Incremental extension of euthanasia laws

There is abuse where euthanasia or assisted suicide is legal. This is irrefutable. People are talking about a "slippery slope", but it would be more accurate to use the term " incremental extension" because it better reflects the current situation in these jurisdictions.

The idea of the "slippery slope" disturbs. Some say you should focus only on the "current issue" and you should ignore "unlikely scenarios". There is nothing unlikely about the many cases of abuse documented in from Netherlands, Belgium and Oregon. For example, take the case of an anorexic woman euthanized in Belgium or the case of the 45 psychiatric patients euthanized in the Netherlands in 2013, or the case of a lady with dementia deemed ineligible for assisted suicide by a psychiatrist in Oregon, who nonetheless died after using a prescription for lethal drugs .

Yet "slippery slope" is a concept that is well understood and accepted. The new Quebec government is considering partially privatizing Hydro-Québec. A comment on that article says:

"Mostly they say ... When the foot is placed in the door, everyone knows what happens next ..."

But let's talk about incremental extension, not slippery slope. Because "slippery slope" deals in an uncertain future, whereas "incremental extension" describes what has actually happened. The more euthanasia is practiced, the easier it becomes to conduct, and the less we ask questions. When a Dutch doctor was asked what his first case of euthanasia was like, he said :

"It was dreadful. We agonised all day. But the second case was much easier and the third case was a piece of cake".

  • The Netherlands legalized euthanasia for adults in 2002. Shortly after, the Groningen Protocol was created and adopted there. A doctor adhering to the criteria of the Groningen Protocol can euthanize an infant without fear of prosecution, despite the fact that it is illegal.
  • Belgium legalized euthanasia for adults in 2003. Twelve years later, euthanasia became legal for children of all ages.
  • Quebec is preparing to adopt a law allowing "medical aid in dying" for competent adults "only". Some groups already demanded the addition of minors and people with dementia in the bill. Also, the minister who introduced the bill described it as "a good first step".

Let's face it: if Quebec legalizes "medical aid in dying", there will be incremental extension. And the more euthanasia there will be, the less sensitive we will become to it. In a few years we will see euthanasia for minors and incapacitated persons. Not to mention other abuse of such a law. We cannot accept that!