Canada: Medical body wants euthanasia for newborns

A medical body in Canada has called for legalised euthanasia of newborn babies deemed to have a short life expectancy.

Dr Louis Roy, from the Quebec College of Physicians, told the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying that parents should be able to arrange the deaths of babies up to one-year-old who are deemed to have “severe deformations, very grave and severe syndromes” and a short life expectancy.

Canada legalised euthanasia in 2016. It has already scrapped the requirement for a person to be terminally ill and will extend it to those deemed to have mental illness from 2023. A parliamentary review is currently underway on the impact in areas such as paediatrics.


The College also claimed that children between the ages of 14 and 17, who are deemed to be experiencing “persistent and intolerable suffering”, should be able to request their own death with the consent of a parent or even a tutor.

Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of disability rights group Inclusion Canada, called killing infants who cannot give consent “murder”, saying that doctors’ predictions are “far too often based on discriminatory assumptions about life with a disability”.

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said: “Now, it’s not about my autonomy, my choice. If I can do that to a newborn, why can’t I do that to someone who never asked for it, who never showed any interest in it but now has Alzheimer’s?”

based on discriminatory assumptions about life with a disability

He added: “Once the door to killing without consent is completely opened, the swath of people who become eligible for being killed expands exponentially.”


Last month, The Lancet reported that the rising number of deaths in Canada by euthanasia and assisted suicide have “quickly become normalised”.

Writing in the prestigious medical journal, Paul Webster interviewed critics including Professor Trudo Lemmens of the University of Toronto about the country’s expansion of so-called Medical Assistance in Dying.

Professor Lemmens said: “What was originally conceived as an exceptional practice in medicine has quickly become normalised. Even before the law is set to be expanded to include mentally ill patients, we already have worryingly high numbers of people dying”.

Also see:

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