Euthanizing the mentally ill who lack supports is reprehensible 

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sabrina Maddeaux and Tristan Hopper have both written excellent articles challenging Canada’s euthanasia (MAiD) regime that were published in the National Post. Maddeaux focuses on the proposal to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness while Hopper examines the issue how MAiD is becoming an option for Canada’s poor.

Maddeaux refers to the proposal to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness alone as being a form of eugenics. Maddeaux gains our attention by beginning her article by stating:

For a nation that takes so much pride in our so-called universal health-care system, it’s ironic that we’ll soon be closer to offering universal death care than passable medicare.

Maddeaux explains that with the passing of Bill C-7, euthanasia for mental illness will become an option for Canadians in March 2023. Sadly, I believe that euthanasia for mental illness has already become an option, even though the rules for these deaths have not yet been established.

Maddeaux then points out the recent euthanasia death of the 51-year-old woman with chronic chemical sensitivities who only required better housing and then she writes about the recent story of a 31-year-old with chronic chemical sensitivities who was approved for MAiD.

Maddeaux then writes about the Abbotsford police investigation into the MAiD death of Donna Duncan.

Maddeaux then focuses on the problems with and lack of mental health care in Canada and states:

With mental illness poised for eligibility, the country is on the brink of sponsoring what essentially amounts to opt-in eugenics.

Maddeaux finishes her article by challenging the government’s lack of mental health care and how MAiD is now becoming a way out of living with unacceptable conditions rather than a true choice. She writes: 

But where this crosses from standard government neglect to a humanitarian issue is when MAID enters the equation. It’s one thing to fail the mentally ill — it’s quite another to kill them without offering them an effective alternative. Making access to death easier and cheaper than access to care renders the idea of real choice in the matter more twisted than a reflection in a fun-house mirror.

The legality and morality of MAID is rooted in a patient’s ability to consider all the options and make an informed decision — a process Canada has failed to adequately clarify and enforce, even before granting eligibility to the mentally ill.

If Canada is to expand MAID and become one of the world’s most permissive jurisdictions, it must ensure individuals have true autonomy. This necessitates providing the basic minimum standards of living and care to balance the scales against such a grave alternative. We cannot in good conscience become a nation where people are freer to die than they are to live without suffering.

Maddeaux is right in her assessment. Yet today I was reading Twitter comments from Canada’s euthanasia lobby and they are simply deadly and cruel. Comments included that questioning why people like us were concerned since, as they stated, MAiD is simply a “choice” even for the mentally ill.  

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