People, Travel

Canada Moves to Rule Out Suicide Tourism

Canada Moves to Rule Out Suicide TourismCanada Moves to Rule Out Suicide Tourism

Canada’s law legalizing physician-assisted suicide — which allows doctors to help terminally ill patients end their own lives — will only apply to people who live in Canada, according to the Associated Press.

That means terminally ill foreigners, especially those living in the neighboring US will not be able to travel to Canada to end their lives.

People with mental illness and psychiatric disorders are excluded too, Vox reported.

When Canada’s Supreme Court legalized assisted suicide for patients who have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition,” it led to speculation that the country would become a destination for people from elsewhere looking for aid in dying comfortably.

That is what happened in Switzerland, one of four European countries with assisted suicide, even for patients who are not terminally ill. One study found that more than 600 people traveled to Switzerland between 2008 and 2012 in order to use the country’s aid-in-dying laws.

By limiting aid in dying to Canadian residents, the Canadian laws make it much less likely that the country will get an influx of “suicide tourism.” And the spread of aid-in-dying laws in the US means they might not need to. After California legalized physician-assisted suicide in October, one in six Americans now lives in a state where it is legal for doctors to help terminally ill patients end their own lives.

Currently, assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia, Japan and in US states Washington, California, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana.

More US states introduced aid-dying legislation last year, but only California’s became law.