MAiD and the Fallacy of the Slippery Slope Fallacy
In 2016, Parliament passed legislation that allowed adults with “irremediable physical illness” to request a doctor’s help in killing themselves. We were patiently assured by experts that Canada possessed the inherent compassion and self-control that would prevent us from veering towards any ominous slopes. We were also told during this time that, “offering medically assisted deaths could save millions in health care spending.” The perverse coincidence of such a procedure becoming available alongside Canada’s legendary ongoing health crises was not lost on some.
As time went on, eligibility was quietly expanded to include those “experiencing unbearable physical or mental suffering from [their] illness, disease, disability or state of decline that cannot be relieved under conditions that [they] consider acceptable.” Multiple cases of unsuspecting sufferers being offered the chance to die instead of the chance to get help began to surface.
On March 17 of this year, MAiD eligibility is set to expand to those diagnosed with various forms of mental illness, which include “conditions that are primarily within the domain of psychiatry, such as depression and personality disorders.” Since its legalization, there have been 44,958 MAiD deaths in Canada (not including numbers from 2023). The average annual growth rate from 2019 to 2022 has been 31 per cent. Judging by the rate at which physicians diagnose depression, and a steep rise in generally disordered persons, it looks like we’re on track to meet our goal of killing 10% of the Canadian population by the year 2030.
Some people seem to think the main problem here is that it’s all just too much, too fast. That there should have been more controls put in place from the outset; that there needs to be a wider net of programs to support suffering patients; that more research should be done before extending MAiD to include those with mental illness.
But the problem is actually much simpler than a matrix of slippery slopes. In fact, the problem really just boils down to our definition of “slope.” Generally, when we talk about slopes, we have in view a high point that gradually, over some measure of distance (time or space), descends to a low point. In other words, the existence of a slope assumes the presence of both high and low points. In other words, as it pertains to MAiD, we’re not dealing in the realm of slopes at all. There’s no continuum of guilt as it pertains to euthanasia. We’re not really dealing in categories of “better” or “worse” so much as we are dealing in “worse” and “how deep into hell’s lower regions do you want to dig.”
Talking about outright evil in terms of a slippery slope is convenient for people who want to believe they’re camped out on such a slope. Permitting an economy of depravity is useful for people who want royalties from its business, yet still want to distance themselves from its more neon manifestations. “Yes I’m okay with killing physically suffering people — but not, *gasp* mentally suffering people!” What they have done is drawn an imaginary line in the sand (which they themselves will cross in a year or two) that allows them the delusion of moral distinction. Something akin to, “We may be sitting in a pool of feces, but at least we’re not swimming in it.”
But let’s all say it together shall we? “You shall not murder!” (Exodus 20:13). Our problem in Canada isn’t primarily an ever-expanding euthanasia program; or an ever-expanding abortion program; or an ever-expanding “gender affirming” program. It’s a justice problem. By that I mean that every single person — nurse, administrator, doctor, patient, judge, politician, family member — participating in such programs should be tried as criminals. A nation-wide failure to uphold justice is directly responsible for the ever-expanding business of injustice.
The problem, of course, is that the entity responsible for trying criminals, namely the Canadian government, is itself swarming with criminality. Not only does it fail to punish criminals, it hires them to form policy.
But all of this is really only a problem for Christians, who have to figure out what it looks like to live in the midst of systemic corruption (we’re not the first by the way). It’s not a problem for God, as Asaph had to learn the hard way. In the midst of seemingly unstoppable corruption, “How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” When the justice of men fails, injustice is not forgotten, but only deferred to a higher court — which in this case is God Himself.
What can Christians do in response to the cult of death?
Pray: We need to pray for a hurricane of repentance to sweep over our land. I’m not opposed to social action, and have participated in it a number of times myself, but we’re not dealing with surface wounds here. A slight change in policy isn’t going to fix anything. We are dealing with a deeply poisonous infection that needs an equally cleansing antidote, which can only ever be the eternal Gospel of peace.
Speak. It’s true that Christians have been almost totally, and intentionally, excluded from the realm of politics. It is also true that God’s Word is “Like fire, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces” (Jer. 23:29). Where there is opportunity, and we should pray and be ready for them, we should be ready to declare, “Thus says the Lord.” This is likely worth a larger discussion, but Christians should also think about strategic infiltration into smaller, winnable communities. Where there are only four or five counselors on a rural town council, there is a much better chance of populating it with principled people, and a much better chance of making changes at a local level.
Serve. I think this will be an increasingly important factor in the coming days, as “the love of many grows cold.” Christians and churches should discuss ways of caring for those who’ve been left to navigate the corridors of a corrupt health system on their own. More well-endowed churches could look into purchasing building and staffing their own hospice facilities, as many churches throughout history have done. Others might look into ways of volunteering, ministering, and building relationships with local group/retirement homes.
As the darkness deepens, so the light of Christ can shine out all the brighter. May Christians increasingly be such lights in their communities.
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