Assisted dying assisted suicide Meacher Bill

Evidence of a Slippery Slope?

Supporters of our campaign to resist a law change on assisted suicide have continually expressed real concerns about the concept of  “a slippery slope”. The idea that once assisted suicide is permitted for one group it isn’t long before it’s extended to include other groups and that this is a bad thing. Our opponents have argued that this is simply not true, that a slippery slope does not exist.

Let’s briefly examine what has been happening in Canada.

In December 2015 – the Quebec Province in Canada (a regional government) passed the Act Respecting End of Life Care, which permits Medical Aid In Dying (MAID).

June 2016 – The law was extended to other Provinces and Territories, making Quebec’s law legal across the whole of Canada. It prioritises mentally ill and vulnerable people and those who have a grievous or irremediable medical condition, including people with an incurable illness or disease, and disabled people.

In March 2020 – the Canadian courts (nationwide) extended the law to include the following:

  • Removal of the requirement that death should be reasonably foreseeable
  • Only one independent witness to request for MAID
  • A personal or health care worker may be a witness
  • Removal of 10-day period for reflection
  • The waiver should be given in advance

On 17 March 2021 – the Canadian legislature expanded MAID to a broader group of people:

  • A person does not need to have a fatal or terminal condition to be eligible for MAID.
  • Mentally ill patients can give an advanced waiver to sign off for MAID before they are compromised by their condition.

The numbers of people assisted to end their lives in Canada are consistently growing year on year:

The Canadian Government now propose that in March 2023 it plans to give patients with mental illness alone and no other underlying issues the option for a MAID.

Within six years the scope of the assisted suicide legislation in Canada has been amended twice with further amendments planned. More people are now eligible, the death rate is increasing and the protections have been weakened we’d call that a “slippery slope”.


2 replies on “Evidence of a Slippery Slope?”

This is all too predictable sadly. There is a continuing endeavour to portray those of us – Disabled People and our allies – who fear the virus-like growth of lobbying for euthanasia, as right wing, religious bigots. As a Humanist and therefore of course an atheist, I find this both offensive and disturbing. There is a self-styled liberal lobby who have bought into the campaign for so-called assisted dying, on the spurious basis that it is about ‘personal choice’ rather than about ‘ridding society of “useless eaters” and the inconveniently surviving older population.

I hope that soon, someone more erudite and informed than I will put something on this website about any campaigns that are afoot regarding the sinister and increasing pressures for legislation in Scotland and Jersey. Somehow, we need to challenge more effectively the myth that support for assisted suicide is about allowing people to choose when and how they die with ‘dignity’.

I of course support the right for anyone to determine their own future and to make rational decisions about themselves. These liberal campaigns however, consistently focus upon one “tragic” individual after another, seemingly persuaded that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it is humanitarian to ‘allow’ such individuals to be assisted to end their lives. In truth, it is never about just the one (exploited) Disabled individual in these circumstances. For a community which so often, and in my view correctly, cites science and ‘facts’ as the basis for decision-making, these liberals appear to show a remarkable lack of analysis. The slippery slope highlighted in Canada by the article which provoked this ‘rant’, is all too evident in the public jury decision published this month in jersey, endorsing a very wide scope for agreeing to ‘requests’ for such ‘assistance’.

I don’t wish to create splits in our important struggle against this dangerous direction of travel in international public policy, but I for one have nothing in common with lobbyists against a woman’s right to choose. These religiously motivated lobbyists fervently and unfortunately successfully in some cases, campaign to prevent women from choosing to make choices about their own bodies and end unwanted pregnancies by having safe and legal free abortions. I am unwilling to share a platform with such bigots. I do think we need therefore to increase our robust campaigns to explain to people the truth behind the myth that so-called assisted suicide is solely about individual choice rather than about a systematic move towards perpetuating the notion that some disabled people would be better off dead because they are Disabled People!

Is there an active campaign on these issues at present and, if so, are there materials being used in Jersey and Scotland to counter the liberal misrepresentation of these issues? I am a supporter in most other respects of the important lobbying work of Humanists UK, but on this vital issue, I feel they are doing tremendous damage to Disabled People like myself and my partner. I would be particularly keen to identify material being used to counter their dangerous arguments.

Hi, Mike Thank you for your note. There is a campaign in Scotland to resist any law change on assisted suicide. Catherine Garrod, who is based in Scotland, may be able to help. I will send you her contact details.

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