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Historical reaction Euthanasia

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Rodriguez case

            Sue Rodriquez went to parliament asking to have the right to be assisted in her suicide.  Her illness was taking over her life and it was prohibiting her from living her life to the fullest.

The Sue Rodriquez story is what started to make a statement that maybe euthanasia should be made legal.  In short this is her story.  She was a 42 year old woman when she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Her life expectancy was 14 months to 2 years.  Lou Gehrig’s disease is a disease that slowly shuts down the muscle motion of your body to the point were your loose the capacity to breath on your own.  This disease does not have a cure and it is not reversible, the only thing a patient can do is take drugs so that it does not become too painful.  She wished to live until her capacity to enjoy and live life does not exist anymore.  Basically she wanted to kill herself when she would not be able to live and enjoy her life as normal human being. The problem is that by the time she would not be able to do so, she would not be able to kill herself.  Therefore she wanted someone to have the right to do euthanasia on her.

She brought her case to the British Columbia Supreme Court where the judges did not give her right to euthanasia.  She later when to the British Columbia Court of Appeal where once again she was not given approval.  And then her last resource was the Canadian Supreme Court. There she again lost with a surprising 5-4 vote.  It was debated that the decision that make one judge say no was a not good call because the votes where very close to one another.

The lawyers of Rodriquez brought this question to court, was Section 214(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.  This particular section states: Every one who (a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or (b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide, whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.  Rodriquez wanted this Section changed.  She and her lawyers used three sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom to argue the potential change of Section 214(b).  These sections are: Section 7, Section 12 and Section 15, to try to make that Section change.


Here is the link to CBC where you can find videos and other information on this case: