(LifeSiteNews) — On this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon is once again joined by Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), who discusses updates regarding Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) program and a Conservative bill that would limit its application to the mentally ill.
The bill, C-314, which received its first floor debate last month in the Canadian Parliament, was introduced by the Hon. Ed Fast, a former Conservative minister. It is designed to stop MAID’s expansion to include the mentally ill. Reacting to the possibility of applying MAID to the mentally ill and potentially “mature minors,” Fast said it shows that Canada is on a “slippery slope.” EPC is currently running a petition in support of Fast’s bill, which now has over 4,500 signatures.
Discussing the bill, Schadenberg said “it’s a very good bill because its right on the money.”
“It just deals with that issue, and it’s very clearly worded … it’s not what you call a very long bill,” he continued. “It’s only dealing with the question of euthanasia for mental illness.”
Schadenberg also noted that MAID’s expansion to include the mentally ill faces several “issues,” including that the mentally ill could not have “the same level of capacity to make decision about themselves or the mental illness,” and that the issue of irremediable disease is not defined, asking “how could you say that someone with a mental illness has an irremediable mental condition …?” Schadenberg further noted that the issue of mental illness is itself a “variable question,” and that the treatment of mental illness is subjectively based on the individual patient’s needs.
Discussing MAID further, Schadenberg offered commentary regarding the Canadian government’s year-long delay in implementing the MAID program for the mentally ill, pushing it back to March 2024. According to Schadenberg, the delay is caused by two factors.
“One was … the overwhelming amount of stories coming out of the disability community of people with poverty, people with … homelessness, people unable to get medical treatment, all … seeking euthanasia, not because they wanted to die, but because they felt their situation was hopeless,” Schadenberg opined. “And of course, you add the mental illness to the question and you’ve got an explosive bomb.”
“If the government thought it was bad with all those stories coming at them from people with disabilities saying, ‘We’re living in poverty, we’re homeless, we can’t get medical treatment, and that’s why we’re seeking death, because of the lack of support and care we have a broken medical system, our broken social service system in Canada.’ If you think that was bad … wait until you legalize euthanasia or mental illness,” he added.
Later in the episode, Schadenberg discussed potential changes to an American model law enacted by most states called the Uniform Determination of Death Act, which regulates organ donation. According to the law, a person must have neither a heartbeat nor brain function to be considered brain dead, at which point organ donation can occur.
According to Schadenberg, the change to the model law under investigation by the Uniform Law Commission, the organization responsible for the model law, would entail a change in the definition of brain death to include “irreversible condition,” such as when a motorcyclist has limited brain activity after an accident. Another potential change to the law would be that the bedside doctor would determine if one is brain dead, rather than a committee making its determination based on a series of tests, without the possibility for the family of the deceased to challenge the determination.
Schadenberg also described organ donation practice in several U.S. hospitals under current law as an “experiment,” whereby doctors would cut off blood flow to the brain once a person’s heart stops beating. Once the blood flow to the brain is cut off, the heart is started again to preserve the organs for donation.
“If you consider this, this is a serious issue because what you’re actually doing is you’re taking someone who could have been kept alive … but instead you’re declaring them brain dead,” stated Schadenberg. “You’re intentionally killing them. And because there’s no blood flow to the brain, they’re saying, ‘Well, they’re dead.’ You’re removing organs from them.”
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