Canadian Parliament passes legislation allowing doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients

  • The Canadian Senate passed a law that would allow doctor-assisted suicide in the country
  • The law sets protocols for terminally ill patients to access right-to-die services
  • This comes after the Canadian Supreme Court passed a decision decriminalizing doctor-assisted suicide

The Senate of Canada officially passed legislation that would allow terminally-ill patients to end their own life with the assistance of doctors; after heated debates in both House of the the Canadian Parliament.

Voting 44-28, the Senate approved Bill C-14 which has been previously supported by the House of Commons led by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

With the Senate approval, the bill now only requires royal ascent by the governor general, which is basically mere formality, reports the CBC.

“The government recognizes the extraordinary efforts that were made in the House of Commons and in the Senate to ensure passage of this bill. Medical assistance in dying is a difficult, complex and deeply personal issue. The legislation strikes the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott said in a joint statement.

The new law sets out protocols for doctor-assisted suicide, in particular, restricting access only to terminally ill patients.

A year earlier, the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition against assisted dying rights of patients. The law aims to provide clear legal parameters for doctors over providing right-to-die services after it was formally decriminalized by the court.

The case which led to the decision involved the family of Kay Carter, who suffered spinal stenosis, and traveled to a clinic in Switzerland to die in 2010.

Senators had sought to include amendments that would have made doctor-assisted suicide more widely available, but they were eventually dropped and yielded to the more restrictive limits set by the House of Commons.

The move practically ended the deadlock between both Houses of Parliament and allowed the bill to move forward.