Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Mother seeks assisted death for four-year-old child

  • August 28, 2021

OTTAWA -- The “slippery slope” critics of the medical assistance in dying (MAiD) system have been warning about may be ready to tilt once more as a Quebec mother seeks an assisted death for her four-year-old child.

A request has been made in Quebec by the mother of a child suffering from a rare disease. His mother wants her child to be eligible to be put to death through the MAiD system.

“When Canada legalized euthanasia it crossed the clear line in the sand by allowing medical killing. Once the line was crossed, there no longer remained a clear line in the sand,” said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, in a posting on the EPC’s website.

“Sadly, our current Canadian government wants to further expand euthanasia. It is my fear that this story, or a similar story, will cause Parliament or the courts to agree to expand euthanasia to children.”

With an election in full swing, Schadenberg said this could come to fruition unless Canadians support MPs who will vote against expanding the MAiD system.

“Canada is now having an election. Clearly change is necessary,” he said.

“The disability community has been rightly concerned with the cultural attitudes towards people with disabilities. This story clearly warns us about the pressure to extend euthanasia to children but also the belief that it is OK to kill children with disabilities.”

The mother has met with politicians in Quebec, including a Conservative senator who is sympathetic to the mother’s request. Her child suffers from Mednik syndrome and is severely disabled, deaf and has a severe intellectual disability. The child also has intestinal problems and his mother says he has almost died on a number of occasions. 

Schadenberg told Canadian Catholic News he is concerned that with the way the courts in Canada, particularly in Quebec, have been the driving force pushing governments to open up medical suicide, it may only be a matter of time before more and more requests are made to expand the system.

He said with reviews currently underway in Quebec and by the federal government to examine the criteria now in place, it is reasonable to worry about what may happen in the future.

“Any push for changes in Quebec will eventually affect Canadian law, so this is something we must be vigilant about,” Schadenberg said.

He pointed out that the recent changes to the MAiD system in Canada that makes it easier for some Canadians to be put to death with the help of a doctor came about because of a ruling in a Quebec court that the federal government refused to appeal.

“This is something that is a real concern,” Schadenberg said, adding that this issue has been one of the most commented upon blogs that the coalition has ever published.

“This has struck a nerve and people are concerned about where this is going in the future,” he said.

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