By Derek Miedema, Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
May 19th 2011,
So-called safeguards to limit the practice of legalized euthanasia don’t work, a recent paper suggests.
Efforts to legalize assisted suicide and/or euthanasia typically include safeguards, intended to protect patients from abuse. Legislation allowing assisted suicide is controversial and so proposed limits often act as an encouragement for those who don’t wholeheartedly support the idea; they envision that access will be highly regulated and therefore not subject to abuse. In Canada, for example, prior proposed bills have stated that a person would have to be “at least 18 years old” and “(suffer) from a terminal illness.” However, according to a recent article published in Current Oncology by Dr. José Pereira, Medical Chief of Palliative Care at Bruyère Continuing Care in Ottawa, safeguards are routinely ignored and/or abused. His review of the non-prosecuted violations of safeguards in the Netherlands, Belgium and the state of Oregon show that including safeguards in assisted suicide legislation is little more than drawing lines in the sand.