MAID’s slippery slope: a commentary on Downie and Schuklenk

Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (10):670-671 (2021)
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Canadian ethicists Jocelyn Downie and Udo Schuklenk seek to assess the effect of Canada’s decriminalisation of ‘medical assistance in dying’ ‘to inform Canada’s ongoing discussions and because other countries will confront the same questions if they contemplate changing their assisted dying law.’1 Their assessment focuses on two arguments earlier levied against expansion of these procedures. The first is that of a ‘slippery slope’ and the second is what they disingenuously call, ‘social determinants of health’. They conclude that, in both cases, the effect of legislation permitting first limited and then expanded options for medical termination has been benign. The argument in this brief commentary is that the ‘slippery slope’ is clearly evident and support for those with chronic, progressive diagnoses a clear contributor to the ever increasing number of persons seeking MAID. Downie and Schuklenk first review the legal and legislative history of MAID. In Carter v Canada, the courts found …



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