Yesterday, the top court in Quebec overturned a lower court’s injunction and upheld the province’s physician assisted suicide law. It’s hard to see how the decision is at all compatible with the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which states that “every human being has a right to life” and then goes on to declare that “every human being whose life is in peril has a right to assistance.” Assistance should be a life affirming measure, not one that revokes the very first right that forms the basis of the rest of the Charter. With this decision–and this law–such rights are now moot. Clear minded Canadians should also now begin to wonder what other rights and freedoms may be perverted if something as fundamental as life can be overruled by their courts.

As a new year is ushered in, countries around the world are increasingly considering “right to die” legislation. What a terrible tragedy: at a time when most people are setting new resolutions, hopes, and goals, governments are looking for ways to make it possible for a certain population to simply put a permanent end to their lives. As we’ve highlighted numerous times before, most citizens don’t seek out physician assisted suicide because they’re in unbearable pain–they do so because they’re depressed. Perhaps then, a personal resolution should be to look towards the vulnerable disabled persons in our lives and our elderly relatives, neighbors, and friends and affirm their lives and their value as always worth living and always dignified. Even when the courts seek to tell us otherwise.

Image by scazon via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director