Canadian ruling on assisted suicide may set stage for further expansion

The recent court decision in Quebec that invalidated the “reasonably foreseeable” death clause  of both the federal and Quebec assisted suicide laws laid the foundation for further legal challenges in the expansion of Canada’s assisted suicide laws.  Opponents of assisted suicide often warn of the incremental strategy behind assisted suicide, pointing to the slippery slope of expansion we have seen in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands.  What is particularly troubling about Canada is how quickly assisted suicide laws have expanded there, over the course of just a few years, where it took decades in Belgium and the Netherlands.

“…Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin on Sept. 11 struck down the end of life requirement under s. 26 of Quebec’s End-of-Life Care Act and the reasonable foreseeability of natural death requirement under the Criminal Code, holding that it breached s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, prerequisites that prevented some people from accessing the end-of-life procedure. The federal law also contravened s. 7 of the Charter.

The ruling, which suspends application of the judgment for six months to allow legislators an opportunity to amend the laws, will likely be used as a springboard to extend the criteria to encompass groups who currently are prohibited from requesting medical aid in dying, said David Roberge, a Montreal lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault LLP. There is growing debate over allowing people under the age of 18 (so-called mature minors) and people with a severe and debilitating mental disorder as their sole underlying medical condition to gain access to medically assisted dying. Also under consideration is allowing people to issue advance directives.”

Read more at The Lawyers Daily…

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