August 25, 2014 1:23 pm

Widow of Dr. Donald Low lends voice to lift ban on assisted-suicide

TORONTO – Maureen Taylor, the widow of Dr. Donald Low, spoke out Monday morning at Toronto City Hall in support of the assisted-suicide case headed to the Supreme Court of Canada later this fall.

Dr. Low, one of the key figures in Canada’s battle against SARS, posted a seven-minute video last year before his death urging Canadian officials to allow assisted suicide.

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Low was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in February 2013. He died on Sept. 18.

“While I agree there needs to be better access to quality palliative care across the country, we know that will not be enough for a minority of people at the end of their life who are suffering. So we must have both,” said Taylor during a press conference Monday.

“At a minimum, physician-assisted dying must become a legal option for all mentally competent Canadians who are facing serious, incurable illnesses.”

The press conference was hosted by the BC Civil Liberties Association who helped spearhead the case which began in 2011 with several other plaintiffs, including ALS patient Gloria Taylor, to file a lawsuit alleging the bans on assisted suicide and euthanasia violate the charter.

READ MORE: Supreme Court of Canada agrees to hear appeal in B.C. right-to-die case

In 2012, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the law is unconstitutional and gave Parliament a year to rewrite it. The court also granted Taylor an immediate exemption from the law, though she died last fall without the help of a doctor.

The federal government appealed, and in October 2013 the B.C. Court of Appeal released a split decision that concluded a 1993 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada involving Victoria resident Sue Rodriguez was binding and the trial judge had no authority to overturn it.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal in the case.

With files from The Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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