Quebec lawmakers are currently considering legislation that would allow assisted suicide for people with Alzheimer’s.
Bill 38 would expand the province’s medical aid in dying (MAiD) laws in a number of ways, but one of its primary objectives is to remove the requirement that patients must be at the “end of life” stage. This would allow it for people with Alzheimer’s, provided they have made an advanced directive. The bill would also allow nurse practitioners to commit euthanasia and it would remove conscience protections, thereby forcing all Quebec hospice institutions to provide MAiD.
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, points out, “Permitting euthanasia by advanced consent creates several problems, even for people who believe in euthanasia. First, advanced request creates the problem of who will decide the time and place of the lethal injection. Secondly, since the person is deemed incapable of consenting, it denies the person the right to change their mind.”
Another problem with the bill is its subjective wording. It allows a patient to set out, in an advanced request, the exact point at which he or she no longer deems it “tolerable” to live. Because the patient will presumably not be able to mentally commit to consenting to death when that time arrives, a “third party” may be the one to finalize the request if they are of the opinion that the patient would no longer wish to live.
Originally, the bill also had a clause that would allow people with severe neuromotor disabilities, like quadriplegia, to apply for MAiD. However, that provision was removed because it was considered controversial. According to CTV News, the College of Physicians was pushing for that clause’s inclusion in the bill.
“The College is extremely disappointed of the withdrawal of a section concerning neuromotor handicaps and reiterates that it wishes the necessary harmonization of federal and provincial laws on MAID,” president Dr. Mauril Gaudreault wrote on the group’s website.
Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters that he wanted the clause removed in the hopes that the rest of the bill would then be pushed quickly through the legislative process.
Allowing people with Alzheimer’s to sign an advanced directive requesting assisted suicide, as well as the other methods to expand the euthanasia laws, are further examples of the slippery slope that inevitably comes after legalizing the taking of human life. It’s nearly impossible to know a person’s true intentions if they are mentally incapacitated, and an advanced directive is dangerous because it leaves little room for people to change their minds.
Studies have shown that many who choose to commit assisted suicide do so because they are depressed, lonely, and afraid of being a burden. When lawmakers lobby for bills that make it easier for these people to die, it sends the message that life is not worth living — and that’s a dangerous lie.
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