By Terry O’Neill – The Tri-City News
It figures that my big-government-loving colleague would now want to give the state life-and-death power over us. He would deny it, but this power would inevitably be created if doctor-assisted suicide were legalized in Canada.
Of course, any such Charter-based, court-mandated legalization — which is the target of a current B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) lawsuit — would never go so far as to actually declare that the government would have the power to decide who should live and die.
But growing evidence points strongly to the toxic effect that budget pressures from government medical-insurance-plans have on the care of terminally-ill patients in jurisdictions where doctor-assisted suicide has been legalized.
In Oregon, for example, the state’s health plan severely limits coverage for treatment of the seriously ill, steering them towards “voluntary” suicide, the cost of which it will, ironically, cover. The same pressures are bound to manifest themselves in Canada.
And in the Netherlands, it’s just as clear that informed-consent provisions are routinely broken, with the result that misguided doctors are making decisions on their own to euthanize elderly, chronically ill patients.
Recent news stories about the issue have centred on a Westbank woman’s decision to join the BCCLA suit. Most stories embraced the propagandistic language of the pro-death movement in describing how the woman, an ALS patient, sought the “right to die with dignity.”
But these words suggest persons cannot ‘die with dignity’ if they do not have the right to enlist a doctor’s assistance in killing themselves. If true, it must also be that everyone in Canada who now dies of natural causes dies without dignity. Balderdash.
Moreover, it can certainly be argued that the courage shown by someone who faces a looming death with courage and embraces a natural outcome is actually more deserving of the honour and respect associated with true dignity than someone who enlists the assistance a suicide doctor like the late Jack Kevorkian.
Ultimately, though, it all comes back to whether we want to give doctors the right to kill us. I say the risk is too great. As Dr. Margaret Cottle pointed out at a recent conference I attended, the evidence from every jurisdiction where physician-assisted suicide has been legalized shows that “assisted death is impossible to regulate and easy to abuse.”