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Patients Opting for Euthanasia in the Face of Painful Circumstances

Receiving assistance takes a long time. But to be made dead? Not so much.

So much compassion! A disabled woman with quadriplegia named Rose Finlay in Canada has asked to be euthanized because she is destitute, and the disability benefits she applied for would not arrive in time for her to be properly housed and cared for. From the CBC story:

A quadriplegic woman in Bowmanville, Ont., has applied for medical assistance in dying (MAID), saying it’s easier to access than the support services she needs to live her life comfortably.

Receiving assistance takes a long time. But to be made dead? Not so much:

The single mother of three boys previously supported her family with earnings from disability advocacy work through her company, Inclusive Solutions. That’s also how she could afford to hire her own support workers.

But about a year ago, her care workers moved on to other jobs and her health began to decline.

With no other way to earn an income, Finlay applied for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and says she was told by a representative over the phone that it would take at least six to eight months to have her application approved.

According to the federal government’s website, the approval period for MAID is only 90 days. MAID allows individuals with “grievous and irremediable” medical conditions to end their life with the assistance of a doctor or nurse practitioner.

I am hearing about this kind of abandonment much more often since Canada loosened its euthanasia eligibility requirements. There have even been stories of case workers suggesting euthanasia to disabled people denied independent-living assistance and veterans with PTSD as an answer to their “suffering” caused by a lack of social services.

And for you cynics — meaning realists — consider the money Canada will save if disabled people decide to be killed because they have such trouble accessing the care that would make them want to live.

I hope the adverse publicity of this story will get the government off the dime. But if Finlay dies by a lethal jab, it will not be because of the suffering caused by her disability but rather the anguish caused by a society that is increasingly embracing euthanasia as an answer to social injustice — and it will be performed by a doctor who will know that her desire to die has little to do with her physical disability but who does it anyway.

Cross-posted at National Review.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.

Patients Opting for Euthanasia in the Face of Painful Circumstances