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Canada’s Prescription for Getting Away with Murder


The Canadian government has proposed its new euthanasia bill — and as expected, it will be the most radical in the world.

Since the death doctor need not be present at the demise, the bill creates an unprecedented license for family members, friends — heck, a guy down the street — to make people dead. From the bill:

Exemption for person aiding patient

(5) No person commits an offence under paragraph (1) (b) if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241. 2.

Reasonable but mistaken belief

(6) For greater certainty, the exemption set out in any of subsections (2) to (5) applies even if the person invoking the exemption has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.

Once the lethal drugs are obtained, this means there are zero meaningful safeguards and protections for vulnerable people, since anyone can kill at the request of the patient. How will authorities know that actual consent was made to do the deed?

Coercion happens behind closed doors. Indeed, even if there was a “mistake,” the killer is protected from culpability by claiming “good faith.” In short, this provision is the perfect defense for the murder of sick and disabled people who requested lethal drugs.

The George Delury case is an example of what I mean: Delury said he assisted his wife Myrna Lebov’s suicide out of “compassion” and at her request due to MS.

But his real hope was not only to be free from care giving, but to become famous by writing a book about her death. (He did, What If She Wants to Die?)

It almost worked. But because assisted suicide was a criminal offense, authorities conducted an investigation and discovered his diary. It showed that contrary to the compassionate face Delury was conjuring, in reality he emotionally pressured Myrna into wanting to commit suicide, telling her, for example, that she was a burden and ruining his life.

He also withheld full dosage of antidepressants so he could use those drugs to kill her. And, he but put a plastic bag over her head to make sure she died.

If euthanasia Canada’s bill had been the law of New York when Delury killed Myrnov, he might have been able to coerce her into asking for lethal drugs. At that point, he could have killed her any time he wanted and there wouldn’t have been a criminal investigation to find his diary.

Canada has just paved the way for a person hungry for an inheritance or ideologically predisposed to get away with the perfect murder.

Image: Canadian Parliament via Wikicommons.

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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