Home / B.C. Court of Appeal strikes down right-to-die case

B.C. Court of Appeal strikes down right-to-die case

By QMI Agency
Published October 10, 2013/ canoe.ca

“Canadians who are seriously ill or have incurable conditions won’t be allowed to have a doctor help them die, the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled.

In a 2-1 decision, the court overturned a B.C. Supreme Court ruling in 2012 that would have allowed patients to seek out the help of their doctors in order to die.

Gloria Taylor and Kathleen Carter launched the legal challenge because they felt individuals should have the right to control when their life ends.

Carter, 89, had spinal stenosis, a degenerative condition that confined her to a wheelchair. She travelled to Switzerland in 2010 where doctors helped her die.

Taylor, 64, had the fatal neurodegenerative disease ALS. She died from an infection.

Chief Justice Lance Finch said he agrees with previous judges who said banning assisted suicide takes away a person’s ability to avoid physical pain and psychological stress. Finch also said the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Sue Rodriguez vs. British Columbia didn’t need to factor into this decision. In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled Rodriguez, an ALS sufferer, couldn’t seek a doctor’s help to die.

Justices Mary Newbury and Mary Saunders disagreed with Finch and said the Rodriguez ruling couldn’t be ignored.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association said it’s disappointed with the decision and plans to appeal.

“We are disappointed, but the Court of Appeal has effectively thrown the ball to the Supreme Court of Canada. We will ask the Supreme Court to hear this case and to recognize the right to die with dignity. We will continue to argue that the government has no place at the bedside of seriously ill Canadians, denying the right to decide to those who have made firm decisions about the amount of suffering they will endure at the end of life,” BCCLA litigation director Grace Pastine said in a release.”