A little closer to euthanasia for all

Monday, December 17, 2018
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

psychiatry symbolA special panel is questioning the ethics of legalized assisted suicide for psychiatric reasons.

Doctor-assisted suicide was legalized by Canada's high court two and a half years ago. Parliament set the guidelines, which includes gray areas of the law. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells OneNewsNow the Council on Canadian Academies has looked into three areas of possible expansion to people who would qualify, and one area would be those seeking euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.

"So in Canada right now, you can't have euthanasia if you're not – quote – 'nearing death,' but that's not defined," Schadenberg reports. "A psychiatric condition does qualify for euthanasia, but they must also be nearing death, so there's a bit of grey area in the whole question of psychiatric conditions as it is standing right now."

Schadenberg, Alex (EPC)The Academies report states that if "near death" is to include psychiatric patients, then the gate would be wide open for expanding euthanasia, including to those experiencing natural depression over sad events in their lives.

"This is what they're acknowledging," the Coalition executive director explains. "According to how the law is written, if we do this, if we allow this, everyone would qualify, and that would create a serious problem. They made this statement that Canada would become the most liberal euthanasia regime in the world if we were to allow it for psychiatric suffering alone."

Schadenberg adds that even Belgium, where euthanasia of psychiatric patients has been allowed, is questioning the ethics of the practice.

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