Don’t Let Them Jump!
In times past, when a fellow human being desired to end their life, all manner of assistance was brought together to help that person and pull them back from the (literal or proverbial) edge. In fact, I remember as a child asking my father what it meant when the traffic reporters said that “the Port Mann bridge is closed due to a police incident.” He told me that there was likely someone who felt their life was no longer worth living and wanted to jump off the bridge. In those situations, the first responders wouldn’t think twice about shutting down an entire bridge in an effort to save the person’s life. if someone got to the point where they wanted to jump off a bridge, it meant society had failed them in one manner or another and we needed to try to make it right.
It’s only been six years since Canada legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide, and while it was first justified as something necessary for those with a terminal illness in the last days of their life on earth, it has now become something nearly everyone can access, soon to also include those with mental illness. We should be ashamed of ourselves! On the one hand, we mark Mental Health Week and commemorative days such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, both efforts to highlight the fact that life is worth living even while suffering through mental illness, and on the other hand we will offer death as a solution to mental suffering.
Just as in the past it would have been unthinkable for first responders to “assist” a mentally ill person by pushing them off the bridge, it should also be unthinkable today that we allow a euthanasia doctor to “assist” the same person by killing them in the sterile environment of a hospital bed.
Mike Schouten is the Director of Advocacy for ARPA Canada