Human Exceptionalism

Canada’s Prescription for Getting Away with Murder

The Canadian government has tabled its new euthanasia bill–and as expected, it will be the most radical in the world.

Since the death doctor need not be present at the demise, the bill creates an unprecedented license for family members, friends–heck, a guy down the street–to make people dead. From the bill:

Exemption for person aiding patient

(5) No person commits an offence under paragraph (1) (b) if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241. 2.

Reasonable but mistaken belief

(6) For greater certainty, the exemption set out in any of subsections (2) to (5) applies even if the person invoking the exemption has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.

Once the lethal drugs are obtained, this means there are zero meaningful safeguards and protections for vulnerable people, since anyone can kill at the request of the patient.

How will authorities know that actual consent was made to do the deed?  Coercion happens behind closed doors. Indeed, even if there was a “mistake,” the killer is protected from culpability by claiming “good faith.”

In short, this provision is the perfect defense for the murder of sick and disabled people who requested lethal drugs.   

The George Delury case is an example of what I mean: Delury said he assisted wife, Myrna Lebov’s suicide out of “compassion” and at her request due to MS.

But his real hope was not only to be free from care giving, but become famous writing a book about her death. (He did, What If She Wants to Die?)

It almost worked. But because assisted suicide was a criminal offense, authorities conducted an investigation and discovered his diary.  It showed that contrary to the compassionate face Delury was conjuring, in reality, he emotionally pressured Myrna into wanting to commit suicide, telling her, for example, that she was a burden and ruining his life.

He also withheld full dosage of antidepressants so he could use those drugs to kill her. And, it turned out, he put a plastic bag over her head to make sure she died.

If Canada’s euthanasia bill had been the law of New York when Delury killed Lebov, he might have been able to coerce her into asking for lethal drugs. At that point, he could have murdered her any time he wanted and there wouldn’t have been a criminal investigation to find his diary.

Canada has just paved the way for a person, hungry for an inheritance or ideologically predisposed, to get away with the perfect murder. 

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