nd effectively nullifies Oregon’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide
nd Right to Life euthanasia argumentative persuasive essaysOregon, Assisted Suicide and Right to Life
The reader of this paper will learn how the Right to Life movement is getting involved in a dramatic way in the assisted suicide battle in the state of Oregon. The NRLC(National Right to Life Committee), as well as the state RTL group, is participating in the court battle resulting from Oregon’s November, 2001 judicial challenge to Ashcroft’s decision — initiated to keep assisted suicide practices functioning smoothly in Oregon.
The National Right to Life Committee and Oregon Right to Life filed a friend of the court brief in the case challenging the recent decision of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft that the Controlled Substances Act does not permit the use of federally controlled drugs for assisted suicide. Under the Ashcroft decision, physicians who prescribe controlled drugs for assisted suicide could lose their licenses to prescribe any federally controlled drugs, which would effectively end the medical practice of many doctors. The brief supports the position of the United States, arguing that the Ashcroft decision should be upheld. (Oregon)
In November of 2001, the State of Oregon brought suit against the Ashcroft ruling charging that it effectively nullifies Oregon’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Oregon is the only state to have legalized physician-assisted suicide. Oregon was joined in the suit, Oregon v. Ashcroft, by a number of persons seeking assisted suicide, a physician, a pharmacist, and an assisted suicide advocacy organization. Federal district court judge Robert E. Jones in Portland, Oregon, enjoined enforcement of the Ashcroft ruling pending prompt resolution of the case in his court. The National and Oregon Right to Life brief argues that Ashcroft’s decision was fully justified because the federal government can choose to protect all human life through its laws even if the State of Oregon has chosen not to do so. “Just because Oregon allows its doctors to prescribe lethal drug overdoses to patients doesn’t mean that the federal government has to agree that this is a legitimate medical use of the drugs,” said James Bopp, Jr., General Counsel of the National Right to Life Committee. “The Oregon tail doesn’t wag the federal dog. The U.S. government can protect all human lives even if Oregon turns its back on some of them.”
The brief also argues that the Ashcroft decision avoids constitutional problems by refusing to discriminate against terminally ill persons in enforcement of federal drug laws. “There would obviously be an equal protection problem if the federal government said that you can use these drugs to kill the sick and disabled, but not everyone else,” said Bopp. Finally, the brief argues that Ashcroft’s action was fully justified by the government’s interest in supporting the ethical integrity of the medical professions. Organized medicine has long condemned physician- assisted suicide. In the Hippocratic Oath, in the physician swears: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”
Judge Jones is expected to rule in the case by the end of April. His decision will probably be appealed by a losing party to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
InfonetMarch 2, 2002 emailprotected>
Oregon Right To Life www.nrlc.org and www.ortl.org