,Malaysia, Nicaragua,adultery

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Keep Oregon Free - Gonzales v. Oregon 04-623

Bush Administration Against State's Rights

They tried but failed in the Terri Schiavo case. Now the zealots in Washington are at it again. The conservatives who championed State's Rights in the past have turned about-face and are now arguing before the Supreme Court to overrule Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. Their case rests on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), that it was being violated by physicians prescribing drugs to terminally ill patients who requested such assistance in dying.

The Washington Post is carrying a report by Charles Lane, "Supreme Court Holds Hearing On Assisted Suicide Case" that includes questions raised by the justices.

This case will exemplify the importance of the crucial "swing vote" in the current Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Justice O'Connor is not likely to be there when the case is decided. It was she who raised a very pertinent question.

"O'Connor immediately challenged Solicitor General Paul Clement, asking if federal drug laws also prevented doctors from participating in the execution of murderers." (Reported by Gina Holland of the Associated Press).

From what is known about Harriet Miers and her affiliation with a fundamentalist Christian church, if she wins confirmation to the Court her vote would most probably be against Oregon.

Summary of the background.

The Death With Dignity Act was passed by voters in Oregon in 1994, and three years later they voted against repeal. Since then 208 terminally ill patients (mostly suffering from cancer) have elected the option.

The Bush administration has been after Oregon's Death With Dignity Act for a long time. The former Attorney general Ashcroft took a personal interest in it. Religious organizations, including the Catholic Church, vehemently opposed the act. Ashcroft tried to annul the law in 2002 because "it depended on an improper use of medication by doctors and violated federal drug laws". His order was overruled by an appeals court. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is continuing the battle, State's Rights be damned.

An editorial in today's NY Times ended with the following:

"The impact of today's case will be felt beyond Oregon. The Bush administration's position has discouraged other states from enacting assisted suicide laws. But the Supreme Court should make clear that Oregon, and all states, have the right to allow terminally ill people to end their lives with a maximum of dignity and a minimum of pain."

The prospects for such a decision emerging from the Court are very slim.

The Brits take an enlightened position on Euthanasia

While faced with increasing intrusion of religious beliefs in all aspects of our life we are surrendering to bigotry, across the Atlantic in England things are moving the other way. Rights of citizens to have more control over end of life decisions are being liberalized.

The Guardian,UK, "Church Ends Taboo on Mercy Killings" January 16, 2005.

The Guardian,UK, Doctors' Leaders drop opposition to euthanasia, June 30, 2005

My father rarely talked much about Viet Nam. But I used to listen to him and some of his friend talk about it. And one day, one of his friends talked about being a medic, and how they sorted the injured: those who would live, those who would live if they got immediate care, and those who were dying. He said they injected the dying with overdoses of morphine and moved on to care for the living.

I wonder, if prescribing patients lethal doses of drugs that patients administer to themselves is wrong... what changes are going to be enacted in military policies with regards to treating the mortally wounded. I guess they will just let them sudder and scream and bleed out.... like the good old days.
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