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Canadian court ruling challenges parts of laws for physician-assisted suicide

Two severely ill and handicapped Canadians can ask for immediate help in ending their lives, a court in the province of Quebec ruled on Wednesday, in a judgment that deemed parts of the country's existing laws governing physician-assisted suicide as unconstitutional.

MONTREAL, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Two severely ill and handicapped Canadians can ask for immediate help in ending their lives, a court in the province of Quebec ruled on Wednesday, in a judgment that deemed parts of the country's existing laws governing physician-assisted suicide as unconstitutional.

Quebec Superior Court Judge Christine Baudouin sided with Jean Truchon, 51, and Nicole Gladu, 73, who are both in severe pain and have incurable medical conditions. The two argued that laws governing eligibility for assisted suicide were too restrictive by limiting access to those facing "foreseeable death."

In 2016, Canada decided to allow doctor-assisted suicide under certain circumstances.

The rule which limits access to those close to death "infringes the plaintiffs' fundamental rights," the decision said.

Truchon is almost completely paralyzed because of a childhood disease, while Gladu suffers a degenerative disease after surviving polio as a child.

The decision allows Gladu and Truchon to apply for physician-assisted death immediately while giving Quebec and the federal government six months to change the criteria before suspending that provision of the law.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Sandra Maler)

((Allison.Lampert@thomsonreuters.com; 514-796-4212; Reuters Messaging: allison.lampert.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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