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British Columbian judge says Canada’s ban on physician assisted dying is unconstitutional

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 19 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4251
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The ban on physician assisted dying in Canada’s criminal code has been ruled unconstitutional by British Columbia’s Supreme Court, opening the way for a woman with a terminal illness to ask the court to allow her doctor to end her life.

The judge, Lynn Smith, declared that the absolute ban unjustifiably infringes Gloria Taylor’s rights to life, liberty, and security of the person and her right to equality under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The judge suspended the effect of her ruling for a year, to allow time for the legislature to draft and consider legislation remedying the law. But in the meantime, she ruled that Taylor will …

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