Quebec backtracks on decision to permit euthanasia for mental illness

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I reported, last week, that the Québec government officially decided to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness.

However, Katrina Laframboise with Global News reported that the Québec government is now backtracking on its decision to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness. 

Laframboise reported

Health Minister Danielle McCann made the announcement on Monday as a forum on the issue is being held in Montreal, saying the government needs to take more time before expanding the criteria of the law.

“We are taking a pause,” she said.  …

“We will implement a period of consultations and reflection on this sensitive and complex question.”

Last September , the Quebec Superior Court, in the Truchon decision, struck down the requirement that a person be terminally ill before qualifying for euthanasia in Canada. 

Whether I like it or not, because the Quebec and Federal governments did not appeal the lower court decision in Truchon, technically, euthanasia has already been extended to people with psychiatric conditions, as of March 11.

The court decision also extended euthanasia to people for psychological reasons. Canada’s euthanasia law stated that a person qualifies for euthanasia if the: 

illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable 

Before the Truchon court decision, a person did not qualify for euthanasia based on psychological suffering alone, because the law required that the person’s “natural death be reasonably foreseeable.

Since the court struck down this requirement,  it means that euthanasia for psychological suffering alone is possible.

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