Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Great News: The New Mexico Court of Appeals struck down an activist assisted suicide decision, upholding protections in law from assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Washington Times reported yesterday that the New Mexico Court of Appeal overturned Nash's activist assisted suicide decision, to once again prohibit assisted suicide.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals handed a defeat to the right-to-die movement Tuesday by striking down a lower-court ruling establishing physician-assisted suicide.

The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the district court had erred when it determined that “aid in dying is a fundamental liberty interest.”
Protections from assisted suicide have been upheld in New Mexico.

On January 13, 2014; Judge Nan Nash, of the Second Judicial District in New Mexico made an activist decision in the case Morris v New Mexico. Nash legislated from the bench giving New Mexico doctors the right to prescribe lethal drugs to assist the suicide of their patients.

The case concerned Aja Riggs, a woman with uterine cancer, who said that she wanted to die by assisted suicide, and two doctors who were willing to prescribe lethal drugs.

The argument in the case was based on a word game.

The case argued 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 assisted suicide.

The case argued, 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.

Aja Riggs is now in remission.
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.

A similar case was dismissed by the Connecticut court in 2010.

Riggs told the Albuqueque journal last December that she is now in remission. She is fortunate that the court did not give her an exemption to die by assisted suicide.

Laura Schauer Ives, an attorney for Riggs and the two doctors, said after Tuesday's ruling that she plans to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

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