By Jonathon Van Maren
Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been perpetually in the news these past few months. The Irish parliament is considering legalization. The Trudeau government is set to radically expand access to assisted suicide. The Netherlands has been considering permitting those who feel that their lives are “completed” to kill themselves with the assistance of medical professionals. And worse, euthanasia for children between the ages of 1 and 12 will soon be de facto legal in the Netherlands, as well.
Despite the dire nature of these developments, many pro-lifers have a much harder time responding to suicide activists and euthanasia advocates than they do rebutting abortion activists. Abortion kills a helpless human being, pitting the strong against the weak. Assisted suicide is more complicated, because often (although not in the case of infants and children who are euthanized) it involves an explicit request from someone who wants to be killed. In short, the lines between the perpetrator and the victim are far fuzzier with euthanasia and assisted suicide than they are with abortion.
I’ve addressed those arguments many times in this space, and so I won’t relitigate the fundamental issues with consent as a standard for assisted suicide again. But every so often, we are reminded how disturbing all of this is—the government funding and facilitating the suicide of citizens. Recently, I came across a paper published in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most prestigious universities. Written by Toronto doctor Susan Woolhouse, it details her advice for “Preparing children for the medically assisted death of a loved one.”