The Physician Assisted Suicide

            Many voters throughout the United States are taking the measure to legalize physician assisted suicide to the polls. If it is legalized, the United States will have legalized a much quicker, more humane method(as opposed to terminal sedation) of ending the suffering of terminally ill patients. The only legal process of this sort in the United States is terminal sedation, a method that can oftentimes add to a patient's problems. Although Oregon is the only state to have successfully passed such a bill for the legalization of physician assisted suicide, the pressure to confront this issue is growing along with the movement for legalization. Opponents of the Oregon bill, mostly Christian conservative groups, are planning to appeal this case to the Supreme Court in hopes of a reversal of the Oregon Supreme Court's decision. Though the emotional battle of physician assisted suicide is the prerogative of voters on both sides of the issue, the fundamental question that will have to be answered by the Courts is whether or not the liberty observed by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment contains a right to perform suicide, which itself includes a right to assistance in doing so. This clause states, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” (United States Constitution, Amendment 14).

             Tierce, 2.

             In order to constitutionally create a previously unspecified "right” the Supreme Court must conclude that such a "right " is either deeply rooted into the nation's history and tradition, or is fundamental to sustaining the liberty provided in the Constitution. The court should also have a very specific description of what is to be entailed within this "right”. The difficulty in arguing for assisted suicide is that since the justification for assisted suicide is not historical or necessary for ordered liberty, the state must only prove that assisted suicide is within the perimeters of exercising what is best for the nation as a whole.

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