Legislated Ableism: Bill C-7 and the Rapid Expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada

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This paper explores the recent expansion of medical assistance in dying to disabled people who are suffering intolerably but are not at the end of their lives. The paper argues that it is impossible to separate suffering caused by an irremediable disability and suffering caused by the impacts of systemic ableism, which include high rates of poverty, social isolation and exclusion for people with disabilities. The paper suggests that this expansion raises constitutional issues under s. 15 and s. 7 of the Charter because it is premised on a view that portrays disability as potentially worse than death and thus denies people with disabilities the protection of the criminal law that is provided to other Canadians. The paper concludes that there is no safe way for the state, through the medical system, to be involved in ending the lives of people with disabilities who are not otherwise dying.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMcGill Journal of Law and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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