A grief-stricken father who lost his son to cancer has warned against the legalisation of euthanasia for sick children in Canada. “It’s like telling them your life isn’t worth living.”
The Canadian Government is currently debating whether to extend medical assistance in dying (MAiD) to sick children.
Mike Schouten, whose son, Markus, died of cancer earlier this year, has spoken out against such legislation. “We have slid down this slippery slope incredibly quickly”, he said, noting that proposed legislation would have applied to his dead son when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“By giving some minors the right to request”, Mr Schouten points out, “you put all minors and their families in a position where they are obliged to consider… If that happened to Markus, the message he would have heard would have been clear: ‘We don’t value your life, we don’t think it is worth living and if you want, we can end it for you.’”
Markus had 25 rounds of radiation therapy and 20 rounds of chemotherapy before opting for palliative care. Despite the tragic circumstances of Markus’s last days, the times his family spent with him were “unimaginably beautiful experiences”, his father reflects.
But proposed legislation would threaten both treatment and end-of-life care. “It’s easier to die than get the proper medication or help that I want, so I’m going to request MAiD – and those requests are being granted”, Mr Schouten observes.
“Causing a lot of alarm”
Mr Schouten had already been lobbying against the expansion of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada before his son’s death.
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“We’re at the point where people with mental illness will be able to avail themselves of it, people with disabilities are already allowed to avail themselves of it… Now we’re discussing whether or not children, minors, are going to be able to avail themselves of it. We have slid down this slippery slope incredibly quickly… That is really causing a lot of alarm.”
There were 10,064 assisted deaths in Canada in 2021 alone, sparking concerns about the direction of MAiD, which was introduced in Canada in 2016
SPUC has since reported on several instances in Canada of the “slippery slope”, including a struggling Canadian veteran who was offered assisted suicide after calling a hotline for ex-soldiers.
In another “concerning” case, a disabled woman considered assisted suicide as a response to the “abject poverty” she was living in.
A “slippery slope”
Recently, Theo Boer, a Dutch bioethicist who oversaw assisted suicide cases in the Netherlands, cautioned against governments legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide after witnessing where such legislation leads first-hand.
“Over the years, I’ve been more and more worried by certain trends”, commented Professor Boer. “What is considered a welcome event by those attached to their autonomy quickly becomes an incitement to despair for others… This slippery slope is adorned with the trappings of justice, so that the next steps are easily predictable.”
Assisted suicide is not the answer
SPUC’s Michael Robinson, Executive Director (Public Affairs and Legal Services), said: “While euthanasia and assisted suicide are often advanced by advocates as a compassionate and freely chosen measure, they actually place vulnerable persons in the even more desperate situation, as the shocking example of Canada shows.
“Assisted suicide leads to more suicide and more heartache, while often failing to address the true causes of vulnerable people’s despair, whether that despair is rooted in sickness, inadequate care, poor mental health, or even poverty.
“Rather than remedying the cause, Canada has instead chosen to kill the patient. This is ultimately where such irresponsible legislation leads. At a time when the UK is considering whether to legalise assisted suicide, we must look at the example of Canada and other such nations that are now killing their citizens by the thousands every year. We must say ‘no’ to death as an answer to the problems of life.”
LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom.