Conservatives have long argued against the dangers of a society and government that believes it can create perfection by treating humans as pieces to a puzzle. In A Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk frames this problem succinctly. “If society is to be treated as a simple contraption to be managed on mathematical lines…then man will be degraded into something much less than a partner in the immortal contract that unites the dead, the living, and those yet unborn, the bond between God and man.” Though he wrote in the aftermath of World War II, after he saw in real-time what such a society devolved into in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, his words have held true in all times and places. Today, Kirk’s prophecy is playing out with our northern neighbors.
This year has been a good one for the pro-life cause in America. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the fifty-year struggle to end abortion has finally started to achieve tangible results. Now, the movement should not solely focus on banning abortion, as there is more to being pro-life than simply that; the debate being had within the conservative movement over maternity care, for instance, is one facet of this movement that must be considered.
Another is the debate over euthanasia. While it has not entered the mainstream of American politics yet, it has become part and parcel of life north of the border. The developments in Canada are shocking and should be a wake-up call to American pro-lifers to prepare for this fight.
Canadian law currently stipulates that to qualify for medical assistance in dying (MAID, for short) you must be at least 18 years old, be in serious decline that cannot be reversed, or be in unbearable pain that cannot be alleviated “under conditions that the person considers acceptable.” In March, the law will be broadened to include anyone with a mental illness, so long as they meet the other criteria regarding pain and age. However, Canada is also looking to expand the MAID criteria to “mature minors” and the disabled.
If that does not sound horrifying enough, there are reports that parents have been asking for the use of MAID for terminally-ill babies. A member of Quebec’s college of physicians told a House of Commons committee that killing babies would be, “appropriate in cases of grave malformations” or in cases where the baby’s chances of surviving are next to zero. Stories have been written regarding how much money MAID saves the Canadian healthcare system and how beneficial the program has been to Canada’s organ market. And finally, as reported by Wesley Smith at National Review, a man’s request to die due to his poverty was approved.
For those that value the sanctity of life, these developments are terrifying. Ross Douthat has a column in the New York Times arguing that MAID represents uncivilized liberalism. The piece is worth a read, but this is not liberalism-run amok. A truly liberal society understands the value of life. It does not, as Canada has done, craft a bureaucratic system that actively promotes death as an escape. This progressive society believes it can engineer the perfect citizenry from on high as if its citizens were cogs in a machine. The United States has her own history of such atrocities — Woodrow Wilson, the epitome of progressive governance in our country, supported eugenics. That strain has not disappeared from American politics. Medically-assisted suicide is already legal in ten states and Washington D.C., and if our northern neighbors are a harbinger, the push to legalize it nationwide is soon approaching. There will be talk about how undignified it is to keep it illegal, and its supporters will decry the opposition as wanting to inflict pain, much as they do with abortion today. The barbarism of our northern neighbors will descend on America soon enough. The pro-life movement must be ready.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.