By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
A report by the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (AMAD) that was tabled [introduced] in the House of Commons on February 15, 2023 called for a further expansion of euthanasia (MAiD) in Canada. The report recommended, among other things, that euthanasia be expanded to include children “mature minors.”
That the Government of Canada establish a requirement that, where appropriate, the parents or guardians of a mature minor be consulted in the course of the assessment process for MAID, but that the will of a minor who is found to have the requisite decision-making capacity ultimately take priority. This meant that parents or guardians may be consulted, in the euthanasia death of a child that is deemed capable of decision-making.
The Dutch government also has plans to extend euthanasia to children. The NLTimes reported on April 14 that the Dutch government has agreed to extend euthanasia to children, under the age of 12:
Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced in a press release on Friday that he expects the regulation to be implemented within the year. The new guidelines will probably only apply to about five to ten children annually for whom “life termination is the only viable option to end the child’s hopeless and unbearable suffering,” said Kuipers. This means that the Netherlands government plans to extend the Groningen Protocol, which applies to newborns, to children between the ages of 1 and 12, rather than amending the euthanasia legislation to include children under the age of 12. Extending the Groningen Protocol is concerning because it permits euthanasia of newborns who are experiencing current or possible future suffering. By using the same definitions for children under 12 as they use for newborns, it is possible that there will be euthanasia deaths of children with treatable conditions.
HOPE Australia reported on July 14 that Australia’s Capital Territory (ACT) has plans to legalize euthanasia with legislation that will not limit killing to consenting adults. Hope reported on July 14
Shamelessly, Ms Cheyne [the local Minister responsible for the legislation] recently announced the government’s plans to allow teenagers as young as 14 to be eligible for euthanasia, to do away with “arbitrary” expected death timelines of six to twelve months, and a commitment to exploring euthanasia for dementia patients.
When Canada’s Supreme Court struck down Canada’s prohibition on euthanasia (Carter decision) in 2015, the Supreme Court indicated that euthanasia would be limited to competent adults who were capable to freely consent. Once euthanasia is extended to children, it changes the nature of the consent. Children are not adults and the nature of their consent is questionable, and yet death is permanent.
But as bad as it is, the issue goes further. A presentation by Dr. Louis Roy for the Québec College of Physicians to The Special Joint Committee on MAiD on September 7, 2022 urged Canada’s Federal government to adopt a protocol to permit infant euthanasia.
Dr. Roy suggested that euthanasia of newborns should only be allowed in rare circumstances, such as a newborn who is unlikely to survive.
The infant euthanasia debate originates from philosophy professor, Peter Singer, who promotes euthanasia and infanticide for newborns with disabilities. In a recent interview for Vox’s Future Perfect series Dylan Matthews interviewed Singer who stated:
But suppose that you have a human who lacks the cognitive capacities that enable normal humans to think about their future. That could be an infant. None of us were born with those capacities. Or it could be someone with a severe intellectual disability that was not treatable. For that matter, it could be somebody who didn’t really have much of a future to look forward to because they were terminally ill and they were expecting to die within weeks or months, and their quality of life had fallen to a level where they didn’t think it was worth going on.
Singer is justifying the killing of infants and people with disabilities who lack an undefinable level of cognitive capacity.
Child Euthanasia is being debated in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and it is already permitted in Belgium.
Euthanasia of infants with disabilities (infanticide) has been advocated by the Québec College of Physicians and is already approved in the Netherlands based on the Groningen Protocol and Belgium even though infants are not capable of requesting or consenting for death to be inflicted upon them.
The discussion about killing people with disabilities by euthanasia is eugenics. Eugenic euthanasia permits the killing of people who society deems “unworthy of life.” Giving one group of people (medical professionals) the right to kill another group of people is a dangerous idea.
Human equality requires that every human being has an equal right to live and no one has the power to kill another human being.
I believe in human equality. I oppose killing people.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.