In June, the BC Supreme Court struck down the laws that make doctor-assisted dying illegal in Canada. The federal government has appealed the ruling; hearings begin today. (They have been postponed to 18 March)
Anne Fomenoff, Taylor’s 85-year-old mother, says she’ll carry on the constitutional “right to die” battle for her daughter.
“I’m here today with my daughter Patty to continue her legacy. Gloria firmly believed, and so do I, that people who are seriously ill and incurably ill should be able to make the choice about how much suffering to endure based on their own beliefs and values. These deeply personal decisions should be made by the individuals who are suffering and not by the government,” explained Fomenoff at a press conference in downtown Vancouver yesterday.
An emotional and teary-eyed Fomenoff remembers the time spent with her daughter before she died at the age of 64, just months after her victory in court.
“I will always grieve for my daughter, I will always miss her. We spoke on the phone every night and I dearly miss those calls.Gloria fought a courageous battle at the end of her life. She fought to change the laws that make it a criminal offense for doctors to help seriously ill people to die with dignity.”
Taylor died of a severe infection.
With the federal government appealing the ruling, both sides will be heading back to court with arguments this week. BC Civil Liberties Association lawyer Grace Pastine says the case is for all Canadians.
“This is an issue about real people. People like Gloria Taylor who are trapped in an unbearable dying process,” argues Pastine.
With it being one of the largest cases the BCCLA has ever had to deal with, she says the pro-bono costs are about $1 million.
“The BC Civil Liberties is funding the case. We are relying on the generosity of our members and supporters because this is a major challenge for our organization and certainly, the most costly lawsuit we’ve ever launched.”
After the hearings, she says it could be months to up to two years before a decision is made.