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New challenge launched against Canada’s assisted dying bill

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman launches Bill C-41 challenge' B.C. woman launches Bill C-41 challenge
WATCH: A 25-year-old Chilliwack woman is launching a legal challenge claiming the new assisted dying legislation passed by the federal government is unconstitutional. Grace Ke has the details – Jun 27, 2016

VANCOUVER – Canada’s physician-assisted dying law is being challenged in court just days after it came into force.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says a woman suffering from a degenerative disease affecting muscle movement is joining the association in a legal fight to be announced today in Vancouver.

Critics of Bill C-14 oppose its requirements that a doctor’s help can only be given if death is reasonably foreseeable and the patient is in an advanced state of irreversible decline.

READ MORE: Canada’s doctor-assisted dying law unconstitutional, says expert

Dr. Ellen Wiebe says she was preparing to help a woman who qualified under the Supreme Court of Canada’s definition of the law, but adoption of the more restrictive Bill C-14 ended those plans.

Just three days before the woman’s intended death, Wiebe says she was informed Friday that she could be prosecuted for taking part.

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Wiebe says her patient, Debbie, was extremely upset with her and with the difficulties interpreting the new law.

“This is part of the problem with C-14. It is difficult to interpret the foreseeable future issue and I feel terrible about my part in what (Debbie) went through,” Wiebe says.

“I am willing to take some risks for my patients, but when the lawyer says I am at a high risk for prosecution I say No.”

Despite the stringent wording of Bill C-14, Wiebe says she remains extremely grateful for the new legislation and has been able to help suffering people.

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