The legislative objective of ensuring that a person's life is not ended without his or her informed consent, when she or he lacks decisional capacity or as a product of undue influence can be met on a practical level with a high degree of reliability without resorting to an absolute criminal prohibition on assisting suicide.
The trial judge found that there is no need to choose between respect for autonomy and the protection of vulnerable persons because, as a practical matter, both interests may be served by enacting an exception to s.241(b) of the Criminal Code. ..." 1,2
"... just as physicians routinely assess the requirements for informed consent in patients seeking or refusing medical treatment, it would be feasible to require informed consent for physician-assisted death. ...
"... it is feasible to screen out from physician-assisted death patients [those] who are ambivalent, by assessing capacity and requiring some time to pass between the decision and its implementation. ..."
"The legal concepts of capacity, informed consent, and undue influence are capable of administration by police officers, lawyers, and judges. It is an important real world exercise to protect vulnerable persons by ensuring that the choice to end life is made by a capable, informed and free individual. ..."
"... What is to be avoided is undue influence of persons who have decisional capacity and are properly informed about their circumstances and their options. A person's autonomous and carefully considered reasons for ending life ,,, must be respected. We can ask for no less in a free society. ..."
"The Farewell Foundation takes the position that documented access to independent psychological counseling aimed at suicide prevention should be a precondition for assisted suicide, and that attestation by the person seeking assistance that they are not subject to undue influence should be a precondition for assisted suicide. ..."
".... it should not be ignored that the objection to assisted suicide is, on the part of a number of intervenors ,,, animated by religious concepts and dogmatic considerations. Religious conceptions of life and death must yield to democratic values of autonomy and equality. Such moral considerations are to be heard, but they should no longer be part of the legal fabric of Canada. ..."
"The profound decision to end life is for the individual to make. In a free and democratic society, the Government of Canada has no foundation for preventing informed persons of sound mind who are free from undue influence from obtaining prescriptions for barbiturate or other life-ending substances or from obtaining physical assistance in ending their lives. Both the vulnerable can be protected and unnecessary suffering can come to an end." 1