Canadian judge expands eligibility for assisted suicide

By Jonathon Van Maren

Right on schedule, Canadian judges are suddenly discovering enormous loopholes in Canada’s euthanasia law and expanding the right to assisted suicide. From The Daily Mail:

A 77-year-old woman with osteoarthritis should be allowed to have euthanasia in Canada, a judge has ruled. The patient, known only as AB, was diagnosed with the condition when she was 43 and has suffered increased pain over the decades.

After starting to take opioid painkillers fentanyl and morphine in 2015, she told her doctor in Ontario that the pain was unbearable and she wanted to die. However, although Canada legalized assisted dying last year for people enduring unbearable suffering, two doctors refused to administer lethal drugs since they feared being charged with murder because her illness is not terminal.

But on Monday, a judge declared AB’s doctor could legally assist her in dying – and chided the doctors for ‘apprehensive misunderstanding’ of the law. Superior Court Justice Paul Perell told the courtroom in Toronto that a patient’s death does not have to be imminent, and their condition does not have to be terminal. Rather, he said, the patient qualifies for medically assisted dying if their death ‘has become reasonably foreseeable’, and that their remaining years would be marred by suffering.  

Got that? A judge “chided” doctors for correctly reading the euthanasia law as it was written—and fundamentally changed the definition of “reasonably foreseeable death.” Apparently, “reasonably foreseeable death” no longer refers to “terminal illness,” in the opinion of this judge, but instead refers to how old the patient is. In fact, he came right out and said so:

The patient, he said, is an ‘almost 80-year-old woman in an advanced stated of incurable, irreversible, worsening illness with excruciating pain and no quality of life’. He explained: ‘The legislation is intended to apply to a person who is ‘on a trajectory toward death because he or she a) has a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability; b) is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability; and c) is enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable,’ The Toronto Star reported. 

Of course, everyone over 80 years old has a “reasonably foreseeable death,” and once the standards for assisted suicide have been made subjective, the number of people who can apply dramatically rises. Again, that’s the point. Suicide activists are still pushing to broaden the categories of who is permitted to receive state-funded suicide, and this new ruling will help that along.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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