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Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop expanding assisted suicide

(LifeSiteNews) — Last year, I noted in First Things that of all the perverse lies told by proponents of euthanasia, one of the worst is their claim that it reduces suffering in society. The precise opposite is true. We have seen this in Canada time and again; heartbroken relatives reaching out to the media to explain how the assisted suicide of a loved one has left them destroyed. Each person who dies at the end of a doctor’s needle leaves loved ones behind; many of them are deeply traumatized by the experience. 

Gary Hertgers of British Columbia found out that his sister, Wilma, had died by lethal injection when her building manager called him to inform him that the coroner had just left her apartment. A doctor told the Globe and Mail that he still has nightmares about his father’s euthanasia death, which the family opposed. Two sisters in B.C. found out that their mother had died through euthanasia by text message. Another mother whose troubled son was approved for euthanasia only managed to have that approval rescinded by launching a media campaign. 

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The CBC is now reporting on a similar story. A desperate father has requested that Court of King’s Bench Justice Colin Feasby in Alberta examine the process that led to two of three doctors approving his daughter for euthanasia (which is referred to in Canada as “MAiD,” or medical assistance in dying). His daughter, who suffers from autism, is only 27 years old. The court has issued a publication ban to protect the identities of the family members and the doctors involved; CBC identified the father as “W.V.” and the daughter as “M.V.”  

According to court proceedings, M.V. was approved for euthanasia in December – signoff by two doctors is required to meet the threshold. She was given the date of February 1 to receive the lethal injection. M.V. still lives with her father, who managed to obtain a temporary injunction halting the impending euthanasia (the CBC reported that this “prevent(ed) M.V. from accessing MAiD”) the day before her scheduled death. Her father argued to the court that “M.V. suffers from autism and possibly other undiagnosed maladies that do not satisfy the eligibility criteria for MAiD.” 

The daughter’s lawyer, Austin Paladeau, countered by arguing that M.V. is “not trying to withhold or hide anything” by her failure to supply medical documents justifying euthanasia, but that “She’s saying ‘it’s none of (W.V.’s) or the public’s business, I’ve been approved by two doctors, I am entitled to this and, court, it’s none of your business either.’” 

Her father, who still cares for her, feels differently; her death is very much his business. His lawyer, Sarah Miller, argued in a brief: “As it stands, AHS (Alberta Health Services) operates a MAiD system with no legislation, no appeal process and no means of review.” 

Miller is asking the Calgary judge for a judicial review of M.V.’s approval for euthanasia, and W.V. submitted a 2021 report to the court from a neurologist who stated that M.V. was “normal”; the father also stated that M.V.’s “capacity to consent to MAiD is impacted by mental illness” and that she had likely been “unduly influenced by a third party.” M.V.’s lawyer argued that the issue at stake was medical autonomy itself, stating:  

He’s at risk of losing his daughter and while this is sad, it does not give him the right to keep her alive against her wishes. One of the real challenging parts of this process… is what’s actually happening. I completely understand (W.V.) does not want his daughter to die… I represent (M.V.), I don’t want her to die either but that doesn’t play into account here. Even though we have or may have very strong views… at the end of the day this is (M.V.’s) decision.

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The judge is grappling with the case. “As a court, I can’t go second guessing these MAiD assessors… but I’m stuck with this: the only comprehensive assessment of this person done says she’s normal,” Feasby stated. “That’s really hard.” He called the case a “vexing” one and, according to the CBC, “reserved his decision on whether he’ll set aside the temporary injunction preventing M.V. from accessing MAiD… the other part of his decision will deal with whether a judicial review will take place, which would examine how doctors came to sign off on M.V.’s MAiD application.” 

I hope Feasby makes the right decision. If he does not, a father will face the horror of a doctor coming into his home and giving his daughter a lethal injection against his will – with the entire force of the state endorsing the doctor’s right to do so. At the end of the day, this case is vexing – but it really isn’t hard. 

Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop expanding assisted suicide

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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.