Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Canada’s Assault on the Disabled

Canada, which has seen a creeping suppression of civil liberty under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is about to plunge to a shocking new low in its practice of euthanasia (mercy-killing), the process in which doctors use lethal doses of drugs to end the lives of very ill patients. 

 

The Trudeau government is set to expand its already lax laws surrounding euthanasia to include anyone with a mental illness, as well as possibly children and babies with severe disabilities, report AP, Forbes, Fox News and other outlets.

As soon as March 2023, if the current political trend prevails, Canada could allow “mature minors”—a loosely defined term without a specific age—to be killed by state doctors performing “assisted suicide” without the consent of their parents, noted Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Prior to being euthanized, these individuals or parents acting on their behalf would have to apply for Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) program, and to meet the loose criteria of mental illness or severe disability that at least two physicians deem “intolerable.”

Originally, patients had to have a terminal condition where death was considered imminent. A “reform” of that law- known as Bill C-7 – passed parliament in March 2021, removing that requirement and giving Canada one of the most lax assisted-suicide law requirements in the world.

Sources in Canada say an even more shocking portion of the assisted-suicide bill will take effect on March 17, 2023. This provision will expand medically assisted suicides even further. Under the latest changes, a patient whose sole affliction is a mental health condition will be eligible for “assisted suicide.”

Astoundingly, prominent Canadians have voiced support for this reprehensible law; they even advocate that it be extended to include infants and disabled children.

Glorifying Legalized Murder

Proponents of euthanasia glorify the concept of legalized murder, euphemistically calling it “mercy-killing” or “medically assisted death.” Dr. Deryk Smith of the University of British Columbia, writing for “Common Sense,” said “MAID is about relieving suffering and recognizing the inherent right for individuals for autonomy over their health and even their death.”

But as MAID picked up momentum in Canada, its focus widened to the point where individual autonomy is not necessarily driving the movement. At times the underlying motive is clearly the desire to abandon responsibility for the disabled.

Dr. Charles Roy of the Quebec College of Physicians recently recommended in a Canadian parliamentary meeting that babies up to 1 year old can be candidates for “assisted suicide,” if they have “severe deformations or very grave and severe syndromes.”

The very usage of the term “assisted suicide” for a baby is a ghastly joke.

Roy’s statement came as he was testifying before the Canadian House of Commons’ Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying. Disability advocates and other Canadians with any moral backbone were horrified at Roy’s support for infanticide.

Pushback has come not only from conservative and religious voices who find Canada’s ever-widening embrace of euthanasia morally repugnant. Even liberal entities that in principle support the concept of euthanasia have sounded the alarm about the country’s inhumane approach to the disabled.

Echoes Of Nazi Euthanasia

In a recent Associated Press article, Prof. Tim Stainton of the University of British Columbia slammed Canada’s proposed new “assisted dying” laws as “the biggest threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s.”

Calling the inclusion of children and infants “grotesquely perverted,” Forbes magazine wrote that with the law’s new extensions slated to go in effect in March, “unfettered access to [to euthanasia] could prove to unleash one of the most malignant forces since the “mercy killings” of the Third Reich almost nine decades ago.”

Inclusion Canada said it was “alarmed” by Dr. Roy’s recommendation for the legalization of euthanasia for babies with disabilities under the age of one.

“Canada cannot begin killing babies when doctors predict there is no hope for them,” Krista Carr, executive vice president of Inclusion Canada, told National Post. “Predictions are far too often based on discriminatory assumptions about life with a disability.”

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, asserted the College’s position made no sense. “Why would anyone have to give the child a lethal dose?” he asked. “If the child is not going to survive, let him be kept comfortable and die naturally. There’s no reason for us to kill the child. There’s no reason for us to do this at all.”

A Global Issue

The National Post article said that medical assistance in dying has been available in Canada since 2016, after a landmark court ruling the year earlier opened up the right to assisted dying. The 2016 law was followed by progressively laxer criteria for euthanasia; first, the requirement for the disease to be terminal was removed, followed by the requirement of “acute suffering.”

