Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Right to Die With Dignity Upheld

The Supreme Court today upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law by a 6-3 vote.

Justices Uphold Oregon Assisted-Suicide Law
In a Blow to Administration, Ruling Paves Way for Other States to Follow Suit

Text of Court Ruling

It was a 6-3 decision, with new Chief Justice John Roberts, Scalia and Thomas in dissent. No surprise that Roberts joined the two most conservative members of the court in opposing assisted suicide. You wonder what Rehnquist would have done. Normally he was a reliable conservative vote. But after suffering for over a year during his thyroid cancer treatment, and after watching his wife's long battle with ovarian cancer (she died in 1991), I wonder if he might have ended up with the majority on this one.

I've represented people with cancer for years. Often they are in horrible, intractable pain from either the disease or the treatment. Pain that leaves them drawn, exhausted, barely able to think. They fight bravely but eventually come to that point where the pain is more than they can bear. I believe strongly that the individual should be able to make the decision to end the suffering. It's true freedom, the freedom to make decisions about your own body, about when you are ready to go.

I tell my friends, help me when I need it. Don't leave me to suffer in a hospital bed tied up with tubes. Make sure I have some good meds & let me go happy.

This was the right decision by the Court.

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