Readers write: October 6, 2023 issue

October 5, 2023 | Opinion | Volume 27 Issue 20
(Graphic by Betty Avery)

Thank you for this excellent, nuanced article (“The gift of life, the question of death,” September 22). Clearly, patients have always made private, off-the-books decisions with the help and hindrance of doctors and loved ones alike. Those conversations must always have been deeply complex and difficult. Since medical assistance in dying (MAID) is now legal in Canada, it has to be considered alongside those provisions for people who are suffering.

After careful consideration—and after consulting with friends—I recently signed a petition against the expansion of MAID to situations where mental health/distress is the sole factor. I agree that MAID should not be contemplated without necessary expansion of full care for these conditions for which relief and treatment exist.

No one wants to suffer, and no one wants to permit or promote suffering that can be relieved. The alleviation of suffering alongside the protection of life should be a primary purpose for our institutions and social organizing. If conditions are treatable, the absence of that treatment is the problem that legislative efforts ought to be focused on amending.

In the meantime, in those situations without effective treatment, let us journey with, and support with prayer and presence, those who struggle to live, including in their decisions about the end of life.
—Peter Haresnape, Toronto

(Graphic by Betty Avery)

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