The legalisation of assisted suicide could save more than $100 million per year for the Canadian health care system, an alarming study has claimed.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party passed assisted suicide into law last June, allowing the practice for people whose natural death was “reasonably foreseeable”.
The study, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, has been widely criticised since its release.
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said it puts “social pressure on people to die” by assisted suicide.
“This is what human life has come down to — dollars saved by killing someone. Now it becomes, ‘How dare you continue living when I have to pay for your costs.’”
Authors Aaron Trachtenberg and Braden Manns, from the University of Calgary, claimed the law could save between $34.7 and $138.8 million per year.
According to Schadenberg, “the cost savings were assessed based on a Netherlands study estimating the number of weeks that lives were shortened by euthanasia, multiplied by the average cost of care for a person nearing death, and multiplied by the likely number of euthanasia deaths in Canada.”
This is what human life has come down to — dollars saved by killing someone.
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The authors did point out that financial savings should not be a factor in decision-making for those considering assisted suicide.
They suggested that “the financial savings gained from premature deaths by euthanasia could be re-invested into palliative care”.
But Schadenberg responded: “The more that people die prematurely by lethal injection, the less demand will exist for palliative care. Dead people don’t need palliative care”.
Michel MacDonald, Executive Director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, said it was a “sad day” to see human life being valued in terms of cost-benefit analysis.
“The underlying utilitarian philosophy of the report fails to do justice to the unique dignity of the human person, a dignity that cannot be reduced to dollars and cents.”
MacDonald added: “Our focus then should not be on euthanizing patients, but on building a comprehensive palliative care system whereby we can care for individuals and accompany them during this vulnerable time in their lives.”
In December, figures revealed more than 700 people have died across Canada since assisted suicide and euthanasia laws were introduced, with one doctor alone assisting in at least 40 deaths.
Assisted suicide remains illegal in the UK.
A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015.
Following a lengthy debate, MPs voted 330 to 118 against Rob Marris’ Private Members’ Bill.