DANIEL VAUGHAN: Canada Embraces Death by Expanding Assisted Suicide Laws for the Mentally Ill

 July 17, 2023

The Reuters article begins simply enough: "Lisa Pauli wants to die. The 47-year-old has wrestled with the eating disorder anorexia for decades; she says she has had a warped relationship with her body since age 8." We then learn Canada is helping her: "An expansion of the criteria for medically assisted death that comes into force in March 2024 will allow Canadians like Pauli, whose sole underlying condition is mental illness, to choose medically assisted death."

Canada's path to this point has been swift. In 2016, Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide for only the terminally ill. All the usual platitudes about dignity and aid of those with no hope were trotted out. Five years later, in 2021, Canada expanded that to include "terminal diseases." And now, Canada is set to expand that category to incorporate mental illnesses of all kinds.

It's hard even to call this a slippery slope. In eight years, Canada has jumped over a cliff with no parachute. It is rapidly approaching suicide on demand across its society. There are no long-term studies of impacts, no reflections on how this impacts the vulnerable; there's no beneficial evidence presented at all. Nothing long-term is given because it's only been eight years, and Canada has jumped from suicide for the terminally ill to those with diagnosed mental illnesses.

Canada says the Mentally Ill are Competent Enough to Die.

Think about this in the case of Lisa Pauli. Canada is saying that a woman who cannot even make a rational decision about eating food is suddenly sane enough to choose physician-assisted suicide. Further, Canada is hiding behind the usual trappings of this being compassionate and listening to the needs of patients. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The debate has shifted. We're no longer discussing allowing the terminally ill to pass on through assisted means. That has issues by itself. We're now talking about accepting the rationalizations from people with various mental (or spiritual) illnesses as a valid reason to allow, by law, physician-aided suicide.

For anyone who argued in Canada that we'd never be at this point, you should apologize here. Because it took less than a decade to get to this point, and if you're moving this fast, we should expect further expansion. What's the logical end here? If we accept the mentally ill's rationalizations of suicide, should we not accept those with an entirely rational brain? What is the point of trying to aid the suicidal if the state tells everyone to take all rationalizations, no matter how insane they are?

A reversal of priorities.

This is not about dignity. It's about the wholesale acceptance of death over life. It's a preference for ending over saving a life. In short, it's an utter reversal of everything from the Biblical command to be fruitful and multiply to the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and "give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel."

When the US Supreme Court encountered this issue in 1997's Washington v. Glucksburg, it said: "The State's interest here goes beyond protecting the vulnerable from coercion; it extends to protecting disabled and terminally ill people from prejudice, negative and inaccurate stereotypes, and 'societal indifference.' The State's assisted-suicide ban reflects and reinforces its policy that the lives of terminally ill, disabled, and elderly people must be no less valued than the lives of the young and healthy, and that a seriously disabled person's suicidal impulses should be interpreted and treated the same way as anyone else's."

The Court said it could find no precedent in US or English history to support a constitutional right to assisted suicide. In fact, it was the opposite. Every state and country prior had a long history of preserving and promoting life.

Assisted Suicide Abuse is a Genuine Threat.

The threat of abuse is genuine. A Canadian man claims his hospital has pressured him into suicide, even though he has no desire to die. Studies of Dutch assisted suicide from the 1990s found hundreds, if not thousands, of physician-assisted suicide, occurred without the patient's consent. Meaning the doctor ended that life.

In just a few short years, Canada went from banning assisted suicide to installing an express lane. David Brooks notes in The Atlantic, "Within just a few years, the number of Canadians dying by physician-assisted suicide ballooned (the overwhelming majority of them by lethal injection). In 2021, that figure was more than 10,000, one in 30 of all Canadian deaths. The great majority of people dying this way were elderly and near death, but those who seek assisted suicide tend to get it. In 2021, only 4 percent of those who filed written applications were deemed ineligible."

Canada Embraces Death.

This is the reality of the assisted suicide movement. It's not about dignity; it's about embracing death over life for any reason at all. Over the years, this has taken many forms, from the progressive eugenics movement of the 19th century to Paul Ralph Ehrlich's morally abdominal theories of a population bomb and China's one-child policy. Whatever the reason, the solution is the same: end human life.

We should focus all our resources on saving the Lisa Pauli's of the world. Every life matters, every life should be saved, and every human life has value and worth. Canada has rejected this simple premise, and in the process has embraced death as a national value, just like the worst despotic regimes. Life is sacred and should be defended, in every form.

"988" is the three-digit, nationwide phone number to connect directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. By calling or texting 988, you'll connect with mental health professionals with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Veterans can press "1" after dialing 988 to connect directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline which serves our nation's Veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them. For texts, Veterans should continue to text the Veterans Crisis Lifeline short code: 838255.

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