Canadian government panel criticised for recommending euthanasia even for kids

A family member holds the hand of a dying patient at a hospital.Reuters

Can you imagine a young boy or a young girl with a mental illness being assisted by doctors and nurses to end his or her own life?

This scenario may arise if the Canadian government adopts the recommendations made by the federal committee for euthanasia and assisted suicide, which a group criticised for supposedly allowing "wide-open euthanasia" and "wide-open abuse" of vulnerable patients in Canada.

Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSite News that the committee generally made "very bad" recommendations on how to implement the Canadian Supreme Court's decision last year to strike down the prohibition against assisted suicide and euthanasia in the nation.

"We haven't seen what the bill's going to say, but we see the recommendations, and basically it's a wide-open model with very little clear defining controls," Schadenberg commented.

"It's a near-worst case scenario," he added.

The anti-euthanasia group's leader particularly questioned the committee's proposal to allow "mature minors" to avail themselves of assisted suicide in the second of a recommended two-stage legislative rollout over two to three years.

"The crazy thing about that is, how do you define a 'mature minor'?" Schadenberg asked. "It's based on the doctor assessing you, and say, 'oh, so and so's mature'."

He also objected to the panel's recommendation that patients suffering from certain mental illnesses, including treatable depression, could be eligible for euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The committee's Recommendation 4 particularly states that "physical or psychological suffering that is enduring and intolerable to the person in the circumstances of his or her condition should be recognised as a criterion to access medical assistance in dying."

"This is mental suffering alone, and you cannot define psychological suffering," Schadenberg explained.

He also pointed out the supposed lack of a "third-party oversight" under the committee's proposed scheme on doctor-assisted suicide.