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Canadians Will Have The Right To Ask Doctors To Help Them Die, Supreme Court Rules

An amendment to a previous law will grant doctor-assisted suicide for mentally competent adults.

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In a unanimous ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court, consenting and mentally competent adults who are in intolerable and untreatable suffering will now have the right to ask a doctor for assistance in suicide.


The Canadian Supreme Court has just amended a law that previously made assisted suicide illegal. Now, in certain circumstances, those with irremediable medical conditions will be allowed to ask a doctor to help them end their lives.

​"An individual's choice about the end of her life is entitled to respect," the court wrote in the decision. It further stressed the importance of giving patients their autonomy. "By leaving people ... to endure intolerable suffering, it impinges on the security of the person."

The decision will also give doctors the ability to assess whether a patient is mentally capable of consent.

And while specific situations and criteria have been laid-out, the court has not, however, addressed whether mental illnesses and psychological pain qualify as a medical condition under the ruling. The court is suspending the ruling for 12 months so that provincial and national governments can draft new legislation. If it isn't written in that time, the current law will be struck down.

H/t CBC News

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Chicago.

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