Decision discriminates against the able-bodied

Re: Assisted Suicide Ban Ruled Unconstitutional, by Capital News reporter Kathy Michaels, June 19.

To the editor:

Re: Assisted Suicide Ban Ruled Unconstitutional, by Capital News reporter Kathy Michaels, June 19.

While I wasn’t surprised to read that the B.C. Supreme Court declared the ban on assisted suicide unconstitutional (most Canadians support the decision), I was shocked to read the reasoning that Justice Lynn Smith employed in coming to that conclusion.

She called the ban discriminatory.

This is simply false. The ban applied to everyone equally—regardless of age, sex, race and, most significantly, physical ability. Under that law, no one, without exception, could legally get assistance in killing themselves. The law was the same for everyone.

Ironically, Justice Smith has proposed a new law that does discriminate: In her ruling, only the terminally ill or those in intolerable pain are eligible for physician-assisted suicide. Able-bodied Canadians who want to die must take matters into their own hands, be it with shotguns or razor blades.

Gloria Taylor can die comfortably with a doctor’s assistance while others must jump off bridges.

Furthermore, the judge argued that, since suicide is legal and physically disabled people are incapable of killing themselves, they are denied the same rights as able-bodied people.

This, however, is clearly false. It’s like saying, “Since running is legal and Mrs. Taylor is incapable of going for a jog, she has been denied the same rights as able-bodied people.” Taylor has no more been denied the right to kill herself than she has been denied the right to run a marathon.

Justice Smith’s confusion has led her, in the name of equality, to give Gloria Taylor a special right that no able-bodied person in Canada has ever had—namely, the right to have a doctor kill her.

Perhaps most people don’t notice these bad arguments because they want assisted suicide to be legal, but the B.C. Supreme Court should know better.

Gordon Hawkes,

Kelowna

Kelowna Capital News