Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

U.S. Rejects Doctor-Assisted Suicide Laws

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
In a unanimous decision that will echo through hospitals and homes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 that terminally ill people do not have a constitutional right to doctor-assisted suicide. The court upheld laws in New York and Washington state that make it a crime for doctors to give life-ending drugs to mentally competent but terminally ill patients who no longer want to live. Lower courts had invalidated both laws. Congress passed a bill in April to keep federal funds from being used to pay for any doctor-assisted suicide. In signing this bill into law, President Bill Clinton made the statement: ÒI continue to believe that assisted suicide is wrong. And while I have deep sympathy for those who suffer greatly from incurable illness, I believe that to endorse assisted suicide would set us on a disturbing and perhaps dangerous path.Ó Meanwhile, the Hemlock Society, the nationÕs largest organization concerned with right-to-die issues, said it was disappointed but not surprised by the ruling. ÒFor us, it is back to business as usual,Ó director Faye Girsh said in a statement, and the attorney for Dr. Jack Kevorkian made it known already that the ruling would not stop KevorkianÕs campaign for assisted suicide. (From The Interim)

We are perhaps somewhat surprised by what President Clinton said, but at the same time grateful for what he said, and for what the Supreme Court has ruled.

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