The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study that claimed that a new computer risk calculator can determine when an elderly person has six months left to live.
The “Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool —” or RESPECT, states that its goal is to determine the closeness of death to provide necessary end-of-life medical support. However, many are concerned that it will be used to pressure the elderly toward euthanasia, otherwise known as MAiD (medical assistance in dying).
University of Toronto Bioethicist Kerry Bowman stated that he believes major issues could arise from the calculator, including the inevitable integration with “MAiD.”
Global News reported:
If the calculator would ever be introduced to Canada’s healthcare system, Bowman believes that it would be interfaced with the country’s medical assistance in dying (MAiD), and could possibly shape the attitude of palliative care and end of life decisions.
“It will also shape the attitude of health care workers and it also raises a deeper question of who will interface with the broader question of what types of life are worth living and who decides, which is profoundly important stuff,” he said.
The Christian organization, Answers In Genesis, has written extensively on the topic of euthanasia. One such article, written by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, considered the danger of elderly persons being pressured into doctor-assisted suicide.
“To be blunt, when someone who is consuming resources dies, he or she stops consuming resources, and whatever is left behind becomes the property of others. There is an enormous risk that the financial incentive to hasten death can lead to the abuse of the terminally ill and disabled,” she warned.
“The elderly, the poor, the disabled, and the handicapped children and adults among us are those least able to defend themselves,” Dr. Mitchell explained. “Liberalization of laws allowing increased access to “opt out” options—whether physician-assisted suicide or actual euthanasia—may well lead to a tragic loss of self-determination for them.”
“In a world in which death is increasingly allowed to be voluntarily embraced,” she continued. “how horrid a prospect it is that those so vulnerable may find they are pressured to choose death. Their so-called autonomy, their ‘right to die,’ may become their duty to die!”
If you think that Canada is “above” pressuring euthanasia, think again! In 2018, Roger Foley from London, Ontario, who has a degenerative brain condition, announced he was suing his province and the Canadian government as well as others for “denying his right to assisted life.”
Foley stated that he was “refused his request to live at home and be in charge of directing his own care.” He said that he was instead pressured on multiple occasions to agree to doctor-assisted suicide, which he reiterated to the Canadian House of Commons Justice Committee last November.
Disability Inclusion Minister, Carla Qualtrough, urged that the Ontario man was “not alone,” saying she hears similar stories “regularly.”
Canada Disturbing Push For Assisted Suicide
According to an annual report, “MAiD” was used to end the lives of 7,595 Canadians in 2020 alone, including 1,412 who felt “isolated and lonely.”
Canada is one of a very small number of countries that have legalized the practice of euthanasia. According to statistics from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, and the United States, Canada has the highest rate of medically assisted deaths in the world.
The Netherlands, which has the second-highest rate, still had 657 fewer citizens killed by euthanasia versus Canada in 2020.
It is also worth noting that Canadian Government statistics show 4,000 (non-medically assisted) suicides per year in the country. Meaning, “MAiD” has nearly double the death rate of regular suicides in Canada.
Despite these alarming numbers, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in 2019 that expanding euthanasia by making the law “less restrictive” was one of his top priorities.
In March of 2021, Bill C-7 received “Royal Assent” (meaning it passed both Canadian Houses of Parliament). The amendments to the bill expanded those eligible for assisted suicide by including those not terminally ill. It also waved the ten-day waiting period for those who are terminally ill and permitted doctors and nurses to lethally inject a person incapable of consenting if they were previously approved for “MAiD.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, stated that the changes to Bill C-7 make Canada the “most permissive nation concerning euthanasia.”
Euthanasia vs Religious Freedom
Canadian Courts also have a history of refusing to uphold the religious freedom of hospitals opposed to carrying out lethal injections.
In 2020, a judge in British Columbia blocked the Delta Hospice Society from voting to become a “Christians society” for the purpose of exempting it from the legal obligation to allow euthanasia. The judge forcibly canceled the meeting at the request of three pro-euthanasia ex-board members.
Earlier that year, Delta Hospice was told that they would be cut off from $1.5 million in funding, lose permission to operate as a hospice and be evicted from their building for refusing to perform assisted suicide.
Angelina Ireland, president of the Delta Hospice, stated her organization has “clearly been targeted to make an example of how you will not defy a government directive.”
Although the Delta Hospice Society attempted to appeal the decision, the Supreme Court of Canada in April 2021 dismissed their case, denying them from being considered a “society that operates on Christian principles” and hire accordingly.
Ex board member Chris Pettypiece, who lead the legal campaign against Delta Hospice, announced later in April that he is starting a new hospice society in the community that will “embrace all end-of-life choices.”
What Is The Biblical Response to Euthanasia?
Ken Ham, founder and CEO of Answers In Genesis, discussed the history of Canadian medical workers compelling the vulnerable to agree to assisted suicide. He also asserted that the Bible considers both this and euthanasia, in general, to be murder and very “serious.”
“While euthanasia advocates have assured us over the years that abuses like this won’t happen, they apparently do and will only continue to occur as our western culture embraces death rather than life,” Ham explained. “Increasingly our culture is placing a value on human life that’s contingent on health, level of ability, or level of dependency. Those who are old, infirm, terminally ill, unborn, or disabled are increasingly seen as having no value, so they may as well die and relieve the burden they allegedly cause to their caregivers and the economy.”
“The Bible presents quite the opposite view,” he explained. “In a biblical worldview, we’re created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27). We have unique value and worth not because of our abilities, level of dependency, health, or any other subjective standard. We have unique value because we’re image bearers of the Creator. And taking the life of an image bearer is murder—and it’s serious. God loves us so much he stepped into history to pay the price for our sin so we can be reconciled to God. That gift of salvation is of infinite value!”
“The biblical worldview is life-affirming—for every human life,” he reiterated.