Autonomy and Beneficence in Assisted Dying in Canada: The Eligibility of Mature Minors

Juliet Guichon, Farah Mohamed, Kim Clarke, Ian Mitchell

Abstract


In Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physicianassisted dying. Responding to this decision, Parliament passed Bill C-14, which provides that adults who suffer intolerably from a terminal medical condition may seek assistance to end their lives. Notably, the legislation does not grant access to mature minors. This article considers whether access should be granted, examining the Canadian assisted dying framework, situations of minors who might seek assisted dying, the law concerning mature minor consent to medical treatment, and other jurisdictions that grant access to mature minors. It argues that the ethical principles of autonomy and beneficence that underlie the Carter decision should be used to determine whether mature minors should have access to physician-assisted dying.

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