B. C. plaintiff in legal challenge to Canada’s assisted dying laws dies

File photo.
File photo. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has announced that 68-year-old Robyn Moro of Delta, one of two invididual plaintiff’s in the Association’s legal challenge to Canada’s assisted dying laws, has died.

READ MORE: Assisted dying law legal challenge to be joined by excluded Canadians

The Association says she became a plaintiff after doctors denied her request for a medically assisted death, on the basis she did not meet the eligibility criterion of having a reasonably forseeable natural death.

In a statement from her husband Lenard, he says she died with medical assistance on Aug. 31.

Here is his full statement:

My beautiful, brave wife Robyn Moro died on August 31, 2017. Robyn died with medical assistance, in our home, surrounded by love. All of us who knew and treasured Robyn are grieving our loss. After 48 years of marriage, I am missing Robyn in every moment.

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Amidst our grief we find comfort in the knowledge that Robyn is no longer suffering. Robyn had Parkinson’s disease, and it took her from being a bubbly, active, happy grandmother, and left her suffering in extreme, unbearable pain. After trying so many different treatments that didn’t work, Robyn was desperate for relief. She wanted to pass with medical assistance in the spring of this year, but was told by her doctors that she was not eligible because the current laws in Canada require that “natural death” be reasonably foreseeable before a doctor can assist with death. Doctors could not say that Robyn would die any time soon, so she was left to suffer indefinitely.

Robyn spent the whole summer suffering terribly. It was awful for me and all of us who loved her to see her in so much pain. I would hold her in my arms as she begged for the pain to stop, yet I could do nothing to help. This is where the law left us.

Robyn was re-assessed for a medically assisted death at the end of the summer, and this time was found eligible. Her pain had gotten even worse, but that is not why she was found eligible. I am told she was found eligible now only because of the interpretation of the law given by an Ontario judge. It seems very wrong that someone could be denied an end to their terrible suffering because they were not going die. It seems just as wrong to be ineligible one day and then eligible the next based solely on an interpretation.

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Robyn joined the BCCLA’s legal challenge to the medically assisted laws because she believed that every person deserves compassion and choice. She and all of us who loved her were grateful that she was finally given the right to choose to end her suffering, but Robyn was very concerned for everyone who remains suffering without relief under the current law. Robyn wanted to give her evidence in the case prior to her death, but was worried that the Canadian government might try to interfere with her passing due to the lack of clarity about who is eligible under the law. This worry caused Robyn a great deal of stress during her last few weeks with us, and interfered with her ability to share her death with everyone close to her.

Robyn did not trust the Canadian government with her end of life matters, nor do I. The law is wrong. It is cruel. In Robyn’s memory, we carry on the fight.

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