Presidential Candidate Howard Dean Endorses Assisted Suicide

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 21, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Presidential Candidate Howard Dean Endorses Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 21, 2003

Montpelier, VT ( — Howard Dean has been criticized by the pro-life community for perhaps being the most pro-abortion candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination for President. Now, Dean has expressed his support for assisted suicide.

In an interview with Oregon Public Radio on Thursday, Dean said "I think states have to make up their own mind" regarding the legality of assisted suicide.

"I as a physician would not be comfortable administering lethal drugs, but I think this a very private, personal decision and I think individual physicians and patients have the right to make that private decision," Dean said.

Dean also criticized the Bush administration for its opposition to the deadly practice.

"I am very amused by the Right Wing — including the president and administration –who talk about liberty but then decide they’re going to scrutinize everyone’s behavior and tell them what they can and cannot do," said Dean.

Oregon is the only state to have legalized assisted suicide. Pro-life Attorney General John Ashcroft recently ruled that the drugs used in assisted suicides there, all of which are federally regulated, can no longer be used. The state took the Bush administration to court over the decision and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule soon on the outcome of the case.

Lori Kehoe, a legislative analyst on bioethics issues for the National Right to Life Committee, took Dean to task for his comments.

"Killing a patient at his or her most vulnerable time is not liberty — it’s abandonment," Kehoe told

"The primary role of government is to protect its citizens, not freely kill them on request," Kehoe explained. "Perhaps Mr. Dean will recall that Thomas Jefferson, who was rather fond of liberty, said in 1809, ‘The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government.’"