Canadian parliament approves assisted suicide for terminal patients

Canadian flag in front of Parliament Hill
(Image credit: Goff Robins/Getty Images)

After Canada's supreme court struck down a ban on assisted suicide, the nation's parliament passed controversial legislation Friday to permit the terminally ill to end their lives with medical assistance.

The bill was primarily debated on grounds that it is too restrictive, as it does not make eligible patients with certain degenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis. But a statement from Canada's health and justice ministers said the bill as-is strikes "the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable."

The legislation is supported by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said in May that making "this first step a responsible, prudent one that gets the balance right between protecting vulnerable Canadians and defending rights and freedoms is what we have focused on and I'm confident that we got that balance right."

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