Idaho Becomes the Next target for Euthanasia Activists Promoting Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Becomes the Next Target for Euthanasia Activists Promoting Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 18
, 2010

Boise, ID (LifeNews.com) — Euthanasia activists are feeling their oats with the states of Washington and Montana joining Oregon as the three in the nation to have legalized assisted suicide. Now, they are trying to convince the major doctors group in Idaho that the state has no laws stopping the practice.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), talked with OneNewsNow today about the problems.

"Kathryn Tucker, who is the legal counsel for Compassion And Choices, made a presentation to the Idaho Medical Association, trying to tell them that because there is no specific law on assisted suicide in Idaho that…doctors could just go ahead and just do this," he said.

However, Schadenberg said Tucker’s description is false because Idaho common law disallows assisted suicide.

"Idaho doesn’t have something specific like that, but it does deal with it under their homicide provision," he told ONN. "Therefore, it is illegal in Idaho, and a doctor who would go ahead with this would very likely be prosecuted and go to jail…as they should."

Schadenberg told the news service he expects the pro-euthanasia activists are trying to find a physician willing to test the common law "because if the courts were to either treat it extremely leniently, or if the court were to say that Compassion [and] Choices’ legal counsel was correct, then of course that would mean that other doctors could go ahead and do it."

The move to promote assisted suicide in Idaho follows on a failed attempt to promote it in Connecticut.

In June, a Connecticut trial court judge rejected a lawsuit by euthanasia advocates seeking to overturn the Connecticut ban on assisted suicide. Had the lawsuit been successful, it could have made the New England state the fourth to allow it.

Gary Blick and Ronald Levine, two Fairfield County doctors, brought the lawsuit with the support of Compassion & Choices and state attorneys hoped Judge Julia Aurigemma would dismiss it.

Judge Aurigemma did just that — and dismissed the petition, although the backers of the lawsuit are expected to file an appeal.

The euthanasia advocates argued the state’s manslaughter statute, which explicitly criminalizes aiding another person in suicide, should not apply to physicians who provide “aid in dying” by prescribing lethal drugs to patients.

Mailee Smith, an attorney with Americans United for Life, said the argument "represents a new tactic by suicide advocates: attempting to redefine assisted suicide by creating new legal terminology and tricking the courts and the American public into legalizing physician-assisted suicide under a different name."

"However, the trial court saw through their ploy," she said.

 

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