A woman in Canada is making headlines after asking the government to waive its euthanasia regulations so she can euthanize her disabled child. According to the Catholic Herald, Karie-Lyn Pelletier wants the ability to euthanize her son, Abel, if his health worsens. The child has Mednik syndrome, a condition that has left him deaf and which causes severe intellectual and intestinal disabilities.
The Catholic Herald reports that Pelletier is requesting “the end that will deliver Abel from his sufferings and the fight he leads.” She has support from a number of politicians, including Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, who recently worked on Bill C-7, which removed many safeguards from Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) laws.
READ: Canada faces pushback over expanding assisted suicide for those with mental illness
Michel Bureau, chairman of the commission on life care, is also working to amend the law. “We said a few months ago that it was no longer possible to leave vacant the problem of children who are at the end of their life, in great suffering and who do not have the right to medical assistance in dying,” he said, according to Radio Canada. The news outlet reported that the commission recommended the creation of a parliamentary committee to work with four pediatric centers in Quebec to further investigate allowing euthanasia for children.
Many disability advocates are speaking out against the astonishing proposal. “This is the very fear that disabled people have – that assisted suicide will be used to get rid of disabled people,” said Baroness Grey-Thompson, a British paralympic wheelchair racer. “While repeatedly we are told it is ‘not for us’, this will set a path that will continue to ramp up the view that disabled people have nothing to contribute to society.”
Dr. Miro Griffiths, a teaching fellow in disability studies at the University of Leeds, affirmed that allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia is always a slippery slope. “Assisted suicide and euthanasia interventions will alter how health and care provision is offered to disabled people, and those with illnesses and health conditions, in society,” he said. “Rather than prioritize support for disabled people to participate in communities, debates will take place as to whether an individual’s death should be accelerated via state and medical opinion.”
Already, statistics show that euthanasia and assisted suicide rates in Canada are rising each year. The number will likely rise again in 2021, after a March decision to allow mental illness as a qualifying reason to seek physician-assisted suicide. Allowing a parent to kill their child because that child is disabled or suffering is a horrifying consequence that comes when a society fails to realize the dignity and value of all life.
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