ICBioethics Blog 

Canada Has New PAD Law

Written by: Dr. Kathy Gennuso

On Friday, Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down a ban on physician-assisted death, reversing a decision on the books since 1993.

When this happened, I reflected on how I seem to have a different perspective on legalized PAD than I did five years ago. No longer did I think I could change the world – no longer did I see laws as the real problem, either – I now understood that you cannot legislate morality — each autonomous individual must set his or her own moral compass, right? And after all, we must accept differing opinions regarding what is moral and/or immoral, don’t we?! God didn’t give just me free will . . . . all of us are free to choose good or bad – so aren’t we free to end our own lives or choose to give others the green light to end theirs?

. . . Uh-oh—seems like I was teetering on my own slippery slope! I had become confused about what I really believed.

So, when Anderson Cooper’s interview with “Ghost Boy” Martin Pistorius aired, I had to smile – what a timely intervention that brought me back to what is really in my heart – that lives have inherent value, no matter how they may appear to others, even the lives of individuals who must look through a torturous filter of intractable suffering, even those in vegetative states, and regardless of popular opinion on quality of life or what experts insist they know is going on inside another individual.

Ok — I admit it — I guess I still do want others, including lawmakers, to see inherent value in human life and to want to protect and preserve it, as well. And I’m going to hope that this can be so. Hope is what Pistorius wants others to take away from his moving experience. As he told Cooper, “there is always hope — no matter how small,” especially for those who remember “the importance of love and faith” and who have the courage “to never stop dreaming.” Thanks, Martin!

Mitch GennusoComment