Slippery Medical Assistance in Dying slope cause for concern

Letter writer believes focus should be on finding ways to comfortably extend life not end it

Editor,

Re: Changes coming to Medical Assistance in Dying (Interior News, Jan. 22, 2020).

Our federal government is looking to expand the parameters of assisted suicide or euthanasia so that more people qualify. This slippery slope should concern all of us.

Assisted suicide or “MAiD” (Medical Assistance in Dying) teaches people to support their family member or friend’s wish to die, rather than to support their life by fulfilling unmet needs and helping them find meaning. MAiD is antithetical to serving someone in life-affirming, dignity-affirming, personhood-affirming ways.

I had the privilege of aiding my Mom in her last months of life in 2019. Thankfully much of the time she could be at home but unfortunately, she also needed extra care and was at the mercy of our healthcare system. We had wonderful support where she lived via the doctors and nurses. It was evident to the staff that we wanted the best care for our Mom. But the experience made me wonder what would have happened if we weren’t there to advocate for her. What would happen if someone else made the decision that her life was not worthy of living?

My Mom never wanted to be a burden. Many of us feel the same way. But all of us go through a stage at the beginning of our life, and many of us at the end of our life, where others have to care for us. As a society that values human dignity, we should support that kind of care rather than have laws that implicitly tell people that they have good reason to end their lives. ‘MAiD’ makes me scared when leaving a loved one in the hands of healthcare workers who may not share the same viewpoint on the value of life.

Our lives have value in whatever state they may be in. We are quickly forgetting about the dignity and blessing that comes from caring for others. Every life is created by God and is beautiful. If someone doesn’t believe that about themselves, it is our job as society to show them that they have value.

MAiD is the government’s way out of providing the care you really need. Offering assisted suicide as a “cure” reduces incentives to invest in and improve life-affirming treatments – everything from new cures to new pain medications to new palliative methods. It’s no wonder assisted suicide has always been contrary to the Hippocratic Oath and basic medical ethics.

We need to raise our voices and speak for the vulnerable—we need to stop this expansion of parameters for the use of assisted suicide.

We need to convey to our society that we are valuable and worth the effort to make our lives worthy with palliative care. Please speak to our MP Taylor Bachrach and have your voice heard. Every life is worth living.

Karen Bandstra

Smithers

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