NRL News

Desperate Father of Autistic woman who was seeking euthanasia, has withdrawn his appeal

by | Jun 13, 2024

M.V. has refused food and fluid for 16 days.

By Alex Schadenberg

The father of the Calgary autistic woman, who was scheduled to die by euthanasia on February 1, withdrew his appeal of a court decision that prevented his daughter from dying by euthanasia, because the case is essentially moot.

Meghan Grant reported for CBC News that

A Calgary father fighting through the courts to keep his 27-year-old daughter from accessing medical assistance in dying (MAID) has abandoned his appeal, 14 days after she stopped eating and drinking.


The woman, who can only be identified as M.V. because of a publication ban, was set to receive MAID in February. Her father — W.V. — does not believe his daughter has any medical conditions that would qualify her for MAID and wanted the courts to review how she was approved.


M.V., whose only publicly known diagnoses are autism and ADHD, has never disclosed in court the conditions she suffers from which led to her approval.


At the end of May, M.V. began starving herself because a judge’s order blocks her access to MAID until appeal arguments — originally set to take place in October — can be heard.

M.V. stopped eating and drinking on May 28. Normally someone dies by dehydration in 10 – 14 days after refusing food and fluids. W.V. dropped the appeal on Day 15 because the court case had become essentially moot.

Grant reports:

Last week, after learning of M.V.’s voluntary stoppage of eating and drinking (VSED), Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Jolaine Antonio expedited the case to be heard on June 24.


But on Tuesday, W.V. filed a discontinuance of appeal.


Although no reasons were given in the document, a partially redacted letter from W.V.’s lawyer filed with the court last week alerts the court to the possibility that the appeal would be discontinued.


“We have asked counsel for the respondents, M.V. and [Alberta Health Services] for additional information or clarity on these circumstances but no information has been forthcoming prior to 3:00 p.m. today,” wrote W.V.’s lawyer Sarah Miller.


In the letter, the lawyer says that a discontinuance would be filed if the question of an injunction becomes moot.


That could suggest that if M.V. continued her current course of action, the appeal would become unnecessary.

Grant reported that the father opposed the euthanasia death of his autistic daughter because:

M.V.’s father believes his daughter is generally healthy, and his lawyer previously argued in court that any physical symptoms she presents are a result of psychological conditions.


The daughter’s only known diagnoses are autism and ADHD, but those conditions do not qualify her for MAID.

This case is very important to me since I have an autistic son who is a similar age. I believe that MV, who is otherwise healthy, was only approved for euthanasia because she is autistic. This is clearly a form of disability discrimination.

M.V. was originally scheduled to die by euthanasia (MAiD) on February 1, but her father obtained a temporary injunction, on January 30, 2024.

CBC News reported on March 12, 2024 on this case that the father argued that his daughter did not have a medical condition that qualifies under the law for death by lethal poison (MAiD) and yet the daughter had already been approved to be killed.

CBC News reporter Grant reported on March 25, 2024 that Justice Feasby ruled that the 27-year-old daughter can die by euthanasia despite her father’s concerns. Feasby withdrew the temporary injunction that prevented M.V. from dying by euthanasia but Feasby maintained a 30-day stay of the injunction, which gave the father time to appeal the decision.

Justice Feasby also ordered an assessment of the role of Alberta Health Services with relation to the approval of euthanasia for the autistic daughter.

On April 2, 2024, Kevin Martin reported for the Calgary Herald that the father of the 27-year-old autistic woman had appealed the decision to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

On April 8, Justice Anne Kirker ordered a stay on the injunction to prevent the death of the M.V. until after the appeal is decided. The date of the appeal was in October.

On May 30, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) announced that we were granted intervener standing in the case. EPC submitted its application to intervene, with legal arguments, on May 17.

Those who advised M.V. to stop eating and drinking used her for their own political and social purposes. I am incredibly saddened by the outcome of this case.

Editor Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here. Reposted with permission.

Categories: Euthanasia