Canada embraces the sanctity of death

While social media appears to have nothing much to talk about other than Donald Trump, Canada is about to become the first nation in the world in which the sanctity of life no longer exists as a moral or philosophical concept – unless of course it applies to mass murderers once subjected to capital punishment.

The absence of any law whatsoever regarding the termination of pregnancies has long since granted us membership in a very small club of nations: China, for sure, North Korea, Cuba and large parts of the USA. Here, you can terminate any pregnancy right up to the day before the entity that exists within the womb without the state so much as raising an eyebrow. This view is considered so thoroughly sacred under its current leadership that one cannot hold any form of alternative view and be a sitting member of Canada’s governing party.

Such are our sunny ways – the once sacred is now profane.

It doesn’t matter that throughout the rest of western civilization other highly progressive and liberal  nations long ago recognized science indicates there is a point beyond which pregnancy should be legally terminated only in extremis. In France, it’s 12 weeks, Sweden 16, Netherlands 22, ditto Britain (although there was talk recently due to new understanding of the viability of life of lowering it to 16). Our point here is not to beat any sort of drum but simply to illustrate that in most of the world similar to ours people have thoughtfully wrestled with the concept of life and brought in laws that best represent the compromise of conscience these matters entail as matters of public policy.

Here, we are so radicalized that we can’t even think about it. Here, we can’t even reasonably place motions before the House of Commons indicating that we think the popular Asian practice of aborting females just because they are females (proactive genocide) is objectionable. Instead, when it was tried, people called for the removal of Rona Ambrose as minister because she supported the idea that women should have the equal right to be born – or not. (This practice had become so widespread in B.C. that the health care system there will no longer provide routine ultrasounds at the request of pregnant mothers; instead, they go now to private clinics which will tell them it’s a girl and then they can go from there.)

Wanna talk about equal pay for work of equal value? We’re all in. Wanna talk about equal representation of women in cabinet? Hey, it’s 2015. But wanna talk about getting terminated Because I’m a Girl? Heavens, no.

The intellectual incoherence is breathtaking.

It is against this backdrop – one which indicates we now live in a land where most of us clearly lack the vocabulary to have a debate of conscience – that Canada is about to introduce legislation outlining how we can not only kill ourselves, but how we can get things set up so that other people can kill us.

There is no hope we will get it right – not because people aren’t well motivated but because when it comes to contrasting philosophical and moral issues, no one knows what they are talking about anymore.

Well, almost no one. Andrew Coyne – who often acts as a corrective influence within mainstream media by raising issues within it that few others have the courage to raise – wrote a thoughtful piece in National Post over a year ago in which he forecast where we are today – on the cusp of establishing a eugenics regime. One hopes he will weigh in again.

Former Montreal Gazette editor Peter Stockland penned a wistfull blog on the matter more recently but that’s about it.

In the meantime, this is a society that – based on the eminently compassionate belief that those of us facing the last moments of an agonizing death should be given access to a self-eject button of some variety – is now heading down a path of no return which goes far beyond that initial concept and can’t seem to even address questions such as:

– What motivation will remain within the health care system to invest in palliative care given the scarcity of financial resources and that a far cheaper alternative is now available?

– If the answer to the above is “not much” do we really want to narrow our options to dying in pain v dying right now and not getting one last grandchild’s birthday or Christmas with family?

– Does this mean Catholic and other hospitals that remain unflinching in their belief in the sanctity of life will be forced to bend to the will of the state’s moral code?

– How do we ensure there are not abuses such as have occurred elsewhere?

– Do we really want to dismiss the reality of other jurisdictions like Belgium for instance where half of nurses admit to participating in what, in a master of euphemism, is referred to as euthanasia without consent?  There used to another word for that, but it eludes me. Anyone? Anyone?

We could go on.

Suffice to say there are many questions – all of which demand free and open debate by principled leaders well-equipped intellectually. There is little reason, at this stage, to believe that will happen.

Instead, public policy makers have finally found a solution to the financial tsunami the aging Baby Boom represents to the health care system. They can just ask us to take a needle for the team or face a tortuous death. Maybe we deserve it.