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A federal panel in Canada recommends euthanasia should be an option for terminally ill children young as 12 years old.

Canada’s National Post reported a nine-member panel is arguing for an absence of “arbitrary age limits” for programs that offer assistance in killing oneself.

“I could definitely see 12-year-olds having that capacity, and I would see 16-year-olds not have that capacity,” said Maureen Taylor, co-chairman of the commission.

Decisions, she said, would have to be made on an individual basis.

The commission was assembled following a Canadian Supreme Court ruling last winter, Carter vs. Canada, that said mentally competent adults suffering from “grievous and irremediable” conditions have the right “to a doctor-assisted death.”

The court ordered the government to draft a law within a year.

Here’s the help you’ll need to prepare your household for the realities of living under a centralized health-care system — order Dr. Lee Hieb’s “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare”

The panel was asked to make recommendations and help provinces and territories deal with the new reality.

Since the court failed to include an age limit for such programs, the question arose.

Most jurisdictions consider an 18-year-old an adult, but Taylor, whose husband, Donald Low, made a video asking for legalized death help before he died of a brain tumor in 2013, explained, “We just didn’t feel that to make an arbitrary decision that, at 17 years and 364 days you wouldn’t meet the criteria, but the next day you would, we felt that wasn’t the way to go.”

The National Post said the argument is based on the concept of a mature minor, which already is established in Canada’s health-care system. It provides that minors can make their own medical decisions “if they understand the nature of their illness and the repercussions of their decisions.”

The panel said the principle should extend to decisions ending life.

“The idea of an arbitrary age limit, and people suffering intolerably and waiting days, weeks or months to die because they haven’t reached that limit, seems morally unacceptable,” Arthur Schafer told the Post.

He’s with the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba.

The health-decision precedent comes from a 2009 case in which a teen member of the Jehovah Witness organization, whose members refuse medical treatment, was ruled to have “sufficient maturity” to make health decisions.

The panel has listed 43 recommendations, “from criteria to qualify for a lethal injection or doctor-prescribed drug overdose, to the obligation of doctors who object on moral or religious grounds.”

The panel pointed out that the court ruling already has opened Canada not only for euthanasia on the grounds of a terminal medical condition but also on the grounds of psychological suffering.

The Christian Institute in the United Kingdom pointed out the consequences of euthanasia.

“Last month, it was revealed that a 24-year-old Belgian woman with mental illness, who was told she could be euthanized, changed her mind on the day she was scheduled to be killed,” the report said. “Emily described her longing for ‘peace’ and a relief from her suffering, which she believed she could find in death. But she said the weeks leading to her lethal injection were ‘relatively bearable,’ resulting in a change of heart.

“The fact that Emily changed her mind at the last moment shows the inherent dangers of giving some of the most vulnerable people in society access to state-licensed death,” said Ciaran Kelly of the institute.

Here’s the help you’ll need to prepare your household for the realities of living under a centralized health-care system — order Dr. Lee Hieb’s “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare”

 

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