Supreme Court agrees to extend deadline for right to die law
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.
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.