In 1976 capital punishment was removed from the Canadian Criminal Code and in 1998 the Canadian National Defence Act was changed to remove the death penalty. If we do not condone government sanctioning of taking the life of the most evil amongst us, why should we condone government intervention in taking the life of the sick, the weak and the most vulnerable?
Quebec is planning to use tax-payer money to legally kill its citizens: assisted-suicide and euthanasia.
Recently in the National Post, Matt Gurney shared his compassion toward people like Gloria Taylor and Susan Griffiths who want help ending their life. His feelings are admirable; his solution is not.
We strive to develop mental health care programmes to prevent suicide. Unfortunately, many end their lives despite our best efforts. They devise a plan, purchasing what they need to implement it. Some collect pills, others buy rope and hang themselves, and still others end their lives by carbon monoxide poisoning. We mourn their loss. We regret not preventing their death.
When one receives a diagnosis of a fatal illness there is plenty of time to make plans for the rest of one’s life, including planning one’s own demise. Gloria Taylor and Susan Griffiths were well aware of the prognoses of their illnesses. Both of them were more than capable of obtaining the means to end their lives and then do it on their own before they became incapacitated. If Ms. Griffiths was able to fly to Switzerland and drink a concoction that was given to her, why was she not able to take her own life by her own hand at home?
For those nearing the end, and choosing to forego palliative care, they can hoard pain pills and sleeping pills. Yes, it might mean suffering some pain in order to collect the pills; it might mean not sleeping well. If one truly wishes to end their life, they will accept short term suffering. If that sounds mean spirited, I suggest that asking me to take your life through government legislation is just as mean-spirited.
What makes us believe that we will not follow the same path as we have with abortion where the rules changed, became more lax over time? There was a time when abortion was regulated. Then the laws devolved into unfettered, unregulated abortion. Now there is no law regarding abortion in Canada. If a woman feels that having another child would be a burden, then she has the right to abort. We have sex-selection abortion. There are supposed to be regulations in place to prevent it but it still continues. When I wrote about that on Huffington Post I received this response: “Well, if the woman doesn’t want a girl, why should she be forced to have a girl?” I was appalled by what seemed to be a total lack of respect for human life-as if we were discussing cushions. And what if the mother wanted the girl and the family pushed her into an abortion because boys are more valued in their culture? How does one put in safe guards for that?
China’s one child policy led to an increase in abortion and infanticide of girl babies. India, in an attempt to reduce population instituted a two child policy that has led to “voluntary” sterilization. Yet, sterilization has affected-or afflicted- the weakest of the people in India, the ones with no voice, when quotas for the number of sterilizations per month need to be met. Good intentions have a habit of going awry.
Our elderly are already at risk.
They fall prey to unscrupulous people who talk their way into their lives and manage to deplete them of all their savings. What if mommy becomes a burden to her family, like another child? Gurney writes that legislation would be put into place that forces the patient to “confirm verbally and in writing, on multiple witnessed occasions, their desire to die.” What makes us believe that a child or care giver could not convince someone to end their life to the point that “the patient” will answer all the questions correctly that are put to them and “all checks out, their life would end”? What makes us so sure that we cannot bully our elderly into ending their lives?
If the patient must confirm in writing and verbally their intention, then why can they not take their own life? Why must others be involved?
There is a marked difference between making it possible to take one’s own life and actively participating in it. Because we abhor suicide we have all kinds of programmes established to reach out to those who wish to take their own life. There is a cognitive dissonance at play when we now ask our own government, through legislation, to participate in ending life. And then to label it “health care” is Orwellian.
History has a nasty habit of repeating itself because, like Machiavelli wrote so long ago, rather than see what is before our eyes, what is real, we choose to act on wishes and hopes. It is ultimate hubris to believe that we can place limits on ourselves once the flood gates of assisted-suicide and euthanasia are open. We must not go backward. We must not give our government, provincial or federal, the right to participate in ending the life of one of our citizens, again.