Right-to-die supporters received a major boost this morning following a groundbreaking decision by the Supreme Court: the ban on doctor-assisted suicide will be lifted.
Concluding that the ban infringes on all three of the life, liberty, and security of person provisions in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the judgment gives Parliament one year to draft legislation that will grant clearly consenting adults who experience intolerable suffering to opt for professionally-induced death rather than live the remainder of their lives in terminal pain.
A more detailed analysis can be found here.
Today’s decision was fuelled by the case of two B.C. women seeking to end their lives medically and legally but had their requests overturned. One woman would succumb to infection, while the other travelled to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal.
Pressure now rests on Parliament to take a strong stand and act during what will be a heated federal election – exemptions to the current ban will not be granted for those seeking assisted suicide during the 12 months federal and provincial governments have to craft legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Whatever comes from it, this is the kind of decision that will undoubtedly effect our lives, the lives of our parents, and the lives of our children.
Let’s hope it’s the right one.
Cover image from: istock.com/jrwasserman