Medical Assistance in Dying
An urgent letter from Bishop Charlie
My dear friends and fellow clergy,
I am writing you today about two different yet pressing issues, which are both weighing on my heart. I don’t often write in this way but this week have felt it is important to do so, both so you would pray with me and that we might act.
The first is regarding a recent and hurried move by the federal government to extend access to their medical assistance in dying (MAID) program. The areas they are considering changing include giving access to MAID for those who are not considered terminally ill, to those who wish to end their lives solely because of mental illness and to children they are calling “mature minors”. They’re also looking at reducing the standard 10 day “reflection period”, permitting doctors or nurses to proceed without consulting the patient’s family and to no longer require psychiatric assessments for patients.
The government is rushing to update legislation because of a court case in Quebec (you can read more here) and so has given only a two week opportunity for public consultation which closes on January 27, 2020. They have created an online questionnaire which you can access here: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cons/ad-am/index.html
As you know this is an issue I have spoken about before and one we looked very seriously and prayerfully at together during Synod 2018 in Abbotsford. I believe this is very much a gospel issue, as our Lord Jesus came to rescue us from the very death and judgement this practice is ushering people towards. And it is a pressing issue for us as clergy, who care for so many in illness and near death.
So I am asking three important things of us all.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24
Yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend Charlie Masters