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Elayne Shapray celebrates assisted suicide ruling by Supreme Court of Canada

02/06/2015 11:52 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT
"I never thought I'd live to see the day," said Elayne Shapray, after hearing that the Supreme Court of Canada had overturned the ban on doctor-assisted suicide.

Shapray, who has multiple sclerosis, joined the legal fight in 2012 when she filed her affidavit detailing the intolerable pain she was living with.

The Vancouver resident asked the Supreme Court to expedite its hearing on the issue, so that she might have the right to die in the manner of her own choosing one day.

Sharpray was one of several advocates for assisted suicide that gathered in Vancouver to hear the Supreme Court decision on Friday morning.

BCCLA lawyer Joe Arvay, who was one of the lead lawyers for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association on the case, was also on hand for the announcement.

"This is sort of overwhelming...It's a decision that shows incredible courage, " said Arvay.

They were also joined by Margaret Birrell, who lobbied for assisted suicide for 25 years.

Birrell said her thoughts are with Sue Rodriguez, the B.C. woman who launched the legal challenge to overturn the law more than two decades ago.

After the decision was announced, Shapray and others popped open champagne to toast the ruling.

Unanimous decision by Supreme Court justices

On Friday morning the court issued a unanimous decision that people with grievous and irremediable medical conditions should have the right to ask a doctor to help them die.

The ruling has its roots in the legal fight launched by Victoria resident Sue Rodriguez in 1992 to overturn the law banning doctor-assisted death in Canada.

Rodriguez lost her legal challenge, but still chose to die with the assistance of a doctor in 1994.

Then in 2012 ALS patient Gloria Taylor of Kelowna and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association,  won a landmark ruling when a B.C. Supreme Court judge struck down the part of the Criminal Code that made doctor-assisted suicide illegal.

After the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned that decision, Shapray, who has multiple sclerosis, joined the legal fight with her affidavit.

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