Special to WorldTribune.com, May 17, 2023
Commentary by Joe Schaeffer
The Culture of Death continues to accelerate to a horrific degree just north of the U.S. border.
Advocates of Canada’s euthanasia program, benignly called “Medical Aid in Dying,” have moved far beyond terminal illness with an ease that raises serious questions as to the true motivations behind this relentless promotion of extinguishing individual human existences.
The National Post reported May 9:
The cases have drawn international criticism: People in Canada with non-terminal conditions choosing a doctor-assisted death after a fruitless search for better housing or proper medical care.
But a new paper by two University of Toronto bioethicists argues that, while the decisions may be “deeply tragic,” it would be wrong to deny medical assistance in dying (MAID) to people whose request is being driven most of all by poverty or other unjust conditions — “people who not only might, but have explicitly said” they would prefer not to die.
That which seemed shocking only months ago is now being normalized:
“To force people who are already in unjust social circumstances to have to wait until those social circumstances improve, or for the possibility of public charity that sometimes but unreliably occurs when particularly distressing cases become public, is unacceptable,” [the bioethicists] wrote.
The poor have a right to die. It seems a natural progression. For there has been so much ethical sketchiness surrounding MAID from the beginning. The consent process appears to be more about persuasion than offering genuine choices to patients.
A November article by The National Post shows how it works. Medical officials can initiate the euthanasia conversation, but that doesn’t mean they are suggesting anything, so they say:
Canada’s assisted dying law states that no health-care professional commits an offense “if they provide information to a person on the lawful provision of medical assistance in dying.” Canada’s MAID providers and assessors said that there is also no provision in the law that prohibits clinicians from initiating the discussion and raising the possibility of MAID.
While it is absolutely illegal to counsel someone to die by suicide, to “counsel,” from a doctor-patient perspective, means to “inform and discuss,” the group’s guidance reads.
“The clinical perspective of the meaning of the word ‘counsel’ has no bearing on the legal meaning.”
It certainly appears that Canadian health officials are resorting to weasel words to cover up the promotion of euthanasia to hospital patients:
“Some people, no matter how well-handled your conversation, may infer that it’s essentially a suggestion,” said University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman.
“They would also definitely infer that they have the strong potential to meet eligibility criteria, or you wouldn’t be offering it.”
It makes one wonder if the Canadian medical establishment is playing this same duplicitous game with another program it heavily pushes – organ donation.
Now we’re really talking terrifying. Are doctors in the Great White North in essence saying to patients: “Your life is no longer worth living. Hey, can we have those organs you won’t be using anymore?”
The answer seems to be yes.
Shawn Whatley at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a Canadian public policy think tank, wrote in April:
Since Canada passed the law that legalized MAiD in 2016, 31,664 Canadians have gone through with MAiD. Just over 10,064 Canadians chose MAiD in 2021: 3.3 percent of all deaths, according to the federal government’s annual report, an increase of 32.4 percent from 2020 (Health Canada 2022). Over 80 percent of requests for MAiD are approved. At this time, 17 percent of patients reported “isolation or loneliness” as one of the main motivations for death.
Of note, Canada leads the world in organ donation from MAiD patients, with 6 percent of transplanted organs in 2021 harvested after MAiD.
Canadian “ethicists” are on the record as saying they believe euthanasia has been a bonanza for organ donation:
“I was rather proud that Canada has done so well in terms of organ donation by MAID patients,” said Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, in an interview with CTV News.
With more than 4,000 Canadians waiting for organ transplants, some of whom are dying, he says Canada’s numbers show a strong move to turn death into a win-win.
“So I say, ‘Good on us.’ It’s a wonderful opportunity for someone facing death to make something significant out of the end of their life,” said Schafer.
Oh, but it’s strictly the patient’s choice – of course it is.
Trillium Gift of Life Network is the official organ-donation intermediary of the Ontario provincial government:
TGLN was created in December 2000 by the Ontario government. TGLN assumed the role of Ontario’s central organ and tissue donation agency with the challenge of significantly increasing organ and tissue donation across the province and improving related processes and functions.
The Ottawa Citizen reported as early as January 2020 that “medically assisted deaths prove a growing boon to organ donation in Ontario”:
In the first 11 months of 2019, MAiD patients in the province accounted for 18 organ and 95 tissue donors, a 14 percent increase over 2018 and a 109 percent increase over 2017.
As with euthanasia, the fact that the state is bringing up organ donation and not the patient is presented as merely providing information:
“And, as part of high-quality end-of life care, we make sure that all patients and families are provided with the information they need and the opportunity to make a decision on whether they wish to make a donation,” [Trillium CEO Ronnie] Gavsie says. “That just follows the logical protocol under the law and the humane approach for those who are undergoing medical assistance in dying. And it’s the right thing to do for those on the wait list.”
But it’s a fine line between “we’re just laying out all the options” to “hey, wanna do this?” In Ontario and Quebec, the medical establishment is blurring that line:
Regulations in some other jurisdictions where euthanasia or assisted suicide is permitted, such as Belgium and Netherlands, only allow organ donation at the patient’s initiation. In Switzerland and the U.S. states Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana, where assisted suicide is legal, subsequent organ donation is not possible. Quebec, which initially allowed only patient-initiated donation, now allows Transplant Québec to initiate donation discussions with patients who have been accepted for MAiD.
A remarkable document titled “Organ and Tissue Donation Following Medical Assistance in Dying: Program Development Toolkit” on the Trillium website reveals just how intertwined state-run organ donation has become with state-run euthanasia in Ontario.
If you have chosen self-extermination in Ontario, Trillium by law has to be notified so it can try and get your organs:
To provide the best possible support to patients, their families and healthcare professionals, TGLN requires notification after a request for MAID is received in writing and one physician has confirmed the patient meets the eligibility requirements….
Patients have told TGLN they want to know about this opportunity early, and those who want to donate need to have information about their donation choices as it may impact the plans they make for end-of-life. Notification later in the process may restrict the ability to honor a patient’s wish to help others through organ and tissue donation. Notifying TGLN of a potential MAID candidate does not imply MAID will proceed or that an approach for organ and tissue donation consent will occur. TGLN will work closely with the primary clinician to determine how to best proceed in each case.
Don’t call this pressure:
Whenever possible, the TGLN coordinator will discuss donation opportunities with the patient in-person. If the patient is not currently an inpatient but coming into the hospital for appointments before the scheduled MAID provision, the donation discussion could occur during the hospital visit. In circumstances where an in-person discussion would be inconvenient, not possible or result in additional discomfort to the patient, a telephone discussion can be facilitated by a TGLN coordinator.
If possible, patients will be approached directly to provide first person consent.
Work with the primary clinician. Discuss donation opportunities. Approach directly. In embracing euthanasia so emphatically, Canada has slid fully off the slippery slope of respect for individual human life and plummeted to the abyss of harvesting bodies for parts.
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