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Updated: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:51:50 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Supreme Court decides whether to hear right to die appeal

Supreme Court decides whether to hear right to die appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada is releasing this morning its decision on whether to hear an appeal that seeks to give seriously and incurably ill but mentally competent adults the right to receive medical help to hasten death under specific safeguards.  

The BC Civil Liberties Association asked the top court to hear the appeal, arguing criminal laws that deny seriously ill Canadians the right to choose an assisted death are unconstitutional, and the issue is of profound national importance.  

If the court dismisses the BCCLA's request to hear the appeal, a 2013 ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal will stand.

In 2012, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the Criminal Code of Canada provisions against assisted dying violate the rights of the gravely ill, and gave Parliament one year to rewrite the laws.

But the federal government appealed and the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's ruling in late 2013 and upheld the ban, stating it was bound by the Supreme Court of Canada's 20-year-old Rodriguez decision.

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