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Experts see Canada’s euthanasia laws as a threat to people with disabilities

gary nichols canada euthanization.jpeg
Gary Nichols via AP
Gary Nichols stands with his brother, Alan, on the eve of his euthanization in Chilliwack, British Columbia in July 2019. Alan submitted a request to be euthanized. His application for euthanasia listing only one health condition as the reason: hearing loss. He was killed despite concerns raised by his family and a nurse practitioner. Nichols’ family reported the case to police and health authorities, arguing that he lacked the capacity to understand the process and was not suffering unbearably — among the requirements for euthanasia. “Alan was basically put to death,” Gary says.

Canada is set to expand access next year, but human rights advocates say the system lacks safeguards and is prompting doctors to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it.

Canada arguably has the world’s most permissive euthanasia rules, but human rights advocates say those regulations devalue the lives of disabled people.

They say the regulations also are prompting doctors and health workers to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it.

Equally troubling, advocates say, are instances in which people have sought to be killed because they weren’t getting adequate government support to live.

Families say that has led to disturbing conversations and controversial deaths.

The current law allows people with serious disabilities to choose to be killed in the absence of any other medical issue. Next year, Canada is set to allow people to be killed exclusively for mental health reasons.

Some critics say the system warrants further scrutiny.

Click here to read more of this article from the Associated Press.