Canada Allows Assisted Suicide


Doctors in Canada may now help patients commit suicide if they are terminally ill and have no hope left.  The Supreme Court of the country decided against a ban that has been in effect since 1993. The new law allows doctors to follow their conscience in deciding if they should provide help for dying patients.

According to the new ruling patients must be adults and they must suffer from illnesses that cause severe physical pain. The courts are now giving lawmakers in Canada a year’s time to repair the existing laws.

Many religious groups have protested against the decision of Canada’s courts. They claim that life is so valuable and nobody has the right to end it on purpose. On the other side there are many who favour the decision and say that now, many people are able to die a death in dignity without having to suffer for a long time.

Assisted suicide is allowed in other countries, including Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.  Switzerland, however, is the country with the most liberal laws on assisted suicide.  Patients to not need to be terminally ill or have a reason for wishing to die. Since the law has been in effect hundreds of people have come to Switzerland to ask for help from doctors in ending their lives. Canadian authorities fear that many Americans may cross the border in what they call suicide tourism. 


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  • according to = as said by …
  • assisted suicide = when doctors or other people help you to die
  • authorities = people or organizations that are in charge of something
  • ban = to forbid something
  • border = line between two countries
  • cause = lead to
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • commit suicide = kill yourself
  • conscience = the part of your mind that tells you if something is right or wrong
  • dignity = self-respect
  • favour = to be for something
  • however = but
  • illness = disease
  • in effect = here: an existing law
  • including = also
  • lawmakers  = here: parliament; the people who make laws
  • on purpose = willingly
  • patient = someone who is treated in a hospital
  • physical =  relating to the body
  • provide = give, offer
  • repair = fix
  • ruling = decision
  • severe = very strong
  • Supreme Court = the highest court of a country
  • terminally = something that cannot be cured and leads to death
  • valuable = worth a lot; respected