What is Assisted Suicide?


NEW: Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have made Doctor - Assisted Suicide no longer illegal. The government has been given one year to draw up the new law. We will update our pages as soon as new information on this law is available. Thank you.

Main Entry:    physician-assisted suicide
Part of Speech:    n
  a situation in which a physician provides the means of death for a gravely ill patient butthe patient takes the final step; also called doctor-assisted suicide, assisted suicide
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"Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both.

In Canada, there have been two high-profile court cases involving women with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) seeking the right to physician-assisted suicide. ALS causes progressive muscle paralysis, chronic pain, and eventual death without affecting cognitive functioning. The cases of Sue Rodriguez and, more recently, Gloria Taylor represented key developments in the law in Canada.

Under section 241 of the Criminal Code, it is an offence to counsel or to aid suicide, although suicide itself is no longer an offence:

241. Everyone who

  1. counsels a person to commit suicide, or
  2. aids or abets a person to commit suicide,

whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years."

Quoted text taken from: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2010-68-e.htm Last Accessed March 20, 2014