Supreme Court of Canada
On this day shortly before 10 am the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) unanimously handed down a decision that allows for physician assisted death; otherwise known as death with dignity in Canada. The federal and provincial governments have 12 months to make the necessary changes and during that time the current laws stand. There have been many attempts over the years to change the laws to allow Canadians the right to die with dignity however, all have failed. The last failure under the current administration prompted Prime Minister Stephen Harper to state that he would “not change the status quo”
Canada will join other countries such as Australia, Belgium, china, Columbia, Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the following states located in the US: Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington. Some of whom have had laws in place going back to 1955! I’m sad to see it took Canada so long to jump on this bandwagon when I see us a progressive country who allowed for same sex marriages before most countries.
I fully support death with dignity, I fully want to have the option to choose to end my life if and when it becomes a requirement. I choose life, I never want to die, if I could be come immortal I would but that is not a reality. I want to have the power to make my own end of life decisions I don’t think it’s fair that those choices were not there before. Currently we do have choices we can sign a DNR (Do Not Ressutate) order, we can request palliative sedation, we can refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, but we are not allowed to ask for a physician’s help to end our lives. This has left so many people suffering or having to go to other countries to seek help should we wish to go in that direction.
I’ve read a lot of articles today about the ruling and the view of those on the other side of the decision. One quote that has stuck with me is: “The ruling actually wants people with disabilities to end their lives when they believe their suffering, and the condition doesn’t have to be terminal,” this was said by Taylor Hyatt of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. I get that Mr. Hyatt was upset by the ruling however I have big issues with his very broad and incorrect statement. In no way does the ruling tell those suffering from a disability that the Canadian Government, their loved ones, or society as a whole want them to end their lives. When the new laws are written I’m almost positive that there will be amendments to protect the truly vulnerable from having their lives ended by their caretakers who are acting out of selfishness instead of love.
For me this new shift represents personal choice, me and every other Canadian has the right to decided FOR THEMSELVES, no one has the right to end my life for me or tell me that I should end my life but if for whatever reason I come down with an incurable illness and all I’m faced with is years of suffering and unimaginable amounts of pain I want to be able to have another option. I want to die the way I lived with my head held high, with humour and grace, not bed ridden and in so much pain I don’t know my own name or have to be on a machine that takes care of me until it no longer can. I truly hope that I never have to make that decision, I hope my loved ones never have to face that choice but I will support that decision as I hope they would respect mine.
For those who object, this law is about choice, if you want to suffer with dignity you have that choice, go right ahead, it angers me when people say that these types of decisions strip away their rights when in fact it boosts their rights, compliments and adds to them. It also doesn’t mean a doctor has to assist, they have the choice to decline and not help a person who would otherwise qualify under the law.
Here is the ruling document for you to read if you choose. What were your thoughts when you first heard about this?