People with grievous and irremediable medical conditions should have the right to ask a doctor to help them die, Canada’s highest court says in a unanimous ruling.
One legitimate concern, of course, is that this may, over time, get out of hand if the caveats added to the legislation are gradually removed. Abuse of such legislation is not such a far-fetched idea. Another, more philosophical issue involves the irony of the situation, since physicians are meant to preserve life, do no harm, and now they are being placed in a position whereby they are being asked to assist in ending life and are themselves instrumental in doing so. A third factor is that the ruling runs contrary to the deep-seated moral teachings of many faiths, including Catholicism and Judaism.
Nonetheless, risky as such a law may be, it is my belief that end-of-life decisions for people who are in terrible physical pain and, at the same time, are of sound mind, should be the prerogative of the individual, their family, and their faith. So long as no doctor is penalized for NOT assisting in the suicide on the basis of their own personal, moral, or religious beliefs, I tend to side with the ruling. The moral concerns one might express are based on one’s faith, but this too is personal and not necessarily shared by all. The shakiest element, in my view, is the matter of potential abuse resulting from such a ruling by either family or doctor. Such decisions would have to be monitored very carefully and practiced only as a last resort.
Parliament has a year to draft a new law. If they don’t, the rules set out by the SCC go into effect. They’ll probably act on this as swiftly as they did on the abortion ruling that invited them to draft a new law. We’re still waiting.
Prayers for Canada
Shocking. Western countries enact laws that reflect the dominant secular humanist culture in the west who could see that coming?
I’ve seen lots of people posting on FB celebrating this ruling. They see this as deliverance for terminally people, saving them weeks, months or even years of suffering. They say if you were the family of such a person you would be relieved that the suffering of your loved one could soon be over. I don’t know how to answer these comments. I believe as a Catholic that all life is sacred from conception to natural death. It’s hard to get that across to non-believers. For most, if not all, of them this life is all there is, so if you’re at the end of your life anyway, why not make it quick and painless? Why not, as they say, “die with dignity”, or at least without suffering? They can’t conceive of a God who can bring great good out of great evil. I don’t have an answer for them.