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A shadow of death
Canada's embrace of euthanasia is going as well as you may imagine. A recent poll suggests that many Canadians are comfortable with the idea of expanding eligible criteria for euthanasia to include not only terminal disease and mental illness but also poverty and homelessness. According to a sober piece in the Free Press, most people still picture euthanasia being available for "a limited number of elderly people with late-stage cancer or advanced ALS in severe pain". But the amount of 18 to 45 year olds requesting to be killed is on the rise and assisted suicide accounted for 3% of deaths in Canada for the year 2021.
A thoughtful article from Matthew Loftus, a doctor based in Kenya, points out that the logic behind euthanasia is the same one that drives abortion – eliminating suffering by killing the sufferer. The assumption that an unwanted baby is destined for a terrible life and therefore better off dead has a lot in common with the logic that leads to facilitating early death for anyone who is suffering. Loftus argues that a humane society recognizes that avoiding all suffering in life is impossible. He argues that our modern "affinity for technological solutions" has crept into the medical mindset, with the belief that we can upgrade and replace our bodies as they wear out. Like a "cartoon supervillain" who runs a Malthusian calculation, it is a transhumanist instinct that makes us want to end human suffering.
As with a lot of the ethical dilemmas facing us today, there is a failure on the part of those facilitating the change to acknowledge that our corrupted human nature means we are not neutral agents. The argument that reasons "if you don't want it, that's your choice, but don't stop those who do" wilfully ignores the concupiscence of fallen imaginations. While our hearts are indeed idol factories, producing evil all on their own, good laws can help slow the spread of sin and death. Meanwhile, a system that provides more opportunities for wickedness will produce just that. Having abortion or euthanasia or homosexual marriage or transgender surgeries available "just in case" someone may want it is feeding the base desires of sinful humans. Providing a supply creates the demand. It is because our hearts are desperately wicked that the slippery slope remains undefeated. As Wesley Smith says, the availability of "death with dignity" soon becomes a "duty to die".
We know that a number of our readers live in countries where euthanasia is on the increase. But many people are unaware of what is happening in their own backyards. So keep making the arguments, keep speaking the truth. As Dr. Loftus writes, "A just society does not kill suffering people, it shares their burden."