Doctor-Assisted Suicide Nears Approval in Canada

Physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill may soon be the law of the land in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports the legislation introduced on Thursday, April 14, 2016. It is expected to be voted into law, as the Liberal Party controls most of the legislature. In February 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down a ban on assisted suicide for people with serious medical conditions, a ban upheld since 1993.

Americans would not be able to take advantage of the policy by heading north. According to The New York Times, “The proposed law limits physician-assisted suicides to Canadians and residents, who are eligible to participate in the national health care system, preventing a surge in medical tourism among the dying from other countries.”

Adult Canadians could get medical drugs from their doctors and end their lives by themselves or with family, or have their doctors help them at the hospital. A doctor would be required to refer people to other doctors if he or she personally objected to assisted suicide. Canadians with mental health issues would not be included in those eligible.

Germany, Japan, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Columbia, and other nations have legalized assisted suicide.

A matter of fierce debate over whether people deserve the right to kill themselves to end their suffering, this is as controversial in the United States as it is in Canada. Assisted suicide is legal in 5 states; one in six Americans can therefore legally end their lives in this manner.

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