Since 2016, about 30,000 deaths were brought about through MAID. The program resulted in more than 10,000 deaths last year alone. “Advocates say that number will likely see an even greater spike,” Telegraph-UK wrote.

The article also noted that Canada is not an outlier in the euthanasia debate. Mercy-killing laws exist in Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Australia and in certain parts of the United States.

Oregon was the first state to approve medically assisted suicide, with a law going into effect in 1997. California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C., have approved similar laws.

Discrimination Against the Disabled

Canada’s proposed new law widening eligibility for legalized murder to include disabled children and infants takes moral bankruptcy to a new level, critics say.

Unlike in Belgium and the Netherlands, the assisted killing procedure in Canada is not restricted to doctors; it can be performed by a nurse practitioner and is not subject to hospital oversight and reviews.

Additionally, doctors in Canada are urged to encourage euthanasia as an option even with patients who don’t have a terminal illness but are suffering from a difficult disability or chronic pain. In many cases, physicians initiate the assisted-dying conversation. They present the practice as an acceptable option, as one of various “treatment” plans.

Dr. Ramona Coelho, a Canadian family physician told the Associated Press, “The whole premise of the Canadian legislation is built on a discriminatory approach to people with disabilities.”

“Most Canadians think that this is a service of compassion offered for people who have no options left, and are being offered death as a way out,” said Coelho. “When, in fact, the system is being applied so liberally and so swiftly to patients, that people are dying who would have recovered with greater care and resources to live.”

“The implication of (Canada’s) law is that a life with disability is automatically less worth living and that in some cases, death is preferable,” wrote the Telegraph-UK about the proposed amendments.

In one case recounted in the Telegraph article, Alan Nichols, a 61-year-old Canadian who had a history of depression, was put to death without his family’s knowledge. In the application Mr. Nichols filled out for euthanasia, the only medical condition he listed was hearing loss.

Mr. Nichols’ family said he lacked the capacity to understand the process and was not suffering “unbearably.” They charged that hospital employees improperly helped him request euthanasia.

The hospital countered that the patient “made a valid request for euthanasia and that, in line with patient privacy, it was not obliged to inform relatives or include them in treatment discussions.”

“Once the only necessary requirement for doctor-assisted death is suicidal fantasy or ideation, the Nichols family’s tragic story will become a feature of Canadian life,” the article said. “Canadians who suffer from mental illness, poverty, or chronic pain frequently cannot get help—but they can get killed.”

Traumatized by what happened to her father in law, Trish Nichols, said: “I am terrified of my husband or another relative being put in the hospital and somehow getting these (euthanasia) forms in their hand.”

Appearing on Fox News with host Tucker Carlson, Professor Charles Camosy, a professor of medical humanities at Creighton School of Medicine, noted that the MAID practice has already been used in Canada rather extensively for several disadvantaged groups.

“We’ve got the homeless, we talked about that last time. The poor. The disabled. Those with chronic pain. And then right before coming on, I researched the physicians group in Quebec that wants to kill newborn infants. That’s what’s coming next,” he told Carlson.

Gaslighting the Public

Billed as health care and cloaked in compassionate language, medically assisted death is described by proponents as a way to preserve human dignity.

That is pure gaslighting, using deceptive language that sanitizes moral corruption, human rights advocates say.

What the system does is invite society to kill the vulnerable under the guise of compassion. The scenarios are frightening. Imagine a teen in a deep funk over a failed exam, a broken friendship or social rejection expressing the wish for assisted death.

Under the projected new law, that request could be legally fulfilled even though teens tend to experience bouts of despondency or depression. The vast majority recover.

To highlight the utter absurdity of the law: Before young Canadians can even obtain driving licenses, the new bill, if passed, would enable them to “consent” to physicians taking their lives.

