May 24, 2024

Euthanasia in Canada: looking back, looking forward

Academics are calling on the Canadian government to monitor euthanasia.

With the legalisation of euthanasia at federal level, the end-of-life legal landscape in Canada has changed dramatically. Academics are calling on government authorities to closely monitor the enforcement of new legislation.

In a new article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Harvey Chochinov and Catherine Frazee discuss certain difficulties in regulating the practice of euthanasia.

“The choice of a grievously ill person to hasten an imminent death happens privately and out of the media glare. But from a public policy perspective, questions remain. Will the practice be carefully regulated and monitored? Will it affect the fragile asymmetry of the patient–physician relationship? Will there be appropriate support for participating physicians and those who conscientiously object to participation? Will we glean insights about the nature of suffering that motivates requests for MAID?”

Chochinov and Frazee say that “the margins of the law” are already being tested.

“Some persons who are not eligible for MAID, notably those who are not dying, assert that they suffer intolerably and therefore deserve assistance to end their lives.”

A challenge to the federal legislation was made just ten days after its passage, by a 25 year old woman with spinal muscular atrophy.

Euthanasia in Canada: looking back, looking forward
Xavier Symons
Creative commons