CALGARY – Until now, she has only been identified by her initials, but a publication ban lifted Wednesday afternoon now means Canadians can know Hanne Schafer by name.
On Feb. 29, 2016 Schafer became the first Canadian to end her life with medical help.
The Supreme Court of Canada granted a constitutional exemption in relation to Schafer’s case in January, ahead of new legislation that passed to allow physician-assisted death in June.
“She would have wanted what happened to her to be out there, to help people so that they didn’t have to go through what she went through,” her husband Daniel Laurin told the Justice.
Schafer had initially requested the publication ban remain in place but family said she later decided she wanted the ban removed after her death.
“She maybe didn’t understand what the full implication of the publication ban was,” Schafer’s life-long friend Mary Valentich told the court.
She said Schafer had asked her to write an obituary and agreed to its release with a photograph of her before her death.
Her friends and family asked for the ban to be removed so they’d be able to “celebrate her life,” publishing an obituary and continuing to be an advocate for physician-assisted dying.
“For obvious reasons it’s now not possible to ascertain her wishes fully,” the Justice said. “Now that she has received the peaceful death she sought.”
The Justice said other individuals applying for this should be fully informed and can learn from hearing Schafer’s story.
“In this case, after that peaceful passing had occurred, they did not fully understand the implications of a publications ban and how that would be affected after her death,” the Justice said.
WATCH: Global’s coverage of the case of “Ms. S” Hanne Schafer