Canada Suspends Assisted Suicide Program Due to Lack of Doctors

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Canada Suspends Assisted Suicide Program Due to Lack of Doctors

Canada has put its assisted suicide program for those suffering only from mental illness on pause.

Justin Trudeau’s government currently offers assisted suicide to those terminally or chronically ill. However, Canadians are still split on extending the same option for those suffering from mental illness.

Some suggested that psychiatric care could be better, which would otherwise dissuade some people from deciding to commit suicide.

The policy would allow any Canadian with an incurable disease to apply for assisted suicide, even if the condition is not life-threatening.

The Blaze reported:

Canada’s initial effort to introduce medically assisted suicide took place when the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that forcing someone to deal with intolerable suffering violated their fundamental rights to liberty and security. However, the law was expanded in 2021 to include anyone who experienced “grievous and irremediable” situations, including depression and other instances of mental illness.

In 2022, 13,000 Canadians took advantage of the assisted suicide program.

Conservative MP Ed Fast said:

“Have we gone too far and too fast with Canada’s assisted suicide program?”

“Will we evolve into a culture of death as the preferred option for those who suffer from mental illness or will we choose life?”

But health officials are reluctant have been opposed to expanding the program, suggesting that there are not enough physicians to diagnose and treat those with mental illnesses, according to Health Minister Mark Holland and Justice Minister Arif Virani,

“The system needs to be ready, and we need to get it right,” Holland said.

“It’s clear from the conversations we’ve had that the system is not ready, and we need more time.”

“Although the curriculum is present, although the guidelines are set, there has not been enough time for people to be trained on them, and provinces and territories are saying their systems are not ready and need more time,” he added.

According the New York Post:

One group in favor of medical assistance in dying, “Dying with Dignity Canada,” issued a statement in reaction to the news, urging the Canadian government to provide clarity on their plan of action.

“For the people across the country who live with treatment-resistant mental disorders who have patiently waited for this change in Canada’s MAID law, Dying With Dignity Canada is disheartened and shares the frustration of the continued exclusion, stigmatization and discrimination based on diagnosis.”

The AP reported:

In Canada, the two options are referred to as medical assistance in dying, though more than 99.9% of such deaths are euthanasia. There were more than 10,000 deaths by euthanasia last year, an increase of about a third from the previous year.

Canada’s road to allowing euthanasia began in 2015, when its highest court declared that outlawing assisted suicide deprived people of their dignity and autonomy. It gave national leaders a year to draft legislation.

The resulting 2016 law legalized both euthanasia and assisted suicide for people aged 18 and over provided they met certain conditions:

They had to have a serious condition, disease or disability that was in an advanced, irreversible state of decline and enduring “unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be relieved under conditions that patients consider acceptable.” Their death also had to be “reasonably foreseeable,” and the request for euthanasia had to be approved by at least two physicians.

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