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article imageCanada's Supreme Court allows doctor-assisted suicide

By Michael Thomas     Feb 6, 2015 in World
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that patients with serious and incurable diseases have the right to doctor-assisted suicide.
The Toronto Star reports the landmark decision is a huge reversal of a ruling 21 years prior. In a unanimous 9-0 decision, Canada's highest court ruled that a unilateral ban on assisted suicide in the Criminal Code goes too far.
Specifically, the Friday ruling says that it goes too far in its attempt to protect the lives of seriously ill people by preventing them from making informed decisions on whether they want to live or die.
The ruling says the Criminal Code ban is in violation of a person's right to life, liberty and security of person. These rights are all included in section seven of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The judges wrote in their ruling that rather than giving a person the right to life, the Criminal Code ban was giving patients "a duty to live."
The law also applies broadly — it can apply to anyone with a terminal illness, not just those whose disability prevent suicide unaided. However, the ruling specifies that this can only apply to those competent enough to make the decision and who can clearly consent. Further, doctors cannot be compelled to assist in suicide.
The case launched in 2011, when Kay Carter and Gloria Taylor, aided by the British Columbia Civil Liberties association, filed a lawsuit challenging the ban on assisted suicide. Both were suffering from different interminable illnesses, and both have since died.
The families of both women will be awarded full legal costs.
More about Assisted suicide, Euthanasia, Supreme court of canada
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