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A law has already passed to allow medical assistance in dying (MAiD) when mental illness is a person’s only medical condition. If nothing changes, this law will take effect on March 17, 2024. This must not happen.
In light of this pending law, the EFC has launched Before It’s Too Late, an awareness and action campaign to stop the expansion of euthanasia to those suffering from mental illness alone.
The EFC has consistently opposed euthanasia and assisted suicide. These must not be seen as solutions to suffering and despair. At the same time, the EFC has consistently pushed for the strongest possible safeguards and limitations on MAiD to protect people in moments of vulnerability.
“As we near the March 2024 date when medical assistance in dying will become available to our fellow Canadians suffering from mental health issues alone, we are inviting Christians and churches to become educated on this issue, and then act,” explains EFC President David Guretzki.
“All through the journey of MAiD becoming legal in Canada, the EFC has consistently stood up for the value of human life and for the strongest possible safeguards to protect Canadians in moments of vulnerability. We’ve asked for things like more accessible palliative care and better medical and other supports for people living with disability or terminal illness, and we’ve worked to help churches consider how they can play a part in that,” says Guretzki.
“Now we are approaching an even more dangerous path, one that would make us the most permissive society in the world when it comes to death for our own citizens. For someone suffering from a mental illness to have euthanasia readily available is unacceptable. It’s time for the Church to speak again.”
The EFC is inviting churches across Canada to pray together on Sunday, October 22, for a stop to euthanasia for mental illness. Will you pray in your church, your small group, and your devotional time during the entire month of October? The EFC has resources available to help inform and guide your church in this prayer initiative at TheEFC.ca/MAiDPrayer.
Our team has assembled a Church Action Kit which has resources to inform and equip churches to pray and engage on this issue. This kit (TheEFC.ca/TakeActionOnMAiD) has been carefully written to be easily understood and digested, allowing readers to quickly be brought up to date and move into action, including contacting MPs and other ways of speaking out against the further expansion of MAiD.
“There are no additional legislative safeguards around MAiD for mental illness. This is deeply concerning given the immense complexity of mental health,” says Julia Beazley, director of the EFC’s Centre for Faith and Public Life in Ottawa. “It’s especially troubling to imagine a severely depressed 18-year-old being eligible for euthanasia. That could be the reality in Canada this coming March if nothing changes.”
The EFC is concerned this law will put the lives of Canadians with mental illness at very real risk. We can all think of someone in our circles who lives with mental health issues. We may have ourselves experienced mental health issues at some point or another, or we might later. We’re very troubled by what this change in law communicates about the lives of those of us living with these challenges.
Along with you, the EFC believes every person’s life matters. Everyone is loved by God. Every life is infinitely precious to God.
Over the last few years, we’ve already been hearing about people who are asking for MAiD because they don’t have the support to live. The law is already failing to protect people in times of vulnerability. The lack of any additional legislated safeguards for MAiD for mental illness will only make this situation worse.
The EFC believes we must act together to ask for a change in the law before it is too late. To join in please visit TheEFC.ca/TakeActionOnMAID.
What you can do
Urge your church to join other Canadian churches for a Day of Prayer on Sunday, October 22. TheEFC.ca/MAiDPrayer
Send postcards and email and call your Member of Parliament. Visit TheEFC.ca/TakeActionOnMAID for easy talking points.
Pray earnestly with us for Canadians struggling with their mental health.
Also in this issue: Christian women network moves ahead, A note from EFC President David Guretzki, Donors make new Canadian research possible, President's affiliate consultation underway.