Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Keep Oregon Free - Gonzales v. Oregon 04-623
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.
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.
- Patients must be in final six months of terminal illness
- Patients must make two oral requests and one written request to die, separated by a two-week period
- Patients must be mentally competent to make decision
- Two doctors must confirm diagnosis
- Lethal prescription of drugs prescribed by doctor and administered by patients themselves
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 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
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.