Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Euthanasia: The stakes are insanely high.

By Charles Lewis


Most people reading this article are probably opposed to euthanasia. Your involvement maybe nothing more than talking to friends and neighbours about the dangers of our new world. You may have spoken about euthanasia, signed petitions, sent the letters or supported conscience rights.

Whatever you do helps. But in the not-too-distant future we are all going to have to ramp up. As many of you know Health Canada has struck a committee to add "mature minors" and those with mental illness to the categories of people who can legally be killed by their physicians. They are also considering allowing Canadians to put their death requests in a living will. The committee will report back by December 2018.

I wondered why so long to wait. The only answer I can come up with is that by then more Canadians will have simply become used to living in a death-mad country.

On April 17, a story appeared in the Globe and Mail about a tragic young man who lived with mental illness. He could not access euthanasia so he killed himself by suicide. The point of the story as I can best tell was not his tragedy but more about the need to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness.

I will bet that the recommendations will be accepted and likely by 2019 those categories will be included. Interesting that they are not looking at chronic pain -- something of a hobby of mine. But really they don't have to. Chronic pain can create great emotional stress which can easily turn into depression. But I won't be surprised that after Trudeau and his pro-death friends get teens and mentally ill in they will expand to chronic pain and perhaps even a category of just dying for the hell of it.

This is an awful future to contemplate but believe it or not there maybe a reason for optimism. Maybe, just maybe, this new move might worry many Canadians who have shrugged their shoulders at legalized euthanasia. Maybe when they start to think of their 20-year-old sons or daughters killing themselves because they are depressed about being dumped by a someone they love or failing to get into medical school might start to alarm otherwise passive Canadians. Maybe their son or daughter lives with chronic depression?

We are going to have to increase our efforts and make this spectre known, to prove to others, who do not feel the way we do, that maybe it is time to scream NO.

It will also mean that we are going to have to make sure that religious institutions do not dawdle. Warnings from the pulpit are going to have to come early, not one month before the committee reports.

This maybe our only real chance to stem the tide. We must not blow it. The stakes are insanely high.

Charles Lewis is a former editor with the National Post. He is currently a columnist with the Catholic Register.

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