Canadian Paediatric Approves Dehydration of Disabled Infants
The killing of infants With Birth Defects

by Alex Schadenberg
Apr 04, 2011

April 4, 2011 ( - The Canadian Paediatric Society - bioethics committee, released a statement on April 1 concerning the withholding and withdrawing of artificial nutrition and hydration.

The statement is similar to the statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both statements approve the withholding or withdrawing of nutrition and hydration (fluids and food) from infants who may not be dying.

The Canadian statement allows euthanasia by dehydration (slow euthanasia) of infants with cognitive or other disabilities based on a “quality of life” assessment and with consent.

I refer to this as euthanasia by dehydration because there is a clear difference between withholding or withdrawing fluids and food from a person who is actually dying and nearing death and a person who is not otherwise dying.

When a person is actually dying and nearing death, the death occurs from the medical condition. But when fluids and food are intentionally withheld or withdrawn from someone who has cognitive or other serious disabilities or conditions but is not otherwise dying, the cause of death is intentional dehydration.

Many leading bioethicists would like you to believe that there is no difference between killing and letting die, but in fact there is a big difference. When we allow the killing of a person, we are allowing an intentional action or omission to directly cause death. Letting someone die means that we are actually allowing natural death to occur.

Some bioethicists will refer to the “artificial” nature of providing fluids and food as the issue. This argument is false. We always receive fluids and food by some means, whether it be by a spoon, straw, bottle or mother’s milk, etc.

In a media release, the Canadian Paediatric Society stated:

ANH [artificial nutrition and hydration] refers to nutrition or hydration that is delivered by artificial means, such as via a feeding tube or intravenously. Legal and ethics experts say there is no difference between withholding or withdrawing ANH versus other therapies that sustain or prolong life. The CPS makes clear that any decision should be based solely on the benefit to the child, while considering the child’s overall plan of care.

“Food and drink evoke deep emotional and psychological responses, and are associated with nurturing,” said Dr. Tsai. “But artificial nutrition and hydration is not about providing food and fluids through normal means of eating and drinking. It should be viewed the same as any other medical intervention, such as ventilatory support.”

Sadly, there was another time in history when euthanasia by dehydration of newborns was accepted. Those deaths became the T4 euthanasia program that progressed to euthanasia by injection and then euthanasia by gassing.

No, not everyone is willing to turn a blind eye to intentionally dehydrating infants to death. These infants are vulnerable people because they have been born with disabilities. Many medical professionals view their lives as “life unworthy of life” and their parents are afraid and have been told that these children will live lives that are “wretched to the extreme.”