Friday, June 15, 2012

BC Court Strikes Down Ban on Assisted Suicide

It's about time.  A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has upheld a terminally ill woman's right to physician-assisted suicide.

Justice Lynn Smith held the ban to be discriminatory and unconstitutional.   The woman, who has late-stage ALS, was represented by veteran lawyer Joe Arvay.

"I describe the evidence and the legal arguments that have led me to conclude that the plaintiffs succeed in their challenge,” Smith wrote at the beginning of her 395-page ruling. “They succeed because the provisions unjustifiably infringe on the equality rights of Gloria Taylor and the rights of life, liberty and security of the person.”

One can merely guess how long it will take Harper to launch an appeal and force this woman through an agonizing, drawn out death.

No matter how you feel about this, and most of us come down strongly on one side or the other, you really should consider your views in light of Oregon's physician-assisted suicide legislation, the state's Death With Dignity Act.   Oregon allows residents with advanced cases of terminal illness to apply to undergo a detailed process by which, after counselling and careful medical review, the person can obtain lethal medications for voluntary self-administration.   The state's experience has found that many who obtain prescriptions for these medications either never fill the prescriptions or never take the end of life drugs.   They merely die naturally free of the fear of having to endure unbearable pain.

You have to be diabolical to deny the terminally ill the right to die free of that grotesque fear.

2 comments:

diamondwalker said...

The government has no place inside the bedrooms of the nation, it certainly has no place at the bedsides of those reaching the end of their lives, whether at home or hospital or hospice or any place an individual might choose, to die with dignity and freedom.

Madame Justice Lynn Smith exhibits courage, empathy, compassion, intelligence, care, consideration and humanity.. in her declaration. Thus she is a Canadian exemplar.. as is Gloria Taylor perhaps even more.

Do not look for or expect any such attributes from within our current government or Parliament. They are far more likely to dispatch undercover and very uncomfortable local RCMP, provincial or local police to investigate or press charges at related funerals.. It should be understood that you cannot arrest or charge the dead.. non ?

The Minister(ess) of Health must hold views on this.. as the Inuit.. 'the people' and other tribal peoples are the most enlightened & experienced in this matter of meeting or accepting death with courage and dignity within the tribe or community..

Or? Does this become a Public Safety or a Defense issue ? Could it fall under Freedom of Religion.. or is this a Natural Resources issue where Joe Oliver can take over ? After all, if Canadians begin to die from lack of oxygen (oh that dammed carbon monoxide) or drinking water from tailings ponds.. or mercury poisoning .... or .. oh never mind ..

Gloria Taylor ... and all and any other litigants.. and their loved ones
have my tears.. my unreserved and highest admiration, compassion, support and understanding ..

The Mound of Sound said...

This decision certainly made me proud to be a British Columbian. We are probably the most progressive province in Canada, at least between the Pacific and Quebec.

British Columbia created, and fiercely defended, Insite, the safe-needle injection/drug counselling facility that Harper was so fiendishly determined to eradicate.

Now we have moved to bring long overdue humanity to the end of life ordeal. I hope Harper can be held at bay until we're able to ditch our rightwing provincial government and get the NDP in.