Life's busy, read it when you're ready!

Create a free account to save articles for later, keep track of past articles you’ve read, and receive exclusive access to all RP resources.

Search thousands of RP articles

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth.

Get Articles Delivered!

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth. delivered direct to your Inbox!


Getting even crazier: 27% of Canadians think being poor is good enough reason for euthanasia

Is poverty itself reason enough to allow someone to opt for doctor-assisted suicide? The question seems ludicrous – poverty is a condition that can change over a lifetime, and is hardly comparable to terminal lung cancer (an example of the “reasonably foreseen” death that’s previously been used to justify euthanasia).

Yet a recent survey found 27% of Canadians agree with allowing doctor-assisted suicide in cases of poverty. This is one in four people you might meet!

The survey was done by Research Co. and the results were released on May 5. Almost immediately it began making headlines with 11% of respondents saying they “strongly agree” and 16% that they “moderately agree” poverty was reason enough to let people kill themselves.

We might be surprised, but the reality is, once suicide is an option and personal autonomy is valued, it’s not clear on what grounds someone would be prevented from asking for death because of poverty. After all, why shouldn’t the poor be able to make these kinds of decisions for themselves? If assisted dying is available to all Canadians, why should the poor be considered less able to choose?

Christians know we are commanded to have compassion for the poor, not seek to eliminate them.

But in a society where the government provides both social support services and medically-assisted dying, there is a financial incentive to reduce the cost of what gets provided to struggling people. This inevitably puts the poor in a vulnerable situation, a situation where they should receive the support and advocacy of their neighbors around them in a system that can be cold and impersonal. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (Prov. 29:7). Insisting that the poor have the full capacity to make a choice for euthanasia misses all the ways they might not feel like they have much of a choice.

This survey also demonstrates how far opponents of euthanasia have to go in influencing public opinion. Do people really understand what they’re saying when they answer a poll question like this? The most charitable interpretation is that the poll responders wanted to emphasize the personal autonomy of a poor individual. But a personal choice is never made in isolation.

Ultimately to declare poverty as reason enough to consider euthanasia is to devalue the worth of all the poor. To say poverty is enough reason for one person to consider no longer living is to say this kind of suffering decreases the value of that life.

This comes into starker contrast looking beyond our borders to take in the poor worldwide. Tell humans who are barely getting by that they don’t need to struggle anymore, tell them that they can decide their life has no value and they can quit it. What would they say about this attitude to the life they’re fighting tooth and nail to keep?

Suffering does not erase the meaning and value of being alive. But in a modern world where personal fulfillment and the individual’s choice matter above everything else, this message will be a challenge for Christians to drive home.

Enjoyed this article?

Get the best of RP delivered to your inbox every Saturday for free.

Movie Reviews, Pro-life - Euthanasia

Euthanasia film highlights horrors, but offers the wrong solution

This 15-minute film explains what's going on in Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. It shows how euthanasia, first offered only to those who were supposed to be near death, has now been expanded. Now nurses can do it. And non-terminal people can get it. And children. And the mentally ill. And people who are sick, but whose conditions are not irreversible. This is not how it was supposed to be. But in Belgium they have found as one doctors puts it "The supply of euthanasia, stirs the demands," so the legalization created the pressure to allow more and more to qualify for euthanasia. This is a film that should be viewed by all, and liked and shared, so it can have the widest possible reach. People need to understand where this slippery slope is taking us. But it is also a film that should be critiqued. It was produced by a Christian group – the Alliance for Defending Freedom – and yet it is an entirely secular presentation. They likely thought this approach would allow their film to reach more people. After all, non-Christians who aren’t interested in God might still be horrified if they heard about the man in this film who only discovered his physically healthy mother had been euthanized after the fact. But avoiding mention of God is a huge mistake. Their secular defense can only highlight how euthanasia isn’t happening as it was promised. This secular strategy means their complaint can’t be "Euthanasia is wrong" but only, "Euthanasia is not as it was advertised." By avoiding the moral argument, they have to rely on mere practical objections; they can only show where the system failed. And the problem with practical objections is that they invite practical solutions. The man whose mother was killed? Ah yes, regrettable, Belgian officials might admit, but that could be prevented in the future with a bit more paperwork requiring children to be notified. As a strictly secular objection the film can only be a cry for the system to be tweaked, rather than overturned. But, of course, tweaks won’t work. Our problem isn’t merely the expansion of euthanasia – expansion is a given so long as any euthanasia is allowed. Why? Well, any strict rules we bring forward will always end up excluding someone just on the border of the rules. Then, since their case is not all that different than the cases already approved, on what basis can we exclude this poor suffering individual? That’s why the rules will always be stretched – because so long as no fixed moral standard is applied, there is nothing to prevent the rules being nudged a bit, and then nudged again, and again, until they’ve expanded to include any and all. That’s where we will inevitably end up when we stick to a secular argument. Will it be any different if we share the real reason euthanasia is wrong? Will the world listen when we explain that the reason euthanasia – all euthanasia – is wrong is because all life is precious, and a gift from God? Will they care if we tell them that euthanasia is wrong because our lives are not our own to take and dispose of as we please? Will they be convinced when we explain that our lives belong to God? I don’t know. But God will be glorified by it. And we can help Christians who might be wavering - Christian doctors, and nurses, and sons and daughters with aging parents - we can help them understand what God thinks, and what He demands, and what HE says compassion looks like. God says that putting a light under a bushel is foolish – why then do we insist on making godless argument to combat immorality? The world is only hearing lies, and we do it no favors when we keep the Truth from them. Who knows how God might use us if we but have the courage to be a light?...