Canada, the ‘Right to Die,’ and the Mentally Ill

Death through Despair and Deception

By Eric Metaxas & Roberto Rivera Published on May 11, 2017

We could have predicted this: Canada may extend the “right to die” to the mentally ill. It’s an evil idea.

In 2015, Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide. We have talked about the Canadian decision several times on BreakPoint. In March, in fact, we talked about how many Canadian doctors who had originally indicated a willingness to be the “physician” in “physician-assisted suicide” were having second thoughts.

Now, there’s a campaign to extend what Canada calls “physician assistance in dying” beyond the terminally ill to include the mentally ill. This comes as no surprise to those who have followed the trajectory of Belgian and Dutch laws, which have served as a model for the rest of the world.

Not only is this a terrible idea, it’s also what’s to be expected if, as Wesley J. Smith told Fox News, “society broadly accepts the agenda of killing as an acceptable end to human suffering … We eliminate suffering by eliminating the sufferers.”

But even if you don’t believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life, and even if you could rationalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill, extending this “right” to the mentally-ill is an idea that should be resisted at all costs.

The reason why lies in how “mentally ill” is defined. The expression “mental illness” is a broad category that includes different psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and clinical depression, to name but a few.

While these disorders are different in their symptoms and how they are treated, they share one vital characteristic: a disconnect between what the person’s mind says is true about, well, almost everything, and what is actually true. As a friend of mine has put it, “our minds can be terrible liars.”

There’s a reason that arguably the greatest book ever written about living with mood disorders was entitled An Unquiet Mind. People who live with mental illness, especially bi-polar disorder, depression — as I do — and anxiety disorder, spend a lifetime reminding themselves that just because they think something — a “something” that nearly always portends evil, suffering and despair — does not make it true.

And that’s just the medical side. As 1 Peter tell us, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The “devouring” takes various forms, one of which is to make us miserable. How? By lying to us about, well, everything.

The Adversary’s goal is to induce despair, which Thomas Aquinas defined as “ceasing to hope for a share of God’s goodness,” and make us call God a liar when He tells us in Psalm 34, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.”

The distortions caused by mental illness, coupled with what Christians know about our Adversary, render the notion of consent in the Canadian proposal absurd. When you hear, “please let me die,” you can never be certain whose words you’re hearing: the person’s, the illness’s or the Adversary’s.

None of this is to deny that mental illness can be painful, even excruciating. Even for the devout Christian, it can seem like a dark wood from which there is no escape.

But in virtually every instance, that, too, is a lie. The late James Cavanaugh, a Jesuit priest, once wrote that “If we could count the fears, both small or large, that once hounded us, and then thank God for each dreaded outcome never met, we would reach no end to gratitude.”

The Canadian proposal, if adopted, ensures that vulnerable people will never know how wrong they could be and, thus, experience the gratitude Cavanaugh wrote about.

All of which makes assisted suicide for the mentally ill a terrible idea based on a terrible lie.


Originally published on BreakPoint Commentaries. Republished with permission of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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  • Autrey Windle

    this is what the end looks like…Don’t close your eyes/ Look to the face of God/ catch your tears in a handkerchief of soft cotton and write a prayer on it/ put the prayer in an empty can because miracles come in cans not in can’ts according to Joyce. In Jesus name, the prayers are for the poor victims of the enemy. Amen.

  • davidrev17

    “Looking for consciousness in the brain is like looking inside a radio for the announcer.”

    — Nassim Haramein

    I realize this activity is taking place in Canada. However, since here in the United States where our now falsified materialistic-premised (i.e., reductionist/deterministic) “science” of psychiatry, and its “Bible” (aka the DSM-5) has currently been experiencing an avalanche of prodigiously published, though pejoratively-labeled sentiments and/or conclusions by those WITHIN the profession; it’s amazing that we nonetheless find ol’ spiritually-blinded Homo sapiens’ pressing-forward with brazen impunity, into this purported scientific discipline of psychiatry – while displaying a textbook example of tail-chasing futility by having all-along conflated the eternal/NON-physical “forest” – called the “imago Dei” – with the physical/materialistic “trees” of our outward, manifest behavior.

    ☆ ☆ ☆

    “…Unfortunately, modern psychiatry has declared war on the fundamental moral and political value of relations based on contract rather than on relations based on status or domination-submission. In 2003, Marcia Goin, M.D., then president of the American Psychiatric Association, declared: ‘We can make contracts with builders and car dealers, but not with patients.’

    “Many therapists reject forming contractual relations with their clients; instead they patronize and “protect” them and justify doing so with self-flattering bioethical slogans, such as “beneficence,” “non-maleficence,” and ‘fairness.'” (Interview: “Seven Questions for Thomas Szasz,” Psychology Today, January 28, 2009.)

    — Dr. Thomas Szasz, the late (2012), eminent Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical University. Author of “The Myth of Mental Illness” & “The Manufacture of Madness,” among many other powerful contributions in the field of psychoanalysis & psychptherapy.

