Assisted Suicide and Canadian Law
Canada still has not come to a decision on the need for
legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide. A woman named Sue
Rodriguez brought it out into open to become one of Canada's
famous court debates. In February of 1994, she ended her life
with the assistance of her doctor. She suffered from a terminal
illness called ALS (a.k.a. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou
Gehrig's disease). The disease progressively worsens until it
robs the individual of all their abilities (like walking, control
of body movement, swallowing and breathing) until they are
totally dependent on mechanical devices to survive.
Before she ended her life, she brought the debate over
assisted suicide and the right to die to the Supreme Court of
British Columbia (which was denied) and then to the British
Columbia Court of Appeal which was lost. She fought though for
the right to change the laws of assisted suicide and have the
right to choose when she would die.
Sue Rodriguez is an example of the need for the Canadian
government to decide on the laws surrounding this issue. In this
paper I will explain euthanasia or assisted suicide, the laws
surrounding the issue and some of the arguments for and against
it. Later I will discuss the role of the social worker in
regards to assisted suicide and the health care setting.