Sunday, February 08, 2015

Assisted suicide ruling brings it all back for Sue Rodriguez chronicler


My friend and fellow writer Anne Mullens has a very personal connection to this week's Supreme Court of Canada unanimous ruling allowing doctor-assisted suicide.
    She wrote a series of articles over five years on Victoria woman Sue Rodriguez's long and brave court fight in the 1990s - ultimately lost - for the right to have a doctor assist her to die when the day came that she'd had enough of the slow and cruel deterioration brought on by amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Anne then went on to write a very difficult book about other Canadians' battles for a more dignified end to their own lives.
     So when the court handed down its decision this week, Anne had a lot of herself invested in the issue. Here's her powerful blog post on what it felt like to hear the news, and her memories of some of the most traumatizing years of her life collecting the stories of ill people seeking the right to determine at what point they would draw the line in their own lives, and who they would like to help them in those final moments.
    Read it and weep - for all the people who died of chronic and cruel health conditions without the legal right to exercise any control of when or how death would come, and for all those who at least see light at the end of the tunnel on the issue of a dignified death. All eyes are on the federal government now, which has a year to either come up with new end-of-life legislation that doesn't violate people's rights, or get out of the way.

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