In her judgment, Smith speaks directly to the situation faced by Gloria Taylor, a B.C. woman with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, who was one of five plaintiffs seeking to overturn the legislation. Suicide itself is not illegal, and therefore, Smith ruled, the law against assisted suicide contravenes Section 15 of the Charter, which guarantees equality, because it denies physically disabled people like Taylor the same rights as able-bodied people who can take their own lives. “The impact of that distinction is felt particularly acutely by persons such as Ms. Taylor, who are grievously and irremediably ill, physically disabled or soon to become so, mentally competent and who wish to have some control over their circumstances at the end of their lives,” Smith writes. “The distinction is discriminatory because it perpetuates disadvantage.”
What utter drivel. Because an act isn’t illegal, doesn’t make it a “right.” If burning myself with a cigarette isn’t illegal, and I find it satisfying to be burned because it helps me cope with psychic pain, does that mean I have a right to have someone help me do it if I am unable to burn myself? Good grief. And if being dead is now a right, how can it be restricted to the seriously ill or disabled? A right applies to all, right?
The real discrimination is that suicide prevention will continue to be imposed—how else can it be described if suicide is a right—on some, but not others. If you want to die because your spouse died or your business collapsed, we will try and force you to stay alive through mental health services. But if you have cancer, MS, AIDS, or ALS, we’ll hold your coat as you self destruct. Or, we’ll symbolically help you put the gun to your head and pull the trigger.
Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death?
P.S. This provincial court ruling flies in the face of the Canada Supreme Court’s earlier determination that there is no right in that nation to assisted suicide. I don’t know how—actually, whether—a provincial court can overrule a national court under Canadian law, or what happens next in that regard. More when I know more.