Canada Legalizes Euthanasia, Allowing Parents to Kill Sick Children-Mostly Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal leadership, Canada passed a law legalizing euthanasia for children with disabilities.
The Parliament of Canada approved a bill in June 2016 that allows adults with “grievous and irremediable medical condition” to receive medical assistance in dying. The law excludes minors. However, it requires a report on potentially applying the law to certain “mature minors” in 2018.
Claims that the law, Bill C-14, legalizes euthanasia in Canada for minors with disabilities cropped up in November 2017. Life Site News, a website that promotes “traditional Judeo-Christian principles” and actively opposes issues like abortion and euthanasia, led the charge. An article appearing under the headline, “Canada legalized euthanasia. Now parents are asking doctors to kill their sick kids,” was shared nearly 20,000 times within days of publication.
Publications like Your News Wire followed suite. In its retelling, however, the story took on a more sinister tone. “Canada Legalizes Euthanasia For Parents To Kill Their Disabled Kids,” the headline read. As previously stated, this is incorrect. Bill C-14 specifically excludes minors — and independent reports expected in December 2018 will reexamine the issue.
So, like past rumors about Canadian laws that we’ve investigated, this one misses the mark.
Canada Legalizes Euthanasia Law for Children: Dissecting the Claim
Now that we’ve established that the specific claim that Canada legalized a euthanasia law allowing parents to kill children with disabilities is false, we’ll look at claims made in the original Life Site News report.
A study published by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) in October 2017 is the source of the article’s central claim that “now parents are asking doctors to kill their sick kids.” CPS set out to determine the number of explicit requests for medically assisted dying made by parents and mature children.
The study concluded that parents initiated those conversations more frequently. But over half those requests were made about neonates or infants under one who were never responsive. Of course, those children would not qualify as “mature minors” under Canada’s euthanasia law. Also, there’s no indication that parents made those requests because of the law. Regardless, just 19 percent of CPS physicians said they’d provide medically assistance in death to minors, the study found.
It’s true that Canada enacted a so-called euthanasia law. But it’s not true that parents can kill their sick children under the law, or that it’s encouraged them to inquire about it. That’s why we’re calling this one “mostly fiction.”