Euthanasia Prevention Coalition granted intervenor status in assisted death case

The Court of Appeal of Alberta has granted the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervenor status in the controversial case of a 27-year-old Calgary woman with autism seeking approval for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) against her father’s wishes.

On May 17, the non-profit that opposes assisted suicide submitted a five-page application to intervene containing legal arguments. Almost two weeks later, on May 30, the EPC was approved as a third party.

The organization can support its case with a 20-page written submission and a 20-minute oral argument presentation during the forthcoming hearing. An exact date for this court proceeding has yet to be finalized, but the EPC was informed it will likely be scheduled in October.

Initially, the daughter, identified in documentation as “WV” to protect her identity, was scheduled for euthanasia on Feb. 1, but her father, designated as “MV,” secured a temporary injunction two days earlier to block the procedure.

MV argued his daughter was not suffering from a medical affliction that legally qualified her for assisted suicide under Canadian law. Nevertheless, WV ultimately received approval from two of the three physicians she visited. MV contended the deadlock-breaking doctor was “not independent and objective.”

On March 25, Justice Colin Feasby issued a 34-page decision declaring the daughter’s “dignity and right to self-determination outweighs the important matters raised by (the father) and the harm that he will suffer in losing (his daughter).”

However, Feasby issued a 30-day stay on his ruling to allow the father time to file an appeal. The father petitioned the appeal court on April 2. On April 8, Justice Anne Kirker ordered a stay on the injunction until the appeal case is ultimately decided.

Alex Schadenberg, the founder and executive director of the EPC, said the coalition’s legal representative will inform the court that the decision-making in this medical matter “has no oversight and it is absolutely flawed.”

“The prime example is you can have the same person go to two other doctors and be told, ‘no, you don’t qualify,” explained Schadenberg. “(However), if they are sent to certain physicians who think it is a good idea that we have euthanasia and who loosely interpret the law, then you will have them say yes. In this case, Alberta Health Services sent this woman to this specific doctor who happens to be one of the key euthanasia doctors in Alberta.”

In its five-page factum to the court, the EPC criticized “doctor shopping and forum shopping.” The group asserted that employing these practices “in order to get the desired assessment results after doctors have already rejected the MAiD application, often several times, undermine fundamentally the integrity of the independent conduct of MAiD assessments as a safeguard to prevent against abuse.”

The EPC is not the only pro-life organization standing against Feasby’s decision to validate the daughter’s decision to pursue euthanasia. Gabrielle Johnson, executive director of the Alberta Life Issues Educational Society (ALIES), told the Register via email in late March that “something has gone awry in our culture when someone’s ‘right to autonomy’ trumps our responsibility to offer suicide intervention, prevention and psychological support.”

Richard Dur, the executive director of Prolife Alberta, stated that “allowing the government to assume the role of ‘judge, jury, and executioner’ in the deliberate killing of a human person is tantamount to surrendering the worthiness of human life to governmental authority. Is it not complete madness that our government actively participates in the suicide of its citizens?”


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