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Canada set to legalise euthanasia for drug addicts

Canada is set to legalise euthanasia on the grounds of mental health in March 2024. As the date approaches, debate is reigniting around the controversial law which will legalise euthanasia for drug addicts. The move is being branded as “eugenics” by individuals involved in addiction support and recovery. 

Canada’s medical assistance in dying law (MAID) legalised euthanasia across the country in 2016. From March 2024, the law will be expanded to include the right to euthanasia and assisted suicide for those whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness. As the American Psychological Association classifies addictive disorders as mental health disorders , a person with an addiction will become eligible for euthanasia. 

Moves to legalise euthanasia on grounds of mental health blasted as “eugenics”

Zoe Dodd, a Toronto-based harm reduction advocate has said “I just think that MAID, when it has entered the area around mental health and substance use, is really rooted in eugenics. And there are people who are really struggling around substance use and people do not actually get the kind of support and help they need”.

Her views were echoed by drug user activist Karen Ward. Ms Ward criticised the Canadian government, saying that this change in the law makes a “statement in federal law that some people aren’t really human”. She added that “The government has made death accessible while a better life remains impossible”. 

A year to see a psychiatrist but only two weeks for euthanasia

Earlier this year, The Telegraph published a ‘Letter to the Editor’ in which a reader from Canada outlined that a family member had to wait a year for a psychiatric appointment but that it’s possible to make an appointment for euthanasia in two weeks.

The letter draws attention to the ease with which one could end their own life through assisted suicide compared to the difficulty of receiving genuine medical care. Its author, Susan Postill, from Toronto, Canada, said “Here in Canada, a member of my family was recently told there would be a one-year wait to see a psychiatrist, despite a serious psychiatric history. During the same time frame, a woman I know of was able to make a euthanasia appointment within two weeks”.

One in five people cite loneliness as a reason to want to die

In 2021, 10,064 lives were ended by assisted suicide or euthanasia, an increase of over 32% from the previous year, accounting for 3.3% of all deaths in Canada.

According to the latest report on Medical Assistance in Dying from Health Canada, 17.3% of people also cited “isolation or loneliness” as a reason for wanting to die. In 35.7% of cases, patients believed that they were a “burden on family, friends or caregivers”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Canada’s increasingly lax euthanasia laws are deeply troubling. The most vulnerable members of society are being offered death rather than support to live. When there are already countless disturbing reports of abuses of Canada’s end of life laws, it is unconscionable that the Canadian Parliament is on track to further liberalise access to euthanasia and assisted suicide”. 

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.