Castlegar woman continues effort begun by deceased daughter

Right to die with dignity – an issue for Supreme Court in October

Anne Fomenoff at her Castlegar home

Anne Fomenoff at her Castlegar home

Anne Fomenoff has accepted the responsibility of carrying on a legal/ethical crusade on behalf of her daughter Gloria Taylor.

Taylor suffered from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and had campaigned in favour of the legal right to die with dignity when the inevitable incapacitation from ALS had occurred. She passed away, however, in 2012 at the age of 64 from an un-related condition.

Fomenoff was in Vancouver on Monday, May 19, part of a press conference announcing further steps in an ongoing legal process.

The BC Supreme Court had ruled in 2012 that the Criminal Code of Canada provisions against assisted dying were unconstitutional. The federal government then appealed and the BC Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s ruling in late 2013.

The BC Civil Liberties Association then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada which will hear oral arguments in the case beginning October 14, 2014.

“Gloria fought a courageous battle at the end of her life,” said Fomenoff at the media event. “She believed that all Canadians have the right to die peacefully and without suffering. Gloria believed that ‘death with dignity’ is actually about living – it is about how a person chooses to live their final days.”

Anne Fomenoff had been a founding member of the Castlegar Hospice Society in 1985, and says that involvement had shaped her values and beliefs about death and dying.

“I have seen firsthand the suffering of the dying,” she said in a prepared statement. “I have witnessed deaths that were slow, difficult, painful and undignified – deaths took away everything that made life worth living.”

Gloria Taylor’s son Jason was also on the scene in Vancouver on Monday, stating, in part, “My mom was given no choice about getting this dreadful disease but she did have a choice on how she handled it. Her ‘choice’ was to put a human face to this incredible journey of hers.” “This is a personal choice,” Fomenoff stated to the Castlegar News on May 20. “It’s not up to the courts or the judges, governments of religions to decide what happens with my life.”