Thinking About Death

I’m not feeling my own mortality at the moment, but still, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about dying. Especially how we die.

Canada’s Parliament at the moment is considering a Bill to delay the expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAID) to the mentally ill. That was supposed to happen in March, but even this Liberal government is wondering if perhaps there should be some thought and discussion first, so they have introduced legislation to put the implementation off for a year.

Maybe they are asking the same questions I am. Such as, if you are mentally ill, are you mentally fit to make end of life decisions? It used to be that that question would be considered too silly to warrant asking, but times have changed.

Just this week a Parliamentary committee recommended that the criteria for MAID be expanded again, this time to allow minors to choose death should they so desire. Ponder that one for a few seconds.

They want to allow children to choose state-sponsored death. Yet these same children are not considered mature enough to drive a car, consume alcohol, smoke cigarettes or marijuana, sign a contract, join the military or vote. Think about it. None of those acts is as significant as choosing to end your life, but we don’t allow children to make those choices because they don’t have what is felt to be the required maturity.

There may be mature children who could make an informed choice in the matter, just as there are adults who shouldn’t be trusted with such decisions. As a society we sometimes must stick to agreed-upon standards, knowing that there will be the odd time when you could argue for an exception.

Not that I accept any of the standards for MAID. Just because the government pays a physician to kill someone doesn’t make it right. Apparently though, I’m in the minority. State sponsored suicide doesn’t seem to be a ballot question in Canadian elections.

I’m left pondering the worldview of those who think ending a life is the solution to all a person’s problems. Most world religions mention some sort of afterlife. Suicide is frowned upon. I think it is safe to say that none of them have a clause where suicide is permissible if a doctor helps you.

Personally, I have no desire to pop up on God’s doorstep without an invitation. When my time on earth is up, I expect to go at the hour of God’s choosing, not mine.

While I understand proponents of MAID see it as a method of allowing people in pain to die with dignity, to me it looks like an excuse for governments to neglect palliative care and perhaps save some hospital costs. Given the push to expand eligibility, I suspect I am right.

There is so much more to say. Any thoughts on the matter?



  1. Thanks for this important blog installment!
    I thought this piece offered some good insights into what is happening behind the scenes – meant to send it to you a long time ago, before you wrote this.
    Looks like some people are deep into the death cult and established boundaries are being crossed (as happens in a fallen world).
    Euthanasia is being practiced in many countries, including Switzerland (has been for years). I don’t know the statistics, but am not sure it’s being done on a scale that MAID seems to be encouraging.

  2. A good friend just died, but not before weeks and weeks of extreme pain that could not be completely controlled even with drugs that made him almost comatose (his cancer was terminal). I don’t know whether he got his wish to enact MAID, but I do hope he did.
    We’ve had two family members in palliative care and I believe that no one can really understand what that entails unless they have spent time with patients and staff in a setting like that. MAID starts to look like a very attractive alternative to a slow death.

    1. Having sat at my mother’s bedside while she died, I understand how attractive MAID looks. And when it was introduced it was supposed to be only for those already about to die. Now it is being extended to the mentally ill. Then to minors. And there has been suggestion to expend it to infants with disabilities. It seems to me MAID dehumanizes us in suggesting that some lives are not worth living. If I were a cynic I might suggest it was all about health care costs.

      1. It seems like our society on the whole agrees with women that it is “my body, my choice” when it comes to abortion. How can we then deny any person the right to end their life at a time of their choosing?

      2. That’s a logical statement. However, even abortion proponents don’t have consensus on when it should be allowed. So too with MAID. Logically it should be available to all at any time with no restrictions. What right does the state have to tell me it won’t pay for my suicide?

  3. Philip Allan · · Reply

    Apparently 7% of all deaths in Quebec are MAID related.

    Just as with Roxham Rd, where the federal government is now shipping illegal entrants to places like Cornwall and Windsor, it seems what Quebec wants, Quebec generally gets with this government.

    They do have a strong sense of self preservation, so with Quebec pushing for more, I expect we will get more, not less and sooner rather than later.


  4. Neil Remington Abramson · · Reply

    Our mutual friend B chose MAID. As I understand he hoped to avoid the painful and hopeless death experienced by his father. For me, the injustice was that he felt compelled to go earlier than he needed to because of the way the legislation was written. If he had lost his mental competence because of the disease, the MAID would be withheld. At the end, when the doctor comes to do the deed, s/he is required to ask if you still want to go through with it, and if you are not competent to respond in the affirmative, you will be denied.

    While I agree with you about children, and the mentally ill, and no doubt other categories, I think that if a mentally competent person opts for MAID under defined conditions in a notarized living will, perhaps in consultation with medical specialists, and those conditions are met, then MAID should be allowed even if competence has vanished due to the progress of the illness.

    As for waiting for God’s timing, I’m afraid human technology has already interfered to keep people alive despite God’s best efforts to bring a person home. I also observe that various institutions’ incomes depend on keeping old or terminal people alive as long as possible, but without any consideration for those persons’ quality of life. These institutions’ incomes, and the incomes of their employees depend on thwarting the Lord’s efforts to bring us home when it really is our time.

    1. You make a good point about our intended lifespan and about the economic factor. But should we be expanding the criteria further? Why not just make MAID available to anyone with a reasonable expectation of death? Which is all of us.

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