Friday, March 31, 2023

Euthanasia in Canada "Last Resort" or eugenics for disabled people.

  • For the disabled, assisted dying can be eugenics by another name

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Cassandra Kislenko wrote an excellent article about Gwen (pseudonym) who felt that she had no choice but to let the Canadian government kill her. You may remember that Gwen was featured in several articles last year where she had stated that she was seeking euthanasia because she was unable to get medical needed medical treatment.

Kislenko explains Gwen's story:
Gwen, whose real name is not being used for privacy reasons, has been suffering from degenerative neuropathic pain ever since a spinal injury in 2013. Already living with fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, the physical trauma sent her nervous and immune systems into a debilitating spiral. “Your body gets confused when it’s in this type of constant, unrelenting pain,” she explains. “Your brain thinks it’s under attack, so there’s a constant fight-or-flight mode that worsens the symptoms and attacks your mental health.” When her condition was at its worst, every nerve in her body cried out—“like having bees buzzing in my flesh”—to the point where she couldn’t even let her own daughter touch her. She had to travel hours to see specialist doctors from her small town in British Columbia, who would either recommend supplements or prescribe expensive, addictive painkillers. Her only long-term option was ketamine infusion treatment, not covered by BC’s health care system. Her GoFundMe is raising at least $44,000 to pay not just for the infusions but for transportation, assistance, and childcare during the recovery process.
Kislenko explains that for Gwen living in poverty made her feel that her only choice was to become one of the growing number of disabled people dying by Canada’s world-leading Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) program simply because the state refuses to provide them with quality of life.

To further her claims Kislenko states:
However, as early as April 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities expressed she was “extremely concerned” that Canada was not ensuring disabled people seeking state-assisted suicide had been provided with viable alternatives before making the choice. In a report to the Human Rights Council, she warned that “assisted dying must not be seen as a cost-effective alternative to providing services for persons with disabilities.”
As Kislenko explains, that is exactly what happened to paralympian Christine Gauthier:

High-profile cases such as that of veteran and Paralympian Christine Gauthier, who testified that she was offered a referral to MAiD after being denied an accessibility ramp for her home, represent a rapidly deteriorating crisis for Canada’s most vulnerable. While the Department of Veterans Affairs has denied Gauthier’s story, they acknowledge at least four cases in which a Veterans Affairs staffer is believed to have inappropriately suggested MAiD. The issue has been turned over to the RCMP, Canada’s federal police service.

Kislenko then expresses her concern with the expansion of euthanasia to people with mental illnesses:

Now the Canadian government is considering an expansion to MAiD that includes those with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This change was scheduled to officially go through this month, but its implementation was recently delayed to “give provinces and medical professionals time to get ready for the change.”
Kislenko explains that the disability movement is relieved that euthanasia for mental illness has been delayed but she explains that Justice Minister David Lametti is confident that it will be implemented in March 2024. Kislenko then explains that the government is planning on further euthanasia expansions.
And the committee is also considering other eligibility expansions, like terminating severely ill newborns, or allowing teenagers to access state-assisted suicide.
Kislenko quotes a friend of Gwen who states that based on Canada's failing healthcare systems and other concerns that Canada's euthanasia program is essentially a form of eugenics.
“It’s eugenics,” says Gwen’s friend Bunny (not their real name), who started the GoFundMe for Gwen’s treatment over the summer. “There’s no other way to describe it . . . if you won’t give me money for housing, you won’t control the market so that I can afford housing, but you’ll give me money to kill myself, then that is eugenics.”
I agree that Canada has instituted a form of eugenics especially when you consider what qualifies a person for being killed in Canada. Kislenko then quotes Megan Linton who also defines Canada's MAiD program as eugenic.

