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Considering medical assistance in dying for minors: the complexities of children’s voices
  1. Harprit Kaur Singh1,
  2. Mary Ellen Macdonald2,
  3. Franco A Carnevale3
  1. 1 Department of Philosophy, Biomedical Ethics Unit, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2 Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  3. 3 Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Harprit Kaur Singh, Toronto, Canada; harprit.singh{at}


Medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation in Canada followed much deliberation after the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Carter v. Canada. Included in this deliberation was the Special Joint Committee on Physician Assisted Dying’s recommendation to extend MAID legislation beyond the inclusion of adults to mature minors. Children's agency is a construct advanced within childhood studies literature which entails eliciting children’s voices in order to recognise children as active participants in constructing their own childhoods. Using this framework, we consider the possible extension of MAID legislation to most minors. We highlight important questions regarding how insights from children’s voices could be mobilised in the life or death context of MAID. We conclude that children’s voices have the potential to help determine their eligibility for MAID; however, incorporating children's voices in the context of MAID requires careful consideration due to the complexity of voice.

  • children
  • death
  • euthanasia
  • law

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  • Contributors Conception and design of this work was done by HKS and MEM. Both MEM and FAC have revised this work critically for important intellectual content. HKS conducted the literature search, drafted this work and revised it based on feedback provided by co-authors and other acknowledged parties. HKS is the guarantor of this work. This manuscript has been read and approved by all authors.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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