Pro-Life Groups Say Congress Should Pass Assisted Suicide Legislation

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

Pro-Life Groups Say Congress Should Pass Assisted Suicide Legislation Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 17, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life organizations were dismayed by the Supreme Court decision today declaring invalid the Bush administration’s attempt to stop the use of federally controlled drugs in assisted suicides in Oregon. They said Congress should pass a measure saying such drugs should not be used.

The high court case involved a disputed over the Controlled Substances Act, which allows the federal government to regulate illegal drugs. The court, on a 6-3 decision, ruled that the Bush administration could not use the law to stop narcotics from being used to kill patients.

Responding to the decision, pro-life advocates said Congress should approve a measure making it clear the CSA does not allow drugs to be used for assisted suicides.

Tom Marzen, a leading pro-life attorney who monitors end of life issues, told that Congress should pass "an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act that specifically states that assistance in suicide is not a ‘legitimate medical purpose.’"

Dorothy Timbs, legislative counsel for National Right to Life’s medical ethics center agrees. She said the court’s decision was a failed attempt to try to identify Congress’ intent under the statute.

"Nothing in the decision suggests that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to amend the Act to make clear that federally controlled drugs may not be used to kill people," Timbs explained.

One result of the high court’s decision is that state lawmakers will be under added pressure to approve the grisly practice.

Without Congress approving such a measure, Marzen told he worries about states like California, Hawaii and Vermont where "there have been recent very serious attempts to explicitly legalize physician-assisted suicide."

Groups that back euthanasia responded to the Supreme Court’s decision by saying they will do just what Marzen fears and press for more laws legalizing assisted suicide.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life Committee –