VANCOUVER, March 7, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), an intervener in the federal government’s appeal of the court ruling that overturned Canada’s ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide, wants the British Columbia Court of Appeal to reverse the decision of Justice Lynn Smith in the Carter assisted suicide case.
“The Carter decision erred in several significant areas," EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg, stated. "The judge came to her decision by falsely assuming that there is a ‘right to suicide’ in Canada.”
Schadenberg further explained, “The Carter decision misinterpreted the data from other jurisdictions that have legalized assisted death when it suggested that there is no significant risk to vulnerable patient groups. A recent study found that 32 percent of all assisted deaths in Belgium were done without request. The same study revealed that incompetent people who are over the age of 80 are vulnerable to dying by an assisted death without request.”
Schadenberg outlines in detail what he claims are the errors Justice Smith made in her June 2012 decision in the Carter v. Canada case in his new book titled Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.
Justice Smith argued in her decision that since suicide is legal in Canada, the ban on assisted suicide is unconstitutional, because it prevents the disabled from getting the help they may need to kill themselves. Therefore, it violates the equality provision in section 15 of Canada’s Charter.
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EPC-BC chair Dr. Will Johnston expressed his concern that legal assisted suicide is already being extended to those who are not terminally ill in jurisdictions where it is practiced. "People have lost months and years of life after being steered to suicide by its availability," he said.
"Elder abuse is already difficult to detect and would be no easier to combat when a suicide offer is always dangling before a vulnerable older person," Johnston said. "Giving legal immunity to those who would provide suicide does not make our loved ones safer."
EPC legal counsel Hugh Scher stated, “The EPC is concerned about the safety, security, and equality of people with disabilities and seniors, which is central to the protections set out under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.”
The BC Court of Appeal is hearing arguments in the case this week, March 4-8, 2013.
Further information is available on the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition website.