Canada introduced an assisted death bill on Thursday, aiming to ease end-of-life treatment for terminally ill patients while preventing “suicide tourism” to the country.
The bill excludes people with psychiatric problems and requires that patients be eligible for Canada’s national health care, an effort to stop foreigners from traveling to Canada to end their lives, USA Today reported. The law also requires a minimum age of 18 and a 15-day reflection period.
“This is a historic day for our country,” Health Minister Jane Philpott said, USA Today reported. “It’s an enormous responsibility to address the needs and suffering of Canadians as they reach the end of life.”
The bill will now go to Parliament. If approved, Canada would join countries including Germany, Japan and Colombia in allowing assisted deaths, a controversial topic in Canada as well as the U.S.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has voiced his support for the bill.
“This is a difficult & deeply personal issue, and our government has carefully studied how best to support those in great suffering,” he posted on Twitter.
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