Assisted Suicide

Discussion in 'Political Discourse' started by Eman, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. Eman

    Eman Member

    Not since 2006 has the Supreme Court taken up a case involving “death with dignity” legislation — the handful of state laws that allow people to end their lives with the help of a physician. That year, the court handed a victory to death with dignity advocates, ruling that the attorney general could not bar doctors in Oregon — the first state to pass such a law — from giving terminally ill patients drugs to facilitate suicide.

    It was only the third time the court had heard a case challenging such statutes, and the six-member majority tread lightly, recognizing the sensitivity of the issue.

    “Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate,” the majority wrote, quoting from a previous opinion, “about the morality, legality, and practicality of physician-assisted suicide.”

    That debate is far from resolved today — and it’s one Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the high court, will surely be eager to weigh in on, should he win confirmation.

    Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appeals court judge from Colorado, was tapped by Trump on Tuesday to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year after three decades on the Supreme Court. Aside from his bona fides as a lawyer and a jurist — which may all but guarantee a favorable vote in the Senate — Gorsuch has cultivated something of an expertise in assisted suicide and euthanasia in his legal career.

    In 2006, the year he was nominated to the federal bench, he released a heavily researched book on the subject titled “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” The front cover looks almost like a Tom Clancy novel, with purple all-caps block text set against a black background. But the book itself is a deep, highly cerebral overview of the ethical and legal debate surrounding the practices.

    In it, Gorsuch reveals that he firmly opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia, and argues against death with dignity laws, which currently exist in just five states. His reasons, he writes, are rooted in his belief in an “inviolability” of human life.

    “All human beings are intrinsically valuable,” he writes in the book, “and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

    He continues:

    We seek to protect and preserve life for life’s own sake in everything from our most fundamental laws of homicide to our road traffic regulations to our largest governmental programs for health and social security. We have all witnessed, as well, family, friends, or medical workers who have chosen to provide years of loving care to persons who may suffer from Alzheimer’s or other debilitating illnesses precisely because they are human persons, not because doing so instrumentally advances some other hidden objective. This is not to say that all persons would always make a similar choice, but the fact that some people have made such a choice is some evidence that life itself is a basic good.

    Gorsuch’s interest in assisted suicide seems to have bloomed in the early 2000s, when he was studying for his doctorate. After earning a law degree from Harvard and clerking on the U.S. Supreme Court, Gorsuch attended Oxford University on a prestigious Marshall Scholarship. There, he studied legal and moral issues related to assisted suicide and euthanasia under the Australian legal scholar John Finnis, a staunch opponent of aid-in-dying measures, as SCOTUSblog has reported.

    At the beginning of his book, Gorsuch thanks Finnis, saying he “provided thoughtful comments on, and kind support through, draft after draft.”

    Over the following 300-some pages, Gorsuch, while against assisted suicide, lays out an exhaustive but evenhanded case, treating respectfully the positions of those who disagree with him. He touches on everything from Greek and Roman laws on taking one’s own life to present-day arguments in support of aid-in-dying legislation. But he specifically avoids discussing war and capital punishment, saying they “raise unique questions all their own.”

    If his writing is any indication, Gorsuch seems to have been alarmed by the sudden proliferation in the mid-1990s and early-2000s of proposals seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia. He also cites the flurry of articles, books and defenses that emerged after the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian made headlines in 1990 for helping an Alzheimer’s patient kill herself. One particular work that seemed to bother him was “Final Exit,” a popular book by the right-to-die organization the Hemlock Society that describes various methods of “self-deliverance,” including suicide by plastic bag and firearm.

    Some of Gorsuch’s sharpest criticisms were directed at one of his fellow jurists, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Posner has written in favor of permitting physician-assisted suicide, arguing that the government should not interfere with a person’s decision to take his or her own life, especially in cases where the patient is terminally ill.

    Gorsuch rejected that view, writing it would “tend toward, if not require, the legalization not only of assisted suicide and euthanasia, but of any act of consensual homicide.” Posner’s position, he writes, would allow “sadomasochist killings” and “mass suicide pacts,” as well as duels, illicit drug use, organ sales and the “sale of one’s own life.”

    Gorsuch concludes his book by envisioning a legal system that allows for terminally ill patients to refuse treatments that would extend their lives, while stopping short of permitting intentional killing.

