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Wesley J. Smith

The Pulse

Now hospital patients can starve themselves into qualifying for euthanasia

Wesley J. Smith

March 27, 2018 (National Review Online) – Once a society embraces euthanasia consciousness, the ways one can qualify to be killed legally by a doctor continually expands.

Case in point: An ethics opinion by College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia decided that a patient – not otherwise eligible under current law for euthanasia – can become so by starving themselves into an irremediable medical condition. (Assisted-suicide ideologues push self-starvation – particularly targeting the elderly who want to die – under the acronym VSED, "voluntary stop eating and drinking.")

Moreover, to assure that a patient will stick with VSED long enough to qualify for a lethal jab, a doctor may palliate the symptoms of starvation and dehydration to assist the patient in destroying their own vitality. Once accomplished, death becomes "foreseeable," opening the door to what is euphemistically known as MAID in Canada, "medical assistance in dying." (Death-advocates sure do love their acronyms!) From the Policy Options Politiques story (my emphasis):

This case put the question of whether patients can, by declining treatment or stopping eating and drinking, make themselves meet the criteria for a "grievous and irremediable medical condition," squarely before the CPSBC. Can it be ensured that patients' condition is incurable and their decline is advanced by refusing potentially effective treatment? Can patients make their death reasonably foreseeable by stopping eating and drinking? Can they access MAiD by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking?

On February 13, 2018, an inquiry committee for the CPSBC answered these questions with an unequivocal yes. The committee agreed that patients, even those seeking MAiD, have a right to refuse even potentially effective treatment and to refuse to eat and drink. Ms. S. met the criteria for MAiD "despite the fact that her refusal of medical treatment, food, and water undoubtedly hastened her death and contributed to its 'reasonable foreseeability.'"

Canada has embraced a positive "right to die." Once that Rubicon is crossed, the "protective guidelines" euthanasia advocates promise will protect the vulnerable are – presto change-o – redefined as "obstacles" impeding access to a "good death" that a compassionate society must overcome.

Of course, VSED as the means to qualify for euthanasia is just a way station toward expanding eligibility standards overall. As the article points out, forcing patients who to starve themselves to qualify for the lethal jab will soon be viewed as "cruel." At that point, the VSED part will be dropped so that the currently ineligible patient can be MAIDed (if you will) without the messy preliminaries.

Lest you think such an enabling will never happen here, an Oregon death bureaucrat opined recently that patients with treatable diabetes can qualify for assisted suicide simply by ceasing their insulin injections. Presto, change-o, they become terminally ill and eligible for a lethal prescription!

And that, my friends, is how euthanasia advances from a supposedly rarely available "safety valve" when nothing but killing will relieve suffering, into essentially a right to death-on-demand for the physically sick, disabled, elderly "tired of life," and mentally ill.

Published with permission from National Review Online.

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