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High court clashes over assisted suicide

  1. Oct 5, 2005 #1


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    The state of Oregon has allowed physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor seemed ready to support Oregon's law. Her replacement may be confirmed before the ruling is handed down could end that right.

    "John Roberts stepped forward Wednesday as an aggressive defender of federal authority to block doctor-assisted suicide, as the Supreme Court clashed over an Oregon law that lets doctors help terminally ill patients end their lives."


    Appointees of the Bush administration are prepared to overturn the last shred of dignity and control that we have over our lives to satisfy their own personal beliefs?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
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  3. Oct 5, 2005 #2


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    That article is mistaken. Roberts has not replaced O'Connor. In fact, if Miers is confirmed before this case is decided, she may not be allowed to vote on it, as her hand in shaping the White House's policy would constitute a conflict of interest.

    I am disappointed by Roberts' stance, though. It seemed like he would be a states righter. The idea of the federal government prosecuting doctors as drug dealers in this case seems pretty absurd.
  4. Oct 5, 2005 #3


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    When did the bush administration start up a liberal agenda? :rofl: :rofl:
  5. Oct 5, 2005 #4


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    Whether on purpose or by the specifics of the case, these days the USSC rarely makes actual decisions on the morality of specific issues. The Schaivo case, for example, said nothing about assisted suicide, right to life, etc., it was strictly a legal custody case.

    IIRC, Rowe v Wade was about state vs federal jurisdiction, not abortion, and I rather suspect this one will be a similar turf fight.
  6. Oct 5, 2005 #5

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    This one really gets me. How dare they [Ashcroft, actually] presume to impose on not only the autonomy of the State, but more than that, something so incredibly personal. What this really is about is religious zealots imposing their brand of morality on the rest of us. They have no right to demand that people suffer through agonizing, miserable deaths. There is no rationale that justifies the ends.

    If there is a hell, this outrageous brand of selfish idealism is why a soul goes there.
  7. Oct 6, 2005 #6
    It is really angering when other people, and most of all government, becomes involved in the doctor-patient relationship whether birth control, etc. The doctor is trained to address medical issues, for example determining whether Terri Schiavo was or was not brian dead. Doctors may make mistakes, but I sure would prefer that these decisions be made by a medical professional and not by some idiotic evangelical or politician.

    In addition to the self righteous and judgemental aspect of such matters, I see this as more of the anti intellectual and scientific direction that these people want our nation to go. Abortions in dark alleys? Then soon we will be burning witches too.
  8. Oct 6, 2005 #7
    This concerns "assisted" suicide. We all have the right to end our suffering at any point. Noone is keeping you from taking your life, provided you don't make a public spectecal of it. If a person wants to go, they don't need a doctor to do it.
  9. Oct 6, 2005 #8
    Roberts made one statement that shows clearly the direction that he is headed.
    From the link posted by EVO:

    He somehow ignored prescribing morphine for terminally ill patients and substituted: "prescribing morphine to make people feel better". He then alluded that if allowed in one state, this could result in prescribing steroids to athletes in other states.

    Did he also study under Karl Rove? The plight of terminally ill patients is not at all connected with the illegal use of drugs in this country :grumpy:
  10. Oct 6, 2005 #9


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    No, that's not true. It's just hard to punish a person if they're successful at ending their life. If caught in the act, a person would be prevented from killing themselves regardless of their wishes (or is getting caught in the middle of an attempted suicide what you meant by making a public spectacle of it).
  11. Oct 6, 2005 #10


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    That struck me as a very confused statement. I think the "or to prescribe steroids ... " was a quick substitution of a better example rather than a claim that morphine prescriptions would lead to steroid prescriptions in other states.

    Neither were very good examples. Morphine is prescribed for terminally ill patients and I think it can also be prescribed for non-terminally ill patients, as well. Steroids are also legally prescribed for some conditions (totally unrelated to increasing athletic ability).
  12. Oct 6, 2005 #11
    If a person is lying paralyzed on a bed and slowly drowning in their own mucus, as is the case with all ALS victims ,they do need a doctor to help.
    Many who fight other illnesses for long periods of time end up incapacitated and in unbearable pain. They need also need a doctors help.

    This resolution of this case is obviously going to be more of a political decision than a legal one.
  13. Oct 6, 2005 #12
    That is what I meant. It just seems to me that the patient is trying to share the responsibility of suicide. It's a tough thing to put into the hands of government to decide.

    If someone simply handed the person a handgun and left the room, would that be any different? Could that person who gave the handgun be guilty of a crime? :confused:
  14. Oct 6, 2005 #13
    You are right , but isn't the guy supposed to be smarter than that? He certainly found the right words to talk circles around those who were asking questions during his confirmation hearings.
  15. Oct 6, 2005 #14
    Well, I suppose if this "doctor-assisted" challenge is lost, those seeking to "interventually end" their lives may resort to handguns, and gasoline.

    The ensuing federal intervention and legal challenges then would be labeled "Smith & Wesson assisted suicide," and "Exxon/Mobil assisted suicide."

    To think that our federal and state resources are being spent on such ridiculous challenges - when only weeks ago we watched children and the elderly be deprived of food, medicine, and water. These type actions appear on their surface - as merely another vehicle of government intervention into the private lives of Americans.

    What would our founding fathers' have said on this matter?
  16. Oct 6, 2005 #15
    Yes they would be guilty. Assisting in a suicide is a crime.
  17. Oct 6, 2005 #16
    What is removing a feeding tube? What is increasing morphine for unbearable pain to the point of overdose? These kinds of things happen every day. Will all these doctors end up in jail?

    As for unassisted suicide, I know someone who used a handgun and ended up in a coma. The purpose of assisted suicide it to be humane and to provide relief from prolonged suffering.

    It is interesting how the religious right is for states rights in regard to abortion, but against it in regard to assisted suicide. No hypocrisy here. :rolleyes:
  18. Oct 6, 2005 #17


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    I believe my dad's friend was prescribed morphine after having his leg completely crushed in a forklift accident. I myself have taken steroids numerous time for allergies and asthma. Those are corticosteroids, though, not the same as the anabolic steroids that athletes take to build muscle. The word "steroid" by itself is too broad. Cholesterol is a steroid.
  19. Oct 6, 2005 #18


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    It didn't take long for Robert's true colors to be revealed, and if he keeps up the aggressive interruptions I wonder how long he will remain 'liked' by others. Back to the topic, the comparison of illegal versus legal prescription drugs seems to be a flimsy argument against assisted suicide.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  20. Oct 6, 2005 #19
    The drugs that have been used are legal and used widely , but classed as controlled substances. Roberts only commented on the drugs used, he never did (from anything I have read) address assisted suicide?
  21. Jan 18, 2006 #20
    Did We (Members) Get it Wrong; or Merely an Errored Challenge?

    Look ma .... we members tore up this issue 3-4 months ago - most believing the USSC would over-rule the Oregon assisted suicide provision.

    Though to reserect this thread to refresh your memories. We discussed the moral and patient rights issues - yet never considered that Ashcroft might have challenged the Oregon provision with the "weakest legal argument," the Federal Ban on Controlled Substances Act.

    Expect him to re-file a challenge with the USSC and cite violations of criminal law and Constitutional "life and liberties" context. Though other states may now rush to place assisted suicide bills on their voter initiatives - this is far from over!
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