Assisted Suicide Debate
Assisted suicide has me in a quandary. In my personal life I have family members that have expressed their wishes in the affirmative. If possible, under specific circumstances, they would prefer assisted suicide over lowered quality of life. It’s very important to these persons. It’s an interesting debate between one generation and the next at our supper table.
Professionally I can’t agree to the cause. Vulnerable people are labeled as such for a reason! It’s a slippery slope. Opening the door to assisted suicide opens up the possibility of abuse. Who makes the case for assisted suicide; the person, their caregiver? How will it be monitored? How will people who make these choices be held accountable in the case of a legal guardian or other persons whose legal decisions are made by third parties?
All substitute decision makers attempt to do what they think is best. However, what about when a will is being contested or a caregiver is not getting adequate respite? There are people in the community that cannot speak, move, and live with chronic pain. I know a woman who lives with these challenges and she is very adamantly on the side of life! If such a law were passed would that leave her vulnerable?
In a previous blog post I wrote about a mother who wished to legally kill her children. The mother made the judgement, but was it that of her children? What do they think? How does legal guardianship and advocacy affect who is the primary decision maker in such a circumstance? Legal precedence would be of vital importance in such cases. Setting a precedent in favour of a caregiver could leave many Canadians in uniquely challenging and potentially life threatening circumstances.
The reopened legal case for assisted suicide, Carter v. Attorney General, in Vancouver these past few months has sparked the debate once again nationwide. Should the government be able to make life or death decisions over a person’s life? The CBC has covered the protest from both sides extensively.
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) have been granted intervener status in the appeal of the Carter v. Attorney General. That’s good news for people with disabilities. Having a voice in this hugely contested issue will serve to give a balanced outlook on what must be a very difficult case.
The majority of Canadians support death with dignity. However, Canadians should take into consideration the ramifications. People close to death are in a fragile state. With a legal system based on precedence I wonder at the consequences? When it’s my time to meet my maker I don’t want anyone to make decisions on my continued existence except me. How do we make sure that remains universal if the ban on assisted suicide is lifted?
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