has been granted full parole and will be home in Saskatchewan for Christmas with his family. Robert Latimer was convicted of second degree murder in the death of his daughter Tracey. In 1993 he placed Tracey, then 12 years old in his pickup truck and connected the exhaust pipe to the cab. Tracey died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Latimer admitted his part in her death.
Tracy was born into a loving and caring family. She had three siblings. Tragically she was deprived of oxygen at birth and had severe cerebral palsy. Her mental age was under one year and she developed increasingly severe physical problems - scoliosis, bed sores, difficulty in swallowing but perhaps the worst was the constant pain that the child was in. Because she had to have anti-convulsive medications the only pain reliever allowed was Tylenol which became less and less effective. To correct some of the muscle tension and insert rods in her spine to stop some of the scoliosis, surgeries were done. The health outcome for the little girl appeared very bleak indeed.
"The proposed fourth surgery would have involved sawing off the upper quarter of her right leg. The surgeon testified at the trial that the operation would be excruciatingly painful and pain would continue long afterwards. Additional surgeries would be required for the rest of Tracy's life as her body progressively degenerated. Medical testimony stated that current medical technology could neither stop this degeneration, nor, importantly, deal with the physical agony caused by her body's breakdown."The Robert Latimer Website
When Laura Latimer was at church one Sunday, Robert decided to end it.
This case became a touchstone for those who wanted to allow mercy killing or euthanasia and for those who speak for those with disabilities. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities has put forward some valid arguments as to why Latimer's actions were a crime. They do not oppose his release on parole because he has served his time in jail.
As a parent, faced with subjecting my child to ongoing agonizing surgeries and facing the spectre of ongoing degeneration, I can't say for sure what action I would have taken.