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When euthanasia ‘safeguards’ become ‘barriers to access’

Aubert Martin, Mercatornet, 4 July 2017

M. Martin is the Executive Director of Vivre dans la Dignité, a Canadian organisation opposing euthanasia. In this article he analyses a legal case in Canada in which “two people living with disabilities who were refused the assistance of a physician to kill themselves … requested the removal of the ‘reasonably foreseeable death’ clause of the federal law as well as the ‘end of life’ requirement in the Quebec law.”

The same promoters of euthanasia who claimed that it was only a matter of “exceptional requests for exceptional cases” have updated their rhetoric to justify the explosion of euthanasia requests: it has become “a response to a need.”

Yet, before the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec and in Canada, warnings of the slippery slope were met with mockery and contempt from those who embraced medical suicide with open arms.

Today, slightly more than a year after the Quebec bill that legalized euthanasia came into force, we see the first obvious signs of the slippery slope: we have gone from exception to promotion. Already the “end of life” criterion is presented as discrimination which prevents people with disabilities from committing suicide, implying that their living conditions justify their desire to die.

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