Doctor Assisted Suicide

Doctor Assisted Suicide – Should Humanists assist in making the rules?

Presenter: Bob Hope

February, 2015

As most Canadian Humanists are aware, last week the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s legal ban on physician assisted dying. In a unanimous decision, justices on the high court ruled that the absolute ban violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

All wonderful news for now, but where do Humanists feel the limiting rules should be placed on allowing doctor assist suicide?

For example, I personally feel that if any adult, being of sound mind, and not simply distraught from a correctable or uncorrectable set of circumstances, should be allowed to and be granted assistance in committing suicide if they so chose. I would argue that it is a human right to be allowed the right to choose your death, independent of the status of your heath.

I also think that Humanists should be starting to form their opinions on this topic and be prepared to help craft assisted dying laws that allow individual choice, promoting equal access and that guard against abuse.

So my question for discussion is:

  • What do you consider to be important criteria to limit the right to receive doctor assistance for suicide?
  • What qualifying tests do you feel would be necessary to grant this right?
  • Should Humanists actively engage in defining the legislative rules?