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.