Medical Help to Die: Two Quebecers Challenge the Law

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Two Quebecers with incurable degenerative illnesses are contesting some of the requirements to get medical help to die. They don’t qualify because they are not at the end of life and their deaths are not imminent.

 

Specific requirements

In Quebec, people can ask for medical help to die if they are at the end of life.

Under federal law, a person must have a serious and incurable illness. One of the requirements for a  serious and incurable illness is that the person’s natural death has become predictable. The Quebecers are challenging these two requirements.

 

Incurable illness not the same as end of life

People with incurable degenerative illnesses are not necessarily at the end of life and their deaths are not always predictable. But they want to be treated fairly and have the choice of asking for medical help to die.

The two Quebecers believe the requirements don’t respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Also, they believe the requirements do not follow a 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. That decision said that the right to get medical help to die depends on suffering, not predictable death.

The trial is scheduled to last a month.