Canadian Pediatricians consider extending euthanasia to newborns, minors and teens

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For countries, such as Australia, that are debating the legalization of euthanasia, they need to realize that once Canada legalized “assisted death” that tremendous pressure now exists to expand the scope of the law.

Kathryn Blaze Baum just wrote an article for the Globe and Mail concerning a recent report from the Canadian Paediatric Society that appears to feed the demand to expand euthanasia, in Canada, to teens, minors and even newborns.

According to Baum’s Globe and Mail report, the CPSP report found that:

Of the 1,050 pediatricians who participated in the survey, 118 said that over the course of a year, they had MAID-related discussions with a total of 419 parents; most of the minors in question were children under the age of 13. When it came to explicit MAID [Medical Aid in Dying] requests, 45 doctors said they dealt with a total of 91 parents. Nearly half of the requests related to infants less than one month old.

The survey also found that 35 doctors had exploratory conversations with a total of 60 minors, and nine pediatricians reported getting explicit MAID requests from a total of 17 minors. The vast majority of the minors in both scenarios were aged 14 or older.

Dr. Dawn Davies, the survey’s principal investigator and a pediatrician specializing in palliative care, described possible cases including euthanasia of newborns with disabilities.

brain-damaged babies who cannot breathe on their own or swallow their saliva; children with neuro-degenerative diseases that attack their body and brain; and teenagers with advanced cancer who say they would rather end it all than go on this way.

Blaze Baum also interviewed myself for the article:

The executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, which opposes MAID altogether, said minors – as with some elderly people and those with a severe mental illness – are highly dependent on others and particularly vulnerable to outside influences.

“The question remains, are they fully autonomous?” said Alex Schadenberg. “This is a very difficult question, and I would say it’s one that should be left closed.”

Health Canada recently released its report indicating that there were 1982 “MAiD” deaths in the first full year of legal lethal injections in Canada.

Amy Hasbrouck, the founder of the disability rights group, Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet wrote that the more important information (in the report) is what’s missing.

The lesson from Canada is don’t legalize euthanasia and/or assisted suicide.

See also: Parents of Five year old plead to the Prime Minister not to legalize euthanasia.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.