Canada has a new law on “medical assistance in dying.” It sounds more clinical than what it really is
Whether you call it doctor assisted suicide or legalized murder isn’t the point today. What is more at issue is how this new law expands what was already in place.
When “maid” was first introduced five years ago, it was sold as offering compassion to those terminally ill, allowing them to end their suffering with dignity, although a little early. But now, with new legislation, the reach has expanded considerably – just as critics predicted in 2016.
The strangest part of this new law is that now those who are mentally ill can ask their doctor to end their lives. And the doctor, by law, must grant the request. Fortunately the bill was amended so that there is at least a required waiting period.
Does no-one in the Canadian government understand the concept of mental illness? Are those who are mentally ill really capable of making the decision to end their lives?
It isn’t that many years ago that we worried about people with mental illness who committed suicide. We felt the health system (and society at large) had failed them. Now, apparently, the system wants to help them die. With few or no questions asked.
Mental illness can take varying forms. The capacity to make decisions is frequently impaired. I won’t delve into the medical aspects. I do note though that those with decreased mental capacity have difficulty understanding the consequences of their actions. Because of that they can have their rights curtailed, with a guardian being appointed to look out for their best interests.
Traditionally, suicide would not be considered in anyone’s best interest. That doesn’t seem to be true anymore. Can anyone explain to me why our politicians think someone who is mentally ill can be thought to have the mental capacity to end their life?
Does this make you wonder about the mental fitness of those who voted for this legislation? Or do you just shrug it off as a sign of our times?
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