An article in Common Sense told the story of Kiano Vafaeian, a 20-year-old Canadian who was approved for medically assisted death due to depression and diabetes. The procedure was scheduled for Sept. 22.

On Sept. 7, Kiano’s mother found an email the doctor wrote to her son explaining the MAID process. The mother sprang into action and was able to draw media attention to her son’s case, prompting the doctor to cancel the procedure.

Kiano’s mother was able to halt her son’s death (even though he was over 18) by rallying public outrage against the physician. But if Canada expands its laws regarding medically assisted death, parents of minors will not be able to legally intervene.

Euthanasia Saves Millions in Health Care

Many have pointed to the incentive for Canada’s health care system to prefer death over expensive treatments and support. Canada already speaks of medically assisted death as a policy that can save millions of dollars.

In addition, impoverished people are turning to MAID out of desperation because they cannot access the resources they need or the treatments they require in Canada’s broken healthcare system.

Canada’s minister of Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The House, that it should not be easier to access a medically assisted death than to get a wheelchair — but in Canada it is.

The Toronto Star, the largest and most liberal newspaper in the country, detailed how one woman is considering assisted suicide because she cannot find an affordable place to live in her city with wheelchair access. Her tale is becoming a common one.

FirstThings.com recounted the saga of sixty-three-year-old Alan Philips, who recently got approved for assisted suicide after trying for eighteen years to get spinal fusion surgery to relieve his agony. In the dysfunctional socialized medicine system operating in Canada, Philips could not get the surgery and was prescribed opioids instead.

“I cannot get adequate healthcare,” he said in fury. “So I asked MAID to kill me and they said ‘Sure’!”

In another case detailed in the article, 45 year-old Sashya Kovac, a Winnipeg woman suffering from a degenerative disease, died through assisted suicide after her persistent attempts to procure home care were denied.

In an obituary published after her death, she revealed: “Ultimately it was not a genetic disease that took me out, it was a system. There is desperate need for change. That is the sickness that causes so much suffering. Vulnerable people need help to survive. I could have had more time if I had more help.”

Liberal but Uncivilized

“There is lively debate today about when a democracy ceases to be liberal,” notes a NY Times op-ed. “But the advance of euthanasia presents a different question: What if a society remains liberal but ceases to be civilized?”

Citing Canada’s new euthanasia bill, the article goes on to note that it is “barbaric to establish a bureaucratic system that offers death as a treatment for suffering and enlists the healing profession in delivering this “cure.”

“This isn’t ‘a slippery slope argument,’ the articled noted. “You’re not sliding down into a quagmire of evil, you’re already there.”

“When 10,000 people are availing themselves of your euthanasia system every year, you have already entered the dystopia”—a sick society where people are forced to lead wretched, dehumanized lives.

The Times article questions the notion that “human rights encompass a “right” to self-destruction.” It concludes that if left unchecked, the destructive ideas underpinning death-as-another-treatment-option will sound the death knell for liberalism.

*****

OASES OF HUMANITY

Until recent times, children with disabilities were hidden away in shame. Even today, with legal protections in place and government funded services, children with special needs have long been recognized as a population at increased risk for neglect and maltreatment.

The following recent headlines—a random sampling— carry chilling reminders of how easy it is to take advantage of the disabled, and a reminder of how swiftly a society can descend into a moral abyss:

–Six Charged For Abusing Autistic Child at School, Howell County News, Missouri

–NJ School Abused Child With Down Syndrome, Lawsuit Says, NJ.com

–Canada’s New Euthanasia Laws Carry Upsetting Nazi-Era Echoes, Forbes

–Unsanitary Conditions Alleged at Springfield School for Children with Severe Disabilities, Missouri Ledger

In striking counterpoint to these depressing echoes of inhumanity toward the disabled, a handful of private schools for children with special needs espouse a diametrically different philosophy, one that mandates true dignity and compassion for children with severe disabilities.

