This week, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that Canada's laws against assisted suicide are constitutional.
They may very well be, but it does not make them just.
The government's argument in appealing a lower court ruling that struck the law down was that assisted suicide would "demean the value of life" and open up vulnerable people to risk of abuse.
Laws against assisted suicide have their origins in early Catholic Church doctrine, which viewed suicide as an interference with God's plan. Several church groups appeared as interveners during the appeal.
For some who have watched a loved one die slowly and in agony with no hope of respite, let alone recovery, law and doctrine is impossible to accept.
The fact is, sometimes we're ready to leave the party before our bodies are. A law that forces people to live in progressively worse pain as their dignity dwindles away until they inevitably die demeans life.
The practice is no longer outlawed in more progressive jurisdictions where rigorous fail safes are in place to make sure no one ever goes through with it unless they are of sound mind.
To be clear: We are not advocating assisted suicide as some form of state-sponsored solution to severe depression or as one of a series of treatment options. But, for the sake of a few who live in constant pain or face a demeaning death with no prospect of relief, it is time to move the conversation into a new light.
It's unfortunate that our federal government does not wish to take the lead on such an initiative.
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