Monday, January 26, 2015

New Mexico Court of Appeals heard assisted suicide case.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The New Mexico Court of Appeals is hearing the assisted suicide case of Morris v New Mexico.

This case is essentially based on a word game and a replay of the Blick v Connecticut case that was thrown out by the Connecticut court in 2010

Similar to the Connecticut case, the New Mexio case, that was heard in December 2013, claimed that "aid in dying", which is also known as assisted suicide, is not prohibited by the New Mexico assisted suicide law because "aid in dying" is not suicide.

The case continued by claiming, that if "aid in dying" is assisted suicide, then the New Mexico assisted suicide law is unconstitutional because it undermines the right to privacy and autonomy.

Judge Nan Nash decided last year:
that the right exists under the New Mexico Constitution, which prohibits the state from depriving a person of life, liberty or property without due process.
Nash then applied this principle to assisted suicide and legislated from the Bench that doctors in New Mexico had the right to prescribe lethal drugs.

But "aid in dying" is assisted suicide and assisted suicide does not constitute medical treatment. Therefore prohibiting assisted suicide does not undermine the right to privacy or autonomy. 

The Albuquerque Journal reported on March 13 that Attorney General King, who appealed the decision, was concerned with the integrity of the law. The article reported that King said:
“Our position is we’re defending the integrity of the statute. If people are interested in changing state law, they should propose new legislation."
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) considers the decision by Judge Nash to be an extreme case of judicial activism. This is a case that Nash should have thrown out and a decision that the Court of Apeal must overturn.

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