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Assisted suicide is never really about ‘choice’: here’s why


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From LifeSiteNews

By Jonathon Van Maren

Just a few years ago, we understood that suicidal ideation itself was an indication that something was seriously wrong – but our euthanasia regime has changed all of that.

Just last week, I wrote a column on the normalization of euthanasia and the sinister insistence by those who advocate for it that being killed by lethal injection is, in fact, both a good and a life-saving thing. We are seeing the complete perversion of language in order to justify medicalized killing, which is why you don’t read terms like “killing” or “suicide” in the context of the euthanasia debate in the press. Activists realized very quickly that these terms were unhelpful in the push for normalization. 

Earlier this month, Canadian MP Kevin Lamoureux, a Liberal, took it a step further, stating: “MAiD [assisted suicide] legislation, even on occasion, I would ultimately argue, saves lives.” 

What a truly insane thing to say – and the sad fact is, he likely believes it. He also likely doesn’t realize how dangerous his statement is. What message is being sent to those the government has deemed eligible for state-facilitated suicide? Euthanasia is, legally speaking, a choice. But just as with abortion, the “choice” is often a farcical one. 

When women were legally granted the “choice” of abortion, it swiftly became an expectation. Sick, sad, and depressed people may be told they merely have the “choice” to be euthanized – but as we have seen, this choice often seems like a social obligation. 

This point was made in a recent essay about euthanasia in Newsweek by Katherine Brodsky, who supports euthanasia in principle. She has, however, come to have doubts that a euthanasia regime in which choice is freely exercised is possible. She writes: 

I am now skeptical about the true autonomy of individuals opting for assisted death, especially in a country with socialized health care. The risk of medical practitioners recommending MAiD as a cost-cutting measure to alleviate strain on the health care system is unsettling, as suggested by a 2020 analysis estimating potential annual savings of save $66 million annually in health care costs. Individuals considering MAiD are already vulnerable due to physical or mental suffering, making them susceptible to external pressures. Reflecting on my own past struggles, I recognize the unpredictability of emotions and circumstances. What seems unbearable one day may change with time and support – yet the choice to end life is a permanent one.

Fortunately, the Canadian government has delayed – for the second time – expanding euthanasia to those suffering from mental illness. But they insist that this is a delay, not a cancellation, meaning that the position of the Trudeau government is that someone suffering acute despair caused by a mental illness is clear-headed enough to choose suicide-by-doctor. This is obviously untrue, and I genuinely wonder why the government seems so hellbent on doing this. Just a few years ago, we understood that suicidal ideation itself was an indication that something was seriously wrong – but our euthanasia regime has changed all of that. 

Brodsky notes that the “choice” being offered to a specific subset of Canadians who have been pre-approved for this “choice” – a choice not offered to all Canadians, but only those the government has decided have lives not worth living – is often a false one. Citing the example of Lauren Hoeve, the Dutch girl who was euthanized earlier this year, she notes: 

And yet, I was struck by something in the statement put out by Lauren Hoeve’s parents. ‘Millions of people are affected by ME/CFS, with no established treatment pathways and no cure,’ they wrote on X on Feb. 2. ‘Why is their suffering acknowledged enough for euthanasia but not enough to fund clinical research?’ And herein lies the rub. Why is euthanasia offered as a viable solution to a potentially non-permanent problem, when other options are possible?

Mental health services in Canada (and elsewhere) are scarce. Psychologists are expensive and out of reach for many. Psychiatric services are free of charge, but the wait lists are even longer than those for psychologists and few people can get access. The wait to get help is usually over a year. Family physicians just end up prescribing medications based on a checklist and see what sticks.

Precisely true. We know that many people in Canada have chosen euthanasia because it was the only “choice” being offered to them at all. Cancer patients who cannot get the treatment they actually want have opted for suicide-by-doctor instead. One woman noted that her requests for additional help to deal with her chronic condition were denied, and thus euthanasia was, she felt, the only option left available. “Ultimately it was not a genetic disease that took me out, it was a system,” she wrote. “There is desperate need for change. That is the sickness that causes so much suffering. Vulnerable people need help to survive. I could have had more time if I had more help.” 

So, what does an ill and suffering Canadian hear when an MP stands up in the House of Commons and says that euthanasia “saves lives”? They know it doesn’t save their life. As Amanda Achtman noted: “Obviously, it’s not the lives of those being killed that are being saved. Such a utilitarian calculation amounts to a war against the weak and this is dehumanizing and wrong.” 

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

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28-year-old Dutch woman to be killed by assisted suicide after doctors deem her autism ‘untreatable’

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28-year-old Dutch woman Zoraya ter Beek (YouTube Screenshot)

From LifeSiteNews

By Louis Knuffke

28-year-old Zoraya ter Beek plans to die by assisted suicide over her struggles with depression and mental illness, a trend which is increasing in The Netherlands.

