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Euthanasia as cure for depression? Canada to expand assisted suicide laws to mentally ill

Brittany Jordan

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In March of next year, Canada will introduce a new law enabling people with psychiatric illnesses to choose euthanasia. If a patient feels his state of mind is unbearable, it will only take two doctors to legalize a lethal cocktail of drugs to be applied. 

This is simply the next stage of a process that began in 2016 when the Canadian parliament passed the law on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) which effectively legalized euthanasia. So “maid” became a word synonymous with the wish to die. 

The law was to be applied only in cases of incurable diseases or for people whose state of health meant that death was imminent. In the first year of the law’s operation, just over 1,000 people, mainly suffering from cancer, were put to death in this way.

In 2021, the law was changed to include other conditions patients deemed to be “unbearable.” As a result, the number of deaths legalized in this way reached over 10,000, over 30 percent higher than in 2020. 

Now, in March 2023, Canadian law will allow for the euthanasia of psychiatric patients. According to Toronto law professor Trudo Lemmens, this means that suicide will essentially become a way of treating psychiatric illness. It opens up the possibility that a person suffering from chronic depression and seeking help may find that a therapist recommends death as a way out. 

The way the law is written, according to Gus Aleviou, an expert in disabilities, could lead not only to depression being treated with euthanasia but also post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, ADHD, bulimia, anorexia, and addiction. 

Until recently, we only found reference to such situations in sci-fi literature that described social engineering in totalitarian dystopias. Today that dystopia is becoming reality.

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Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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