A law allowing limited euthanasia in Canada is set to expand to make the procedure available to people with mental illness. As Craig McCulloch reports, this is causing a variety of reactions.
Canada’s law permitting euthanasia, or Medical Assistance in Dying, became personal for Vancouver-area resident Marcia McNaughton in November. Suffering from metastasized stomach cancer, her 80-year-old aunt Ella Tikenheinrich chose to end her life with medical assistance.
McNaughton was not aware of her aunt’s choice until almost the end, and the extended family supported it.
“As a family, all we did was support her and love her decision,” McNaughton said. “And I have to say one thing — to be in control of your own time, it is an amazing thing.”
On March 17, the law permitting what is termed Medical Assistance in Dying — commonly called MAiD — will expand to include those suffering from mental illness. Currently, only individuals whose death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable or who suffer from a debilitating illness, like McNaughton’s aunt, qualify to get medical assistance to end their life.