Pressures to extend euthanasia: the opposition is still alive

A recent survey published by the University of Sherbrooke has sparked general indignation as the results showed that 91% of the family caregivers surveyed would agree to extending euthanasia to terminally ill people who are incapable of decision-making.

As mentioned in a Huffington Post article, this serious attack on the humanity of incapable people also shows that euthanasia is insinuating into our collective thinking the notion that death – not good health care, quality support and adequate living conditions – is a solution to suffering for you and your loved ones.

Parallel to this shockwave, we learned that there is a shortage of doctors in CHSLDs, and that home care is declining in Quebec. Thus, beyond the beautiful discourse on autonomy and the “free and informed” choice, the situation on the ground seems to take the opposite shape of what was advertised to promote the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, which was supposed to guarantee better healthcare for all.

However, the majority of public institutions around the world are not fooled by the social threat of euthanasia.

One the one hand, let us remember that literally all the bills that attempted to legalize this fatal practice in the United States have failed in 2017. Moreover, a bipartisan resolution has just been tabled in the US House of Representatives to express without ambiguity that “legalizing physician-assisted suicide puts the most vulnerable of our society at risk of deadly harm and undermines the integrity of America’s healthcare system.”

On the other hand, in September the American College of Physicians reaffirmed its opposition to assisted suicide and “the need to work to improve hospice and palliative care, including awareness and access.” In doing so, the American College joins the official position of the World Medical Association, which still considers euthanasia to be “unethical”.

In Canada, while studies are underway on extending the Canadian euthanasia law, the Canadian Mental Health Association has filed a position paper stating that “psychiatric-Medical Assistance in Dying should remain illegal, [because] people with a mental health problem or illness should be assisted to live and thrive.”

In other words, despite the impression of consensus conveyed in the media, opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide is still alive and well.