In British Columbia, a unique law is being challenged that prohibits sale services that use use ultra-low temperatures to preserve human bodies after clinical death in a process known as cryonics. In short, the Canadian province is banning the prospect of being frozen just after death and eventually being brought back to life sometime in the future.
The challenge is taking place in provincial court as Keegan Macintosh and the Lifespan Society of British Columbia filed a civil claim to the Supreme Court of B.C. on Tuesday. They argue that parts of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services act are unconstitutional as they prohibit the sale of cryonics. In fact, British Columbia is the only jurisdiction in the world to prohibit the sale of cryonics services.
The society’s legal counsel, Jason Gratl states, "Here what we're really talking about is the right to a third method of disposition of remains.” Gratl goes on to explain the plaintiff’s are asking whether there is significant validation to deny a person the right to have their bodies preserved in ultra-low temperatures.
As the plaintiff’s allegations are yet to be examined in court, Macintosh nor a government spokesperson was available for comment.
According to the notice, one of the services Macintosh intends to purchase includes vitrification, which replaces the liquids within a corpse with a cooling substance that leads to a process known as suspension. This practice is outlawed by the act in Section 14 which covers the sale or arrangement of “preservation by storage.” Violators of this law can spend up to 12 months in prison, be fined up to $10,000 or receive both penalties. Companies who well these services can be fined up to $100,000.
Although the act doesn’t clearly define cryonics, it prohibits any form of long-term preservation of a body with the intent of future resuscitation, which effectively bans the practice.
Lifespan only offers the possibility of resuscitation in the future yet does not guarantee or embellish the idea of such a result. Gratl says that their needs to be incredible advancements in the future of medical science in order for this practice to become a potential possibility.
The provincial court in British Columbia has about 21 days to respond once they receive the notice from the two parties involved.