Canada laying groundwork for child euthanasia

Sep 25, 2018 by

It is still banned, but the government is looking at its options

Michael Cook –

Euthanasia, or “medical aid in dying”, was authorised by Canada’s Supreme Court in June 2016. It was a controversial decision and the controversy is far from over. Three issues were left hanging: euthanasia for “mature minors”, euthanasia for people with mental illness, and advance directives for euthanasia. The government asked the Council of Canadian Academies to produce a report on these issues by December this year.

Euthanasia for mature minors is a particularly sticky issue. In the Journal of Medical Ethics, several Canadian paediatricians and bioethicists construct an argument supporting it.

First of all, they frame euthanasia (MAID) a part of a continuum of palliative care.

it is wrong to force a person to live in circumstances of unendurable and irremediable suffering and … the wishes of capable patients should be respected within legal limits, especially in such an intimate matter as how they choose to die. Persons, in other words, have a right to life, not a duty to live …

If MAID is essentially a normal medical procedure, it follows that there is no need for “special procedures for managing communication, confidentiality and capacity assessment”.

One consequence of this is that doctors should be proactive in suggesting euthanasia to children for they have an obligation to inform patients of their healthcare options.

Source: Canada laying groundwork for child euthanasia

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