Euthanasia Advocates Will Push for More Assisted Suicide Laws

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Euthanasia Advocates Will Push for More Assisted Suicide Laws Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 17, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Euthanasia advocates are applauding the ruling by the Supreme Court on Tuesday saying the Bush Administration cannot use a federal law to limit assisted suicides in Oregon. The law allows the federal government to restrict the use of certain drugs, and Bush attorneys argued they shouldn’t be used in assisted suicides.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Bush administration could not prohibit the use of federally controlled drugs in assisted suicides.

In a statement provided to, Peg Sandeen, director of the pro-euthanasia group Death With Dignity, said the ruling will give her group the legal backing it needs to push for more laws in other states allowing assisted suicide.

“The favorable ruling by the Supreme Court now permits other states to move forward in replicating Oregon’s landmark law," she said.

Sandeen said her group would "actively support the state most likely to enact a death with dignity law, whether through a state legislature or through a citizen initiative.”

Still, Sandeen said she doubted the decision "will end attacks against Oregon’s law."

"Oregon can anticipate attempts in Congress to pass legislation barring physician-assisted dying, perhaps as a touchstone issue for the upcoming mid-term elections," she indicated.

Robert Kenneth of Portland, another spokesman for Death with Dignity, said his organization was "very pleased and very relieved."

"This puts to rest the legality of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act," he told the Associated Press.

Kenneth told AP that he was thankful the court ruled on the case before the Senate confirmed federal appeals court Judge Samuel Alito to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who voted with the majority.

"I knew we could rely on Sandra Day O’Connor to give balance to this issue. This is a remarkable ruling as she steps down and retires," Kenneth said.

Disability rights activists were concerned by the ruling because it puts doctors in the role of encouraging death and discriminates against the disabled.

Diane Coleman, president of Not Dead Yet, told the Associated Press that the Oregon assisted suicide law is "setting up a two-tiered standard for how people respond to someone saying they want to die. And it is a system that we don’t see as a benefit, we see it as a threat."