Coming soon: Legal child euthanasia

Following its 2019 elections, Canada is expected to approve euthanasia for sick children, joining the Netherlands and Belgium as the only nations in the world affirmatively sanctioning such practices.

The Council of Canadian Academies, a government advisory board has studied the expansion of euthanasia to include making it available for children, those with mental illness and so-called “advance requests” by those who wish to set in motion assisted suicide should they become incompetent to make the decision later.

Whereas assisted suicide is legal in some states in the U.S., no statistics are kept on the number of cases.

In Canada, however, it’s a booming business with thousands put to death by doctors and nurse practitioners since it was legalized nationwide in 2015. Clinics run TV commercials for euthanasia.

Nearly 2,000 were killed in 2017 alone in Canada, almost all by lethal injection.

Dr. Kulvinder Gill, a pediatrician who president of Concerned Ontario Doctors, says the country has crossed the threshold at which there is any “difference between allowing a patient a natural death versus taking an action to cause a death.” “So that in itself is fundamentally attacking the very premise of medicine.”

Dr. Gill says frontline, practicing doctors are, for the most part, kept in the dark about the political issue, the policy decisions and the practice of euthanasia.

“Most of what we’ve been hearing has been through the media, mostly international media,” she says. “And many of these new federal laws which are being proposed, both extending euthanasia to children and to those that have mental illness will be putting the most vulnerable patients at risk.”

Dr. Gill fears Canada will take child euthanasia where even Belgium and the Netherlands have not previously gone, saying its sick-kids policy even imagines a scenario where it would happen “without the involvement of family which, again, doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.”

“I think it’s a very scary, slippery slope that we’re going down,” she said. “Less than a year ago, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in the entire world to have physicians lose their freedom of conscience forcing doctors to either be involved in actually administering MAID or be involved in the effective referral process. In Ontario, five percent of vulnerable patients account for two-thirds of our public health-care costs. Our health care is in crisis. Rather than seeing needed investments in frontline health care for our most vulnerable patients, our governments have plans to expand access to euthanasia.”

So far, with only the Netherlands and Belgium permitting child euthanasia, there are only 16 documented cases on record.

“We are fundamentally devaluing human life and not giving patients equal access to life-sustaining healthcare or palliative care,” says Dr. Gill. “We are the only country in the entire world where euthanasia is legal under a single-payer socialized healthcare system and more than 85 percent of patients in Canada do not have access to palliative care. There is the empty promise of a choice.”

The tiny country of Belgium conducted some 4,337 euthanasia’s in 2016-2017. Most were for adults suffering from cancer.

In 2005, the Netherlands became the first country to decriminalize euthanasia for infants. Nine years later, Belgium amended its 2002 Euthanasia Act to extend the rights of euthanasia to minors.

“It is shocking how enthusiastically Canada has embraced the culture of death — to the point that little dissent is allowed,” says Wesley J. Smith of the Discovery Institute. “For example, Ontario passed a law requiring all doctors to either kill a legally qualified patient or procure a doctor willing to commit the homicide, a law specifically approved by a court even though the judge acknowledged it violated the Charter-protected religious and conscience rights of dissenting physicians.”

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