Since then, nearly 14,000 people have ended their lives through MAID in Canada as of 2019.
BC Catholic filed a freedom of information request in March 2020 to get information about the health authority’s implementation of MAID after a woman told the paper that she felt “pestered [and] pressured” by staff to avail herself of assisted suicide while she was fighting a serious illness.
The documents BC Catholic obtained state that MAID is supposed to be an “entirely patient-driven” process, but do not detail the regulations or standards barring a physician or other medical professional’s introduction of the subject of assisted suicide without first being asked for information.
Eligibility for assisted suicide is restricted to mentally competent Canadian adults who have a serious, irreversible illness, disease, or disability.
While to be eligible a patient does not have to have a fatal condition, they must meet a criterion variously expressed as they “can expect to die in the near future”, that natural death is “reasonably foreseeable” in the “not too distant” future, or that they are “declining towards death.”
The national health ministry of Canada claims there are safeguards to ensure that those requesting euthanasia or assisted suicide “are able to make health care decisions for themselves” and “request the service of their own free will.”
However, a registered nurse who works at a hospice in the Fraser Health region spoke to BC Catholic on condition of anonymity, and said that in her experience, doctors assessing incoming patients inform them of the possibility of assisted suicide but, as a matter of course, do not describe alternatives, such as palliative care.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Pro-life advocates, such as the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, have repeatedly challenged the government to upgrade and promote palliative care options instead of assisted suicide laws.
Dr. Williard Johnston of Vancouver, a family physician who is also the head of the B.C. branch of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told BC Catholic that he believes medical staffs’ mere introduction of the possibility of assisted suicide puts undue pressure on patients when they are the most vulnerable.
Fraser Health’s communications office did not respond to BC Catholic’s request for immediate comment.