Canada is increasingly more open about its embrace of euthanasia and assisted suicide, even advertising it in hospital waiting rooms.
Writing on the blog of National Review last week, The Discovery Institute's Wesley Smith shared a photo a source sent him from a Canadian hospital system where "medical aid in dying" (MAiD) — referring to physician-assisted suicide — is pushed on patients via an on-screen advertisement in the hospital urgent care waiting room.
"MAiD is a medical service in Canada, whereby physicians and nurse practitioners help eligible patients fulfill their wish to end their suffering," the ad reads, along with a toll-free phone number for interested persons.
"The ad makes no mention of palliative care or other means to reduce or eliminate suffering without killing. It does not describe that counseling can help people regain the desire to live. There is no hint that suicide prevention services might be available. And it obscures the fact that MAiD is a euphemism for homicide by lethal injection," Smith reported.
The practice was only legalized in the North American nation three years ago via its Supreme Court.
The ad is particularly alarming, Smith went onto explain, because not only is it legal but it is now being presented as a "positive right."
"And, they are telling dissenting physicians in Ontario that they either must kill qualified patients, find a doctor willing to do the dirty deed (known as an 'effective referral') or get out of medicine."
He added: "And considering that Canada has a single payer socialized healthcare system, what better way to save on costs than by gently persuading those with the most expensive conditions to choose death over fighting to stay alive? Indeed, there is already at least one case in which a disabled patient was offered euthanasia after being denied the independent living services he says he needs to maintain the desire to carry on."
The failure to mention any life-affirming options reveals that euthanasia is not only being presented as normal by Canadian medical institutions, but is set to become the preferred “treatment” for those with debilitating illnesses, he concluded.
Such overt promotion of assisted suicide comes amid reports last month that doctors from a Toronto children's hospital had articulated policies on physician-assisted suicide for minors, revealing that in some cases, parents would not be notified until after the child has died.
"Usually, the family is intimately involved in this (end-of-life) decision-making process. If, however, a capable patient explicitly indicates that they do not want their family members involved in their decision-making, although health care providers may encourage the patient to reconsider and involve their family, ultimately the wishes of capable patients with respect to confidentiality must be respected," the pediatric doctors at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, administrators and ethicists wrote in a September British Medical Journal article.
A 2017 survey of 1,050 Canadian doctors found that 33 percent of them believe assisted suicide should be illegal for minors, while around half think "mature" minors should have the option to request it if they so desire.
Bioethicists are worried that protections for those who object to the practice are quickly disappearing.
"I think that conscientious objection in Canada, unfortunately, hangs by a thread," Deacon Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, told Catholic News earlier this month.