Canada’s New Euthanasia Laws Carry Upsetting Nazi-Era Echoes

While listening to an on line discussion this subject matter was broached. It was noted that Canada had euthanized vastly more of it’s citizens last year when compared to California. Two jurisdictions of roughly the same populace. California had approximately 400 of these deaths. Canada has had more then 10,000.

Excerpt from 3 linked main sources included below

Canada’s extremely liberal euthanasia laws, which, next year, are set to be extended to include people suffering from mental health conditions and potentially minors, have been slammed for being reminiscent of the way the Nazis dealt with people with disabilities by a leading academic in the field.

Excerpt from included link below

“he moved not only against Jews, Sinti, and Roma but also against those Aryans whom he considered “unworthy of life”—people with epilepsy, alcoholism, birth defects, hearing loss, mental illnesses, and personality disorders, as well as those who had vision loss or developmental delays or who even suffered from certain orthopedic problems. Hitler viewed them as “marginal human beings” who had to make a case for their own survival at a time when the nation was preparing for war”

Forbes article included an AP link, excerpt, included below

Alan Nichols had a history of depression and other medical issues, but none were life-threatening. When the 61-year-old Canadian was hospitalized in June 2019 over fears he might be suicidal, he asked his brother to “bust him out” as soon as possible.

Within a month, Nichols submitted a request to be euthanized and he was killed, despite concerns raised by his family and a nurse practitioner. (image included below)

His application for euthanasia listed only one health condition as the reason for his request to die: hearing loss.

Nichols’ family reported the case to police and health authorities, arguing that he lacked the capacity to understand the process and was not suffering unbearably — among the requirements for euthanasia. They say he was not taking needed medication, wasn’t using the cochlear implant that helped him hear, and that hospital staffers improperly helped him request euthanasia.

Disability experts say the story is not unique in Canada, which arguably has the world’s most permissive euthanasia rules — allowing people with serious disabilities to choose to be killed in the absence of any other medical issue.

Many Canadians support euthanasia and the advocacy group Dying With Dignity says the procedure is “driven by compassion, an end to suffering and discrimination and desire for personal autonomy.” But human rights advocates say the country’s regulations lack necessary safeguards, devalue the lives of disabled people and are prompting doctors and health workers to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it.

Equally troubling, advocates say, are instances in which people have sought to be killed because they weren’t getting adequate government support to live.

These cases have been reported on in the news here

Canada is set to expand euthanasia access next year, but these advocates say the system warrants further scrutiny now.

Euthanasia “cannot be a default for Canada’s failure to fulfill its human rights obligations,” said Marie-Claude Landry, the head of its Human Rights Commission.

Landry said she shares the “grave concern” voiced last year by three U.N. human rights experts, who wrote that Canada’s euthanasia law appeared to violate the agency’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They said the law had a “discriminatory impact” on disabled people and was inconsistent with Canada’s obligations to uphold international human rights standards.

Tim Stainton, director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, described Canada’s law as “probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s.”

During his recent trip to Canada, Pope Francis blasted what he has labeled the culture of waste that considers elderly and disabled people disposable. “We need to learn how to listen to the pain” of the poor and most marginalized, Francis said, lamenting the “patients who, in place of affection, are administered death.”

Canada prides itself on being liberal and accepting, said David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Britain, “but what’s happening with euthanasia suggests there may be a darker side.”

The countries that allow euthanasia and assisted suicide vary in how they administer and regulate the practices, but Canada has several policies that set it apart from others. For example:

— Unlike Belgium and the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal for two decades, Canada doesn’t have monthly commissions to review potentially troubling cases, although it does publish yearly reports of euthanasia trends.

Canada is the only country that allows nurse practitioners, not just doctors, to end patients’ lives. Medical authorities in its two largest provinces, Ontario and Quebec, explicitly instruct doctors not to indicate on death certificates if people died from euthanasia.

Why? I find that very strange. Off putting, actually Wouldn’t that policy make it harder to actually know and gather stats on the real numbers of those being medically killed? Seems a handy tactic if the state wants to sanction murder.

— Belgian doctors are advised to avoid mentioning euthanasia to patients since it could be misinterpreted as medical advice. The Australian state of Victoria forbids doctors from raising euthanasia with patients. There are no such restrictions in Canada. The association of Canadian health professionals who provide euthanasia tells physicians and nurses to inform patients if they might qualify to be killed, as one of their possible “clinical care options.”

Canadian patients are not required to have exhausted all treatment alternatives before seeking euthanasia, as is the case in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Still, Duclos said there were adequate safeguards in place, including “stringent eligibility criteria” to ensure no disabled people were being encouraged or coerced into ending their lives. Government figures show more than 65% of people are being euthanized due to cancer, followed by heart problems, respiratory issues and neurological conditions.

Theresia Degener, a professor of law and disability studies at the Protestant University for Applied Sciences in northwestern Germany, said allowing euthanasia based exclusively on disability was a clear human rights violation.

The implication of (Canada’s) law is that a life with disability is automatically less worth living and that in some cases, death is preferable,” said Degener.

Though Nichols’ family cited a pitiful lack of oversight and gross negligence on behalf of the medical professionals treating him, the Canadian Mounted Police in conjunction with British Columbia’s Health Ministry declined to bring forth any criminal charges.

Nevertheless, the episode, allied to the upcoming expansion of the laws governing euthanasia in Canada in 2023, raises serious questions.

Could it be that a country renowned for its “liberal universalism” and libertarian fundamentalism has grotesquely perverted the principle of accessibility when it comes to Medically Assisted Dying?

Could it be that a country renowned for its “liberal universalism” and libertarian fundamentalism has grotesquely perverted the principle of accessibility when it comes to Medically Assisted Dying?

As I continue to lose faith in what passes for ‘health care’

What happened to do no harm?

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