Lives Worth Living, Lives Worth Saving – Speaking Out Against Bill C-7
There are a lot of things that can and should be made easier for people with intellectual disabilities in our country and our society. But making it easier to use the MAiD laws to end our lives is not one of them. - Kory Earle, President, People First of Canada
In June of this year, federal parliamentarians are scheduled to consider Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). If passed, this legislation will make it possible for a person to choose to access medical assistance to end their life, even if their death is not reasonably foreseeable.
Currently, Canadians can only access medical assistance in dying if their death is reasonably foreseeable.
Bill C-7 will expand access to medically-assisted death for people who are “experiencing unbearable physical or psychological suffering from an illness, disease, disability or state of decline that cannot be relieved under conditions that the person considers acceptable.” In simpler terms, it would allow people with disabilities to die with medical assistance because they have a disability.
In jurisdictions where the ‘end of life’ criterion has been removed from medical assistance in dying (as Bill C-7 proposes to do), we have seen that people who are devalued by society – including people with disabilities – have been coerced into ending their lives while in a state of personal suffering. However, this suffering is not caused by a disability – rather it is caused by the pervasive and unjustifiable lack of services and supports needed by many people with disabilities to lead a full life.
The Canadian Association for Community Living is organizing a national campaign to oppose Bill C-7. In Ontario, Community Living Ontario will be marshalling the incredible resources of the disability community, with the goal of meeting with every federal MP in the province. Keep your eyes open next week for more information!