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Canadian MPs want assisted suicide for children without parental consent

Assisted Suicide
24 February 2023

A committee of Canada's parliament has called for the country's assisted suicide and euthanasia programme to be extended to "mature minors".

A report by the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) suggests children whose deaths are "reasonably forseeable" should be eligible.

The report also recommended that parental consent is not always necessary in certain cases where a child is considered eligible for a doctor-assisted death.

It calls for the Government of Canada to "establish a requirement that, where appropriate, the parents or guardians of a mature minor be consulted in the course of the assessment process for MAID"

But it adds that "the will of a minor who is found to have the requisite decision-making capacity" in the eyes of the state should "ultimately take priority".

Canadian MPs objected to the proposal to expand MAID eligibility to children, highlighting how decision-making capacities, even for mature young people, remain questionable.

Citing Dr. Maria Alisha Montes, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics, the report states: "I would argue that MAID for mature minors carries the highest amount of risk, as the consequence is death."

"We need to ask ourselves if we should be legalizing this for mature minors when biology shows us that the ability to balance risks and rewards is one of the last areas of the brain to mature", she added.

In the UK, lawmakers in Scotland are expecting fresh legislation to allow doctor-assisted suicide in the next six months, from a Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP.

Palliative doctors, disability activists, suicide prevention charities, faith groups and many others will be opposing the bill, due to insoluble risks to the vulnerable.

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