Will Canada owe those with disabilities an apology in the future? That’s the question featured in an opinion piece by Charles Lane published in The Washington Post regarding Canada’s euthanasia policy, which from 2016–2021, resulted in the deaths of 31,000 people. The majority of those physician-inflicted deaths were of cancer patients, but some were people suffering from “chronic disabling conditions.”
The column highlights three stories of individuals who chose (or almost chose) “medical assistance in dying”:
- 61-year-old Alan Nichols . . . requested — and received — euthanasia less than a month after entering a British Columbia hospital in June 2019 suffering from suicidal thoughts, dehydration and malnutrition. The decision was apparently based on a medical history that included serious but typically non-life-threatening conditions such as depression and hearing loss.
- [A] man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, who felt driven to seek euthanasia because British Columbia officials would not provide him adequate support to live at home.
- [A] 31-year-old Toronto woman with a disability sought and received approval for euthanasia after what she said was a futile search for safe housing — only to decide to continue living after private parties helped her find an appropriate dwelling.
It’s horrifying that killing patients is now considered the humane and compassionate thing to do.
As Canada looks to expand its already very loose euthanasia policy to include patients “whose only diagnosis is a psychiatric condition,” more people will choose—or be manipulated or guilted into choosing—death in Canada. It’s horrifying that killing patients is now considered the humane and compassionate thing to do.
The columnist compares what is happening with assisted dying to the residential schools for Indigenous children that ran in Canada between 1880 and 1996. Those government schools (often operated in conjunction with the Roman Catholic church) were rife with various abuses, malnutrition, and poor conditions, due to a lack of funding. They were intended to assimilate children into Canadian culture, ripping them from their homes and forcing them to forget their original culture. It’s a sad chapter in Canada’s history. And yet the people who lived then applauded it as the right thing to do! From The Washington Post article:
Properly, if belatedly, recognized . . . as “evil” today, in their own time the schools for the Indigenous in Canada were started confidently, with self-consciously good intentions, as places to provide children much-needed assimilation into the dominant English-speaking, Christian culture.
The policy’s intellectual authors were later honored and the Canadian public remained broadly supportive, or indifferent, even after abuses had been reported.
“One of the most haunting aspects of the Canadian Indian Residential School system was that one of Canada’s worst historical crimes was managed and defended by people who fervently believed they were doing the right thing for ‘the Indian,’” Tristin Hopper wrote in the National Post last year.
This is a good point—the abuses of today (such as euthanasia, abortion, transgender, etc.) are pushed and applauded by those who claim they’re doing “the right thing for [women, children, the sick, etc.].” And yet it’s nothing but disgusting abuse that disregards the infinite value of a human life! Of course, such views are sadly to be expected when a culture has turned its back on God and acts as its own god (as the Devil tempted in Genesis 3:5).
In his column, Charles Lane adds that:
As they expand euthanasia today, Canadians should bear in mind that they, too, are subject to the law of unintended consequences and to the judgment of future generations.
Morality isn’t based on what’s popular now or later. It’s based in God’s eternal, unchanging Word.
But we shouldn’t make decisions about what’s right or wrong based on the “judgment of future generations.” No one knows what future generations will think—and ultimately it doesn’t really matter. Morality isn’t based on what’s popular now or later. It’s based in God’s eternal, unchanging Word.
Canadians of the past should have looked to God’s Word and seen that children aren’t owned by the government—they belong to parents. Parents have been entrusted with their children by God and given authority to teach and train them. It was never the government’s job to step in and rob parents of their children or children of their parents, no matter how “good” their original intentions, except, of course, for criminal offenses (e.g., violence and endangerment).
And Canadians living in the present can also look to God’s Word and see that murder is wrong—whether the person being murdered is healthy or sick, young or old, able-bodied or disabled, born or unborn. Each person is made in God’s image and is of infinite worth. All lives deserve to be protected!
Will future generations look back on euthanasia (or abortion, transgender, etc., for that matter), which unfairly targets those with disabilities and chronic illness, and ask, “How could they do that?” Perhaps they will. But if they do, may they look back and see that God’s people fought tooth and nail against it, standing up for the most vulnerable and sharing the hope of the gospel with all.
This item was discussed Monday on Answers News with cohosts Bryan Osborne, Roger Patterson, and Tim Chaffey. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also covered the following topics:
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
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