fbpx
Select Page

Ethical concerns raised over surge in organ donations in Canada after legalisation of assisted suicide

The legalisation of assisted suicide in Canada has led to a surge in organ donations and the open solicitation of those considering medically assisted death, raising ethical concerns.

During the first 11 months of 2019, Trillium Gift of Life Network, which oversees organ and tissue donation in Ontario, revealed that 18 organs and 95 tissues were donated by people who had ended their life through assisted suicide in the Canadian province. Even without the inclusion of organs and tissues donated in December’s data, the number of donations is up 14% from 2018 and 109% higher than it was in 2017.

“Medical assistance in dying,” as it is legally referred to in the country, has been legal in Canada since 2016, under certain conditions. Since then, organs and tissues donated from those who ended their life through assisted suicide have risen significantly each year.

The 113 assisted suicide related donations in 2019 accounted for 5 percent of overall donations in Ontario, a share that has also been increasing. In 2018, assisted suicide related donations made up 3.6 percent of the province’s total donations, and in 2017 just 2.1 percent.

This new source of organs and tissues is significant as Ontario’s waiting list for organs remains typically static around 1,600.

Countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands require assisted suicide recipients to initiate organ donation, while others, like Switzerland and several US states, prohibit them from donating organs altogether.

In Canada, however, provincial law requires medical professionals to notify the Trillium Gift of Life Network of any potential assisted suicide recipients when a death is imminent. Trillium is then free to approach these individuals and solicit organ donations, leading politicians and medical professionals to question its ethical implications.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper told CNA that the practice raises questions regarding consent and opens up the possibility of coercion.

“The concern that I have is that it muddies the waters in terms of the patient making a decision freely, without any degree of coercion or influence from anyone,” said Cooper.

He added that with the current setup of physician-assisted death in Canada, there is a chance that it is administered to a patient who is not able to properly consent or who may not want to die.

Dr Moira McQueen, executive director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, said such practices appear “rather horrifying.”

Given that a person who is approved for euthanasia may not be terminally ill, McQueen she added it is not out of the realm of possibility that a primary physician “might well suggest organ donation as, if not an incentive, a kind of ‘consolation’ for the person’s own loss of life.”

Despite ethical concerns, the policy of allowing medical groups to solicit those considering assisted suicide for organ donations is being adopted by more Canadian provinces and could be a templated for other countries that introduce medical assisted death.

Quebec recently approved Transplant Quebec to raise the possibility of organ donation with patients after their request to die by euthanasia is approved by doctors.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

Article syndication

Join other leading publications from around the world who syndicate our articles

Syndicate this article
Syndicate now

Dear reader,

Earlier this year, abortion campaigners brought forward an amendment to the UK Government’s flagship Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would have introduced abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth (including sex-selective abortion).

Thanks to the support from people like you, this amendment did not go to a vote and pass, but we expect the abortion lobby to make another attempt to introduce this extreme abortion law change shortly.

This would be the single biggest change to abortion legislation since 1967 and would leave England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world.

Please sign the petition to Boris Johnson, asking him to ensure that his Government does everything in its power to stop the introduction of abortion up to birth.

 

Q

Be the first to know…

When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

Where should we send your updates?

    By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

    Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

    Q

    Be the first to know…

    When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

    Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

    Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

    Where should we send your updates?

      By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

      Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

      Article Syndication

      Join other leading publications from around the world who syndicate our articles

      Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

      Syndicate this article
      Syndicate now