One of the great concerns many of us have had about movers to legalise euthanasia is the potential for things to slide further and in an even more dangerous direction. I am opposed to euthanasia in principle because I do not believe that it is for us to determine when death comes. However, even for those who think that it is okay for individuals who have been suffering to make decisions about end of life for themselves, there should be some major ethical concerns.
First of all, there is the danger that whilst notionally, the individual will be able to choose for themselves when to seek medical assistant in dying, a society that has opened the door to legal euthanasia has created an environment where there may potentially be significant emotional pressure on older, frailer people, those with terminal illness, chronic pain or disabilities to seek to end their own life so as not to be a burden on others.
However, this recent development of thinking in Canada is extremely disturbing.
To make it clear about what is being proposed here. The Quebec College of Medicine are proposing that medically assisted dying should be extended to cover children and those with disabilities. Notice two deeply concerning arguments that are being made.
First, the tweeter talks about children and those with disabilities not being denied the same level of care that others are able to access. Yet, they are doing this by redefining killing as care. In fact, what they want to do is to be given permission to deny true medical care to those who are suffering.
Secondly, by seeking to extend the possibility of euthanasia to babies and young toddlers, they are moving to a position where it would be possible to take the life of a child, not only when they are considered legally to be unable to freely give consent due to age but where physically they would not have the language to give their consent. This means that euthanasia would move from any pretence of being a voluntary option to something imposed against the most vulnerable within society. It will not take a big step from there for medics to decide to intervene in other cases where they do not consider the individual to have capacity to make their own decisions.
It should shame us that such an evil proposition is even being discussed.
And yes, I am using the word “evil” despite the claim by the College that this is about a medical decision and does not involve politics, morality or religion. The point is that medical decisions are never purely a scientific decision but always involve a level of morality. However, this is particularly so when people are attempting to redefine murder as caring and when they are seeking means to cause the deaths of those who cannot speak up for themselves.
I hope that Christians in Canada and around the world will chose to speak up for those who need the help of others to give voice to their cries. I hope that we will all join in praying that this catastrophic plan will not be allowed to go ahead.