The odds are that, like a large segment of our population, you have never heard of Medical Aid in Dying (MAID). What exactly is it? Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) was legalized in Canada in 2016, and is the process through which a doctor or nurse practitioner assists an individual to end his or her life. In other words, MAID is a fancy euphemism for physician-assisted suicide.
Originally, the only patients who qualified for this type of euthanasia were those whose death was naturally foreseeable, and those suffering from terminal cancer or another terminal disease. If this was not tragic enough, MAID was expanded in 2021 to include individuals solely living with mental health issues.
Instead of promoting health and healing for individuals suffering from serious mental illnesses, and instead of promoting quality of life options for individuals living with terminal or irreversible disabilities, this expanded availability of assisted suicide tells vulnerable individuals, “You’re not worthy of life.” Like with the unborn, our culture is increasingly discarding vulnerable human beings, when in reality, these are the individuals who need—and deserve—our protection the most. By sanctioning MAID’s expansion, the Canadian government has said to every citizen living with a mental illness that they are better off dead than seeking help and restoration.
How is a person determined to be eligible for medical assistance in dying? The evolution of an illness, especially a mental illness, “is difficult to predict.” Canadian Dr. Sonu Gaind, Chief of Psychiatry at Humber River Hospital and a member of the World Psychiatric Association, states, “Evidence shows that predictions of irremediability cannot be made in cases of mental illness,” yet this is precisely a determination that physicians are to make in assessing MAID eligibility. If a physician predicts that the mental state of a patient is “irremediable,” then the physician is allowed by law to tell their patient about MAID, even if the patient has not considered or asked for this as an option. In reality, such a provision opens the door for a physician’s own subjective view of whether a patient’s life is worth living to drive the options presented to the patient – even death.
One problem with this expansion of MAID is that physicians know their patients are in a vulnerable state. By its very nature, a mental illness signifies that patients are suffering mental anguish and situations. MAID allows exploitation of that anguish, without offering any actual assistance to help treat or cure an individual’s illness.
The financial incentives inherent to MAID’s implementation are hard to ignore. Since 2016, MAID has taken the lives of “more than 30,000 Canadians.”
With the new expansions commencing in 2023, “a fiscal report states the Canadian government is estimated to save a total of $149 million” with the new law. How does the government stand to save money through the deaths of others? Instead of paying for treatment to help patients live their best lives possible with the correct care and treatment, the government saves money when the patients die instead. “Better off dead than alive,” seems to be the Canadian government’s point of view. Such financial incentives are surely exacerbated by Canada’s government-funded universal “healthcare.”
Canada has truly created a death-on-demand culture. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not very far behind. Ten states and Washington D.C. have adopted state versions of MAID. The Pro-Life community must recognize the urgency in safeguarding the most vulnerable around us – from the unborn, to the elderly, to those living with disabilities and mental illness. Our failure to promote and protect an individual’s inherent worth, dignity and right to Life will cause euthanasia to be championed and ingrained in our nation’s culture, just like the prevalence and acceptance of abortion post-Roe. We must remain vigilant and engaged.