On June 15, 2012, Justice Lynn Smith of the British Columbia Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on assisted suicide in the Criminal Code of Canada declaring it unconstitutional. Her ruling was rendered in the Carter v. Canada case.
The lawsuit was brought in January 2010 by the BC Civil Liberties Association on behalf of the family of Kay Carter who travelled to Switzerland to die by assisted suicide in a Dignitas clinic. Assisted suicide is allowed in Switzerland. Gloria Taylor who has ALS (Lou Gehrig ‘s disease) joined the suit later in August. As a result of this action, the case was fast tracked because Ms. Taylor was told earlier she had only a year to live.
Judge Lynn Smith ruled that the ban on assisted suicide violated the equality rights of the disabled since they were unable to obtain the help needed to kill themselves. Ms. Taylor says that she does not wish to kill herself at present but would like to know that she can receive the help she requires to end her life in the future.
The judge’s ruling included a stay of one year which means that the ban on assisted suicide is still in force for one year but granted an exemption to Ms. Taylor thereby allowing her to access assisted suicide if she so chooses.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is asking the federal government to appeal this court decision.
Euthanasia is allowing doctors to kill patients.
In a letter to the National Post (June 20, 2012), Dr. Joseph Askin said: “Before Hippocrates, a physician was either a healer or killer, depending on the intentions of the highest bidder for his services. Hippocrates and generations since have recognized that only physicians who pledge never to kill can be trusted with our care when we are most vulnerable.”