The pressure to legalize euthanasia in every region of the globe is real. And it’s increasing.
Canada joined the handful of countries legalizing intentional killing, when a federal law (‘MAID’ — medical assistance in dying) legalized assisted suicide in cases of a ‘grievous and irremediable medical condition’ in 2016. Since then, the number of people who die by assisted suicide continues to increase markedly year after year. After a decision from the Québec Superior Court in September, this upward trend is sure to continue.
Québec Court strikes down key requirement of law
According to the original law, euthanasia or assisted suicide would only be an option for those whose death by natural causes was ‘reasonably foreseeable’. Those arguing for the law claimed this was an important means of preventing abuse and protecting vulnerable people.
The Québec Superior Court declared this requirement unconstitutional in Truchon v. Canada. Barring an appeal from the government, that requirement will cease to exist in just a few months.
The Court reached this shocking decision after the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed a legal challenge against what they and their client insisted was a ‘restrictive law on assisted dying’.
ADF International allied lawyer Derek Ross leads the Christian Legal Fellowship of Canada, which intervened in the case. According to him, the Court framed the law how it wanted to, rather than relying on what the law says, in its central analysis of the legislation. Upholding inherent dignity and preventing suicide are two purposes of the law intentionally put there by legislators. However, the Québec Court labeled them as mere ‘affirmations of values or social issues’ rather than key tenets of the text.
“If judges can simply dismiss legislatively-stated objectives out of hand, or characterize some as mere ‘statements of social values’ and selectively prioritize others, they have complete discretion to frame the constitutional analysis however they see fit, and thus ‘foreordain’ any outcome they desire …. If left unchecked, this approach will have negative implications for the rule of law, reaching far beyond the specific debate surrounding Bill C-14.”
Once euthanasia is legalized, it cannot be controlled
Whenever and wherever the door to euthanasia is opened, what happens next cannot be controlled. The so-called ‘right to die’ soon becomes a duty to die for the most vulnerable among us.
Belgium and the Netherlands have fallen further and further down euthanasia’s slippery slope since they first legalized it in 2002. Supporters of legalization claimed that it would be reserved for a handful of truly difficult cases. That has not been the case.
In Belgium, which extended euthanasia to children with no age limit in 2014, the number of people euthanized each year has grown 1000% since 2003, from 235 to 2,357 in 2018.
In the Netherlands, where ‘End of Life Clinics’ offer euthanasia as a medical service, 56,000 people have died by euthanasia in the years since its legalization.
In Truchon, judges, by the stroke of a pen, widened the net of victims of assisted suicide and euthanasia, despite legislators’ attempts to protect the vulnerable.
If we care about the sick and the elderly, the weak and the vulnerable, we must push back against the growing effort to legalize euthanasia.
ADF International, a faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people, has launched a global campaign to stop the spread of legalized euthanasia and affirm the inherent dignity of all people.
As a society, we will be judged by how we care for the most vulnerable. Visit AffirmDignity.org today to learn how you can get involved.