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Assisted Living or Assisted Death?

Tue, March 20, 2018   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |   Volume 25    Issue 12   

If your health or physical wellbeing suddenly became much worse due to a disease or accident, would you take comfort in knowing that medical assistance in dying was close at hand? Or would you prefer to know that medical assistance in living was the priority?

Roger Foley of London, Ontario would prefer the latter, but has been offered the former. He has cerebellar ataxia, a degenerative neurological condition, and simply wants to live at home with “self directed care” so that he does not remain in the hospital, as he has for the last two years.

This is a good time for us to think about disabilities; the Paralympic Games have just wrapped up and our Canadian athletes shone brightly, again. We can and should applaud these athletes as much or more than those who compete in the Olympic Games because they have more adversity to overcome.

Also overcoming adversity for many years was Stephen Hawking, a world-renowned physicist who passed away at age 76 this past week. He had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given only two years to live, when he was just 22 years old!

While we may bemoan Stephen Hawking’s lack of belief in God, we should also admire his will to live! Despite having almost no physical capabilities, he still applied his mind to the scientific theories he understood, many of which are well beyond the comprehension of most people on earth.

There is a commonality between Hawking and many paralympians—assistance in living. While not all paralympians require assistance in living, some actually have assistance to compete in their sport. Brian McKeever, now Canada’s most decorated Paralympian, is visually impaired and requires assistance from Graham Nishikawa to compete. Both the medal-winning athletes, and those who assist them, must be in incredible form to do what they do. But above all, they show us that great things can be accomplished with help. Technically, this is also true for the Olympic Games; no one makes it there without trainers—but it is more evident in the Paralympics.

And it is the same for all of us in our everyday lives. We all are in need of assisted living, though we take it for granted most of the time.

Being dependent can be negative if we are not doing as much for ourselves and others as we can or ought to, but more often the human condition of interdependence should be embraced. We should seek ways to help others who need help, and graciously and thankfully receive the help that is given to us.

Stephen Hawking required assistance in living, not dying. He was given that dignity. So should Robert Foley and all disabled people. When a country legalizes assisted suicide and a society tries to normalize it, the lives of all people are de-valued, and those with disabilities especially so.

If you watch the Paralympics, be thankful for what they show us—that assistance in living and competing is good and must be extended to all who have disabilities, not just the smartest and strongest.

CHP believes that it is the role of government to stand up for the weakest and most vulnerable. This means restoring protection for the lives of the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled and affirming the value of human life.

You can also help by signing this petition.

Whether you require minimal assistance or significant assistance in your day-to-day life, you can contribute to your country by helping the CHP. Let others know about CHP in whatever way you can. Let them know that there is a party in Canada that believes in the value of each human life, born and unborn, as each person is an image-bearer of God.

CHP is dependent on you for our finances—we need “financial assistance for living.” Please consider doing your part by going to and clicking on the donate button. We depend on our members to support our ongoing work. If you are not a member then join today and take a stand for God’s gift of life!

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