British Columbia group challenging Canada’s assisted suicide law through the court

Editor’s note. The following appears on eh web site of Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, at http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2011/05/bc-group-challenging-canadas-assisted.html

Alex Schadenberg

The Farewell Foundation in British Columbia is challenging Canada’s assisted suicide law through the court. The Farewell Foundation applied to become a non-profit corporation with the purpose of assisting the suicides of their members, in a similar manner to the Swiss suicide group Digitas. The Registrar of Companies rejected the Farewell Foundation corporation application based on the fact that the Farewell Foundation would exist to break the law.

The Farewell Foundation case is based upon their belief that Canada’s assisted suicide law infringes upon Section 7 & 15 of Canada’s constitution, making it unconstitutional and therefore the assisted suicide law is unenforceable.

The assisted suicide act is designed to protect vulnerable people from acts to cause their death, from taking advantage of a person who is depressed and suicidal and to prevent the ultimate form of elder abuse, imposed death.

In a media release, the Farewell Foundation announced that they were launching their case on April 20, 2011. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is following the case and will apply for intervention status at the appropriate time.

Russell Ogden, a criminologist in BC, is one of their directors. He claims that times have changed and he expects that they will successfully challenge section 241(b) of the criminal code that prohibits–aiding, abetting and counseling suicide.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes that Section 241 of the Criminal Code acts to deter people from pressuring vulnerable people to kill themselves. The law is designed to protect people from others in society. We reject that concept that assisted suicide is an autonomous act. By its very nature assisted suicide involves other people being involved in the cause of death of a person.

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