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Canada, into the Abyss

Man standing on a jetty at a lake during a foggy, gray morning.

I have never seen a society jump so enthusiastically into the abyss that is the culture of death as Canada has in the last year. Once the Supreme Court ended the assisted suicide debate by fiat, euthanasia boosters stopped pretending to want a limited death license and let their true agenda out.

Based on government and medical association proposed guidelines, Canada’s euthanasia regime will soon include:

  • Death on demand for those with medically diagnosed serious sicknesses;
  • Death on demand for those with disabilities;
  • Death on demand for those with medically diagnosed mental illnesses;
  • Death on demand for “mature” children with the above conditions, perhaps with parental consent required;
  • Nurses ordered to participate in euthanasia under the direction of a doctor, normalizing killing as an answer to suffering and making it easier for doctors to avoid the dirty work of homicide;
  • Government-paid euthanasia.

There will also, apparently, be no effective conscience exemptions for religious or morally opposed doctors, nurses, and religious medical institutions — even though Canada’s governing Charter explicitly protects “freedom of religion and conscience.”

Doctors will be legally required to offer “effective referral” for patients who want to be killed. Nurses ordered to kill a patient by a doctor will have no options to resist other than active insubordination. Religious facilities will be required by law to permit euthanasia on premises if they receive public money — which includes most facilities since Canada has a socialized, single-payer health financing system. No escape.

This authoritarianism is the subject of my current First Things article, in which I urge dissenting medical professionals to take the hard course of peaceful civil disobedience rather than acquiesce, or simply to quit. From “Canada Declares War on Christian Doctors and Nurses“:

The difficult but most righteous course would be to engage in a policy of total non-cooperation with the culture of death, forcing the national and provincial governments and medical colleges either to turn a blind eye or to inflict unjust punishments on doctors for refusing to kill. Perhaps such Draconian measures would bring the country to its senses.

There is also offer this faint hope for heading off the looming religious oppression brewing in Canada:

Some notable Canadian prelates and other faith leaders have spoken out strongly against the pending coercion. But in Canada’s highly secularized society, it will probably require louder voices than these — for example those of Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama — to turn the tide. But the hour is very late. The embarrassment caused by the wildly popular Pope condemning a nation that considers itself the epitome of reasonableness might be the only preventative measure that can save religious liberty in what used to be the free country of Canada.

And here’s another sobering thought: Canada is the U.S.’s closest cultural cousin. What happens in Canada may not stay north of the 49th parallel.

Image credit: © sanderstock / Dollar Photo Club.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.



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