Significance of this decision
Had the decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in this case gone the other way, there would be hundreds of people in line for death, including the elderly and other chronic-care patients. The Dawson decision confirms the right of handicapped people to receive normal medical treatment. It also means that the decision of life or death is not a private matter between parents and the doctor as argued by the parents in this case. This latter argument has a faintly familiar ring to those in the pro-life movement since it is the basic pro-abortion argument, i.e. “the decision is a private matter between a woman and her doctor”. Both, the parents in this case, and the woman in the abortion situation, have a conflict of interest when they make the life and death decision for another.
Although the “private decision” argument was effectively refuted in the Dawson case – watch out – it will be used again, and again, and again, in order to break down resistance to the basic tenet on our legal system that no one has the right to decide privately whether another human being may live or die. Pro-abortionists have argued that abortion is a matter of private morality, and that acceptance of this reasoning with respect to abortion will not lead to euthanasia. The Dawson case proves just how close we came to that and how vigilant we must be against it in the years ahead.