Tuesday, February 16, 2021

MAiD (euthanasia) for Mental Illness: Myths and Facts.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr John Maher
Possibly the best article ever written about Canada's Bill C-7 and the push to expand MAiD (euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada via Bill C-7, was recently written and published by Psychiatrist Dr John Maher titled: MAiD for Mental Illness: Myths and Facts.

Maher responds to the key issues related to Bill C-7, and the proposed amendments to Bill C-7 by Canada's Senate. The amended version of Bill C-7 be voted-on in the Senate. It will then go back to parliament. Parliament will then vote on the Senate amendments to the bill.

Contact your Member of Parliament and urge him/her to defeat Bill C-7 (Link).

Similar to Dr Maher, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition questions the audacity of Canada's Parliament and Senate who are expanding Canada's MAiD regime before doing the legislated review of the law.

Dr Maher deals with the key issues related to MAiD in general and MAiD for mental illness in particular. Maher follows a format of presenting the myth and responding with the fact or answer. For instance:
Myth: MAID is consistent with each doctor’s professional obligation to practice according to established standards of care.

Fact: MAID for mental illness makes the doctor a consumer controlled tool of death rather than an expert supporting healing and reducing suffering. Of grave concern is the effort of some legislators to allow MAID for mental illness without any statutory requirement that all standard or reasonable treatments have been tried before the patient is killed. The law as it stands says it is completely up to the person to decide if they are suffering unbearably and they can refuse standard treatments that might help them heal or cope. To allow people to choose death over and above proffered treatments for their illness is an unprecedented undermining of basic medical ethics and a physician’s duty to use their clinical skill and judgment to practice in accord with established standards of care. A doctor cannot support offering death when treatment is untried or incomplete. Against such an unheard-of legislative backdrop, what safeguards can possibly work?

Myth: MAID is not suicide. 
Fact: The Canadian government defines suicide simply and clearly as, “the intentional action of ending one’s life”. MAID is suicide. The American Association of Suicidology does not support the claim that MAID is not suicide, except in the context of terminal illness. Those who claim suicide is impulsive and violent, while MAID is well thought out, peaceful, and dignified, are arbitrarily redefining what suicide is. Social engineering always begins with language engineering. Suicide is taking steps to cause your own death, whatever the steps. 75% of people plan their suicide, and many are completed with care and consideration of the impact on first responders and others. The characterization of all suicides as compelled, impulsive, and violent is factually wrong and perpetuates media stereotypes. What is clear is that suicide is a raw agony for loved ones. The trappings of medical comfort and the mutual pretense of moral exoneration that the staging of the MAID event promises cannot diminish this sorrow. In fact, it can serve to inflame the wound through the betrayal by both medicine and state.
Dr Maher has written an excellent article that needs to be shared (Link to the article).

The Senate is expected to pass Bill C-7 with amendments to allow euthanasia for mental illness and for incompetent people who requested it in an advanced directive. 

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