I believe it is important to note that Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. It is mostly considered when an individual is suffering from an illness that may be painful or incurable and there seems to be no chance of a positive recovery. Euthanasia has been an ongoing debate in many countries for years, and it crosses the lines of morality, ethical, religious, and cultural views.
Referring back to the case mentioned earlier, Rodriguez vs. BC, I wanted to touch on the points on why that ruling concluded the way that it did. After numerous appeals the verdict stood for the Crown Attorney. An interesting point that came out of the verdict was that even when death appears imminent, seeking to control the manner and timing of one's death constitutes a conscious choice of death over life. This point referred to s.7 of the Charter, and explains life as a value.
What we would like to open to our readers is how the term 'value' and the idea of 'life' are related, and who should be controlling the relationship that those terms hold to each individual. Should we be looking strictly at the legalities of the issue? Who would be a suitable figure to identify and measure the value of life for each person who is searching for closure?
Euthanasia is a very controversial issue, for many of the reasons we have already mentioned. However, it has often been related and compared to abortion. Abortion is legal in Canada, in fact, it is often funded by Medicare. According to Statistics Canada, 2003, over 110,000 abortions are performed in Canada every year, that represents a ratio of about 30 abortions to every 100 live births.
What do you suppose is so different in the choice to take the life of an unborn child, and the choice one makes to take their own life, when they feel they will not be able to value it as they intend to?
There is an interesting comparison with the two issues that perhaps we will expose in later entries. What we encourage our readers to think about is the legalities of euthanasia, and the legal opportunities available or unavailable in order to make that choice.
We will discuss different legal cases from the past, as well as different perspectives on the issue from various religious and ethical standpoints. We will also explore the medical side of euthanasia and the impact that medical practitioners have on its legal status.
We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and thoughts on this issue, and we hope to cover any other areas of interest that are brought to our attention.
Information was taken from:
-Statistics Canada 2003
-Supreme Court of Canada Website