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Compassion & Choices Congratulates Death-with-Dignity Advocates in Canada on Historic Day

Barbara Coombs Lee Comments on Canadian Supreme Court Ruling

(Portland, OR – Feb. 6, 2015) Today, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that individuals have a right to aid in dying under certain circumstances and gave Canadian lawmakers 12 months to craft rules to protect patients and physicians who choose to exercise their rights under the law. In the unanimous ruling striking down the country’s ban on assisted suicide, the judges wrote that an individual’s ability to confront a terminal prognosis as they choose “is a matter critical to their dignity and autonomy.”

Responding to the ruling, Compassion & Choices President, Barbara Coombs, Lee said:

“We applaud and thank the Canadian Supreme Court for placing the patient at the center of fundamental end-of-life decisions. The eloquence of this ruling will inspire everyone who believes in individual freedom at life’s end. We in the U.S. agree that denying people the ability to determine their own medical treatments and the degree of suffering they endure curtails liberty.  We are heartened, as availability of aid in dying in Canada will have an impact here, especially in border states like New York and Maine. Lawmakers know their citizens should not have to travel to another country to achieve peace of mind and comprehensive end-of-life options.”