Dying senior to face judge in right-to-die case

Michael Mui, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:37 AM ET

VANCOUVER - Senior Gloria Taylor is confined to a wheelchair and has lost the ability to walk, but she's determined to appear in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday to fight for her right to die.

Taylor, 63, who has Lou Gehrig's disease, won't be taking the stand, however. Her testimony in support of legalizing assisted suicide is included in one of more than 100 affidavits filed to Justice Lynn Smith.

Lawyers for both sides are beginning final arguments in the case challenging the laws on assisted suicide. It's expected to wrap up Dec. 16 with a decision early next year.

"I'm wanting to be there so the judge can put a face to a name. So she knows I'm a real person, not just a piece of paper that says who I am," said a frail Taylor, who is appearing in court for the first time since the case started several weeks ago. "That's really important to me," she said.

The Westbank, B.C., resident said it's now impossible for her to walk without help.

Twice a day, support workers help her bathe, brush her teeth and even put her to bed with a respirator so she doesn't suffocate in her sleep.

"I fear I will eventually suffocate and die, struggling for air, like a fish out of water," Taylor said.

Previously, the judge heard testimony from doctors, philosophers, medical ethicists and other experts.

"The evidence is very dense in this case, it's a lot of expert evidence having to do with the various jurisdictions," B.C. Civil Liberties Association lawyer Sheila Tucker said. "I think it was helpful to the courts to know who the experts are."


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