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Bioethics: In Canada, Medically Assisted Death Is a Solution for Poverty

Wesley J. Smith
Photo credit: Sasun Bughdaryan via Unsplash.

Death is increasingly seen as the answer to a variety of woes in Canada, with its euthanasia libertinism running truly amuck. This includes veterans being offered euthanasia for PTSD and a nursing home patient lethally injected because she did not want to be isolated during a COVID lockdown. There are also cases in which people ask to die because they can’t access prompt medical care from Canada’s socialized healthcare system, and one in which death was offered to a disabled woman rather than a stairs chair lift.

A Culture of Abandonment

Now, a disabled man wants to die because he is afraid of falling into poverty. And at least one doctor has said yes. From the Daily Mail story:

A Canadian pensioner seeking euthanasia because he fears homelessness has received approval from a doctor despite admitting poverty is a major factor in the decision to end his own life.

Les Landry, 65, told assessors for the procedure he ‘doesn’t want to die’ but has applied for medical assistance in dying (MAID) because he can’t afford to live comfortably.

Astonishingly, a doctor has given one of the two signatures required for Landry to end his own life, despite knowing that financial hardship — not illness — is a leading reason for the profound decision.

Landry plans to go doctor-shopping to obtain the second MD approval:

Landry is awaiting the decision of a second doctor who has assessed his eligibility. If that doctor rejects the application, Landry says he will simply ‘shop’ around for another who’s prepared to sign off on his death — something that’s allowed under Canada‘s assisted dying laws.

Suicide by Zoom Call

Note that this is allowed in U.S. assisted-suicide laws too. In fact, many assisted suicides are facilitated by doctors who have not treated the patient and only met them briefly for the purpose of obtaining the lethal prescription. These days, assisted suicide can even be obtained in a Zoom call.

The problem for Landry is that Canada won’t assist him to live with dignity.

Landry uses a wheelchair and has several other disabilities that mean he is eligible for MAID, including epilepsy and diabetes. But until recently, he was able to live comfortably, sharing his modest home in Medicine Hat, Alberta, with his service dog.

Changes to his state benefits when he turned 65 in May meant his income was cut and he’s now left with around $120 per month after paying for medical bills and essentials.

Landry is also braced for a rent hike in January that could mean his benefits no longer cover the cost of essentials, placing him on the brink of homelessness.

In a series of interviews with DailyMail.com, he detailed his spiral into hardship and decision to pursue the ‘bizarre’ MAID application process that’s made ‘state-sanctioned suicide’ a viable solution to his struggles.

I’m glad the media and many commentators are finally paying attention to the crass culture of abandonment to which assisted suicide and its advocacy logically leads. I just don’t know whether that increasingly clear consequence of  “death with dignity” laws matters much anymore.

Cross-posted at The Corner.