Taking Mercy, an edition of the Global TV program “16x9” in Canada, concerns a mother, Annette Corriveau, who wants her children with disabilities to be killed by euthanasia. The show also features Robert Latimer, the man who killed his daughter Tracy in 1993. Tracy had Cerebral Palsy. The show speaks to pro-euthanasia ethicist Arthur Schaefer who suggests that Robert Latimer should have been given “mercy.” Schaefer also suggests that Corriveau should simply stop feeding her children, but Corriveau says she does not wish to starve her children to death.

This is a dangerously one-sided show.

Taking Mercy represents the first serious attempt by the Canadian media to re-write the history of the Latimer case and to justify euthanasia for children with disabilities.

Yesterday I received an email from Ari Ne’eman, a disability leader in the United States, who is asking people with disabilities to organize candle light vigils on March 30 at 5:30pm for disabled people who have been murdered by relatives or care-givers.

Today I spoke to Steve Passmore, a man who was born with Cerebral Palsy, who has actively opposed euthanasia and assisted suicide since Tracy Latimer was killed by her father.

Steve stated: “Many people in society view people with disabilities as having lives that can be euthanized, like a kept pet, because of pain and suffering, that he lives with everyday.”

Steve wants Robert Latimer & Annette Corriveau to know that he is not the same as a ‘kept pet’. He stated: “this story clearly shows the prejudice that people with disabilities experience in society and the threat that euthanasia and assisted suicide place on the lives of people with disabilities.”

Taking Mercy is produced by Jennifer Tryon, Hannah James, Megan Rowney, for 16x9 and it was shown on Global TV on Thursday, March 08, 2012. Link to the show. Link to the Live Blog.

This is how the story goes:

Annette Corriveau thought she was living the dream. Married at 18, two beautiful children born shortly after, she thought she had it all.

But Annette’s dream was ravaged by fate. Her babies, Janet and Jeffrey weren’t as healthy as they first appeared. And never could she have imagined the horrific turn her children’s lives would take.

“They were a handful but I thought that was normal, after all, they were only a year apart,” she says. “You’re prepared for the terrible twos. So you overlook things. Then the threes come and you’re thinking wait a minute, this shouldn’t have lasted this long, and then the fours, all of a sudden, it’s, something is not right.”

When Janet and Jeffrey were five and six years old, their behaviour was becoming more rambunctious and unmanageable. They started losing the language they had developed and they were losing motor skills.

After a year and a half in a London, Ontario hospital Annette learned she and her husband both carried a recessive gene that prevented their children from properly metabolizing sugars. The children were diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Sanfilippo syndrome that has no cure and no treatment.

Now, more than three decades later, Annette wants the right to mercifully end her children’s lives.

“They wouldn’t like to live like this,” she says. “My children were full of life. When they were young, before this disease took hold…I just don’t believe that they would want to stay alive the way they are.”

Annette’s children have been institutionalized since they were seven and eight years old. They used to be well enough to come home on weekends but they haven’t left their current care facility in two decades.

Now, more than three decades later, Annette wants the right to mercifully end her children’s lives.

“They wouldn’t like to live like this,” she says. “My children were full of life. When they were young, before this disease took hold…I just don’t believe that they would want to stay alive the way they are.”

Annette’s children have been institutionalized since they were seven and eight years old. They used to be well enough to come home on weekends but they haven’t left their current care facility in two decades.

Annette says no one can understand unless they watch - as she did - as her children slowly succumbed to this rare genetic disorder.

“The saying, ‘walk in another man’s moccasins’? Don’t judge. Unless you’ve been there, don’t judge,” she says. “This is no life. For anyone.”

In a 16x9 exclusive, a mother’s plea for mercy – and a father who has been down this road before – and paid the price. 16x9 opens up the debate on the controversial subject of euthanasia speaking to Annette Corriveau about her fight for mercy and to Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan farmer who fought the Supreme Court of Canada after he ended his severely disabled daughter’s life.

As much as we can never take these cases lightly, the fact is that Janet & Jeffrey Corriveau are being cared for and allowing their mother to decide to have them killed by euthanasia will create a whole new debate which would focus on who lives and who dies.

Corriveau emphasizes in the show that no one should judge, but the fact is that this is a question of who society will approve to kill and that effects everyone. We don’t need to judge Corriveau in order to say NO to the killing of people by euthanasia.

Further to that, while so many people say that euthanasia is about “choice” and has little or nothing to do with people with disabilities, the Corriveau story should awaken people to the reality that “choice” is the banner that is used to open the door to euthanasia. Soon after we will begin deciding who lives and who dies, in the same way as the Netherlands has accepted the Groningen Protocol which are the rules that must be followed in order to euthanize children with disabilities.