Sue Rodriguez- Assisted Suicide By: Monique Sue Rodriguez, once a woman who was lively and healthy women much like the rest of us was given the horrible news that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in early 1991 changing her life tremendously. Little did she know her fight for equality of life would create a milestone in Canadian Law. Sue Rodriguez fought long and hard to demand the right to assisted suicide, which at the time was illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada, being a punishable act for up to a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Ms.
Rodriguez argued that Section 241 (b) of the Criminal Code (which prohibits assisted suicide) violated her constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person under S. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Unfortunately both the British Columbia Supreme Court and the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed her application. Sue Rodriguez at her final attempt of trying to grant herself the right to assisted suicide appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, the verdict resulting in a five to four decision with the Supreme Court of Canada dismissing her appeal.
In 1994, Ms. Rodriguez decided to take matters into her own hands, with the help of an anonymous physician Sue Rodriguez ended her life. Assisted Suicide is something I will never be able to give an honest opinion about, unless you personally have had a loved with a terminal illness asking for assisted suicide I don’t think anyone can voice if this practice is fair or not. Any case dealing with a terminally ill victim grasps compassion from people looking at the case, so I think no matter what most people put pity on Sue Rodriguez and jump to her side. Ms.
Rodriguez under the Charter Section 7 deserves to be entitled to: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. ’ This statement from the Charter of Rights in this particular section is open to diverse interpretation, so in Sue’s case she views her ‘right to life’ as the right to end it in any given time if it is under her wish. I too believe that although suicide is illegal and punishable act under these circumstances (terminally ill patient) the right to choosing when to end our life should be granted. I do not believe that the correct verdict was rendered in this case. Although I can see where the Court is coming from, striking down the Criminal Code must involve something that is detrimental however when someone is undergoing tremendous amounts of pain I think that they should be given the right to Choose how they die. If an individual’s quality of life is terrible, they should have the right to stop suffering. The Supreme Court may have dismissed Sue Rodrgiuez’s appeal; however the fight for euthanasia is far from over, there will be hundreds of thousands of cases similar to the Rodriguez case.
In a few years the Court will see that this isn’t a matter that should be taken lightly, the laws must be changed to allow individuals the right to euthanasia /assisted suicide. Everyone and anyone should be entitled to die in dignity, although people like Ms. Rodriguez had to undergo assisted suicide behind closed doors I hope that someday people that are terminally ill will be able to walk into a clinic and choose to end their life if they feel so. I think this practice is legal in some countries in the world, but not in Canada because Canada is a country that embodies all aspects of law we are liberal, republican and conservative.
The legal rights set out in the charter are there to protect you, and to ensure that justice is served in a just and fair manner, as we know Canada is a place all about making sure the law is served in a just manner so by letting people break the law stating suicide is a punishable act would go against the Criminal Code of Canada. Canada takes pride in the fact that we try to make laws as humane as possible, however there is just no way in ensuring that every citizen in Canada is pleased with all the laws.
To reduce controversy amongst our country we have made assisted suicide an illegal act; however some countries have made the act legal under their borders. Countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have a more liberal aspect to them, so euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal. The main risk involved in legalizing assisted suicide is the uproar that would come from the public, if we think changing a law regarding a speed on a highway is going to cause chaos think about the affect a law enabling killing terminally ill victims would create.
Like I said before, Canada prides itself in the fact that are accommodating and try to fit the needs of every Canadian citizen so by allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia we would be upsetting a lot of individual’s that view this practice in a negative way. Another con that would result from legalizing assisted suicide would be that people would take advantage of the practice, people with depression and other mental illnesses may feel that they have the right to undergo this practice. This should not be allowed to be a factor in a human’s choice to die seeing as they are fully.
Legalizing assisted suicide would be the start of a slippery slope that would lead to anyone, whatever their condition, being helped into opting for death. There is a fine line when differentiating between euthanasia and assisted suicide; both relieve a terminally ill victim of their pain and suffering however the only difference being the way the act is performed. Euthanasia is the deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person in order to relieve that person’s suffering.
Assisted suicide on the other hand is when the victim completes the act themselves with the help of a doctor or other individual. I believe that both euthanasia and assisted suicide should be legalized in Canada. We have made so many advances in Canadian law; it is long overdue for these legal issues to be allowed. Your body is your body and I feel that you may do whatever you want with it, especially under the circumstances where a person is under a vast amount of pain. A doctor or the government shouldn’t be the judge of whether you are allowed to end your suffering or not.
What Jack Kevorkian did was something that will go down in Canadian Law history, it is amazing knowing that there are still people in this world that will look past societal norms and do the noble thing. We are given the right to work, have a family and choose our religion however when it comes to something as personal as our lives we aren’t given the decision. Above we looked at legalizing these issues for an emotional sense however there are economic reasons why euthanasia and assisted suicide should be legalized.
These two issues should be legalized because all of the money being spent on trying to cure the patient could be going to use for something else. All of the money that is being spent trying to find a treatment for the patient and all of the medicine and machines being used to keep them alive could be being put to use for something else. Everyone should be entitled to quality of life, and if they are not enjoying the life they are in they should make the final decision of whether to end it or not. The kind of quality of life is defined by the patient, not the doctor or government.
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