Health Canada recently released its statistics for 2021, revealing that an astonishing 3.3% of all deaths in the country were the result of legalized assisted suicide or euthanasia, referred to in Canada as Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). For perspective, this is roughly the same percentage of people in the United States who die from diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying states that there were 10,064 MAiD deaths in the country in 2021. That number represents a 32.4% increase in MAiD deaths over 2020. In total, 31,644 people have died through MAiD since its legalization in 2016.
Strikingly, the most common reason for requesting a MAiD death was not overwhelming pain, as many assisted suicide advocates would claim. Instead, 86.3% of deaths were due to the “loss of ability to engage in meaningful activities,” while 83.4% were due to the “loss of ability to perform activities of daily living.”
“Isolation and loneliness” was cited as the reason for 17.3% of deaths.
Other data within the report shows that 2.2% of the people who died “were individuals whose natural death was not reasonably foreseeable.” This comes after a March 2021 decision in which the country approved assisted suicide and euthanasia for those who are not terminally ill, including those with mental illness.
The increase in MAiD comes as Canada has relentlessly worked to loosen restrictions and expand access for eligibility for assisted suicide. Recently, Live Action News has covered alarming stories of people who have sought and qualified for MAiD because they are suffering from financial difficulties or can’t find adequate medical care — not because they are terminally ill. One woman who suffers from long COVID recently applied for MAiD, noting that it “is exclusively a financial consideration.”
Previous reports have also found that the rapid rise of assisted suicide and euthanasia has had negative impacts on palliative care within the country, with many doctors believing that funds and resources that would previously have gone to them in order to improve a patient’s quality of life are now being used for MAiD procedures.
The current status of assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada should serve as a warning for other nations that are pushing for legalized assisted death. In just five years, tens of thousands of Canadian lives have been ended, deaths are increasing at an alarming rate, and citizens are turning to assisted suicide as a way to escape a wide variety of difficult life situations — not just unbearable pain and terminal illness. When opponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia note that legalization is often a slippery slope, this is what they’re talking about.
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