Ohr V’Daas of Monsey, HCS and HASC of New York, M’eiras Einayim of Monroe, Reyim of Hudson Valley and SCHI of New Jersey are some of the institutions in the Tri-State area that comprise an oasis of humanity for children with special needs.

Yated spoke with Rabbi Osher Eisemann, the legendary founder and director of SCHI (School For Children with Hidden Intelligence), one of New Jersey’s largest institutions for children with severe disabilities. Rabbi Eisemann discussed his philosophy about the students the school services, as well as the secret of the school’s phenomenal growth over the years.

“These are heilige neshomos possessing hidden intelligence,” he says. “They are a gift. Shai in Hebrew is a gift. It is a very hard field, the work is consuming. But there’s a dire need for the school and that’s why despite all odds, the Eibershter enables us to succeed.”

Founded in 1995, SCHI began in a storefront with a mere handful of students, one of them Rabbi Eisemann’s own son.

“We moved to Lakewood from Eretz Yisroel,” he recalls. “We put my son in a school for children with special needs in Neptune. We wanted to him to be in a Yiddishe environment but there was no school for such children then. That gave me the push to build…”

Someone else had already begun preliminary work on the school but decided not to continue.

“He gave me all his paperwork and I threw myself into the project,” said SCHI’s founder. “But when everything was done, I began having second thoughts. Putting together the millions to keep the school going, finding the right staff… it was never-ending. I began to wonder if we should homeschool our son instead…”

“I discussed the question with my father, Rav Moshe Eisemann, zt”l,” Rabbi Eisemann recalled. “He said, ‘No, you have to open the school. You’ll be able to do both, run the school and still learn…’”

“Those were his final words to me. A few minutes later he was niftar.”

You Don’t Have to Go to the Grand Canyon to See Niflaos HaBorei

Today, SCHI is a world-renowned therapeutic and educational center meeting the needs of about 500 severely-disabled children and young adults ranging from 3-21 years, with a staff of approximately the same size. Specialists and consultants are regularly brought in to ensure highest standards of special education and patient-care are implemented.

The school addresses a full gamut of physical and cognitive handicaps, ranging from Downs Syndrome to autism, to children who are vision or hearing impaired. Some of SCHI’s students are wheelchair bound, unable to dress or feed themselves; some are unable to communicate.

SCHI’s programs include its groundbreaking early intervention program, where infants and very young children receive therapy and services off site; the day program that caters to hundreds of children from New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and other states; the residential program and the summer camp.

The school runs two 6-week camps in Pennsylvania for children with disabilities; one for girls and one for boys. The camps provide a much needed respite for the students as well as for their parents.

“I’ve had people come from different cities to observe what we do at SCHI,” Rabbi Eisemann reflects. “They want to know about all aspects of our operation, from the educational to the financial. They don’t realize that in addition to the huge educational challenges, there’s a whole other dimension. You have to navigate the bureaucracy to get the government grants released even after they’ve been allocated. It’s a massive effort. It’s about hiring lawyers, finding out what or who is holding things up behind the scenes.”

“In the end,” he said, “with tremendous siyata di’Shmaya, we always manage to get past the roadblocks. We see constant nissim.”

SCHI’s director comments on the Covid lockdown period when parents of the severely disabled had their children at home full time, with all the stress and upheaval that brought. Desperate for the school to reopen, “the parents pleaded with the town and we were allowed to open ahead of most other schools.”

From the lockdown experience, they came to understand and appreciate more than ever the daily miracles SCHI was performing with their children.

Mrs. F. recalled the profound difference in her son’s behavior, speech and skills in the few months he had been attending SCHI. “It was amazing what Daniel was able to achieve, things we didn’t believe were even possible,” she said in a written testimonial. “We’re so grateful for the level of care shown by teachers and staff.”

“You don’t have to go to the Grand Canyon to see niflaos haBorei,” comments Rabbi Eisemann. “Come to SCHI.”

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