Supreme Court agrees to ex­tend dead­line for right to die law

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The Supreme Court has added four months to the fed­eral govern­ment’s dead­line for pro­duc­ing a new law on doc­tor-as­sisted death — but with an ex­emp­tion for any­one who wants to ask a judge to end their life ear­lier.

The Lib­eral

govern­ment had ar­gued that it needed the orig­i­nal Feb. 6 dead­line ex­tended by six months in or­der to have the time to craft a proper law.

Op­po­nents said that would sim­ply pro­long the suf­fer­ing of many.

“In agree­ing that more time is needed, we do not at the same time see any need to un­fairly pro­long the suf­fer­ing of those who meet the clear cri­te­ria,” the court wrote in a nar­row 5-4 de­ci­sion on the ex­ten­sion ap­pli­ca­tion.

“An ex­emp­tion can mit­i­gate the se­vere harm that may be oc­ca­sioned to those adults who have a griev­ous, in­tol­er­a­ble and ir­re­me­di­a­ble med­i­cal con­di­tion by mak­ing a rem­edy avail­able now, pend­ing Par­lia­ment’s re­sponse.”

The de­ci­sion con­tin­ues: “The prej­u­dice to the rights flow­ing from the four-month ex­ten­sion out­weighs coun­ter­vail­ing con­sid­er­a­tions.”

In a land­mark de­ci­sion last win­ter, the high court rec­og­nized the right of con­sent­ing adults en­dur­ing in­tol­er­a­ble phys­i­cal or men­tal suf­fer­ing to end their lives with a doc­tor’s help.

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