Assisted dying advocate Taylor dies

Oct. 6, 2012 at 8:44 PM
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WESTBANK, British Columbia, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Canadian assisted dying advocate Gloria Taylor, 64, died without using the exemption she had gained to use a doctor to facilitate her death, her lawyers said.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said in a statement posted on its website Friday that the Westbank woman, who suffered from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, died Thursday of an infection resulting from a perforated colon.

Taylor was the lead plaintiff in the association's death with dignity lawsuit. In June, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the right to die with dignity is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and granted her a personal exemption allowing her the right to seek a physician-assisted death, the association said.

The association said it will continue with the lawsuit, which is under appeal by the federal government. A hearing will be held in March in the provincial Court of Appeals.

"Due to the acute nature and brief course of her illness from the infection, Gloria did not need to seek the assistance of a physician to end her life," the association's statement said. "In the end, Gloria's death was quick and peaceful, and she was spared from the prolonged death from ALS that she dreaded and which inspired her participation in the lawsuit."

The association said she died in a hospital, surrounded by friends and family members.

"Gloria was a heroic woman," said Grace Pastine, the association's litigation director. "Even as her own body failed her, she fought for all Canadians to have choice and dignity at the end of life. Gloria was terrified that she would become trapped in her body as her ALS progressed and she was incensed that other Canadians with serious illnesses were facing the same cruel predicament. She spent the last days of her life tirelessly advocating to change the law. Gloria lit the torch, now we will carry it. This case is her legacy."

Taylor's mother, Anne Fomenoff, said her daughter will be missed.

"I am so proud of my feisty, determined daughter -- she struggled to make the world better for Canadian," she said. "I speak on behalf of my entire family when I say we are so proud of her legacy. We are blessed to have known and loved this special woman."

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