Legislation to expand access to medically assisted death clears House of Commons

A contentious bill that would expand access to medical assistance in dying (MAID) has passed in the House of Commons and will now head to the Senate as a court-imposed deadline looms on Dec. 18.

MPs voted 212 to 107 in favour of the legislation.

The government introduced C-7 in February in response to a September 2019 Superior Court of Quebec ruling which found that the law’s precondition for obtaining a physician-assisted death — that the individual seeking it must face a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death — was unconstitutional.

The bill proposes to remove that requirement. It also disqualifies those whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness from obtaining an assisted death.

Justice Minister David Lametti is holding a news conference at 4 p.m. ET and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.

The government already has received two extensions to enact new legislation due to disruptions caused by the global pandemic. While it could request a third extension, the government says its priority now is getting the legislation passed.

The Conservatives have argued the government is trying to rush through legislation that fails to include safeguards to protect the vulnerable.

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