Hours after the Supreme Court of Canada denied a couple the right to keep their 2-year-old daughter on life support, 'Baby M' was taken off it and died. Doctors in Edmonton said the baby was in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery.
The ruling came down Thursday and 'Baby M' was taken off life-support sometime after and died in the evening at the city's Stollery Children’s Hospital. It appears the parents tried to have her remain on life-support despite her condition, and despite a doctor's assessment that the only thing she likely felt was pain, in order to avoid more serious criminal charges being laid against them.
Parents cites religious beliefs
The baby and her twin sister were taken from their parents' home after paramedics were called and found the girls severely malnourished and in danger of dying; there is also an older son, who was not harmed. The other daughter regained her health and, with her brother, is in foster care, but the damage was too severe for 'Baby M'. Her parents have been charged with aggravated assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to provide the necessities of life. Police had said that the charges would be upgraded if 'Baby M' died.
The parents, both 34 and Muslims, cited their religion as a reason why she should not have been taken off life-support. However, as reported in Canada's National Post, Muslim scholars have said there is nothing in Islam that requires keeping alive those who are in a vegetative state.
The parents had originally petitioned the Alberta Court of Appeal, which ruled against them. Supreme Court Justice Frans Slatter said in her judgment that there were no legal issues in that original ruling and so she could not overturn it.