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Big Bite: Canada's euthanasia laws will soon expand, permitting 'mature' children under 18 to euthanize
Big bite | A detailed dive into big news
Canada first legalized euthanasia through medical assistance in dying (MAID), a process by which doctors administer drugs to end a patient's life, back in 2016 with the intent to end the suffering of terminally ill adults.
In March 2021, the law was further amended by Bill C-7, which permits assisted euthanasia in other situations, including for certain patients whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable, subject to additional safeguards. The patient must submit a request for euthanasia, and at least two physicians must approve it.
The law allows people with serious disabilities to choose to be killed in the absence of any other medical issue.
For a country that runs on socialized medical care, it is arguably a conflict of interest to offer ever-expanding legalized euthanasia.
Before Bill C-7 entered into force, the country's Parliamentary Budget Officer published a report about the cost savings it would create. Whereas the old MAID regime saved $86.9 million per year – a 'net cost reduction,' in the sterile words of the report – Bill C-7 would create additional net savings of $62 million per year.
According to the AP, 10,000 Canadian patients were legally euthanized in 2021, which is more than a 30% increase over the year before.
Now, according to the AP, the country's euthanasia laws will expand so that "mature" minors under 18 and those with exclusively mental conditions can qualify.
Canadian law does not oblige medical professionals to discuss euthanasia decisions with a patient's family.
Changes to the euthanasia law will go into effect in 2023.