VANCOUVER – The B.C. Court of Appeal is set to rule today on the constitutionality of Canada’s prohibition on doctor-assisted suicide.
The court was asked to examine the law after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled last year that the law violates the charter rights of gravely ill patients by preventing them from seeking the help of a doctor to end their suffering.
Several plaintiffs, including ALS patient Gloria Taylor and the children of Kay Carter, who travelled to Switzerland to seek a doctor-assisted suicide in 2010, launched the challenge.
The earlier decision said patients in such scenarios must personally request physician-assisted death, must be free from coercion and cannot be clinically depressed.
Whatever the Appeal Court rules, observers believe the case is destined for the Supreme Court of Canada.
The federal government insists allowing assisted suicide would demean the value of life and increase the possibility of vulnerable people being coerced to end their lives.