Ending life in Québec: Doctors and courts rule against assisted suicide

Publié le : 1 November 2013

 A few days away from the vote on draft bill 52, "aimed at authorising euthanasia in the form of medically assisted suicide" (Gènéthique press review on June 10th, 2013)the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice asked Dr. Stevens, American oncologist, to describe his experiences in an American state (Oregon) where assisted suicide has been authorised for 15 years. As far as this doctor is concerned, assisted suicide is a "licence to kill" and giving the patient the choice to end his or her own life is an "invitation to commit suicide".      

Recently, two decisions were reached by Canadian courts upholding legislation against euthanasia and assisted suicide. Initially, a decision by the Court of Appeal in the Province of British Columbia on 10 October 2013 upheld the ban on assisted suicide.  Secondly, a decision was passed by the Canadian Supreme Court on 18 October 2013 (Rasouli case). It declared that a doctor is obliged to obtain the permission of a patient (or guardian) before stopping treatment when this decision may result in the patient’s death. 

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