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Pro-lifers fight back against MAiD for babies

By  Susan Korah, Catholic Register Special
  • October 26, 2022

Nearly 200 doctors, nurses and health care workers have signed a letter to the Commons committee studying MAiD warning against a Quebec physicians’ plan to euthanize newborns.

“Nobody deserves to have a question mark over their life because the society in which they live have deemed their lives optional from the outset,” says the Canadian Physicians for Life missive mailed to the committee. “This is unacceptable in the free and inclusive society we seek to promote.”

Nicole Scheidl, executive director of CPL, said the Quebec proposal further violates the spirit of even the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision that opened the door to legalization of medically administered death in 2016.

“The direction of the Supreme Court in Carter was that we would get ‘a carefully-designed system imposing stringent limits that are scrupulously monitored and enforced.’ Our current system has almost no limits, is loosely monitored and has a lax enforcement mechanism in place,” Scheidl told The Catholic Register.

Marginalized and vulnerable Canadians are already “seriously at risk” because of expansions of MAiD availability, and that would be made even worse if Ottawa were to follow the recommendation of the Quebec College of Physicians and allow lethal doses of poison to be administered to newborns deemed unfit for life, she added.

The proposal, originally made by the governing body almost a year ago, was recently given new life by Dr. Louis Roy. Roy told the House of Commons’ Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying that the Quebec physicians’ college believes MAiD can be appropriate for infants up to age one who are born with “severe malformations and grave syndromes for which their prospective of survival is null, so to speak.”

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, cast serious doubt on Roy’s reassurance to the Commons committee that such instances of euthanizing newborns would be few and far between.

“Dr. Roy suggested that this should only be allowed in rare circumstances, such as a newborn unlikely to survive, but infant euthanasia opens the door to a new justification for killing since the baby lacks competence and the ability to autonomously choose to be killed,” said Schadenberg. “Infant euthanasia is a form of eugenics whereby protocols will determine which lives are worth living.”

The EPC leader said that, if accepted, this latest expansion of MAiD laws would set Canada on the same slippery slope as the controversial Groningen Protocol, under which lethal injections have been given to disabled babies in The Netherlands.

“If infant euthanasia is approved, it may lead to the approval of euthanasia for people with dementia who never requested or indicated an interest in euthanasia, since infant euthanasia creates the precedent that someone else, such as a power of attorney, can request that a person be killed,” Schadenberg said. 

At present, Canada’s laws permit MAiD with the consent of the dying person. EPC opposes all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is clear that expanding killing to babies negates the “safeguard” that only people who can capably request to die can be approved for death.”

Schadenberg quoted Krista Carr of Inclusion Canada, a federation of 13 provincial and territorial member organizations and over 300 local associations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with intellectual disabilities, and their families.

“An infant cannot consent to their own death,” Carr has said. “This isn’t MAiD, it’s murder. And providing MAiD to a person who cannot consent is a standard that is wildly dangerous for all persons with intellectual disabilities in Canada.”

Schadenberg added that not only is this proposed amendment to existing laws dangerous, it’s totally unnecessary.

“Why would you then have to give the child a lethal dose? If the child is not going to survive, the child can be kept comfortable and die naturally. There’s no reason for us to kill the child.”

He said the EPC has asked to make a submission to the Commons committee but so far hasn’t received an invitation to testify.

Arguments from MAiD opposing groups about risks facing the marginalized is borne out by a story, reported in City News, of a 54-year-old St. Catharines man, Amir Farsoud, who has applied for MAiD as an alternative, should be become homeless. Farsoud suffers from excruciating back pain and is at risk of becoming homeless.

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