The Sue Rodriguez case documents a trial that to this day still effects the laws surrounding assisted suicide. Through this trial, questions about the right-to-die and quality of life arose. Sue Rodriguez caused a spotlight to be shined on the right-to-die debate in Canada by taking her case to the Supreme Court of Canada. Although Sue Rodriguez lost the case, she still followed through with the termination of her life with an anonymous physician, regardless of the four-to-five vote against her.
Sue Rodriguez was a 42-year-old women that had been suffering from a terminal illness, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Rodriquez was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1991, a progressive, neurodegenerative diseases that causes weakening of the muscles and eventual atrophy. Sue Rodriguez had initially requested to be assisted by a qualified physician in order to terminate her life. Sue Rodriguez wanted her life to be terminated while she was still lucid and had a say in what happened to her, before the illness could take full course. Her request was denied due to a violation under The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 241 (b) of the Charter provides as follows, Everyone who (b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide, where suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. Under these terms, the British Columbia court dismissed her case. Rodriguez then appealed the B.C. courts decision to a higher power, the Supreme Court of Canada. Rodriguez stated that section 241 (b) violated section 7, 12, and 15 of charter. and her fundamental rights as a Canadian citizen. The right to life, to not be subjected to cruel/unusual punishment, and an individual being equal before the law. In a 4 to 5 decision, Rodriguez's appeal was dismissed because the Charter section was constitutional. Although Sue Rodriquez's case was dismissed, she still carried through with her wish with the help of an anonymous physician.