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James Risdon James Risdon

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Euthanasia cases soar under Canada’s ‘medically assisted dying’ law

James Risdon James Risdon

OTTAWA, July 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Canadians are asking for help from a doctor or nurse in snuffing out their lives under the country’s “medical assistance in dying” legislation almost twice as often now as they were only two years ago.

In mid-June 2016, the federal government passed Bill C-14, a law amending the country’s Criminal Code to allow Canadians to seek medical assistance in dying.

A little more than six months later, 803 Canadians were dead after having chosen to end their lives under the measures allowed in this new law.

Since then, the rate at which Canadians have opted for euthanasia has almost doubled.

In the six months that ended Dec. 31 last year, 1,525 Canadians chose to end their lives with medical assistance, almost twice as many as during the first six months of the legislation and an increase of 29.3 percent over the first six months of last year.

The macabre trend toward choosing death in Canada is laid bare in the federal government’s regular, twice-yearly reports on medical assistance in dying.

Those reports show that while these medically-assisted deaths accounted for only 0.6 of a percent of all deaths in Canada during the period of the first report in 2016, euthanasia deaths now comprise 1.07 percent of all deaths in the country.

Ottawa is downplaying the rapid rise in popularity of medically assisted death, saying the current rate “is consistent with other international assisted dying regimes.”

But it’s clear Canada is likely to see even more growth in the popularity of medically-assisted death.

In its first interim report on medical assistance in dying, the federal government noted “the proportion of medically-assisted deaths in international jurisdictions in 2015 was 3.75 percent in the Netherlands and 1.83 percent in Belgium, and 0.37 percent in Oregon in 2016.

It would take a jump of about 71 percent in Canada’s current rate of medically-assisted death to make it as popular here as it was in Belgium two years ago. And the Canadian rate would have to more than triple before medically assisted death is as commonplace here as it was in the Netherlands three years ago.

There, the euthanasia laws have been loosened even further, to the point of allowing those with mental illness to opt for medically assisted death. Euthanasia has become so commonplace in the Netherlands that psychiatrists are often scorned when they opt for life for their patients.

In Canada, the typical person who most often opts for medically assisted death is a 56-to-75-year-old, city-dwelling woman with cancer or cardiovascular disease, according to the Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada.

Census figures suggest that’s primarily because the majority of adult Canadians are women and live in cities.

When that demographic reality is factored in, the bias showing the greater likelihood of women opting for medically-assisted dying all but disappears. But another trend shows up: that of people in rural areas being more likely to go the euthanasia route.

Since Canada has enacted the euthanasia law, there have been 3,714 medically assisted deaths in the country, excluding the few in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut where the few such deaths are not reported for reasons of privacy.

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