TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Canada will once again grapple with the life and death question of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The court is sitting to hear an appeal by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) in the Carter v Canada case. The BCCLA is challenging the laws that criminalize doctors for helping competent, seriously ill individuals who wish to hasten death.
One of the plaintiffs in the case, Gloria Taylor, was a longtime United Church member. Taylor, who suffered from ALS, died unexpectedly from an infection in 2012, not long after she had become the first person in Canadian history to be granted the right to seek a physician-assisted death. That decision was later appealed and overturned in British Columbia, thus leading to this appeal to the Supreme Court.
In a blog posted this week on The United Church of Canada's website, the church's Moderator, the Right Rev. Gary Paterson, reflects on the question of whether euthanasia and assisted suicide should be legalized:
As a United Church minister, I have often journeyed with people as they grasp onto, sometimes firmly, sometimes not, every last moment of life. It is a privilege to be with people during these times – but it can be a challenge when faced with troubling questions about what constitutes a "good death", and how does one achieve that when pain or disability can sometimes prevent an individual from living as they would want to during their last weeks, days, or hours on this earth.
In the end Paterson concludes:
Hastening death should never be a first choice, but sometimes, for some people, when faced with the unbearable suffering of ALS, or a hundred other terminal illnesses, it may be the right choice.
The full text of the Moderator's blog, Going into that Good Night, is available at: http://blogs.united-church.ca/garypaterson/2014/10/13/going-into-that-good-night/
SOURCE: United Church of Canada
For further information: Mary-Frances Denis, The United Church of Canada, Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016, Cell: 416-400-7273, E-mail: [email protected]