On May 5th, 2016, Dr. Jennifer Gibson provided a testimony at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the proposed legislation of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)
In her testimony, Dr. Gibson discusses how the legislation excludes several groups from accessing MAID, namely, mature minors, competent persons enduring intolerable suffering due to mental illness, and competent persons seeking to make an advanced request for MAID.
Opponents to this view have argued that these exclusions are necessary to protect vulnerable persons. However, according to Dr. Gibson, these exclusions may actually have the opposite effect by further marginalizing these groups and enhancing their vulnerability. Therefore, Dr. Gibson recommended that, “Bill C14 be amended to establish an expedited schedule for the study of MAID involving mature minors, competent persons with primary psychiatric illness, and persons who have given advanced consent [for MAID] while competent”.
“The call to protect the vulnerable is one that we all share, and is morally praise worthy. However, we must ask ourselves, who decides who is vulnerable? Is it the individual through his or her lived experience or is it the rest of us in society? Who decides what type of vulnerability matters and to whom and what is the appropriate response to vulnerability?” asked Dr. Gibson in the closing of her testimony.
Listen to Dr. Gibson's testimony at 10:06:58