    In the time since Gorsuch released his book, several terminally ill patients seeking assisted suicides have drawn national attention. In one recent high profile case, Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old from Oregon, in 2014 took lethal drugs prescribed by her physician and died. She had been diagnosed with a stage 4 malignant brain tumor and was told she had six months to live.

    Multiple states have passed death with dignity laws in recent years — including California and Gorsuch’s own Colorado — and the movement supporting such measures has gained steam. Gorsuch, if confirmed, may very well have the opportunity to hear legal challenges to those statutes if they arrive at the Supreme Court. Indeed, a passage in his book may have been a bit prescient.

    “Far from definitively resolving the assisted suicide issue,” he wrote, “the court’s decisions seem to assure that the debate over assisted suicide and euthanasia is not yet over — and may have only begun.”


    Neil Gorsuch wrote the book on assisted suicide. Here’s what he said.

    "The Republican Party's platform suggests that the role of government is to protect individuals' rights and that individuals and society as a whole are better off when the government is involved as little as possible."

    - Republicans vs. Democrats Views on Government Size | Synonym
    MassTurk likes this.
  2. Sk8man101

    Sk8man101 Member

    I'd say if it is depression they are struggling with then it is diffidently not cool.
    But I've seen patients on hospice that are truly suffering, I wouldn't blaim some of them for wanting to end their life.
    MindlessWork and ickyrica like this.
  3. ddp7

    ddp7 Member

    This is for u muthafucker

  4. Come to Oregon ---and KILL YOURSELF LEGALLY !! :p thats how free we are..:rolleyes:
    insaiyan93 and Sk8man101 like this.
  5. System7

    System7 Member

    Interesting. I wasn't aware he spent a good deal of his time at oxford studying this issue. I'm not sure what to think of Gorsuch yet. I too hail from the mountainous land of legal weed and voted for legislation allowing assisted suicide this past election cycle.
    @ddp7 wtf are you carrying on about?
  6. Sk8man101

    Sk8man101 Member

    What's hilarious is it's legal to kill yourself but illegal to posses AAS that can't even kill you.
    What a world we live in.
    Oregongearhead likes this.
  7. The law basically protects the survivors who might have assisted you if you were successful in your attempt . They can not be prosecuted for murder /manslaughter after the fact...
    flenser likes this.
  8. also gives you a good legal reason to kill your relatives and claim assisted suicide ;) (I didnt say that....:D)
    Sk8man101 likes this.
  9. System7

    System7 Member

  10. Sk8man101

    Sk8man101 Member

  11. Big_paul

    Big_paul Member Supporter

    My only concern is that there will be pressure for terminally ill to commit suicide and not run through their assets.

    I'm pro life and anti suicide but I will not force my beliefs on another. These are very personal decisions.
    flenser and Sk8man101 like this.
  12. Sk8man101

    Sk8man101 Member

    I think the vast majority of people including the terminally ill do not want to die. And the majority of family members do not want their loved ones to die any earlier than they have to.
    It's human nature I guess
  13. Les

    Les Member

    It should be personal choice. If I'm laying there waiting to die with no hope of recovery I would want to go for my benefit and my families
  14. Eman

    Eman Member

    I am as well... Although, if I've had to battle terminal cancer for a few years, I might have a different opinion.

    Regardless, there are worse things than death... Kavorkian assisted many that had horrible diseases that they were brave to have had to put up with as long as they did.
  15. Big_paul

    Big_paul Member Supporter

    I personally have known people who have struggled with that decision. In one example that choice was made, and the end was humane. I just don't feel it is appropriate to pass a law that is so easy to circumvent, and pressure those who do not choose to end their lives in that manor.
  16. insaiyan93

    insaiyan93 Member

    I dont really have a stance one way or the other on the subject.
    What I will say is that assisted suicide would make a killer band name.
    MisterSuperGod likes this.
  17. johntt44

    johntt44 Member

    Life is precious but it's MY life. Now religion clouds this by saying God gave you life so it's not yours to take and you go to hell for taking it. I wouldn't think that God would want people to suffer the way some do, especially when the outcome is inevitable. How would the law measure suffering though?
  18. Steve Stevenson

    Steve Stevenson Junior Member

    I think it is silly that, when your dog or cat is suffering, it is "inhumane" to let them continue suffering and euthanasia is suggested but when your family members are suffering from a terminal illness they don't have the option to legally elect euthanasia.