The Corner

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Quebec Court Declares Euthanasia ‘Foreseeable Death’ Limitation Unconstitutional

Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s ‘Thanatron,’ often referred in the media as the ‘Death Machine,’ is seen during a press preview for the Sale of the Estate of Jack Kevorkian at the New York Institute of Technology, N.Y., October 27, 2011. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

A few years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada conjured a positive right in the Canadian Charter (constitution) to euthanasia. The justices did not merely make it legal, but essentially ruled that anyone with a diagnosed medical condition that causes “irremediable suffering” — as defined subjectively by the patient — has a right to be killed by a doctor. This is true even if there are treatments available that could objectively palliate the patient’s symptoms.

Rather than push back, as could be done under Canadian law, Parliament meekly legalized lethal injection homicide — known as the euphemistic Medical Aid in Dying (MAID). But it added a tepid protective requirement: Death has to be “reasonably foreseeable” (whatever that means) in order to qualify for killing.

Now, a Quebec court has ruled that minor limitation to be an unconstitutional impediment to a desired death. From the Globe and Mail story:

Denying them access to assisted dying because they are not terminally ill is “forcing them to endure harsh physical and psychological suffering,” Justice Baudouin said in her 197-page judgment. “The court has no hesitation in concluding that the requirement that their death has to be reasonably foreseeable is violating the rights to liberty and security of [the plaintiffs.]”

I have no doubt similar rulings will be made in other Canadian courts. Having read the original Supreme Court ruling, how could it be otherwise?

Consider the context in which homicide-by-doctor (or nurse practitioner) has been made a fundamental right:

  • According to a study published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, only 15 percent of Canadians have access to quality palliative care. Yet, there aren’t any Supreme Court or lower court rulings declaring the inability to have one’s symptoms palliated a violation of Charter rights.
  • There is a right to receive euthanasia, but no concomitant right to suicide prevention.
  • Disabled people in Canada have been pushed toward euthanasia by bureaucrats denying the kind of independent living support that would help a suicidal disabled person want to live — who then offered the patient euthanasia instead. Just last month, a man with ALS chose to be killed after the government refused to pay for care that would have allowed him to stay home with his son. Clearly, there is no Charter right to receive the kind of care that would help you not want to be killed.
  • Not only that, but doctors have been told in Ontario that if they are asked by a qualified patient — which could include almost anyone with a semi-serious medical or disabling condition under the Supreme Court’s ruling, perhaps even mental illness — to be killed, they must participate by doing the deed or procuring the death doctor for the patient. And if their faith holds that to be a grievous sin or their conscience follows the Hippocratic Oath’s proscription against killing patients? Tough. Become a podiatrist or get the hell out of medicine!
  • Canada also conjoins organ harvesting with euthanasia. This means that depressed people with disabilities — and I believe eventually mental illnesses as allowed now in Belgium and Netherlands — will be killed when they would have lived for years, induced into the lethal decision by the belief that their deaths will have greater value than their lives.
  • Canadian pediatricians are preparing for the euthanasia of children. Some have already volunteered to kill young patients once it becomes legal.

Whenever I have raised the alarm about the collapse of medical morality in Belgium and Netherlands caused by legalizing euthanasia, domestic death peddlers have soothingly assured that those countries are not like the U.S. Such things would never happen here.

And Donald Trump would never be president. Canada is our closest cultural cousin. Creating a right to euthanasia has made it death obsessed.

If it can happen there, it can also happen here. Those with eyes to see, let them see.

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