A 28-year-old autistic woman is scheduled to die by assisted suicide in May in The Netherlands after struggling with depression and mental illness, with her psychiatrist telling her that her condition is untreatable and will never improve. 

Zoraya ter Beek, who does not suffer from any physical illness, has decided to end her life by assisted suicide after psychiatrists said they had exhausted any means of helping her deal with her mental illnesses, which includes borderline personality disorder, according to The Free Press. 

Her struggles with mental illness have prevented her from being able to finish school or start a career. 

READ: Canadian judge blocks imminent euthanasia death of 27-year-old autistic woman 

In testimony to the nihilistic attitude adopted in the choice to end her own life on account of suffering, Ter Beek has decided that after she has been killed, her body will be cremated without a funeral and her ashes scattered in the woods. 

Ter Beek’s choice to take her own life comes despite her admitted fear of death arising from the uncertainty of what happens after death. 

“I’m a little afraid of dying, because it’s the ultimate unknown,” she said. “We don’t really know what’s next – or is there nothing? That’s the scary part.” 

The diagnosis of autism and mental illness as “untreatable” and “unbearable” has become an increasing trend in The Netherlands, with a study published in June 2023 revealing 40 cases over a 10-year period from 2012 to 2021. In a third of those cases, those with autism or intellectual disabilities were told there was no hope of improving their lives, and so their condition was deemed “untreatable.” 

Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, a palliative care physician at Britain’s Kingston University, who led the study  which examined 900 cases, said, “There’s no doubt in my mind these people were suffering. But is society really OK with sending this message, that there’s no other way to help them and it’s just better to be dead?” 

Tim Stainton, director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, added, “Helping people with autism and intellectual disabilities to die is essentially eugenics.” 

The scheduled killing of the 28-year-old autistic woman comes as The Netherlands continues to expand the scope of what legally qualifies for euthanasia, with a new law effective February 1 allowing the killing of terminally ill children aged 1 through 12 who are deemed to be “suffering hopelessly and unbearably.” 

The law allows parents to decide to kill their child even if the child is unwilling or unable to consent. 

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Quadriplegic man dies via euthanasia after developing bed sores waiting at Quebec hospital

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66-year-old Quebec man Normand Meunier who died via euthanasia after a 4-day hospital stay left him with severe bed sores

From LifeSiteNews

By  Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘I don’t want to be a burden,’ the 66-year-old man said prior to his death after he developed bed sores due to a lack of specialized care at a hospital in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec.

A quadriplegic man in Quebec was killed via euthanasia after he developed severe bed sores while waiting in a hospital for an extended period of time. 

On March 29, Normand Meunier, a 66-year-old quadriplegic man in Quebec, was euthanized in his home after developing bed sores due to a lack of specialized care at the hospital in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, according to a report by Radio-Canada. 

“I don’t want to be a burden. At any rate, the medical opinions say I won’t be a burden for long; as the old folks say, it’s better to kick the can,” Meunier told Radio-Canada in an interview the day before he was killed.  

Meunier, whose arms and legs have been paralyzed since 2022 due to a spinal cord injury, went to the hospital’s intensive care for a respiratory virus. According to his partner Sylvie Brosseau, the hospital placed Meunier on a stretcher for 95 hours.  

Bosseau revealed that she asked medical staff to provide a specialized bed for Meunier but was told that the hospital would have to order one. According to the hospital, they are investigating the incident, adding that they do have beds available.

After spending four days on a hospital cot, Meunier developed bed sores and a major pressure ulcer on his buttocks, which were so severe that the muscle and bone were exposed and visible. 

While Meunier had previously experienced bedsores, he determined to end his life via Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), the euphemistic name for Canada’s euthanasia regime, rather than continue to receive treatment.  

Unfortunately, Meunier is not the first Canadians to choose MAiD after being given insufficient medical care.  

This was the case of 52-year-old Dan Quayle, a grandfather from British Columbia. On November 24, he chose to be killed via lethal injection after being unable to receive cancer treatment due to the increased wait times.  

Throughout the agonizing wait, his family “prayed he would change his mind or get an 11th-hour call that chemo had been scheduled,” but were instead told consistently by the hospital that they were “backlogged.”  

Similarly, in 2022, a Winnipeg woman wrote in her posthumously published obituary that she chose to die by assisted suicide after being refused the treatments she needed: “I could have had more time if I had more help.”     

However, instead of supporting the healthcare system to prevent Canadians from taking their own lives, the Trudeau government is working to expand access to MAiD by loosening its requirements. 

On March 9, 2024, MAiD was set to expand to include those suffering solely from mental illness. This is a result of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which also allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for so-called doctor-assisted death.    

After massive pushback from doctors, pro-life groups and politicians, the program’s expansion was temporarily paused until 2027.

According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injection, which is 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, and a 31.2 percent increase from 2021. 

The number of Canadians killed by lethal injection since 2016 now stands at 44,958.  

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