A mother of a disabled boy is asking the Canadian government to extend euthanasia to children so a lethal injection might be given to her son.
Karie-Lyn Pelletier, from L’Islet, says she wants to be able to end the life of her four-year-old boy, Abel, if his condition further deteriorates.
The child suffers from Mednik syndrome, an incurable genetic disease which has left him deaf and with severe learning disabilities and intestinal problems.
Miss Pelletier says she wants euthanasia to be “the end that will deliver Abel from his sufferings and the fight he leads”.
She is supported by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a politician who worked on the Bill C-7 which in March removed many of the safeguards from the country’s five-year-old Medical Assistance in Dying regulations permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Boisvenu wants Miss Pelletier to testify before the Canadian Senate, the upper chamber, as a parliamentary committee considers whether to extend euthanasia to children following a campaign which began in 2018.
The proposal has met with fierce criticism from disability rights campaigners both in Canada and the UK, however.
Baroness Grey-Thompson, the distinguished British paralympian wheelchair racer, said: “This is the very fear that disabled people have – that assisted suicide will be used to get rid of disabled people.
“While repeatedly we are told it is ’not for us’, this will set a path that will continue to ramp up the view that disabled people have nothing to contribute to society.”
Dr Miro Griffiths, a teaching fellow in disability studies at the University of Leeds, said the case illustrated the dangers of extension of scope in assisted suicide legislation as peers prepare to debate the Assisted Dying Bill of Baroness Meacher in October.
“Assisted suicide and euthanasia interventions will alter how health and care provision is offered to disabled people, and those with illnesses and health conditions, in society,” Dr Griffiths said.
“Rather than prioritise support for disabled people to participate in communities, debates will take place as to whether an individual’s death should be accelerated via state and medical opinion.”
He added: “This is one of the reasons why the Meacher Bill is dangerous – it flirts with the idea that some lives are not worth living.”
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