In my work with Christian Horizons, I regularly provide grief training and debriefing in times of significant loss for people close to those with disabilities. In these profound moments of remembrance and mourning, it is evident that the human passing from life to death should be one of the most social and interconnected experiences of our time on earth. One of the great tragedies of COVID-19 has been the ways that even these great passages have isolated the dying person from the people whom they love and who love them in return – people who have the power to both alleviate suffering and, at times, be the source of suffering.
Bill C-7 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) – proposes the removal of the requirement that death be “reasonably foreseeable” for people with disabilities or disabling conditions. The specific identification of the disabled, in contrast with other marginalized and under-served populations, is widely recognized by disability advocacy organizations and the UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities as discriminatory in the way that it communicates or implies that there is something “special” about disability that may make the lives of the disabled particularly not worth living.