by Denise Batters, National Post, 14 March 2016
Denise Batters QC is a Canadian Senator, whose husband committed suicide in 2009. She responds to a Canadian parliamentary report into physician-assisted suicide.
The committee did not require that illness be terminal or life-threatening. It included psychological suffering as grounds for physician-assisted suicide — without any requirement to consult a psychiatrist. It even recommended extending physician-assisted suicide to “mature minors,” those under 18.
Reaching far beyond the parameters outlined in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter decision (which only applied to adults and not to psychological suffering), the committee’s recommendations also stretched far afield of where most Canadians stand.
The committee argued that physical and psychological illnesses are essentially the same. But, the only evidence it cited was a one-line opinion from a brief letter, emailed by an individual who did not appear before the committee and had no identifiable credentials or expertise in the area. This is not “evidence-based decision-making.”
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