During the past year, I’ve written various posts about MAiD and Bill C-7 (for example, here), including a post about a letter that I wrote and sent to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs in opposition to Bill C-7, proposed legislation that is currently under consideration in the Canadian Senate, having previously received approval in the House of Commons.
In brief, Bill C-7 would amend the Canadian Criminal Code and expand MAiD (medically-assisted suicide) by removing the “reasonably foreseeable [death]” clause from the current legislation, making it easier to access state funding for a medically-assisted death. The proposed legislation has been widely condemned by disabled Canadians and recently by the United Nations.
In previous posts, I indicated the fundamental role that some Canadian philosophers and bioethicists have played in the development of MAiD and proposed expansions of it. In addition, I expressed my dismay about the way that the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (IJFAB) has promoted MAiD and its progenitors.
Because of the formative role that members of the philosophical community have played in the creation of MAiD and Bill C-7, as well as the latter’s recent acceptance in the Canadian House of Commons and, furthermore, because so many Canadian (and other) philosophers implicitly validate and recommend MAiD and its expansion in their own teaching and writing, philosophers will bear a particular responsibility for the potentially disastrous impact that the proposed legislation will have on Black, Indigenous, poor, and queer disabled people in Canada.
Thus, philosophers in Canada (and elsewhere) should feel compelled to both oppose the legislation and make their opposition to it known to the members of the Canadian Senate and to other members of the philosophical community, in Canada and elsewhere.
In short, it is time for philosophers to act in solidarity with disabled Canadians who are especially threatened by the coercive character of the incremental normalization of government-sanctioned and funded medically assisted suicide in Canada.
Thus, this post strongly urges philosophers to write letters to the Canadian Senators who will deliberate on the legislation next week. As I noted at the outset of this post, I have written a letter. Yesterday, I read on Facebook that philosopher Robert A. Wilson in Melbourne intended to write a letter. A Call for Action that the Disability Justice Network of Ontario has issued solicits letters and includes relevant links to additonal information about Bill C-7 and opposition to it.
Letters in oppositionto Bill C-7 should be no longer than 10 pages and should be sent to the Senate Clerk Gerald La Freniere at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 1.
Please take action to support and protect the lives of disabled Canadians for whom medically assisted suicide will very likely seem the only option given the lack of social and financial supports available to them.