Canada To Expand Assisted Suicide Program To Include Treatable Mental Illness

Written by Hudson Crozier

What’s happening: Beginning in March 2023, Canada will expand its Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID) law, allowing patients to apply for government-funded assisted suicide based solely on a mental disorder they consider intolerable even if it’s treatable. Applicants will have to wait 90 days and receive approval from two doctors before receiving a fatal substance.

Background: The 2016 law authorized medical suicide for patients facing certain death from a physical condition but was amended in 2021 to include any “grievous” and incurable ailments. After a steady increase each year, Canada now leads the world in medical suicides, with over 10,000 performed in 2021.

Source: Government of Canada

Emerging trends: Many Canadians with treatable conditions have used MAID because they can’t afford to pay for treatment or other forms of relief. Multiple patients, including veterans, have reported hospital workers inappropriately suggesting or trying to coerce them into MAID. The Canadian government has estimated a massive cost-benefit to MAID in its socialized health care system.

The program has highlighted a moral divide in the public. Advocates argue MAID is about “compassion” and honoring “personal autonomy,” while others say it promotes a “culture of death.” Polling shows that approval for the program is strong among Canadians, with 64 percent even supporting access for “mature minors.”

Could the program arrive in the United States? Ten states and Washington, D.C.—almost all Democrat-controlled—have legalized physician-assisted suicide, although none allow the practice solely for mental illness. While the left has persisted over the past two decades, religious conservatives have fought assisted suicide in most states.

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