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Court upholds B.C. woman’s exemption from doctor-assisted suicide ban

Gloria Taylor with her younger sister Patty Ferguson outside the BC supreme in Vancouver December 1, 2011 where she she is heading to court to seeking the legal right to die with dignity.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

A B.C. woman who won a personal exemption from Canada's ban on doctor-assisted suicide will keep that right as the case makes its way through the province's Appeal Court.

Gloria Taylor, who has Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS, was among the plaintiffs in a landmark case that saw the B.C. Supreme Court strike down Canada's ban on doctor-assisted suicide earlier this year.

The court suspended its decision for one year, but also granted Ms. Taylor an immediate exemption that allows her to seek doctor-assisted suicide under certain conditions.

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The federal government launched an appeal and also asked the Appeal Court to overturn Ms. Taylor's exemption, but Justice Jo-Ann Prowse has rejected that request.

In a written decision, Judge Prowse says revoking Ms. Taylor's exemption would cause irreparable harm to Ms. Taylor, which outweighs the federal government's interests.

Judge Prowse acknowledges Ms. Taylor has become a symbol in the right-to-die case, but the judge said that Mr. Taylor is also a person who shouldn't be sacrificed for the "greater good."

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