Canadian Lawmakers Want To Euthanize Children Without Parental Consent

Canadian Lawmakers Want To Euthanize Children Without Parental Consent

( – Canadian lawmakers passed legislation overturning portions of the country’s criminal code outlawing medical assistance in dying (MAID) at the direction of the Supreme Court of Canada in mid-2016. Four years later, Parliament approved an amendment to the law after a lower court ruled the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” requirement violated the nation’s constitution. In a stunning maneuver, some lawmakers are now proposing additional updates to the statute, allowing doctors to euthanize children without parental consent.

On February 10, a Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying submitted a report to the House of Commons detailing its statutory review of the provisions of Canada’s criminal code related to MAID services and its application. The 138-page document contained 23 recommendations for consideration by lawmakers.

The 16th recommendation suggests amending the eligibility requirements to “include minors,” meeting the “requisite decision-making capacity upon assessment.” Recommendation 19 asks Parliament to change the MAID law to prioritize the wishes of “mature minors” applying for MAID services over the wishes of their parents or guardians.

As radical as the recommendation may seem, the Canadian Justice Department already recognizes the right of “children who are sufficiently mature to make their own treatment decisions” to do so under prevailing court precedent set forth by what it calls the “mature minor” doctrine. All the new proposal actually does is apply that long-standing legal doctrine to the criminal code setting out the eligibility requirements for MAID services.

To receive euthanasia services, patients experiencing intolerable suffering must submit a written request expressing their wish to end their life. They must sign the declaration before an independent witness who certifies the patient did so willingly and free from coercion. Then, a panel of either two physicians or nurse practitioners must independently confirm the patient has an incurable medical condition and is in an advanced state of decline.

On the plus side, only Canadians can legally receive euthanasia services. To prevent medical tourism, MAID services are only available to residents meeting the eligibility requirements for Canadian healthcare coverage.

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