Canadian doctors have warned that the experience of their country shows that euthanasia laws expand rapidly, as do the number of people being killed by euthanasia.
Dr Luke Savage and Dr Keily Williams from Alberta wrote to the Irish Times in response to an admonition not to allow any references to "slopes, slippery and otherwise" in any discussion of euthanasia. They pointed to the startling evidence that the number of people dying by euthanasia has increased an huge 648% in just five years.
"Despite the suggestion from a number of doctors to “avoid any reference to slopes, slippery or otherwise”, when discussing euthanasia, we cannot describe the recent Canadian experience in any other way," they wrote. "As rural and urban physicians who offer palliative care in Alberta, allow us to make a number of observations."
"First, the number of deaths by euthanasia in Canada has risen by 648 per cent in just five years – from 1,015 in 2016 to 7,595 in 2020. Second, the grounds for euthanasia in Canada have now expanded considerably in that same timeframe," they explained.
"Our parliament voted in March of this year to approve euthanasia on the grounds of mental illness alone. Furthermore, the amended law removed many of the safeguards intended to protect the vulnerable from wrongful death, and the government has yet to start the promised five-year review of the 2016 law."
And they revealed that at least two women who did not want to continue living in the Covid-19 lockdown were euthanized - a doctor gave them drugs to ensure they died.
"Finally, instances of abuse of the system have regularly come to light. For example, it was widely reported in the media here that in October 2020, Nancy Russell, who lived in a Toronto nursing home, opted to die by euthanasia. What makes her situation peculiar is that she didn’t have a terminal illness – she simply didn’t want to live through another Covid-19 lockdown.
Shirley Turton in British Colombia also opted for and received euthanasia in order to avoid another lockdown.If the Canadian experience cannot be described as a slippery slope, then we don’t know what could be," they said.
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