Compassion for a Dying Woman
In crafting her decision, Justice Prowse quoted from Taylor’s affidavit to the court:
I am dying. I do not want to, but I am going to die; that is a fact. I can accept death because I recognize it as a part of life. What I fear is a death that negates, as opposed to concludes, my life. I do not want to die slowly, piece by piece. I do not want to waste away unconscious in a hospital bed. I do not want to die wracked with pain. It is very important to me that my family, and my granddaughter in particular, have final memories that capture me as I really am – not as someone I cannot identify with and have no desire to become.
Once again Gloria Taylor has the assurance of choice, something the federal government’s appeal took away. If anti-euthanasia groups have their way, the federal government could take it away again.
Justice Prowse does not believe Taylor should have to endure yet more legal wrangling while the courts rule on the larger issues. She wrote:
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.
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