Assisted suicide has been a hotly debated issue in Canada since the country legalized it in 2016. The recent surge in assisted suicide rates has sparked concerns about the leniency of the country’s laws and their impact on society. Let’s examine the issue in detail.
The Dark Side of Canada’s Assisted Suicide Laws: A Soaring Suicide Rate and Declining Quality of Palliative Care
According to a recent opinion piece published in the Vancouver Sun, Canada’s assisted suicide rate is 22 times higher than that of the United States. This is despite the fact that Canada’s population is less than that of California. Physicians or nurse practitioners have directly ended the lives of 31,664 individuals in the country between 2016 and 2021, compared to just 3,344 individuals in California during the same time period.
The Rise of Individualism and Personal Autonomy over Mutual Care
Citing Professor Daryl Pullman, a bioethicist in the faculty of medicine at Memorial University, the Vancouver Sun article noted that Canada’s soaring assisted suicide rate is indicative of “an ethic of individualism and personal autonomy over an ethic of mutual care.” The country’s lenient laws have made it easier for individuals to choose assisted suicide over receiving proper treatment and care.
British Columbia’s Role in the Assisted Suicide Debate
British Columbia has been at the forefront of the assisted suicide debate in Canada. They led the country’s fight to legalize assisted suicide and appear to be embracing the practice with greater enthusiasm than other Canadians, Americans, and even Europeans. However, a survey by the Angus Reid Institute found that only three out of ten Canadians support the notion of allowing patients to seek Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) based solely on mental illness.
The Impact on Palliative Care
As assisted suicide has become more prevalent in Canada, the quality of palliative care in the country has suffered. There have been reports of individuals feeling pressured into choosing death, including veterans seeking PTSD treatment or those looking for basic medical supplies like wheelchair ramps. Furthermore, some people have felt forced to request MAiD due to poverty or prolonged wait times for necessary surgeries.
Prioritizing Compassionate Care
The Vancouver Sun article, citing Pullman’s work, calls for Canadians to prioritize compassionate care instead of opting too hastily for assisted death. According to Pullman, Canadian governments may finance assisted death, but they won’t necessarily finance other medications, adequate housing, full-scale social and medical services, or good palliative care.
Canada’s lenient assisted suicide laws have led to a sharp rise in assisted suicide rates, which is sending a message that the lives of individuals with terminal illnesses, mental health conditions, and other concerns are not worth preserving. It’s time for Canada to prioritize compassion over convenience and provide better options for those who are suffering. By doing so, Canadians can ensure that their loved ones receive the proper care and treatment they deserve.