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Updated: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:42:44 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Federal assisted suicide appeal heard in highest B.C. court



Federal assisted suicide appeal heard in highest B.C. court

The battle over doctor-assisted suicide continues in the B.C. Court of Appeal Monday, as the federal government begins a fight against a lower court order to rewrite laws governing the rights of terminally ill people to end their lives.

The fight was launched last June when a B.C. Supreme Court judge found laws against physician-assisted suicide violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The federal government was ordered to rewrite its legislation and in the interim, one of the lead plaintiffs in the case was granted an exemption to the assisted-suicide ban.

But Gloria Taylor, a Kelowna woman in the advanced stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), died just a few months later from an infection.

The BC Civil Liberties Association opposes Ottawa's appeal of the right-to-die ruling, but critics of assisted suicide say it must go ahead to ensure the ill and elderly do not become victims of abuse.

Experts on both sides predict that regardless of B.C.'s high court ruling, the case could still go to the Supreme Court of Canada for a final decision.

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