National group provides end of life options
Published Saturday, February 4, 2012 4:45PM MST
It's been a controversial topic for decades.
Canada's right-to-die laws are being challenged in British Columbia as Gloria Taylor believes she should be able to decide how she dies.
In Calgary, the Dying with Dignity organization spoke to people about those rights at an event held Saturday afternoon.
Wanda Morris says the majority of Canadians, nearly two thirds, believe they should be the ones to decide how they want to die.
Morris travels the country educating people about preparing for death, and their rights surrounding the topic
"It's important we have safe guards and protect these people, we also have to remember that these people have rights too," says Morris. "And right now, many of them are suffering horrific deaths and they need some options."
Approximately 50 people attending the event where they learned about their options when it comes to death.
In 1972, suicide was removed from the criminal code. It remains illegal for anyone to council, aide, or abet another person with end their own life.
"It's been legal in Canada to end your own life," says Morris. "Through our client support program we provide people who are suffering at theend of life with information and support so they can have the peaceful humane death they would choose."
Physician assisted death is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and some U.S. states.
Morris says all Canadians should make their own advance care plan.
"I've thought a lot about death and dying," says Judy Berghofer who attended the information session. "I have health problems. I'm not dying, but I've always considered that I'm very kind to my dogs when they're dying, so ‘Why not me?"
"Why not people?"
Georgy Foster is a health care worker and is here for information to help others.
"People don't know their rights," says Foster. "A common misconception is that people think they have to do what the doctor says because they're the doctor. They're not clear on their rights. They can refuse treatment but still be treated."
Morris became involved with Dying with Dignity seven years ago when her father-in-law died after suffering from progressive dementia.
For more information visit Dying with Dignity.