Tom Koch is a medical ethicist and writer who has served as a commentator on and consultant in cases of physician-assisted suicide in Canada. His most recent book is Thieves of Virtue: When Bioethics Stole Medicine (MIT Press)
For most Canadians, the October 14 arguments at the Supreme Court in Ottawa will be about medical “aid in dying,” what the Dutch bluntly but accurately call physician assisted or directed termination. But what is really at stake in Carter et al. versus Attorney General et al is Canadian law itself, the meaning of its guarantees, promises, and injunctions. In effect, lawyers for and against “aid in dying” are asking the Supreme Court’s justices to interpret two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The result will define not simply issues of “assisted dying” but the future of Canadian law and society for years to come. ...continue reading