Good news! Bill C-384, which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, was defeated on April 21 by a vote of 228 to 59. Thank you for raising your voice about how this bill would have impacted people with disabilities. Please continue to advocate for better palliative care throughout Canada, and for changed attitudes and improved services for people with disabilities.
C-384 violated the basic principle that all people are made in God's image, and would have moved Canadian society toward becoming a culture of death. This bill was particularly dangerous for people living with disabling conditions, because some people would feel pressure "get out of the way" so as not to be a burden to their loved ones. In those situations, a "right to die with dignity" would become an obligation to die. All the supposed safeguards in the bill would do nothing to prevent this horrendous scenario. Like one letter in the National Post said recently, "Agreeing with assisted suicide is an affirmation that, depending on the circumstances, some lives are not worth living and need to be terminated."
As a society, we should not be making it easier for people to die, but should do all we can to help people to live as full a life as possible. When the end of life approaches, as a society we should improve what we are doing already, provide palliative care. As the church, we should minister the love and presence and hope of everlasting life to people who are coming to the end of their lives.
This bill raises the opportunity for further dialog in the church and in society about what makes a life worth living. As children of God in Jesus Christ, we have a significant contribution to make to this dialogue because we affirm the intrinsic worth of every person not based on what he or she can do, but on who he or she is as an image-bearer of God. We can also use the discussion about C-384 as a springboard to talk about the importance of removing barriers of architecture, communication, and attitude so that all people can be included as full and active participants in society and in the church, and so that no one will feel like he or she is a burden, but is a valued and valuable member of the body of Christ, "indispensable" to use the word of the apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 12:22.