Legalization of Assisted Suicide in Canada
by InfoBased on March 15, 2017 - 1:54pm
Assisted suicide has been a widely discussed ethical issue worldwide due to its extremely controversial nature and the question that only 14 countries, including Canada, have answered since 1940, should people have the right to demand assisted suicide? First of all, we need to explore the terms that needs to be met in order to demand such actions to take place, on June 17th 2016, new federal legislation came into effect by creating various criteria that the patient must meet in order to legally demand assisted suicide. The list of mandatory criteria is extensive but to briefly explain, the patient must be "at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health; they have a grievous and irremediable medical condition;" ("End-of-Life Law and Policy in Canada", 2016). The court's decision places Canada in a small group of countries which have put guidelines that allow people to ask for medical help in order to end their life, this group includes countries such as Belgium and U.S states such as Washington and Oregon as well as a small number of other countries.
In a case 22 years ago, Sue Rodriguez, at 42 years old she was refused the right to a doctor-assisted suicide regardless of the fact that she was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which is a life-threatening disease which has no known cure and can cause stiff muscles, muscle twitching and gradually worsening weakness because of muscles decreasing in size and can eventually can lead to difficulty speaking, swallowing and in later stages breathing. Cases such as Sue's have always been present and up for discussion in courts worldwide, yet it is rare to see a case like this getting granted permission to receive the help the patient wants. Canada taking the first steps into allowing doctor-assisted suicide for special cases such as Sue's is a great initiative on their part and definitely deserves the all the respect they will get. A quote from (Justice Minister Peter Mackay),"This is a sensitive issue for many Canadians, with deeply held beliefs on both sides. We will study the decision and ensure all perspectives on this difficult issue are heard," gives me the confidence that the court is on the same page and path that the citizens of Canada are on and that future decisions on the matter will most definitely be with the publics opinion in mind.
In conclusion, Canada has shown great initiative in the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide for patients which meet the criteria they have put into place and further changes within this criteria will definitely be in favor of the publics opinion if we take in consideration how much impact we have had already in this particular subject. Do you think we should allow doctor-assisted suicide all countries or should we let nature take its course no matter how painful it may be in the end?
1. Fine, Sean. “Supreme Court rules Canadians have right to doctor-Assisted suicide.” The Globe and Mail, The Globe and Mail, 8 Mar. 2016, www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/supreme-court-rules-on-doctor-assi.... Accessed 15 Mar. 2017.
2. “Assisted Suicide.” End-of-Life Law and Policy in Canada, eol.law.dal.ca/?page_id=236. Accessed 15 Mar. 2017.