Andrew Coyne: Canada’s slippery assisted suicide slope.

“I think in particular, though, with assisted suicide, it was how easily the slope became slippery”

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Andrew Coyne is a well known Canadian columnist with the Globe and Mail and is a past editor of the National Post. Coyne has commented on assisted suicide on several occasions but today, in the Hub, Coyne clearly states his concern with Canada’s MAiD euthanasia law. Coyne states:

I think in particular, though, with assisted suicide, it was how easily the slope became slippery. You know, undergraduates are all taught, “Slippery slopes, it’s just a fallacy.” Well, no, it’s not always a fallacy; some slopes are indeed slippery. …

First, it was to people who aren’t in that stage now but might be in the future, and therefore, they need to be able to avail themselves of assistance now, because, you know, when they’re in the last age, they wouldn’t be able to do so. Or it started to include not just physical pain, but psychological pain, which is a much more elusive thing to define. And when you started to sort of burrow into the underlying rationale for it, it really didn’t allow for any constraint, as we’re starting to see. Once you accept this idea that this is actually just a basic human right to have somebody else kill you, then are you going to prevent the mentally handicapped from availing themselves of that? Are you going to prevent children from doing so? And of course, when that was first raised, people said, “Slippery slope; this is alarmism,” and they were perhaps unaware that people even then we’re arguing precisely that, and were going to continue to argue precisely that.

So, I think the nature of that I found very disturbing, and it was, at the same time, kind of interesting to unpack it as an intellectual puzzle. How did people go down this road? How do they allow themselves to lose their bearings so much that we could start advocating a society for basically killing disabled children?

Coyne is correct: Canada has quickly slid down the slide from discussing assisted suicide for difficult cases to accepting euthanasia for psychological suffering and mental illness and now considering child euthanasia.

Editor’s note. This is excerpted from a post on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.