Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Good News/Bad News on Legalization of Assisted Suicide

Bad news: 

Maine's Governor Janet Mills signed the bill that  had passed in both chambers by narrow margins that legalizes assisted suicide in that state,  joining California, Colorado, DC, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. This law was opposed by, among others, a coalition of disability advocacy groups  in an open letter to Governor Mills that ends with the argument:

There are ways to address the reasons people have for requesting assisted suicide, but it starts with a societal commitment to treat all suicides as a tragedy, to respond to anyone’s expression of suicidal feelings with an equal level of support, affirmation of the value of their life and effort to address their concerns. A two-tiered system where most people get suicide prevention but certain people get suicide assistance is a deadly form of discrimination that should not be accepted. Assisted suicide laws exacerbate the disability stigma that prevails in our culture and undermine people’s genuine autonomy by establishing a medically administered program of suicide approval and assistance in a health care environment already riddled with pressures to cut costs of care.

The letter was signed by the following groups:

  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Assn of Programs for Rural Independent Living
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  • National Council on Disability
  • National Council on Independent Living
  • National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities
  • National Spinal Cord Injury Association
  • Not Dead Yet
  • TASH
  • The Arc of the United States
  • United Spinal Association

Good news: The American Medical Association (AMA) upheld its long-standing opposition to assisted suicide by a vote of 392-162, holding that:

“Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”


Schiltz, Elizabeth | Permalink