Today, Canada’s medical systems practice eugenics in less obvious ways, such as provinces enthusiastically harvesting organs from those who die by state-assisted suicide. “[Canada] has a long history of eugenics that seeks to remove disabled people from our communities,” says Megan Linton, researcher and advocate with DJNO. “Whether it be through MAiD, or through institutionalization, or just through complete social isolation . . . it’s the process of removal.”
Kislenko continues by quoting researchers Beatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant who theorize in their book Health Communism, capitalist health care systems impose a “eugenic and debt burden” on all subjects, insisting that anyone unable to meet maximum productivity is a drain on both the state and their community.

I disagree with this theory that attributes eugenics to capitalism. My experience indicates that the overbloated bureaucratic health care system, rather than capitalism, focuses on eliminating people with disabilities or other people who require care from the system. We agree that the healthcare system has stopped providing the care that people need and we agree that the outcome is eugenic. 

Kislenko does quote from Linten who stated:

“The expansion of MAiD must be viewed within the context of this economic order, which is . . . encouraging the government to retreat from its responsibilities to the public’s welfare,” says Linton. “So now the state appears generous to provide mercy from the austerity that they actively designed.”
Kislenko states:
In reality, the Canadian state is anything but generous. One in four working-age disabled people live below the poverty line in Canada, according to Statistics Canada, and disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as abled people. Disability assistance programs vary by province, but all fall short of providing quality of life. For Gwen, the maximum monthly payment for a single parent in BC is about $1,250, which is meant to cover rent, food, transportation, medication, and childcare.
I agree with this statement. It is impossible to live on $1250 per month in British Columbia. There are many Canadians who have a genuine need but who are forced to live in poverty, thus leading to these people being made to feel that death is their only solution. In reality, it constitutes a final solution.

Kislenko then explains that the GoFundMe page that helped Gwen.
Fortunately, Gwen says her GoFundMe went viral enough to cover an initial round of ketamine treatment, providing her first glimmer of hope in years. She was able to spend Christmas out of her wheelchair and was very thankful to play with her daughter again. “It’s good I finally have a bit of strength to fight,” she says.
Jennyfer Hatch
But it wasn't enough to save the life of her friend Jennyfer Hatch:
And even then, Gwen’s relative success is an outlier compared to the countless disabled people across Canada who have been pushed to seek MAiD. Over the course of her fundraiser, she lost a friend to these exact circumstances: Jennyfer Hatch, who was featured in a commercial documenting her last days, died from state-assisted suicide after years of failing to find government support for her Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Kislenko finishes the article by stating that Gwen isn't considering euthanasia now, but the situation that led her to seek an assisted death remains the same.
Gwen is currently no longer seeking state-assisted suicide. Still, both she and Bunny understand the bleak path ahead not just for Gwen’s treatment, but for the growing number of workers who will be joining surplus populations in the coming years. “People aren’t in touch with the fact that this could be them,” says Bunny. “Everybody is one really bad accident away from having intractable pain, or losing mobility functions that they relied on.”

“This is not an okay way to live,” they continue. “It’s not okay for society to be like this.”

Further reading:


charlotte vogel said...

Why are there no comments here? After reading the above headlines one would have to be brain dead not to react in some way. MAID will be coming after you and your children because the philosophy behind it is all wrong. From somewhere I remember the words, "Choose life then so that you and your descendants may live". We are playing God when we take from someone what we can't give back. The next time we look on the dead body of someone we loved dearly we should ask ourselves if we really understand the purpose of life.

cuindalight said...

Maid was/is just a great gig for the government to walk away from the failing health care we all pay. I can't believe how bad this has become and all the "lovely" words they use - a treatment to die in dignity. I knew this would expand (as with everything else). Kill them before they are born and then later if they are "useless" or old (in their minds). This is expanding in the world and Canada is one of the key leaders. It's hard to believe having lived here all my life. They give money to all sorts of "causes", give themselves raises - but fix nothing - they just sneak in nefarious laws to fix it in a different way. This is all part of a bigger and horrible plan. I pray to God every day.