Canada’s assisted suicide and euthanasia laws have expanded to the killing of people with disabilities and mental health conditions, a leading academic has warned.
In a paper published in the BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics, Professor Tom Koch of the University of British Columbia, Canada, said that the law had been creeping in scope and its impact has been made ‘clearly evident’ in the country.
He warned that this has led to an ‘expanding class of eligible persons and an ever-increasing number of medically induced deaths’ among those who have disabilities and, soon, among those who have mental illnesses.
The ethicist and author told the BMJ Journal that assisted suicide and euthanasia are now seen as ‘the only alternative to suffering’ for those without access to palliative care.
Professor Koch also said that pressure to ensure palliative care is provided has been removed since controversial Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) legislation came into force in 2016.
In March 2021, MAiD legislation was extended to allow people with disabilities to access assisted suicide. And, from 2023, people with mental illnesses will also be able to access an assisted death.