By Grace Hemmeke, Right to Life of Michigan Events & Outreach Coordinator
Canada, in 2016, passed their Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) law, allowing assisted suicides. That law was expanded in scope in 2021, allowing mentally ill people to receive MAiD, and now Canada is attempting to expand it once again. Bill S-248 would allow people to receive MAiD even if their death is not foreseeable, or if they have already consented to receive MAiD via writing.
For the past few years, Michigan’s prolife movement has been focused on abortion, and rightly so. However, Canada’s embrace of euthanasia is fundamentally no different from Michigan’s recent passing of Proposal 3. In fact, neither of these are legislative problems at all. The legal outcomes are simply the canary in the coal mine. The real problem that both Americans and Canadians are facing is the way they perceive the value of human life. It’s no accident that those who are eligible for MAiD are the mentally ill, the terminally ill, the poor, those with low life expectancy, soldiers suffering from PTSD, and deformed infants. These are vulnerable individuals, weak, imperfect, flawed, and needy of more resources, and therefore, they are eligible for an efficient, cheap death. To Canadian legislators, the resources of the state are more important than the life of the weak.
It’s very easy (and very right) for Americans and Michiganders to be revolted and horrified by the cold-blooded killings that statist or eugenicist legislators allow in Canada. But it’s better to take Canada as a warning sign, a window into our own future. The same disregard for life which exists in Canada exists in Michigan. The same rejection of compassion that exists in Canada exists in Michigan. The same materialism which exists in the minds of Canada’s lawmakers exists in the minds of Michigan’s lawmakers. The value of life is no longer accepted as a true premise if that life does not have some sort of outward value. The physically fit, the wealthy, the famous – these have value in our culture, not because they are people, but because they are strong people, rich people, entertaining people. The unborn, the disabled, the mentally ill – these have no value in American culture because they are inconvenient to those with wealth, they are a drain on the happiness of others, they are unable to contribute to society, or they live a life of suffering. Their life’s worth is determined not simply because they are alive, but in terms of the people around them.
Already, we can see how abortion access facilitates this kind of thinking. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “the two most common reasons [women obtain abortions] were “having a baby would dramatically change my life” and “I can’t afford a baby now.” The value of life has been reduced to a number or to the convenience of the caregiver. No wonder MAiD is welcome in Canada.
If an inconvenient life hidden in a womb can be devalued, we’re only one step away from devaluing an inconvenient life that’s fully grown before our eyes.