Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. has denounced legislation in Canada to expand assisted suicide to include those with disabilities.
Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide — what has been termed "medical aid in dying" — in 2016. The Parliament recently advanced a measure known as Bill C-7 to expand the parameters to include individuals who have a disability but are not facing a terminal illness.
In an episode of Mohler’s podcast “The Briefing” posted online Tuesday, the Southern Baptist leader said the legislation showed the slippery slope nature of legalized physician-assisted suicide.
“The Canadian Parliament have now extended the logic that they had insisted would be limited to those who had a reasonable expectation of death in a short time. You've seen that that promise never is kept,” said Mohler.
“Once you buy into the logic of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, you find yourself in almost every case just extending the logic further and further.”
Mohler went on to stress that when “you open the door of physician-assisted suicide or any form of euthanasia, you're responsible for everything that passes through that door.” He cited Belgium and the Netherlands as examples.
“The logic that began with physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia for those who were terminally ill was extended to adults, terminally ill. Then it was extended to adults who weren't terminally ill but had some diagnosis that they did not want to deal with,” Mohler added.
“Then it was extended to those who had a form of depression or some kind of psychiatric diagnosis. And then it was extended to children, and then it was extended beyond adolescents to younger children. What we're looking at here is that in Canada, it has now been extended to the disabled.”
Mohler then warned that if such ideas were prevailing in Canada, it would not be long until they gain traction in its neighbor to the south, the United States.
“Don't believe for one minute that the logic that is here chillingly revealed in this action in Canada will stay in Canada. Furthermore, honesty requires that we admit that this logic is already right here, and horrifyingly enough, it's gaining ground,” he concluded.
According to the Canadian Department of Justice, Bill C-7 would amend the country’s criminal code to allow for medical assistance in dying for those “whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable,” but would not allow it for those solely suffering from mental illness.
At present, Canada permits physician-assisted suicide for a person suffering from “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” who is at least 18 years old, mentally capable of making their own health decisions, eligible for government-funded health services, and makes a voluntary request based on “informed consent.”
Last week, Bill C-7 passed the House of Commons with the support of most Liberal and Bloc Quebecois members while being opposed by Conservatives, New Democrats, and others.
Bloc House leader Alain Therrien said in comments reported by The Canadian Press that he supported the legislation out of “compassion.”
“There are people suffering. There are people waiting for us to do our work and it is time for us, after all of this debate, to act and be compassionate towards them,” argued Therrien to the House of Commons.