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Canada Assisted Suicide Ban Constitutional

by Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC

A Canadian Court of Appeals has upheld Canada’s legal ban on assisted suicide as constitutional. From the Calgary Sun story:

British Columbia’s Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court ruling that said Canada’s assisted-suicide ban violated the charter rights of gravely ill Canadians. Two of the three judges in the split decision ruled that while the law banning assisted suicide has certainly evolved in the last two decades, it hasn’t changed enough to undermine the 1993 decision from Supreme Court of Canada.

I don’t see why that should matter. A law previously declared constitutional should not suddenly become unconstitutional because public attitudes change or of other ancillary issues. If public attitudes change, revise the law. Don’t impose it by judicial fiat — as the trial court attempted.

That point aside, I don’t know one appellate court of highest jurisdiction that has declared a law against assisted suicide unconstitutional anywhere in the world. (Montana’s Supreme Court did not declare a constitutional right to assisted suicide.) Indeed, in 1997, the U.S.. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that in the USA there is no right to assisted suicide. Ditto several state supreme courts. And, as the story notes, so has the Canadian Supreme Court previously.

The BC case is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court. It should reject the appeal as already a legally settled matter.

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