Thursday, November 17, 2011
Challenge to Canada's Assisted Suicide Law
The Royal Society report I blogged on earlier today may end up having an impact on an important case which has just begun in British Columbia. It's a new challenge to the constitutionality of Canada's law criminalizing assisted suicide. The case aims to overturn the 1993 Rodriguez case, in which a 5-4 split Supreme Court upheld the criminal law by affirming that it did not interfere with the rights to liberty and security of the person affirmed by the Canadian Charter. The Royal Society report includes extensive discussion of contemporary Canadian attitudes toward euthanasia and assisted suicide--attitudes which have changed substantially since 1993. Such changes in national climate--plus a number of intervening cases interpreting "security of the person"--may leave Rodriguez vulnerable to reversal.