Friday, April 23, 2021

Consent to die is a "cruel trap" says the euthanasia lobby.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

When selling euthanasia (MAiD) to the Canadian public we were assured that consent would be a fundamental protection within the legislation.

I have been challenged by people who have stated: "Who am I to stand in the way of someone who has consented to be killed?"

The issue of consent has come full circle with the passing of Bill C-7 on March 17. Now the debate is developing over the issue of euthanasia (MAiD) for people with dementia who cannot consent.

Bill C-7 amended Canada's euthanasia (MAiD) law to permit an incompetent person to be lethally injected, if they had previously been approved for MAiD. That means, a person who was approved to die by euthanasia, but has become incompetent, can still be killed, even though they are incapable of consenting at that time of death.

The euthanasia lobby wants more. 

The euthanasia lobby want people to state in an advanced directive, possibly years earlier, that they want to die by (MAiD) euthanasia and the advanced request for euthanasia would be legally binding. The person would be killed by MAiD, even though there is no way to confirm that the person still wants to die.

An article by Jocelyn Downie and Stefanie Green, published on April 21 in Policy Options explains how Bill C-7 enables some incompetent people to die by euthanasia (MAiD) and how a parliamentary committee will examine the issue of advanced request for euthanasia (MAiD).

Downie is Canada's leading academic euthanasia activist and Green operates a euthanasia clinic in Victoria BC. Downie and Green argue that Bill C-7 didn't go far enough. They state:

Fortunately, due to some of the recent changes made to Canada’s legislation, some people with dementia have already been released from the cruel trap of the requirement of final consent.

Notice how consent is a cruel trap, not a safeguard, not an active assurance that a person wants to die, not a protection that people aren't pressured and killed without consent, but rather a cruel trap.

Downie and Green emphasize how consent limits access to euthanasia (MAiD):

Unfortunately, there will still be many people with dementia who aren’t helped by this change to the law – specifically, those who lose decision-making capacity before their decline has become advanced or before their suffering has become intolerable. These people’s hopes to access MAiD hang on the work of a new joint committee of the House and Senate.

Downie is also a champion of women's rights. Would it be acceptable to say that consent is a cruel trap when considering sex? Obviously not. Then why is consent a cruel trap when ending someone's life?

Jurisdictions considering the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide usually debate the theory of assisted death not the reality. The reality is that selling euthanasia requires safeguards, but once it is legal those safeguards then become, as Downie and Green state, cruel traps to accessing death.

The consent debate is about a fundamental question. One of the strongest sales pitches for legalizing euthanasia is that it will be only for people who have consented to their death.

Once consent is not required, the next cruel trap will be, never asking to be killed. It will be argued that it is cruel to force those people with dementia to live. It will be argued that killing people with dementia is compassionate, not because they would have wanted to die, but because society has determined that there life is not worth living.


smetro said...

This is EXACTLY the fear that I have as I enter the last few years (decades?) of my own life I DO NOT want to be summarily killed, just bec. I am "inconvenient>" (funny how that parallels many of the abortions obtained in the USA, isn't it?!) but becc. I truly wish to go on to my eternal life rather than suffer here on earth...But, then just like the beginning of life, I DO believe there is SOMEONE WHOSE opinion on the matter trumps mine. Inconvenient or not, would rather leave the decision to Someone else, ar at least that is how I feel at the moment. Have to put it in writing still, but also must let my "heirs" (!) know this.

gordon friesen said...

buda - boom !

This is where the real discussion begins. I would urge all of those in other countries not to do as we have done, which is to say spend years haggling over the details of voluntary death. Euthanasia is not about voluntary death at all. Euthanasia is "medicine".

If it is good medicine to kill someone who wants to die, then it is good medicine to kill someone who doesn't (in similar circumstances) and in the end, there will also be terrific pressure on people who do not wish to die (who obstinately and willingly refuse to "take" their medicine).

So the real battle is about the moral validity of wishing to live even when you are sick. Trying to stop the intellectually suicidal is a pure waste of time (unless they wish to be stopped which a great many do).

It is time, I believe, not merely to attempt to stop assisted death legislation, but above all, to insert key language into every such passes. Clearly stating that assisted death is but an individual whim. That there is no objective justification that can ever be "transferred" (by analogy) to any other case.

That no one, be they competent or otherwise, should ever have to die in order to vindicate the suicidal whim of those who have (so atypically) demanded assisted death. Much less to validate the weird sense of duty that compels certain people to "do something" when there really is nothing that "needs" to be done.

We must demand that all of this logic be explicitly built into any new assisted death legislation going forward. And Unfortunately, for us in Canada that now really means "you" for "we" have already failed.

Best Regards,

Gordon Friesen, Montreal (français) (english site in development) (personal philosophical musings)