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Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jan 19th, 2021

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The first article focuses on efforts made by activists, lawyers, and patients in championing for euthanasia rights in Canada (Martin 1). The individuals mentioned in the article are Sue Rodriguez, Véronique Hivon, Justice John Sopinka, Lee Carter, and Hollis Johnson. The article asserts that in the year 1993, Rodriquez petitioned in vain to the Supreme Court of Canada to allow her to undertake euthanasia (Martin 1). She suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. At the time of the appeal, Hivon was a law student. The two individuals have become renowned in North America for championing for recognition of assisted suicides as a human right.

The article points out that Hivon is eagerly waiting for a fast-approaching Supreme Court case aimed at resolving the position of the country’s top court of law concerning criminal code barring euthanasia in Canada (Martin 1). The hearing will be relying on Carter v. Canada Case, which had been ruled earlier. The case involved Gloria Taylor and Kathleen Carter. Taylor like Rodriguez had contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Kathleen tried in vain to help Taylor get assisted suicide because she had a deteriorating spinal disorder.

In the article, the author asserts that, in the year 1993, Rodriguez had the liberty to procure suicide (Martin 1). Back then, attempting suicide had been legalized. However, she was not able to end her life because her illness prevented her from doing so without external assistance. Then, the Supreme Court established that Rodriguez’s independence rights were being violated. However, the court pointed out based on a 5-to-4 decision that the violations were defensible since legalizing assisted suicide for the immobilized would endanger susceptible persons and negate the sovereignty of the sanctity of life. The article also shows that unlike in the year 1993, Canadians’ perceptions about assisted suicide have changed. Research shows that a larger percentage of the population support assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court Ruling on Physician-Assisted Death focuses on the implications of Carter v. Canada Case (The Canadian Nurses Protective Society 1). The article asserts that it is criminal offense to undertake an assisted suicide in Canada. However, the report notes that the above ruling created an exception. The supreme court acknowledged that the injunction in section 241(b) of the Criminal Code on euthanasia is illegitimate. The court argued that the provision prevented nurses from undertaking assisted suicide for competent individuals despite them offering consent and exhibiting severe illnesses that cause intolerable pain. The judge termed the code unconstitutional. The author notes that the effect of the ruling was suspended until February 2016. The suspension was enacted to enable the federal government to deliberate on the response to the decision.

Values and principles

When the ruling is implemented in the year 2016, physicians should expect to experience dilemmas when they try to administer assisted suicide (The Canadian Nurses Protective Society 1). The dilemmas will primarily arise when attempting to determine proper care and the same time value the patients’ autonomy. Despite the fact that the alternatives to the physicians accountable for the choices are firmly illustrated by the law, the patients and their families will often query the medical options provided to the terminally ill (Simpson 1). The above illustration indicates that the physicians should be informed about how the law expects them to comply with changes to the assisted death laws. Similarly, nurses should consult with the legal team and healthcare shareholders in distinguishing the limits between the patients’ rights and the physicians’ accountability based on the possible life-limiting treatment choices.

Similarly, the physicians should expect ethical issues to arise when the ruling is fully implemented. It would be challenging to institute how ethical the practice can be or who should consent the practice. Likewise, concerns on how the practice should be carried out and regulated will arise. Based on the above illustrations, it is apparent that the practice would attract several criticisms.

Reflection and analysis

According to the proponents of assisted suicide like Rodriguez and Hivon, everyone has a right to decide when to die. Therefore, as long as the patient makes informed and apparent intention to terminate his or her life the right should be respected (Picard 1). Equally, assisted suicide should be legalized the choice to request for support in dying causes no damage to the state or other individuals. As such, assisted suicide works in the best interest of the country and the terminally ill patient’s family by offering a reprieve. Terminally ill patients like Rodriguez require specialized medical resources and services that are usually very costly for extended periods (College of Nurses Ontario 3). The above implies that managing the terminally ill for a long time robs those who may live well under similar prospects. Therefore, assisted suicide should be legalized.

When the ruling is implemented next year, the practice is expected to attract numerous heated debates among the physicians, the members of the public, legal systems, and religious groups. Because of this, all the stakeholders and the public should be sensitized on ethical implications and potential impacts of the ruling.

Works Cited

College of Nurses Ontario. Ethics CNO Standards. 2009. Web.

Martin, Sandra. 2014. Web.

Picard, Andre. . The Globe and Mail. 2014. Web.

Simpson, Jeffrey. 2014. Web.

The Canadian Nurses Protective Society. Update: The Supreme Court Ruling On Physician-Assisted Death |Canadian Nurse. 2015. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 19). Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia-rights-in-canada/

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"Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada." IvyPanda, 19 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia-rights-in-canada/.

1. IvyPanda. "Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada." January 19, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia-rights-in-canada/.


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IvyPanda. "Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada." January 19, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia-rights-in-canada/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada." January 19, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia-rights-in-canada/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Rights in Canada'. 19 January.

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