Assisted Suicide In Canada

November 18, 2011 by staff 

Assisted Suicide In Canada, Canada’s laws prohibiting assisted suicide are once again being challenged in court in a landmark case that began this week.

Five plaintiffs, including a 63-year-old woman suffering from a fatal neurodegenerative disease and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, have filed a claim against Canada in the province’s Supreme Court, arguing that the current laws prohibiting assisted suicide for seriously and incurably ill patients are unconstitutional.

Lee Carter and Hollis Johnson, two of the plaintiffs who helped Carter’s ill mother, diagnosed with spinal stenosis, travel to a clinic in Switzerland to perform physician-assisted suicide, will also be providing evidence in the case. The couple wants to avoid the risk of being prosecuted under the current laws in Canada.

Groups opposed to legalization of euthanasia have been mobilizing their efforts to keep the laws unchanged. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), which has intervenor standing in the case, is calling legalization of assisted suicide “a recipe for elder abuse and a threat to individual patients’ rights.”

“I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family members and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is typical,” Will Johnston, a Vancouver physician and chair of the British Columbia chapter of EPC, said in a statement.

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