    • Autrey Windle

      I won’t pretend I understand all you wrote, but I thank you for writing it so I can figure it out. I am a person who has been many things to many doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists. If I were 25 and living in Canada I’m pretty sure these people might have me killed. I look at mental health doctors in two categories; shrinks or expanders. Shrinks want you to behave with some conformity they deem appropriate and maybe take drugs and definitely to not make waves in society. Expanders want a client to see the possibilities they didn’t even know existed; to help them learn to value themselves and help them learn how to expand their options and make choices that give them true psychological freedom and the tools to execute the changes. When I need help overcoming an abuse, a crime, an ex-husband or being hooked up to life support for weeks on end, I ask God for the big guns and He always sends me a master Expander. These people in Canada obviously don’t know what the heck they are doing; or maybe they do. Maybe they are the devil’s minions of super ego status who just want to get right to killing and forget the God in the middle.

      • davidrev17

        Thank you for the very thoughtful reply; I just wish I had the time & space to respond adequately. However, I will pass-on one of the primary names of someone, to whom the Lord led me about six-years ago, the distinguished (now-retired 89 year-old) “Orthodox/von Neumann” mind-brain quantum physicist, “Dr. Henry P. Stapp; whose academic pedigree traces-back through four (4) Nobel laureate scientists, including such luminaries as Wolfgang Pauli, and Werner Heisenberg.

        His work, and I mean some of the layperson’s variety – his mind-boggling technical/mathematical peer-reviewed work is simply OUT THERE, at least to me – is where I first found out that the neuroscientific “voices” of which we consistently encounter throughout the West, still tenaciously cling to the “old physics” (his term), of Newtonian mechanics, or classical physics, for obvious “ideological” reasons – surely not scientific.

        And this was view of nature was formerly regarded as the reigning paradigm in physics for roughly the last 300-years, or so, UNTIL quantum mechanics had successfully replaced it, during the last perhaps 90-years now. So the “old physics” of classical, Newtonian mechanics, gave us that MECHANISTIC view of nature, and we Homo sapiens within it. (Do you remember these images?) This view of nature is NO longer scientifically tenable; and obviously that’s not coming from my ignorant unlearned opinion either.

        Anyway, what this means, is that those that’ve long-retained these positions of established scientific power & authority everywhere – meaning those “controlling the cultural microphone” – have been tirelessly propounding this now scientifically falsified view of Homo sapiens; of which portrays us as having NO FREE WILL, robotic in a sense, and representing nothing more than mindless automatons!
        This is the “very” now scientifically falsified worldview of classical physics (i.e., the “old physics”), upon which all this Artificial Intelligence, Cyborgs, Avatars, etc. has been based. Just think about ALL these outrageous movies too, that’ve been pouring-out of Hollywood for years now, that’ve been premised upon this scientific LIE!

        Just Google the “Institute for Human and Machine Cognition” [IHC], in Florida. I actually had a few very stimulating, yet tense conversations with their computer scientists just a few years ago, at different times, in Pensacola. THEY HAD NO IDEA about what Dr. Stapp et al. have been telling-the-misinformed-world re: the falsification of Newtonian mechanics! And they just sat there in stunned-silence, while I referred them to some of the tremendous body of evidence that’s been amassing in mind-brain quantum physics – as in the “new physics” – FOR DECADES NOW. However, this is stone-cold indoctrination, or brain-washing going on everywhere, especially In universities throughout the West’s public education systems.

        We Homo sapiens’ have been specially-created in the “image of God,” meaning the “imago Dei”; and the unrelenting, rigorous research in mind-brain quantum physics has brought this highly plausible, scientific inference, or compelling implication to light…as in human consciousness!

        So, the easiest way for you to begin in this area, is go to Dr. Stapp’s personal website of his published work, and look for two recent seminars he conducted on this topic of quantum consciousness etc. – the Milan Talk & Paris Talk, both (2013) – and go to the conclusory statements at the end of both, for some powerful closing insight as to what’s been going on everywhere. Old habits die very hard…especially when it comes to what’s called “paradigm shifts.”

        And Dr. Stapp’s “voice in the wilderness” conclusions, though fiercely resisted by those still maintaining “control over the cultural microphone,” are beyond scientific reproach…amd its widely recognized too. His academic/professional scientific credentials are simply beyond reproach.

        Plus try and read whatever you can from the late Dr. Thomas Szasz (and many others now), mentioned in my first post. He fought this counterintuitive, strictly mechanistic, deterministic, reductionist, thus materialistic view of human beings for over 50-years – from the INSIDE of His own profession. And his professional scientific credentials, just like Dr. Stapp’s, were also beyond reproach; as the only way to have silenced him, was to have him “taken-out,” so to speak. He was a true “thorn-in-the-side” of 20th & 21st-century neuroscience, or psychiatry.

        God bless you so very much, and I hope that what I’ve posted, helps in some small way.

        • Autrey Windle

          Thank you so much. It is good to have something new and interesting to stimulate my brains, both left and right. I’m a simple girl who has been known for decades now to be capable of understanding the complex without being complex in my own statements. I don’t know why but I know it can only be God-gifted comprehension. It worries me when the shrinks start deciding life, death and lobotomy. I’m pretty sure Jesus would have cast out demons from these sadists in Canada.

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