Canada Prime Minister Wants To Legalize Physician-Assisted Death

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced legislation to legalize physician-assisted death for people with terminal illnesses. They are limiting this service to just Canadian citizens and residents who are eligible to participate in the country’s health care system.

They want to prevent a surge of people from other countries who are seeking these kind of services; some call it “suicide tourism.” Only a handful of states in the US allow physician-assisted death. Hopefully, Americans will not need to do go to Canada for this much longer. Now that California is passing a law to legalize it, 1 in 6 Americans will be able to take advantage of this service.

Under this law, patients can receive medicine from the doctor or have the doctor administer the dose. Family members will be allowed to assist in the process. The law also prohibits people with psychiatric disorders from participating.

It restricts the suicide measure to adults, and they must be diagnosed with a terminal illness. They also require that the person wait a 15-day “reflection period” to avoid any rushed decisions. Doctors will not be forced to perform the procedure if they object, but they must refer the patient to someone who will perform it.

If this passes, Canada will join countries such as Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany in allowing this procedure. The Canadian Supreme Court overturned a ban on physician-assisted death in February of 2015.

The Prime Minister said that he came to this position after watching his father, Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, die from prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Not everyone in the party will be required to support this; some members of the Liberal party have said that this conflicts with their religious beliefs, but the bill is likely to pass. Here are the tweets from Justin about this law:

Featured image by Mohammad Jangda via Flickr, available under Creative Commons 2.0 license

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