A Right to Euthanasia?

By John Keown

John Keown

John Keown

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada heard oral argument in a landmark case. Its decision will have ramifications south of the border and well beyond.

The question in Carter v. Attorney General of Canada is whether there is a right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to voluntary, active euthanasia (VAE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Do patients have a right to lethal injections and lethal prescriptions? The case is largely a rerun of Rodriguez v. British Columbia, a 1993 case in which the Canadian Supreme Court held (5-4) that there is no right to physician-assisted suicide under the Charter.

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