The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation released an article: “Assisted-suicide ban struck down by B.C. court.”

Here are some excerpts:

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A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has declared Canada’s laws against physician-assisted suicide unconstitutional.

In a 395-page ruling released Friday, Justice Lynn Smith called the law discriminatory.

In her judgment, Smith speaks directly to the situation faced by Gloria Taylor, a B.C. woman with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, who was one of five plaintiffs seeking to overturn the legislation.

Suicide itself is not illegal, and therefore, Smith ruled, the law against assisted suicide contravenes Section 15 of the Charter, which guarantees equality, because it denies physically disabled people like Taylor the same rights as able-bodied people who can take their own lives.

“The impact of that distinction is felt particularly acutely by persons such as Ms. Taylor, who are grievously and irremediably ill, physically disabled or soon to become so, mentally competent and who wish to have some control over their circumstances at the end of their lives,” Smith writes.

“The distinction is discriminatory … because it perpetuates disadvantage.”

Smith also says the law deprives both people like Taylor and those who try to help them of the right to life and liberty guaranteed under Section 7 of the Charter.

She argues the legislation could force a person to take their life sooner than they want to in order to kill themselves while still physically capable.

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The impact of the ruling will not be immediate.

Smith has suspended the declaration of invalidity for one year in order to give Parliament time to take whatever steps it sees fit to draft and consider new legislation.

But in the meantime, Smith says Taylor must have a constitutional exception to seek physician-assisted suicide if she chooses to end her life.

The ruling would put Canada in the company of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, countries which permit physician-assisted suicide.

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