Theodor Dalrymple observes a disturbing development in Canadian law regarding euthanasia:
A 2021 Canadian law on assisted suicide contains a provision that will allow doctors to provide assisted suicide to the psychiatrically ill starting next year. Given that severe psychiatric disorder tends to cloud the judgment of those who suffer from it, one wonders who will benefit most from this law, if passed. Certainly, it might remove from society people who are often difficult, unproductive, and expensive for others. They might be encouraged to shuffle off this mortal coil as a service to their relatives or even to their county. The distinction between the voluntary and the compulsory might become blurred.
The law is a logical extension of the right to a dignified death procured by others—that is, a mode and time of death of a person’s choosing with the aid of doctors and nurses.
The slippery-slope argument, of course, has long been one of the principal objections to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Not every slippery slope is slid down, but we have reason to suppose that, at least in some jurisdictions, it is happening.
In 2017, a research letter in the New England Journal of Medicine reported (with a sense of pride) that, in the Netherlands, 92 percent of those euthanized had serious illnesses. No explanation of the other 8 percent’s circumstances was forthcoming—the editors evidently did not think it polite to ask. The numbers were not small: as many were euthanized without serious illness as are murdered in the Netherlands in four to five years. The state, one might surmise, is complicit in more killings than all the criminals in the country combined.