Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a CBC radio show that his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who died in 2000, had prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease. He said his father would have liked to end his life with dignity.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
The Canadian government has introduced a long-awaited bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
The measure limits the option to the incurably ill, requires medical approval and mandates a 15-day waiting period.
The bill introduced Thursday lays out the conditions under which some people would be able to obtain a doctor's help in dying. A patient must:
Be eligible for government-funded health care (a requirement limiting assisted suicides to Canadians and permanent residents, to prevent suicide tourism).
Be a mentally competent adult 18 or older.
Have a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability.
Be in an "advanced state of irreversible decline," with enduring and intolerable suffering.
Have a "reasonably foreseeable" natural death (though no specific timeline is required).
Then, reports NPR's Dan Karpenchuk, "a written request would be needed, signed by two independent witnesses — and there would have to be more than one medical evaluation and a mandatory 15-day waiting period."
Dan says it's widely expected that the proposed bill will face opposition from two directions — from those who object to physician-assisted suicide at all, and those who think the law doesn't go far enough in granting people the right to die.
The law was written after Trudeau assembled a special committee to examine the issue and write a report recommending how Canada could best legislate physician-assisted suicide.
The Supreme Court had originally given a one-year deadline for such a law, The New York Times reports, but the previous Conservative government didn't make much progress. The court extended the deadline when Trudeau's Liberal party took over, and legislators have until June to pass a law.