Trying to “push away the reality of death”

A leading Canadian expert in palliative care has said that “Western society now seeks to push away the reality of death,” and that “it’s those made vulnerable by poverty who’ve been put to wrongful and premature death.”

Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Professor Leonie Herx has warned legislators of the horrific – yet completely predictable – consequences of the Canadian Medical Aid in Dying regime. 

In Canada, we’ve been living in a regime of assisted dying for six and a half years and the reality of where we’ve ended up is not what was intended when we started. It’s quite horrific, actually and so it’s important for those considering this type of legislation in Scotland to get a full picture and consider all the unintended consequences of it.

Most troubling of these is that, as the legislation has expanded well beyond what we were told would only be very rare and extreme cases of suffering, it’s society’s most vulnerable groups who are being caught in the net.

Herx says that concerns raised in Canada about MAiD have come to pass in a frighteningly short space of time, with those considered unable to fully “contribute” to society now deemed a burden.

In Canada our parliamentary budget office assessed the cost of expanding the legislation and found it would save the Canadian Government hundreds of millions of dollars per year on healthcare. Reports are now emerging of health care administrators advising euthanasia as an option to patients because the cost of their care is considered too high.

At the outset, we were told that a ‘carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards’ would limit harm and any risk of wrongful death of vulnerable persons. Yet, every year since, there have been documented cases of non-compliance with safeguards and misapplication of both law and policy.

Covering the story, journalist Kevin McKenna says “When privileged groups impose bespoke ethics to remove humanity’s unsightly wrinkles, it’s usually the powerless and the marginalised who suffer the unintended consequences.”

We know that euthanasia laws create a two-tier society, disproportionately affecting the less fortunate. Canada gives us a clear example, with hard facts, of what happens when these laws are introduced. 

Professor Herx very clearly explains what can be expected when these laws are implemented, but will the Scottish parliament listen?