Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quebec at the forefront of assisted dying effort in Canada

Exciting developments in Quebec. There is a cross-party consensus in the provincial parliament that assisted dying ought to be available to certain patients, namely those who are on palliative care, who suffer from a terminal illness and who consider their lives not worth living any longer. There is currently contradictory information in the media-reporting about whether assisted dying extends all the way to voluntary euthanasia or just assisted suicide. What seems clear is that the legislators avoid - likely for legal reasons - from calling what they proposing what it is. 

I have not been able to get my hands on an English version of what is reportedly a 400pp legal document indicating that Quebec is on firm legal grounds, constitutionally, if it decided to go ahead with this plan.

Here is how the Huffington Post has reported the gist of it: 

'Under the recommendations, patients themselves would have to make the request to a doctor on the basis of unbearable physical or psychological suffering. Two physicians would have to approve the request, which would have to be made in writing.
Doctors would not face criminal charges in these circumstances, the report said. Any law should state that the refusal, interruption, abstention from care or the application of a terminal sedative in those circumstances could not be considered a suicide.
The Quebec panel, which was headed by lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard, said people suffering from an incurable or degenerative illness should be allowed to ask for medical assistance to help them die.'

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