With the recent moves by Canada’s Parliament to expand its euthanasia program — “Medical Assistance in Dying,” or MAiD — to include people with mental illnesses, a young law graduate, who has suffered from years of suicidal depression, has spoken out against the legislation, warning of the many lives that stand to be needlessly lost.
Last month, the Canadian Senate passed an amended version of Bill C-7, which principally removes the current stipulation for exclusive use of MAiD for those whose natural deaths are “reasonably foreseeable,” opening the door to non-terminal patients. The amended bill also expands who is eligible under the country’s euthanasia initiative to include anyone whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness. Following a two-year “sunset clause” such individuals will be permitted to be euthanized.
The amended bill was handed back to the House of Commons, which approved the changes last week by a vote of 180-149, meaning the Senate now has until the end of March to either amend further, or accept Bill C-7, writing it into law.
The “sunset clause” will not apply to the permission currently in law whereby individuals with neurocognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s are given access to MAiD in advance, before they “lose the capacity” to consent.
In a video statement, 25-year-old Garifalia Milousis candidly relates her own tortured experience with mental illness, in the form of depression. She tells of the numerous occasions, starting at 14 years of age, that her struggle gave rise to increasingly harmful behaviors: from anorexia and bulimia to attempts at taking her own life.