Unless the federal government intervenes yet again, Gloria Taylor can decide in peace when her life with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease) has become unbearable. At that point she can ask a physician to ease her death. British Columbia’s highest court has granted Taylor a personal exemption.
In her decision B.C. Appeal Court Justice Jo-Ann Prowse wrote:
I am not persuaded that the harm to the public contended for by counsel for AG [Attorney General] Canada outweighs the harm to Ms. Taylor if she is left without a remedy pending the resolution of this appeal, and possibly at all. She may be a symbol, but she is also a person, and I do not find that it is necessary for the individual to be sacrificed to a concept of the “greater good” which may, or may not, be fully informed. The reasons for judgment in this case put squarely at issue the important public values with which this Court (and, likely, the Supreme Court of Canada) will ultimately have to grapple in determining whether, and in what circumstances, assisted suicide may, or may not, be in accord with the public interest, including the interest of that minority of the public in circumstances similar to those of Ms. Taylor. It is apparent there are competing arguments and interests on both sides of the issue which will be elaborated upon as the appeal progresses. The public as a whole will benefit from this process. In the meantime, if it should happen that Ms. Taylor is not present for the end of the story because she exercised her right to end her life in accordance with the exemption, I am not persuaded that the nature of any harm suffered by the public as a result offsets the likely final and irrevocable nature of the harm to Ms. Taylor if a stay is granted.
Next: Background and Opposing Reactions
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