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(LifeSiteNews) — Countries around the world should be viewing Canada’s euthanasia regime as a cautionary tale. In Australia, a fellow Commonwealth country, they appear to be taking the opposite approach. In June 2019, assisted suicide became available in the state of Victoria; in July 2021, in Western Australia; in October 2022, in Tasmania; in New South Wales in November 2023; this month, in Queensland and South Australia. Now, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which contains the country’s capital of Canberra and is thus particularly influential, is considering an even more radical approach to what is referred to as “voluntary assisted dying” (VAD). 

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2023 was published on October 31 and will almost certainly pass in 2024. It is also significantly more liberal than the regimes introduced in other Australian states; as Wesley J. Smith noted, “there is no timeframe until death, nurse practitioners can assess eligibility, healthcare workers are permitted to discuss the possibility of VAD, and nursing homes cannot obstruct patients’ desire to die.” In short, the legislation prioritizes suicidal ideation above almost all other considerations. This is not a narrow path to death with carefully considered guardrails; it is a four-lane highway interrupted with green lights. 

In a letter submitted to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Committee of ACT on December 13, however, the ACT Human Rights Commission complains that the dangerously liberal legislation still does not go far enough. The letter was submitted on behalf of the President and Human Rights Commissioner, Dr. Penelope Mathew; the Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner, Jodie Griffiths-Cook; and the Discrimination, Disability, Health and Community Services Commissioner, Karen Toohey. The signatories are significant because these people claim to represent the very groups that would be made more vulnerable by the changes they called for.  

READ: Pro-life Canadian health workers say they won’t be forced to participate in abortion, euthanasia

The Human Rights Commission states that, as some of their previous recommendations had been ignored, they would resubmit them for further consideration, including: 

Access for Children and Young People under 18: the current scheme is limited to individuals over the age of 18 years old. Human rights principles require due consideration for the rights of children and young people, including their right to access health care without discrimination and their right to have their views taken into account.  

It is the Commission’s view that this extends to decisions for a child or young person to voluntarily end their life with dignity in the same circumstances as adults: namely where they have a condition that is advanced, progressive and expected to cause their death, where they are suffering intolerably, where they are acting voluntarily, and where they have demonstrated maturity and capacity to make such a decision. We recognise that there may need to be additional steps and safeguards for children and young people, particularly where the views of parents and carers differ from the young person or from each other. 

In short, the Human Rights Commission is calling for the removal of the age limit of 18 for assisted suicide and euthanasia — “mature minors” meaning that the minor may not be mature enough to vote, drink, drive, or smoke, but is “mature” enough to opt for suicide or a doctor-administered lethal injection. As Wesley Smith bluntly put it: “If adopted, this means that ‘mature’ minors would be able to be made dead without their parents’ permission and children no matter how young could be put down.” This, by the way, is also being advocated in Canada by the dangerous and reprehensible activists at Dying with Dignity.  

If “child euthanasia” sounds like fearmongering to you, consider the fact that it has been practiced for disabled infants in the Netherlands since 2004 under the Groningen Policy, and in 2019 the Dutch Ministry of Health recommended legalizing euthanasia for children between the ages of one and twelve—a proposal that the Dutch government worked seriously to codify and implement. Considering how far down the slope we have progressed in just a few years, there is good reason to suspect that child euthanasia is on the horizon—and sooner than we think.  

RELATED: Violent suicides in the Netherlands up 35 percent since introduction of euthanasia, expert say

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.