The liberal Canadian government is advancing plans to update the country’s “assisted suicide” laws to allow authorities to euthanize children without the need for parental consent.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia have become rapidly accepted in Canada.
The government has continued to lift restrictions on its Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) program.
Initially, it was introduced to give people who were terminally ill an option to prevent then from dying a slow painful death.
Over time, however, the laws have become more relaxed.
But there are still efforts to expand it even further.
A new government report on MAiD was recently presented to Parliament.
The report urges the inclusion of minors in the eligibility for physician-assisted death — without parental consent.
The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying presented its latest report last week, which included a recommendation that minors be able to request MAiD.
“For MAID and mature minors, the committee heard a mix of views about whether MAID should be available to those under the age of 18,” the report read.
“Many witnesses believed that age alone does not determine whether someone is capable of consenting to MAID. At the same time, a cautious approach was recommended, especially since there is little evidence from youth themselves on this topic.
“Most witnesses agreed that if MAID for mature minors were allowed, it should only be under track one (reasonably foreseeable natural death).
“The committee recommends that mature minors should have access to MAID under track one.
“The committee also recommends that youth be consulted on the topic of MAID and mature minors.”
The committee then made the recommendation that Canada should begin, within five years, funding research and consulting “with minors on the topic of MAID, including minors with terminal illnesses, minors with disabilities, minors in the child welfare system and Indigenous minors.”
Additionally, the report recommended that minors be able to be euthanized, even if their parent doesn’t approve:
That the Government of Canada establish a requirement that, where appropriate, the parents or guardians of a mature minor be consulted in the course of the assessment process for MAID, but that the will of a minor who is found to have the requisite decision-making capacity ultimately takes priority.
The report had the backing of Liberal, NDP, and Bloc-Quebecois members of the committee, though a dissenting opinion from conservatives was also included.
They argued that “it would be irresponsible for the Liberal government to move ahead with any expansion of MAID for mature minors,” and said they do not support this further expansion.
“The Liberals’ rushed and reckless approach to Canada’s MAID regime has put the lives of vulnerable Canadians at risk,” the dissenting opinion said.
“We caution the Liberal government against repeating the mistakes they made concerning MAID MD-SUMC.
“MAID policy must be grounded in evidence, consultation with impacted groups, and with serious consideration given to protecting the vulnerable.”