Judge approves 27-year-old autistic woman’s request for government-assisted suicide
A young autistic woman receives approval for Medical Assistance in Dying despite her father’s wishes against it.

Alexa Posa

March 25, 2024

A 27-year-old autistic woman has been approved for government-assisted suicide (aka medical assistance in dying – MAID) following a Calgary judge’s written decision, despite her father’s concerns. 

Judge approves 27-year-old autistic woman’s request for government-assisted suicide

Justice Colin Feasby released his 34-page written decision on Monday, stating that although the situation is upsetting, the daughter’s bodily autonomy should come first. 

Due to a publication ban, the father and daughter’s names have not been released. 

Justice Feasby said the daughter’s “dignity and right to self-determination outweighs the important matters raised by (her father) and the harm that he will suffer.”

The decision will be stayed for 30 days according to Feasby, allowing the father to bring the case to the Alberta Court of Appeal, where the injunction could continue for the next month. 

However, Feasby feels an injunction would “deny” the daughter “the right to choose between living or dying with dignity.” 

“This is a terrible choice that should not be forced on (the daughter), as attempting to end her life without medical assistance would put her at increased risk of pain, suffering and lasting injury,” he added

Feasby further mentioned his ruling would not prevent the daughter from changing her mind before receiving MAID. 

“I do not know why you seek MAID. Your reasons remain your own because I have respected your autonomy and your privacy. My decision recognizes your right to choose medically assisted death; but it does not require you to choose death,” he said. 

Father attempts to stop Alberta Health Services from approving his daughter in MAID 

The woman’s father had claimed his daughter was incapable of giving consent due to her medical condition, and asked an Alberta Judge to look further into why the government approved his daughter’s death.  

He was successful in receiving a temporary injunction the day before his daughter’s scheduled death after stating she “suffers from autism and possibly other undiagnosed maladies that do not satisfy the eligibility criteria for MAID.”

Sarah Miller, the lawyer for the father, called the situation “a novel issue for Alberta.”

Miller stated in her brief for the court that “as it stands, the [Alberta Health Services] operates a MAID system with no legislation, no appeal process and no means of review.”

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